DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2018, PUNE, LATE CITY, 18 + 4 (NEWSLINE) PAGES JOURNALISM OF COURAGE `5.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 To stay with AGRARIAN CRISIS REACHES DELHI India, Pak must become secular state: Army chief At farmers’ protest, Opp targets PM, seeks answers on loan waiver, jobs SUSHANTKULKARNI Coming together, Congress, AAP, TMC and CPM find common ground, Lok Sabha election pitch PUNE,NOVEMBER30 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEWSLINE ARMY NOT YET READY TO SEND WOMEN IN COMBAT: GEN RAWAT BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY AT THE SUMMIT MANOJ CG & SOMYA LAKHANI NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 30 DEMANDING HIGHER prices and waiver of farm loans, thousands of farmers brought the growing agrarian crisis and rising rural unemployment to the Capital Friday where Opposition parties found common ground to rally against the BJP-led government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. FromtheCongresstotheAAP and the CPM to the Trinamool Congress, ideological and politicalrivalsacrossthecountrytook to the stage at the Kisan Mukti MarchatParliamentStreet.They attacked Prime Minister NarendraModiforfailingto“fulfil his promises” including jobs for youth and called for the ouster of the BJP from power. Addressing the gathering, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said farmers are fighting fortheirright—loanswaiverand the right price for their produce — and not asking for a “free gift” or “Anil Ambani’s aircraft” from Modi. Speaking in one voice, Gandhi, Sharad Yadav, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Trinamool Congress’s Dinesh Trivedi, CPI’s S Sudhakar Reddy and National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah called the BJP-led government “anti-farmer”. Opposition leaders also extended support to two Bills — drafted by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKCC) and tabled by MPs Raju Shetti and K K Ragesh as private member Bills in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively. There was no talk aboutalliancearithmeticbutthe message was clear: cooperation E ● Farm crisis matters in poll year, December11 could shape course WITH AGRARIAN distress a common refrain in states going to polls, the gathering of Opposition leaders at a protest march by farmers in the Capital returns the issue to the front-burner ahead of the 2019 elections. Farmer concerns always provide a non-polarising platform for Opposition parties to come together, this time helped by attempts to amend the land acquisition law and weather-induced farm losses early in the tenure of the BJP-led government. The government has been battling Opposition charges of being “procorporate” and “anti-farmer”. The December 11 verdict on the assembly polls could influence the course this issue takes. MANY DEMANDS, ONE VOICE AT MARCH MODI GOVT WITH FARMERS ON EVERY ISSUE: BJP PAGE 10 Where Cong sets no Bikaner land case: poll agenda, counts ED asks Vadra to on disenchantment appear next week Shah raises it at poll rally, asks Rahul with Vasundhara to respond; Vadra says BJP desperate VANDITA MISHRA JAIPUR, NOVEMBER 30 UNDER A programme called the ‘Labharthi Jan Samvad’, the BJP government in Rajasthan is reaching out to, and mobilising for the election, those who have benefited from its programmes and schemes. By all accounts, however,theBJP’sreallabharthi, or beneficiary, could be its main politicalopponent,theCongress. In a way, this is not surprising.ThoughRajasthanhasathird force, and this time that space is populated with more players than before, it is effectively a bipolar state which has not re-elected an incumbent in the last25years.Thatis,disenchantment with the BJP inevitably equals support for the Congress. Yet, travelling in Rajasthan ahead of polls, the extent to which the Congress is the receptacle — not agent — of the momentum for change in this election, is still striking. Across the DECISION 2018 RAJASTHAN DECEMBER 7 six districts The Indian Express travelled to — Jaipur, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, Jodhpur and Udaipur — there was visible voter anger and discontent with theBJPgovernment,butsupport for the Congress was only by implication,andontherebound. This is not just because the Modi wave had reduced Congresspresenceinthelegislative assembly to only 21 MLAs in 2013. The Congress doesn’t even seem to be trying to set the agenda on the ground. Its leaders’ best argument: BJP governments,inRajasthanandinDelhi, have failed to deliver. In Jaipur, Rajiv Arora, vicepresident of the state Congress, CONTINUED ON PAGE 7 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 30 OFFICIALS OF the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday said Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, has been summoned by the agency for questioning in connection with the Bikaner land deal case. Vadra has been askedtoappearinpersonbefore the ED in the first week of December. “He had earlier been summoned on November 20. But he did not appear in person and senthislegalrepresentativewith documents. We have told him we want to examine him personallyandsohemustappearin person,” an ED official said. On Friday, The Indian Express reportedthattheED,whichisinvestigating a web of controversial land transactions in Bikaner involvingVadra’scompanies,has askedtheIncomeTaxSettlement Govt agencies accelerating their activities: Vadra Commission for details on its proceedings in the case related to Bhushan Power and Steel Limited(BPSL)whichgavealoan to a company that bought land owned by Vadra’s firm at seven times its acquisition cost. Twomonthsago,thethenED Director, Karnal Singh, wrote to theSettlementCommissionaskingfordetailsof thefilethatcontains deliberations on the BPSL case and the order that was reserved. He also asked for details of the reconstituted bench that CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AN ICIJ-EXPRESS INVESTIGATION Pharma majors gave freebies to doctors, claimed tax benefits too PAGE 1 ANCHOR JAY MAZOOMDAAR & KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 30 DEEP INSIDE THE big unregulated medical bazaar, it’s not just about how pharma giants slip in incentives for doctors to promote their products. It’s also about how they exploit cracks in India’s tax mechanism to claim benefits from it. Records accessed by The Indian Express show that several pharmaceuticalandmedicaldevices manufacturers have claimed tax benefits on crores of rupees spent in buying gifts, sponsoringseminarsandorganising foreign trips for doctors. And over the last decade, global giants Abbott, Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson were among several companies red-flagged by authorities for allegedly parking such expenses under accounting heads suchas“invention”,“advertisement”,“publicity”, “propaganda” and “customer relationship”, to claim benefits under Section 37(1) — Prime Minister Modi with President Trump at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Friday. From PM’s Instagram PAGE11 Farmers from across the country protest at Parliament Street in New Delhi on Friday. Praveen Khanna EXPLAINED TWO DAYS after the opening of theKartarpurCorridor,Armychief General Bipin Rawat said Friday thatPakistancannotstaytogether with India as long as it is an “Islamicstate”andthatanopportunity may arise if Pakistan is “readytobecomeasecularstate”. GenRawatmadetheremarks onthesidelinesofthePassingOut Paradeof135thcourseofNational Defence Academy in Pune at a timewhenPakistanhasmaderenewedeffortstoresumedialogue with India. AskedaboutKhan’sstatement in Kartarpur Wednesday that if GermanyandFrancewhofought severalwarscanliveinpeace,why notIndiaandPakistan,GenRawat said: “For this idea of countries coming together, Pakistan will have to first look at their own internal situation. Pakistan has madeitselfintoanIslamicstate.If they have to stay together with India, they will have to become a secular state. We are a secular state. How can we stay together whentheysaytheyareanIslamic state and there is no role for anyone else? If they are ready to becomeasecularlikeus,Ithinkthere can be an opportunity.” Responding to a question on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that if India ‘Where is the violation of any law/regulation?’ asks a Mumbai ITAT order on an appeal by Solvay Pharma (Abbott India Ltd) in January 2018 taxdeductionforexpenditureon business or profession — of the Income Tax Act. Records show that in the absence of an effective regulatory code, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) ruled in favour of the companies in most of these cases while questioning the applicability of a 2012 tax circular that sought to disallow rebates on expenses incurred for providing “freebies” to doctors. In 2009, the then Medical Council of India (MCI) amended the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 based on issues. “There are two issues before India today — one, the future of India’sfarmersandsecond,theissueofjobsforouryouth.Thefight isforthefutureof India’sfarmers and youth. In the last four-andhalfyears,NarendraModiandthe BJPwaivedloansof the15richest Indians to the tune of Rs 3.5 lakh crore. And they want to further waiveloanstothetuneof Rs12.5 lakhcrore,whichModiandArun Jaitleycallnon-performingassets. We are only demanding justice. If Rs 3.5 lakh crore of 15 people canbewaived,theloansof crores of farmers should be waived,” said Gandhi. He said the Prime Minister had spoken of ensuring the right price for farm produce and promised bonus payments and increasing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) but “what CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EC orders end to data collection, AAP govt says it’s not your right RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 30 OBJECTING STRONGLY to the Delhigovernment’smovetocollectvoteridentificationdetailsof families of school students, the Election Commission (EC) has ordered the state government to stop the exercise. CallingtheEC’sdirective“illegal”, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat last week, has refused to oblige and is learnt to have instructed the Directorate of Education (DoE) not to follow the poll panel’s order. Sisodia did not respond to messages by The Indian Express andRawatdeclinedtocomment on the matter Friday. Though the EC and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have locked horns on several issues over the last two years, this is the first time when the party, as the executive, has refused to carry out the EC’s directions. The poll watchdog is expected to discuss the defiance of its order in a CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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