LATE CITY, 20 PAGES, AHMEDABAD, `3.00 ● FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TheIndian EXPRESS JOURNALISM OF COURAGE DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA VISVA BHARATI UNIVERSITY President gives in to govt, withdraws own assent on appointment of V-C Panel of 3 finalists scrapped; search, selection committee disbanded, ministry tells university to pick new members Gujarat minister in House: Butchers and bootleggers didn’t vote for BJP PRESS TRUST OF INDIA GANDHINAGAR, FEBRUARY 22 RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 22 IN AN unprecedented move, President Ram Nath Kovind has overturned his decision on the appointment of a central university Vice-Chancellor (V-C), at the behest of the government. Kovind is learnt to have withdrawn his assent to appoint The Indian Express report on February 15 4 GUJARAT BREACH IN NARMADA CANAL, CROPS HIT Swapan Kumar Dutta as the head of Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan — the President is its Visitor and the Prime Minister its Chancellor. He has also scrapped the panel of three finalists forwarded by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry last year. As first reported by The Indian Express on February 15, the HRD Ministry had asked the President to reconsider his assent to Dutta’s appointment. The government will now launch a fresh search for the V-C’s post. Visva Bharati learnt of the President’s decision on Thursday, when the HRD Ministry asked the university administration to call a meeting of its Court and Executive Council CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CBI arrests Rotomac owner and son over Rs 3,695-cr loan default DEEPTIMAN TIWARY ● GOVT FORMS SIT TO PROBE DEATH OF DALIT ACTIVIST, PAGE 5 9 THE IDEAS PAGE In the name of education There is an impressive increase in school enrollment levels but not much thought on what should be taught BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 22 AFTER FOUR days of questioning, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Thursday arrested Rotomac Global owner Vikram Kothari and his son Rahul in connection with the company’s Rs 3,695 crore loan default. Agency sources said the Kotharis were arrested as they did not cooperate with investigations despite four days of sustained questioning in Kanpur. CBI had booked Rotomac Global Pvt Ltd, Kothari, his wife Sadhana and son Rahul for allegedly defaulting on Rs 3,695 crore in loans taken from a consortium of seven banks. Sources said Kothari constantly maintained that he had not committed fraud and would have returned the loan in due course. He also said this was the reason he had not attempted to leave the country or even Kanpur. Kothari was brought to Delhi for questioning on Wednesday 8 THE EDITORIAL PAGE but is expected to be taken to Lucknow where he will be produced before a special court to seek remand. Sources said he was brought to Delhi to change the “environment of questioning” and take him out of his comfort zone. Till Tuesday, CBI had questioned him at his house in Kanpur. According to CBI and a complaint filed by Bank of Baroda (BoB), the loans were granted, beginning 2008, for the purported import of wheat among other products, but in most cases nothing was imported and the money was allegedly diverted. BoB is among the consortium of banks and has an outstanding of Rs 456.63 crore from Rotomac. Apart from BoB, the consortium includes, Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, United Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 How did they ponzi it? BY OMKAR GOSWAMI Cars belonging to Nirav Modi and his companies seized by ED. PTI 9 firms tied to Nirav Modi did no business, shut in two years KHUSHBOO NARAYAN INSIDE PAGES 10, 11 MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 22 ● PURSUED ALL LEGAL AVENUES, SAYS PNB AT LEAST nine firms associated with billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi were incorporated in 2010 but did not carry out any business before all of them were shut down in 2012, records investigated by The Indian Express show. An analysis of the 41 companies associated with Modi, in the wake of alleged fraudulent transactions involving three of his companies and Punjab National Bank, shows that these nine firms were incorporated between March and August 2010. Records show that Modi’s brother Neeshal Modi, who has ● NO PASSPORT SO CAN’T COME: NIRAV MODI TO ED been named by the CBI as an accused in the alleged Rs 11,400crore PNB fraud, was a director in all these nine firms. These firms, according to their statement of accounts, did not show any business in the two years oftheir existence and at least seven of them filed for closure on June 21, 2012. The other two were also shut down that year. In their board resolutions, each of these firms cited the same reason for winding up: they foresee “no sustainable commercial activity” and are not in a position to “generate any revenue surpluses”. These nine firms are: Punarvasu Consultants Pvt Ltd, Ananthnath Valuers Pvt Ltd, Neminath Consultants Pvt Ltd, Vashupujya Valuers Pvt Ltd, Moola Consultants Pvt Ltd, Sambhavnath Consultants Pvt Ltd, Suvadhinath Consultants Pvt Ltd, Moon Valuers Pvt Ltd and Supasvanath Consultants Pvt Ltd. However, sources familiar with the case said it is possible that not all of the 41 companies SHUBHAJIT ROY & RAHUL TRIPATHI NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 22 IN A major public relations embarrassment for visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a Canada-based Khalistani activist, convicted in the attempted murder of a Punjab Minister in 1986, was invited to two events organised for Trudeau, in Mumbai and Delhi. As photographs of the Mumbai reception on Tuesday, showing Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and a Canadian minister with Jaspal Atwal, a known Khalistani activist, kicked up a row, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi said it had rescinded EXPRESS NETWORK ● JOURNALIST WHO PROTESTED AGAINST MODI PART OF TEAM, P10 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 22 WITH A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court triggering a debate by overturning the ruling of another three-judge bench in a land acquisition case, two separate benches, hearing related matters Thursday, turned to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to constitute an “appropriate” or “larger” bench to settle the issue. On Wednesday, the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Deepak Gupta virtually stayed operation of a February 8 order by a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, A K Goel and Mohan M Shantanagoudar which ruled that compensation not availed of within a stipulated 18 EXPLAINED Questions of law and process five-year period could not be ground for cancellation of land acquisition. In reaching this conclusion, IN THE HOUSE P 3 ● CONG CORNERS GOVT OVER MODI’S PROMISE TO FISHERMEN ● STATE AND CENTRE GIVING WINDFALL BENEFITS TO CROP INSURANCE FIRMS: DHANANI top Congress leader, who never visited temples before, visited so many temples ahead of the polls, it did not help the party to come to power in Gujarat”. Jadeja said the BJP came to power “with the votes of rural people, youths who got employment, and women who benefited from the policies of the government”. In a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress MLA Vikram Madam said, “Good dialogues will help a movie to become successful (but) to run a country successfully, you need concrete plans... It was the BJP’s vision to win 150 seats. You need to do an introspection as why you were reduced to just 99.” Kejriwal aide to police: Saw Chief Secy being assaulted, glasses fall the Justice Mishra-led bench, by a majority of 2-1, also held that a 2014 verdict in a case related to the Pune Municipal Corporation was “per incuriam” (passed without due regard to the law). That 2014 verdict was also by a three-judge bench, comprising then Chief Justice R M Lodha and Justices Lokur and Joseph, which said that non-payment of compensation could be a ground to cancel land acquisition. On Thursday, Justices Mishra and Goel, sitting on separate benches, referred the matter to the CJI after being told that the three-judge bench headed by Justice Lokur had virtually stayed the February 8 order a day earlier. Justice Mishra, who was sitting with Justice Amitava Roy, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ABHISHEK ANGAD & MAHENDER SINGH MANRAL NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 22 CONTRADICTING HIS earlier stand, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s advisor, VK Jain, in multiple statements to police has said he witnessed the assault on Delhi ChiefSecretary Anshu Prakash on February 19 during a meeting in Kejriwal’s residence and saw Prakash’s “spectacles fall off”. While one of Jain’s statements was submitted before a Delhi court Thursday during the bail hearing of two AAP MLAs arrested for the assault on Prakash, he recorded a second statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) before a magistrate. The two new statements contradict Jain’s earlier stand. In a statement to police on Wednesday he had said he was present at the February 19 meeting but denied witnessing the assault and said he was in the “washroom” for a few minutes. Delhi Chief Secy Anshu Prakash Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava Thursday informed Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon that Jain’s statement was recorded before police. “In his statement under Section 161 of the CrPC, Jain said he left home at around 11.30 pm from Maharani Bagh and reached the CM’s residence at midnight.” According to the prosecutor, Jain in the statement admitted that he saw Prakash being assaulted after exiting the washroom. “... He saw two MLAs had surrounded the Chief Secretary and were assaulting his and that is when his spectacles fell off,” Srivastava told the court. Defence counsel for the two AAP MLAs, BS Joon pointed out the contradictions in Jain’s CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR 19 WORLD Jaspal Atwal with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. ANI ANANTHAKRISHNAN G Gujarat Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Khalistan activist with Trudeaus 3-judge vs 3-judge: Debate in SC leaves Canada, India red-faced intensifies, CJI asked to step in the invitation to the reception in the Capital on Thursday night. Atwal, a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) — a proKhalistani outfit that was banned in Canada and designated a terrorist organisation in 2003 — was convicted of attempted murder after then Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu was shot on Vancouver Island in 1986. Atwal and three others were sentenced to 20 years in jail, but he was released early due to his good conduct. Responding to the controversy, Trudeau said Atwal should not have received an invitation. “Obviously, we take this extremely seriously. He should never have received an invitation. THE BJP’s tally in the Gujarat Assembly polls was restricted to 99 seats because “butchers”, “bootleggers” and those opposing the proposed triple talaq Bill didn’t vote for the party, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said on Thursday. In the elections held last December, the BJP managed to retain power for a sixth straight term though its tally fell to 99 seats. The Congress won 77 seats in the 182-member House. “I tell you who did not vote for us. It was those butchers who were angry at us for introducing a tough anti-cow slaughter law. It was bootleggers who were angry because the BJP government has introduced a tough prohibition law,” Jadeja told the Assembly. He was speaking on the motion of thanks to Governor O P Kohli’s February 19 address to the House on the first day of the Budget Session, when the topic veered towards the BJP’s poll performance following a dig by the Congress. “Many school owners were unhappy because we brought a law to cap their fees. Those who were angry with the BJP government at the Centre for introducing a Bill to protect Muslim women against triple talaq also did not give us votes. But we are not bothered about them,” he said. Jadeja said the Congress gained only 77 seats though its leaders tried to incite people through casteist and communal politics. “Congress leaders used to claim ahead of the polls that the party will come to power by winning over 125 seats. However, they got only 77 seats,” he said. In an apparent dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Jadeja said, “Though a MONTH ON, RAPE & MURDER SPLIT A VILLAGE DOWN THE MIDDLE FORD OUSTS INDIAN-ORIGIN OFFICIAL FOR ‘SEXUAL MISCONDUCT’ SAUDI, CHINA, TURKEY BLOCK US FROM PUTTING PAK ON TERROR WATCHLIST NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN KATHUA, FEBRUARY 21 IT’S BEEN over a month but the chalk marks outlining the spot where the small body lay face down between trees have not yet faded. And so is the grief and despair at the home of the seven-year-old girl who was found dead that morning in the woods behind Rasana village in Kathua near Jammu. “I adopted her from my sister when she was just two months old, and brought her up as my own. She was a part of my fam- ily for seven years,” says her father, who hails from the Bakherwal, a Muslim community of nomadic grazers. The girl’s body was found on January 17, seven days after she went missing. She had been allegedly raped and strangled, said police. Within a day, a minor boy living with his uncle in Rasana was arrested and placed in a juvenile home. This month, two Special Police Officers from the area, Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Verma, were held on charges of rape and murder. With the crime and the arrests widening communal faultlines across Kathua, on the The storeroom where the victim was allegedly kept, in Kathua near Jammu. Nirupama Subramanian international border with Pakistan, prohibitory orders were quickly put in place. Today, the divide is all too apparent in Rasana, where 13 Brahmin households stay in closely packed homes on either side of a 200-mlong, eight-feet-wide lane. What is under severe strain here are links that go back at least 40 years, between the residents and the Bakherwal, who annually set up camp on the forest and private land around the village in winter. “Now people are floating all kinds of stories, that she was not my daughter, that this crime was committed by Bakherwals themselves because of a fight between us. They are all lies,” says the girl’s father. Located on a rise offNH 44, the “Srinagar-Kanyakumari highway”, Rasana is part of Kootah panchayat. Kant Kumar, Kootah’s ex-sarpanch, says there was “a little tension” over where the girl’s body was to be buried. “The family wanted to bury her in Kootah. It was private land, but I helped defuse the matter, and managed the funeral in a graveyard in nearby Kanah village,” he says. Both Kumar and the girl’s father deny rumours of a “social boycott” of Bakherwals in the area. But clearly, the incident has left an indelible scar. “Rasana has never known a crime like this... When I heard about what had been done to the girl, I cried. Girls that age, whatever their religion, are deviroop (like Goddesses), we pray to them,” says the aunt of the teenager who was arrested. It was from around 200 feet behind her house that the girl’s body was discovered. “But he is innocent. He is too small to have taken part in something so brutal, he was even scared ofstepping out in the dark,” she says. The aunt says the boy was left in her husband’s care by his sister CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.