CMYK SUNDAY 12 MARCH 2023 www.thestatesman.com Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘BRAHMAPURAM FIRE MAN-MADE DISASTER’ ‘SOME PEOPLE ARE DEFAMING INDIA ABROAD’ P5 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Temperature likely to be in the range of 33-23 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY P4 P7 India, Aus vow to expand Excise policy case: Kavitha quizzed by ED for 9 hours bilateral trade to $100 bn Piyush Goyal says the two nations are not satisfied with the $30 bn trade Min. 37% Max: 32.1 °C (-1) SUN RISES 05:50 hrs MOON RISES 21:9 hrs Min: 23.0 °C (+1) SUN SETS 17:45 hrs MOON SETS 08:0 hrs New moon on 21 March THUMBNAILS NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's daughter K Kavitha on Saturday was questioned for nine hours by officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the National Capital in connection with the Delhi excise policy scam case. Ms Kavitha reached the ED office at around 11.05 a.m. and left around 8.00 p.m. The BRS leader and Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Pillai were questioned by the ED in connection with its ongoing investigations into the Delhi Excise Policy scam. Mr Pillai represented South Group which is alleged to have given a kickbacks of Rs 100 crore to AAP leaders in connection with the nowscrapped 2021-22 Delhi excise policy, which money was allegedly used in Goa elections. While Mr Pillai is on ED's custodial remand, Ms Kavitha joined the probe after being summoned by the central agency. Mr Pillai has claimed to be an associate of Ms Kavitha.Their statements were recorded under Section 50 of PMLA. A woman deputy director level official recorded the testimony of Ms Kavitha.Ms Kavitha was summoned to join the probe on Thursday, but she wrote a letter seeking more time after which her questioning was postponed for Saturday. On Friday, she also staged a protest at Jantar ndia and Australia today expressed their resolve to conclude negotiations for expanding the scope of the existing free trade agreement by the end of this year with an aim to increase the bilateral trade to $100 billion in the next five years. The issue came up for discussion during a meeting of the 18th joint ministerial commission between Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Don Farrell, who accompanied Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on his official visit to India.Addressing the media, Mr Goyal said both India and Australia were not satisfied with the I PM Narendra Modi exchanges greetings with Australian PM Anthony Albanese at the Hyderabad House. ANI $30 billion trade between the two nations. The two countries have some critical talents at government, business, and people-to-people levels and together they could make a tremendous difference in the world.He said the two nations have welcomed the resumption of the negotiations for the second stage of the Comprehensive Eco- nomic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), where they could collaborate and cooperate with each other on a much wider level. He added the two nations were working together like brothers on a wide variety of subjects. He highlighted that India and Australia shared democratic values including the rule of law, and transparent systems and the two countries complement each other. Mr Goyal also stated that the two nations were looking to capitalise on the winwin opportunities in innovation, defence, space technology, education, and energy systems. The focus was on leveraging each other's competencies for mutual interests and growth. LOI to boost cooperation in areas of nat’l challenges STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH A view of blooming almond trees on the banks of the Dal Lake, in Srinagar on Saturday. ANI B'luru-Lucknow AIX Connect plane returns to L airport after technical issue: A Lucknow-bound AIX Connect plane from Bengaluru returned to the airport soon after taking off on Saturday following a technical issue. "AIX Connect confirms that i5-2472, scheduled to operate from Bengaluru to Lucknow, encountered a minor technical issue and elected to return to Bengaluru," an airline spokesperson said. "Alternative arrangements have been made for the impacted guests and we are taking steps to minimise impact on other scheduled operations." According to information, the flight took off at 6.45 a.m. and was supposed to land in Lucknow by 9 a.m. The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, have joined hands by signing a Letter of Intent (LOI) to encourage joint cooperation to drive innovation activities in areas of national challenges and shared priorities of both countries.The pact coincided with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to India and his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra yesterday. The Letter of Intent calls for a greater collaboration in areas of mutual interest and strategic priorities and serves H3N2 cases: Centre asks States to raise awareness STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH In the wake of rising cases of other Influenza-like Illnesses and Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses (ILIs/SARIs) in the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Saturday asked the states and Union Territories to raise community awareness about adherence to respiratory and hand hygiene. To contain the transmission of these diseases, Mr Bhushan said it is also important to promote early reporting of symptoms, and limiting the contact of those people who are suffering from respiratory illness. In a letter to chief secretaries/principal secretaries/secretaries (health) of the states/UTs, the Union health secretary said: “In the current season, a variety of conditions and behavioural reasons (like less than adequate attention to personal hygiene, sneezing and coughing without proper protection in close proximity of other people, closed indoor gatherings of people, etc) make the environment conducive to the circulation of a number of viral respiratory pathogens like Influenza A (H1N1, H3N2 etc.), Adenoviruses, etc.” He stressed on the need for special care to be taken in the case of young children, old age people and people suffering from co-morbidities who are particularly at risk and vulnerable to H1N1, H3N2, Adenoviruses, etc. Mr Bhushan added that the gradual rise in Covid-19 test positivity rates in some states is a matter of concern that needs to be promptly addressed. The Letter of Intent calls for a greater collaboration in areas of mutual interest and strategic priorities as a general framework for cooperation intended to facilitate the development of more program specific interventions.The core of the bilateral engagement is the India Australia Innovation and Technology Challenge (IAITC) - a programme envisioned to bring together the innovation ecosystems of India and Australia to address our shared environmental and economic challenges by supporting cohorts of start-ups and SMEs on their commercialisation pathways and bring to market innovative tech-based solutions spanning across circular economy, energy transition and food system resilience etc. The programme intends to leverage the complementary capabilities and resources of the innovation ecosystem of both the countries. The IA-ITC builds on the success of the India Australia Circular Economy (IACE) hackathon 2021, which witnessed university students, start-ups, and SMEs from both India and Australia develop innovative techbased solutions for circularity in the food system value chain. “We are thrilled to partner with CSIRO on fostering innovation and co-developing the India Australia Innovation and Technology Challenge,” said Dr. Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director - AIM, NITI Aayog. “This partnership and the IA-ITC programme in particular is an exciting opportunity for India and Australia to collaborate at different levels of the ecosystem involving start-ups, SMEs, business incubators and accelerators, VCs and the industry. This will open new horizons in knowledge sharing and co-creation given CSIRO’s vast experience with Science and Technology programmes,” he said. The AIM and the CSIRO are currently working on the design and development of the IA-ITC programme delivery model to ensure the IAITC is sustainable, innovative, impactful and aligns with the strategic interests of both India and Australia. Land-for-job scam: Tejashwi to skip CBI probe, seeks time SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav has sought more time from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to join the probe in connection with the land-for-job scam, citing his wife's health issues.The CBI had summoned him to join the probe on Saturday to record his statement in the case. Earlier, the RJD leader was summoned to join the probe on 4 March, which he missed. Now, the probe agency will send him a third summons in the coming days. The CBI had recently grilled former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi and former Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in the matter.The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on Friday conducted a raid at the residence of the Bihar Deputy CM in Delhi for over 11 hours as part of its investigation into the same case.The ED also conducted raids against many relatives of former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad at multiple locations across Delhi, the National Capital Region (NCR) and Bihar in the alleged land-for-jobs scam. In its case, the CBI has alleged that the accused, in conspiracy with the then GM and CPO of the Central Railways, engaged persons as substitutes in lieu of land either in their name or in the name of close relatives of the Lalu family. The CBI had filed the chargesheet in October last year, against Lalu PrasadYadav, Rabri Devi, their daughter Misa Bharti and 13 others in the land-for-jobs scam. The chargesheet stated that during the investigation, it was found that the accused in conspiracy with the then GM Central Railways and CPO, Central Railways engaged persons as substitutes in lieu of land either in their name or in the name of their close relatives.This land was acquired at prices lower than the prevailing circle rate and much lower than the market rate. It was also alleged that the candidates have used false TC and submitted false attested documents to the Ministry of Railways, said the CBI statement.The alleged scam occurred between 2004 and 2009 when Lalu Yadav was the Railway Minister. Silicon Valley Bank collapse leaves Indian startups worried SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 11 MARCH The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in the US has left several Indian startups which have exposure to its investments and whose raised funds may now be stuck, worried. According to recent data made available by global software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based market intelligence platform Tracxn, SVB had exposure in at least 21 startups in India, although it did not reveal the size of the investment in these startups. Also, the beleaguered bank has not invested in any Indian startup lately. Gokul Rajaram, a board member at Pinterest and Coin- P12 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Max.76% TEMPERATURE KOHLI BECOMES 5TH INDIAN BATTER TO SCORE 4000 RUNS THE REST IS STRIKING BACK People waiting outside an entrance to Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California. AP base, tweeted: “India-based founders don't know who to turn to as an alternative to SVB”.“Likely true for founders in other countries too. From what I hear, SVB was the only bank who'd bank a Delaware C Corp with founders who didn't have a SSN. Unique, tech forward bank. Shame what's happening,” Mr Rajaram posted.According to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation that shut down the bank, all insured depositors will have full access to their insured deposits till Monday, 13 March 2023.The palpitations can be heard among startup founders. “Hearing of some hedge funds preying on desperate companies and trying to buy out SVB deposits at well below cash. Those who are engaging in these predatory tactics, please remember: karma is real,” Mr Rajaram further posted. According to The New York Times, SVB was a bank to more than 2,500 venture capital firms, including Lightspeed, Bain Capital and Insight Partners.“It managed the personal wealth of many tech executives and was a stalwart sponsor of Silicon Valley tech conferences, parties, dinners and media outlets,” the report said.Josh Butler, CEO of workplace safety analytics startup CompScience, was quoted as saying that he was unable to get his company's money out of the bank. “Everyone from my investors to employees to my own mother are reaching out to ask what's going on. The big question is how soon will we be able to get access to the rest of the funds, how much if at all? That's absolutely scary,” he said.On Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took control of SVB's $175 billion in customer deposits. CMYK Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLC K Kavitha arrives at the ED office for questioning in New Delhi on Saturday. ANI Mantar. She claimed she never met former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and that her name was unnecessarily being dragged into the matter. According to the ED, Ms Kavitha is also one of the representatives of South Group in the Delhi Excise matter which allegedly paid a kickback of Rs 100 crore to AAP leaders. “The South Group was represented by Abhishek Boinpally, Arun Pillai and Buchi Babu.” “Boinpalli facilitated the transfer of Rs 100 crore kickback in connivance and conspiracy with Nair and his associate Dinesh Arora. Now we will have to confront Pillai with Kavitha,” a source said. Meanwhile, Mr Sisodia is currently on ED remand. There is a possibility that Ms Kavitha might be confronted with Mr Sisodia and grilled by the central agency in connection with the alleged kickbacks which the AAP party/leaders are alleged to have received through I would also like the ruling party at the Centre to know that these tactics of intimidation against the fight and voice of our leader, CM KCR, and against the entire BRS party will not deter us.. Under the leadership of KCR Garu, we will continue to fight to expose your failures and raise voice for a brighter and better future for India hawala channels. The BRS MLC had called the summons “tactics of intimidation” by the Centre against Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and the BRS, adding that the party will continue to fight and expose the Centre's failures and will raise its voice for a brighter and better future for India. “I would also like the ruling party at the Centre to know that these tactics of intimidation against the fight and voice of our leader, CM KCR, and against the entire BRS party will not deter us. Under the leadership of KCR Garu, we will continue to fight to expose your failures and raise voice for a brighter and better future for India,” Ms Kavitha said in a tweet.
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