LATE CITY, 20 PAGES, AHMEDABAD, `3.00 ● FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TheIndian EXPRESS DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE EVENTS TO MARK 60 YEARS OF TIBETAN LEADERSHIP-IN-EXILE Govt sends out note: Very sensitive time for ties with China, so skip Dalai Lama events Discourage participation, not desirable: Cab Secy to Centre, states after FS note ABANTIKA GHOSH NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 IN AN unusual departure from its stand on the Tibetans-inexile, the government, underlining that this is a “very sensitive time” for bilateral relations with China, has sent out a note asking “senior leaders” and “government functionaries” of the Centre and states to stay away from events planned for March-end and early April by the “Tibetan leadership in India” to mark the start of 60 years in exile of the Dalai Lama. A note to the effect, dated February 22, was sent by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha. Four days later, Sinha put out a directive down the government ranks, telling “senior leaders” and “government functionaries” of the Centre and states that it is “not desirable” to participate in the events of the Tibetan leadership in exile. China calls the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, a “splittist” and a “dangerous separatist”. In his note to secretaries and Behind unusual move, bid to mend fences with Beijing SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 The Dalai Lama with Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu during his visit to the state in April last year. PTI CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ELEVEN MONTHSafter the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh led to a steep slide in bilateral ties with China in 2017 and a two-and-half month standoff at Doklam, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s note to skip functions of the Tibetan leadership in exile is a reflection of India’s cautious approach towards Beijing as it embarks on ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU We are closed today. There will be no edition of the paper on Saturday, March 3, 2018. GEORGE MATHEW MUMBAI, MARCH 1 BANKS LED by the State Bank of India (SBI) have started raising their lending rates, signalling a rise in equated monthly installments (EMIs) on retail loans, including home and car loans, more expensive borrowings for companies, and the end of a soft interest regime which lasted for almost 18 months. A day after hiking deposit rates by up to 75 basis points, SBI on Thursday increased the one-year Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate or MCLR by 20 basis points (bps) to 8.15 per cent from 7.95 per cent. ICICI Bank, India’s largest private bank, raised its one-year MCLR from 8.2 per cent to 8.3 per cent and overnight MCLR rate from 7.8 per cent to 7.95 per cent. New loans will now become expensive as they are linked to the one-year MCLR. The higher deposit and lending rates are a pointer to higher interest rates. This is the first increase in the benchmark lending rate after the MCLR regime came into effect in April 2016. As banks lend to retail customers on oneyear MCLR, which is considered CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GUJARAT ● KALYANNAGAR DEADLOCK MAY END SOON, P 3 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Bill to seize, sell assets of fugitive economic offenders is cleared The Indian Express Wishes Its Readers A Happy Holi Banks hike lending rates, EMIs to go up the task of mending fences with its northern neighbour. The Foreign Secretary’s missive to Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha on February 22, came a day before he flew down to Beijing on February 23 and held talks with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, and called on Foreign Minister Wang and State Councillor Yang Jiechi. This was the first bilateral stand-alone visit by the Indian Foreign Secretary after a year — NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein and others at the conference in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Jordan King listening, PM says fight is against terror, not any religion SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 THE FIGHT against terrorism, extremism and radicalisation is not against any particular religion, but is against “the mindset which misleads our youth to inflict atrocities against the innocent”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday. Addressing a conference on “Islamic Heritage: Promoting Understanding & Moderation”, Modi said that “those who perpetrate crimes against humanity do not realise that they undermine the religion in whose name they claim to stand for”. “Islamic culture is flourishing across India. The influence of Sufism spreads the message of love, peace and brotherhood. The Government of India is leaving no stone unturned in empowering the Muslim youth. We want them to have the Quran in one hand and a computer in the other,” he later tweeted. Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein — who is the 41st generation descendent of Prophet Muhammad — said that “today’s global war against terror is a fight by moderates of all communities against extremists whose faith is hate and violence”. The conference was attended by eminent Muslim intellectuals and some envoys of Islamic CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE UNION Cabinet on Thursday approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill that seeks to confiscate and sell all assets of absconding economic offenders. Once it is voted into law, the proposed legislation will empower investigating agencies to confiscate, and vest with themselves, any property of the absconding offenders without encumbrances, and will apply to cases where proceeds of the crime are above Rs 100 crore. The government also decided to set up a National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) to frame rules governing the conduct of chartered accountants and auditors. The NFRA will have jurisdiction over listed companies and “large unlisted” companies, while the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India will continue to oversee the remaining companies. The government will frame the rules that will de- BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY fine the threshold for companies to be supervised by the NFRA, which will have a chairman and a total of 15 members. Briefing reporters on the Cabinet’s decisions, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill will include a list of scheduled offences. If any individual who has committed a scheduled offence and against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Karti Chidambaram outside a Delhi court Thursday. Tashi Tobgyal Karti with CBI for 5 days, agency to confront him with papers, co-accused ABHISHEK ANGAD NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 A DAY after he was arrested in the INX Media case, Karti Chidambaram, son of senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was sent to CBI custody for five days by a Delhi court Thursday. Karti was produced before special judge Sunil Rana in the afternoon — he had spent the night at the cardiac care unit of Safdarjung Hospital. His parents, P Chidambaram and Nalini Chidambaram, who are both senior advocates, were present in the court room. His custody was extended until March 6 after Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the CBI, told the court that there were “very shocking evidences” of what Karti had done. He said Karti was required to be confronted with documents, co-accused and “trail of proceeds of crime” as he was the “ultimate 8 THE EDITORIAL PAGE beneficiary” and “prime conspirator” in a money transaction involving huge sums. He rejected the claim that this was a case of “political vendetta”. “The Metropolitan Magistrate had ordered to medically examine the accused. The accused had no complaints. Despite that, the accused was kept in CCU. Accused was discharged at 8 am Thursday and the interrogation took place for only a limited period of time... The Mukerjeas (Peter and Indrani Mukerjea of INX Media) met the accused in a hotel where one million dollars was demanded,” Mehta said. “We are not relying on air. We have travel, stay and car rental details. We are corroborating email exchanges. So far, there has been no custodial interrogation. Money was paid and received by Chess Management and Advantage Strategic Consulting which are owned and controlled by the accused... This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. Judge Rana said Karti’s CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Why Xi is no emperor BY SUDHEENDRA KULKARNI Anju stakes claim to Govt nod for UGC Gujarat: Over 80% applications Athens medal, gets formula to hit SC/ST, for power connections under support of federations OBC faculty numbers agriculture pending with govt NIHAL KOSHIE NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 ALMOST 14 years after she finished sixth at the Athens Olympics, Anju Bobby George and two other long jumpers — from UK and Australia — who failed to make it to the podium have got the support of their athletics federations in their bid to claim the medals they missed out on. Last month, the athletics federations of India, UK and Australia sent a letter to the CEO ofthe International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Olivier Gers, calling for an investigation into the event. They also want the IAAF to petition the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to annul the results of the 2004 Summer Games as the three Anju finished 6th; top three now under dope cloud medal winners from Russia — Tatyana Lebedeva, Irina Simagina and Tatyana Kotova — have since been charged with doping. The event has already seen a revision, with Marion Jones, who came fourth, being stripped of her position after an alleged doping offence. This has pushed Anju to fifth place, between Australia’s Bronwyn Thompson (4th) and Great Britain’s Jade Johnson (6th). If the IAAF and the IOC agree to their claim, Anju could end up with an CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, MARCH 1 THE NUMBER of SC, ST and OBC faculty in all central universities is set to shrink significantly as the HRD Ministry is learnt to have accepted the University Grants Commission’s new formula for implementing reservation in teaching posts. As first reported by The Indian Express on October 23, 2017, the higher education regulator had sought government approval for its proposal that reservation in faculty positions should be calculated department-wise and not based on the total posts in a university. According to UGC sources, the HRD Ministry, after consulting Law Ministry and the Department of Personnel and Training, communicated its go-ahead this week. The UGC is expected to notify the change through an executive order soon. When his comments were sought Thursday, UGC chairman D P Singh said he could not offer an immediate comment on the issue as he was not familiar with the recent developments. The new reservation formula is in response to a direction of the Allahabad High Court in April 2017. Hearing a case on teachers’ recruitment at the Banaras Hindu University, the court said each department, rather than the entire university, should be treated as the “unit” on which reservations are based. The court was unhappy with the UGC’s policy ofimplementing CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AVINASH NAIR PENDING APPLICATIONS GANDHINAGAR, MARCH 1 THE GUJARAT government seems to be providing electricity connections for non-agricultural uses at a faster pace than for agricultural uses. In the last two years, over 81 per cent of applications, seeking power for agricultural use, have been pending with the Gujarat government. The percentage of pending applications under Jyotigram Yojana is just 4.4 per cent, the state legislature was informed on Wednesday. In 2016 and 2017, a total of 1.61 lakh applications from 33 districts were submitted to the state government, seeking electricity connection for agricultural Rajkot 12,062 Banaskantha 10,197 Amreli 9,020 usage. Of these applications, 1.32 lakh applications (81.64 per cent) lie pending, states the written replies filed by the government in response to the several questions posed during the Question Hour on Wednesday. A total of 7,954 applications have also been rejected for “various reasons,” stated the government. The highest number of pending applications are in Rajkot district (12,062), followed by Banaskantha (10,197) and Amreli (9,020). Banaskantha also has the highest number of rejected applications (2,613). In comparison, during this two-year period, the state government received 5.51 lakh applications from 31 districts for electricity connections under Jyotigram Yojana, a scheme that began in September 2003 for providing three-phase round-the-clock power supply to all villages and their hamlets for non-agricultural uses, including residential, commercial and for cottage and agro industries. Under this scheme that separates agricultural feeders from domestic feeders, the number of pending applications is just 24,390, which is 4.4 per cent of the total applications received during the last two years. The highest number of electricity CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR WEDDING GIFT EXPLOSION KILLED HUSBAND, SHE REMAINS IN DARK IN HOSPITAL SAMPAD PATNAIK CUTTACK, MARCH 1 “THEY WERE engaged for a year, but married for only five days,” says Rakesh Sahu, talking about her sister and her husband. On February 23, two bombs allegedly kept in a gift they received for their wedding went off, killing Soumya Sekhar Sahu, 26, and leaving his bride Reema, 23, severely injured. Soumya Sekhar’s grandmother, who was with the two at the time, was also killed. Attending to Reema at the Cuttack government hospital where she was brought after the incident at Patnagarh town in Bolangir district, Rakesh says she is still in the dark on the death of her husband, a software engineer from Bengaluru. “She remembers the blast, but we have not told her about its consequences,” the brother says. Reema took the impact of the blast on the left side of her body, and Rakesh says hearing in her left ear is affected. “Most of the burn injuries are on her left side,” he adds. Forensic examination is underway to ascertain the nature of the explosives. The Patnagarh Inspector in-charge Bareni Das and Bolangir Superintendent of Police K Siva Subramani refused to talk about the investigation. Other officers speaking off the record said they had “significant leads”. Dr Anada Patnaik of the Plastic Surgery Department of SCB Medical College, where Reema is being treated, says, “The blast has inflicted 30-35 per cent burns. Additional problems like fume inhalation, splinters need care. She is being looked after by an inter-departmental medical team, comprising ophthalmologists, ENT specialists, and pulmonary medicine physicians.” Both families deny any reason to suspect anyone for the crime. The family friends of Reema, who is a graduate, say Soumya Sekhar Sahu and Reema got married on Feb 18 her parents spent roughly Rs 9 lakh on the arranged marriage, and were happy she was going to start a new life in Bengaluru. After the wedding, on February 18, Reema and Soumya Sekhar had been staying at his parents’ house in Patnagarh. His parents, who are in their 50s, are in a state of shock. Family friend Abhinash Mallick says, “Sekhar’s grandmother was standing in the kitchen with him when he opened the gift parcel with a knife because it was packed tightly. Reema had followed both into the kitchen. Sekhar’s father was away in Delhi seeing his daughter off to Kazakhstan, where she is pursu- ing a bachelors in medicine programme. Sekhar’s mother, a college principal, was at work.” Soumya Sekhar’s grandmother, who was in her mid-80s, died at the Patnagarh government hospital. “Sekhar died on way to Burla (to the Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research),” says Rakesh. Sekhar’s father Ravindra Sahu, a geology lecturer at Jawaharlal College in Patnagarh, says he and his wife have moved out of their house, whose walls are cracked due to the force of the explosion. A family friend says that while the explosion ripped apart the kitchen cabi- nets, the gas cylinder miraculously did not explode. A neighbour who rushed to the house on hearing the explosion and seeing the smoke billow out says, “The impact of the explosion could be guessed just looking at the living room.” The gift that is believed to have contained the bombs was delivered by courier. The Patnagarh branch manager of the courier delivery service, Dilip Kumar Dash, says, “The package made its way from Raipur to Sambalpur, and then to Bolangir and Patnagarh. One of our delivery boys handed it over to the family at roughly CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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