WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 10 NOVEMBER 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Shallow fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 29 and 13 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 89% P6 P8 Rafale ‘kickbacks’: BJP hits out at Cong Min: 38% STATESMANNEWSSERVICE Min: 13.5°C (-1) SUN SETS 17:30 hrs MOON SETS 22:56 hrs T NEW DELHI, 9 NOVEMBER THUMBNAILS Indian Youth Congress activists with gas cylinders dummy protest against hike in LPG prices and inflation, outside Shastri Bhawan, in the SNS Capital on Tuesday. Rohit to lead India in T20s: Rohit Sharma has been appointed Indian skipper in the T20 format as the team is set to face New Zealand for three T20Is from 17 November for which the All-India Senior Selection Committee has picked a 16-member squad. KL Rahul has been named vice-captain. (See pg 12) Mamata's cabinet rejig: West Bengal chief minister on Tuesday reshuffled Cabinet portfolios. Former finance minister Amit Mitra has been appointed principal chief advisor to CM and finance department. Chandrima Bhattacharya becomes MoS, finance department and Pulak Roy has been given charge of the Panchayat department following Subrata Mukherjee's demise. (See pg 5) he Congress and BJP are exchanging barbs over alleged graft in purchase of Rafale fighter jets following reports of “secret commissions” in the deal, revealed by a French online journal. BJP on Tuesday hit out at the Congress over the alleged payment of “commission” to the Nehru-Gandhi family in the Rafale deal during the Congress-led UPA government at the Center. The party demanded the Congress come clean on the allegation. The BJP charge against the Congress party and its leaders came in the wake of reports appearing in the French online journal Mediapart alleging that commissions were paid to the party and its leaders during the UPA regime. The report claimed that Dassault aviation paid at least 7.5 million Euros in bribe for 36 Rafale jets to a middleman for the Rafale deal. It also said that bulk of the payments were made before 2013. Speaking to media here BJP national spokesperson Sambit Parta said not only the reports about commissions being paid to Congress leaders had been revealed by the French online journal but also the name of the middleman involved in the alleged corruption. “Today it has been revealed that the Congress government accepted commission during the Rafale negotiations between 2007 and 2012, in which the name of the middleman has also come to the forefront,” Patra said. Attacking the Congress, Patra sought Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s response to the French online journal disclosures. “Rahul Gandhi should reply. Why did you and your party try to spread confusion about Rafale for so many years? The story of commissions paid in the Rafale deal is a big conspiracy. The whole matter happened between 2007 and 2012,” he said. The BJP leader par- ticularly referred to the opposition leader including the Congress’ attempts to draw political mileage over the Rafale issue ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by trying to create a confusion about the whole matter. “We all saw the way in which the opposition parties, particularly the Congress, tried to create a false atmosphere about the Rafale before the 2019 elections. They thought it would benefit them politically,” Patra said. Patra derided the INC (Indian National Congress) as “I Need Commission”, demanding that the Congress delineate “the bribe trail” in the Rafale deal. “We did governmentto-government negotiation, the Congress must reveal the bribe trail. Where is the money that Congress made through 96 countries agree to mutual acceptance of India’s vax cert STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 NOVEMBER After WHO approved Covaxin for emergency use listing, 96 nations across the globe have agreed to mutual recognition of vaccination certificates with India, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said here on Tuesday. “Reflecting worldwide recognition of India’s vaccines and vaccination process, 96 countries have agreed to mutually accept its vaccination certificates,” he said. “A total of 96 countries have also agreed to recognise Indian vaccination cer- tificates of travellers fully vaccinated with Covishield, and other WHO approved and nationally approved vaccines,” the minister said. Mandaviya said that the Union government continues to be in contact with the rest of the world so that beneficiaries of the world's largest Covid vaccination programme are accepted and recognised, thereby easing travel for education, business and tourism. The UK government announced on Monday that Covaxin will be added to its approved list of Covid vaccines for international travellers from 22 November in its new guide- Manipur Guv can’t delay disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs: SC INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 NOVEMBER The Supreme Court on Tuesday orally observed that the Manipur Governor cannot delay a decision on the recommendation made by the Election Commission on disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs on the issue of the office of profit. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioner, submitted before a bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao that a constitutional authority cannot keep the decision pending, and emphasised that just one month remains in the expiry of the term and post that everything will be over. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the Election Commission, submitted before the bench that its opinion was binding on the Governor. The Election Com- INDIA LACK ALL-ROUNDERS IN TOP SIX, SAYS SHASTRI P12 Five dead in TN rains, many houses damaged BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra calls INC ‘I Need Commission’ TEMPERATURE Max: 28.6°C (-1) SUN RISES 06:40 hrs MOON RISES 13:09 hrs INDIA POISED TO ACHIEVE SERVICES EXPORT TARGET OF $1 TN: GOYAL DRONES TARGET A PM US V-P HARRIS ARRIVES IN PARIS FOR 4-DAY FENCE-MENDING TRIP mission had furnished the opinion in January this year. The bench, also comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and B.V. Nagarathna, agreed with the submissions of counsel that the Governor cannot delay the decision in the matter. The bench, citing the case of Rajiv Gandhi convicts, observed there have been instances where the Governor has been nudged to take decisions in a time-bound manner. The bench issued notice to the Secretary to the Governor on a plea seeking to bring on record the decision and scheduled the matter for further hearing on 11 November. The apex court was hearing a writ petition by Congress MLA, D.D. Thaisii, seeking disqualification of 12 BJP MLAs. The plea had pointed out that these MLAs were holding post of Parliamentary Secretaries which amounted to an office of profit. lines. The development came after WHO approved Covaxin for emergency use listing last week. Fresh cases lowest in 266 days: India on Tuesday reported 10,126 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest in 266 days, Union health ministry said. With 322 new deaths, the cumulative toll rose to 4,61,389. The recovery of 11,982 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients to 3,37,75,086. The active caseload stands at 1,40,638, the lowest in 263 days and comprise 0.41 per Pb govt accepts AG’s resignation STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 9 NOVEMBER Fulfiling a key demand of the Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday accepted the resignation of the newly appointed Advocate General (AG) APS Deol. Chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi said, “The Cabinet today accepted it (resignation of the AG). It would be sent to the state governor. Tomorrow, the new AG will be appointed,” he added. The AG had resigned a few days ago after his appointment by the Channi government was questioned by Sidhu. Hitting out at Deol on Monday, Sidhu said a lawyer who procured blanket protection for the police in the 2015 Kotkapura firing on a gathering of Sikh demonstrators did not have moral or ethical right to continue. As a lawyer, Deol had represented ex-Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in cases related to the 2015 desecration incidents and police firing on protesters. cent of the total infections. The daily positivity rate stands at 0.93 per cent, which has also remained below 2 per cent for 36 days. With the administration of 59,08,440 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, the country’s Covid inoculation coverage has reached 109.08 crore as of Tuesday morning. Delhi cases: The number of fresh cases of Covid-19 infection on Tuesday stood at 33 with 51,130 tests conducted across the national capital, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. commission between 2007 and 2012. Congress is double-faced when it comes to corruption and investigation. Favouritism was a part and parcel of negotiations that took place on the Rafale deal during the UPA regime,” he alleged. Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said his party had been seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal and wanted to know why the government had not yet agreed to this. The French online journal added that despite existence of documents, “the Indian federal police has decided not to pursue the affair and has not begun an investigation.” The report mentions Sushen Gupta as the middleman. “According to an accounts spreadsheet belonging to Sushen Gupta, an entity called simply ‘D’, which is a code he regularly used to designate Dassault, paid €14.6 million to Interdev in Singapore over the period 2004-2013,” the report said. Maharashtra Cabinet minister Nawab Malik on Tuesday demanded that the Centre should investigate claims made by a French online journal regarding alleged payoffs in the Rafale deal. A milkman delivers milk to a house of a waterlogged locality triggered by heavy rains, at Agaram, ANI PHOTO in Chennai on Tuesday. ASIAN NEWS INTERNATIONAL CHENNAI, 9 NOVEMBER At least five persons died and as many as 538 huts and four houses have been completely damaged in Tamil Nadu due to incessant rains. The state’s revenue and disaster management minister KKSSR Ramachandran is worried about more losses. “More damage is expected if rain intensifies,” the minister said. Tamil Nadu received an average rainfall of 16.84 mm in the last 24 hours. Chengalpet district received the highest, Ramachandran said. The minister said Chennai Corporation is pumping out water from low-lying areas as the state received less rainfall on Tuesday. The rescue operation is underway by Army, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Tamil Nadu Fire and others, he said. In Chennai, more nodal officers are posted for review and rescue operations, he further added. Meanwhile, Madurai received heavy rainfall as Tamil Nadu remains under influence of the Northeast monsoon. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted another set of heavy showers to hit the Chennai Downpour: Minister asks Aavin outlets to stock milk INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI, 9 NOVEMBER Tamil Nadu minister for milk and dairy development S M Nasar on Tuesday ordered Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited, popularly known as Aavin, to stock milk and milk powder at its outlets. While inspecting its plants here, Nasar ordered Aavin to stock milk packets - normal and UHT packets- and milk power packs at all its outlets so that milk availability is not affected during rains. FSL report says bullets fired from Ashish’s gun 3,43,77,113 INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE LAKHIMPUR KHERI, 9 NOVEMBER 1,40,638 10,126 11,982 4,61,389 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 09 NOVEMBER 2021 Trouble for Union minister Ajay Misra Teni’s son, Ashish Misra, are bound to increase with the Forensic Science Laboratory confirming that shots had been fired from the licensed guns of accused Ankit Das and Ashish Misra during the Lakhimpur Kheri violence on 3 October. The Lakhimpur police had seized weapons licensed to Ashish Misra and Ankit Das. All the firearms were sent for forensic testing on 15 October, the report of which came in on Tuesday. Farmers had alleged that Ashish and Ankit had fired several rounds during the violence. However, the two had denied this. Eight people were killed in the 3 October violence, which took place during a protest over Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to Lakhimpur Kheri. Four farmers and a journalist were knocked down by a car carrying the BJP workers. Union minister Ajay Misra Teni’s son Ashish Misra is among the 13 people arrested in connection with the death of the farmers. Can constitutional courts override defence concerns on environmental grounds, SC ponders INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 NOVEMBER The Supreme Court on Tuesday wondered whether constitutional courts can override the concerns of the armed forces, and come in the way of development of strategic infrastructure as per requirement of the army, in the matters raising environmental degradation concerns. Citing problems with China, the Centre had sought the top court’s nod to widen the road leading to the China border in the northern sector of Uttarakhand to 10 metres from 5.5 m, which was permitted earlier. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that a tremendous build-up is happening on the Chinese side - helipads, tankers, missile launchers, railway lines - and wide roads are required for trucks to carry heavy artillery, rocket launchers, tanks etc. AG Venugopal submitted that the Army is constructing feeder roads to the Chinese border called the green lines and cited that most of the way to places like Taglang La and Kang La pass are ‘katcha tracks’ (dirt tracks) and there are no proper roads. He added these feeder roads are from Hrishikesh to Gangotri and the Chardham highway project has strategic and operational importance. The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, noted that the court cannot deny the fact that at such a height, the security of the nation is at stake and alluded to recent skirmishes between India and China. “Can the highest constitutional court say that we will override the defence needs particularly in the face of recent past? Can we say that the environment will triumph over the defence of the nation?” it asked, adding “is it appro- priate to say that defence concerns be taken care of so that environmental degradation does not take place?” The bench told senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing the petitioners: “We must tell you our predicament in this. If the Centre says that they are doing it for tourism, then we understand and we can impose more stringent conditions.” But when it is needed to defend the borders, then it is a serious predicament, Justice Chandrachud said. Gonsalves cited the catastrophic impact of road expansion on young mountains like the Himalayas and added that parliamentary expert committee reports suggest Himalayas may not be able to take the road construction. The AG argued that there are several projects leading to international borders, which are needed for Army movements and the Army was coast between 10 November and 13 November. With the onset of northeastern rains, Chennai received the heaviest rains in the past six years. It resulted in flooding in the central and northern parts of the city. ignored in this matter, however now its needs must be brought on record. The top court was hearing a plea filed by NGO ‘Citizens for Green Doon’ seeking direction to stop felling of trees without clearances on the Ganeshpur-Dehradun Road (NH-72A), which is a part of the Delhi-Dehradun expressway. The hearing in the matter will continue on Wednesday. In 2018, the Centre’s notification said that the road width cannot exceed 5.5 metres in the hilly terrains like the one through which Chardham project is proposed. In September 2020, the top court directed the government to keep the width of the Chardham road at 5.5 metres. However, in December 2020, this notification was amended. The Chardham highway is a 900-km road project to provide all-weather connectivity to four Hindu pilgrimage centres in Uttarakhand. Since Sunday, Chennai has been receiving continuous rains, Tuesday being an exception. The weather department has predicted more rains in the coming days. Nasar also asked Aavin authorities to monitor that the production of milk in sachets could be carried out 24-hours at its dairy farms here. Presently, Aavin transports 7.50 lakh lt of milk/day through 178 tankers for monthly card holders and 6.10 lakh lt in 166 tankers to 2,000 retailers through wholesalers. India to host security dialogue on Afghanistan The high-level dialogue will deliberate upon measures to address the relevant security challenges and support the people of Afghanistan in promoting peace, security and stability. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 NOVEMBER India will host the “Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan” tomorrow, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said today. The dialogue will be held at the level of National Security Advisers / Secretaries of Security Councils and will be chaired by India’s NSA Ajit Doval. The first two editions of the dialogue were hosted by Iran in 2018 and 2019. The dialogue will witness an expanded participation of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan and China have declined to attend the meet, giving different reasons. The high-level dialogue will review the security situation in the region arising from recent developments in Afghanistan. It will deliberate upon measures to address the relevant security challenges and support the people of Afghanistan in promoting peace, security and stability. India has traditionally enjoyed close and friendly ties with the people of Afghanistan and has called for a unified international response to address the security and humanitarian challenges facing Afghanistan. The forthcoming meeting is a step in that direction, the MEA said. The Taliban has not been invited as India as well as other participants do not recognise the current dispensation in Afghanistan.
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