DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2018, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 20 PAGES THE EDITORIAL PAGE `4.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 THOSE ARRESTED INCLUDE ENGINEERING STUDENT, WELDER, SHOPKEEPER DEBATE OVER THE INDIAN STATE IS terror plot busted, 10 held, woman among six detained in UP, Delhi: NIA BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA PAGE 8 Rudimentary rocket launcher, 25 kg of explosives, over 100 alarm clocks recovered: Investigators DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 26 BUSINESS AS USUAL THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday arrested 10 people from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, saying it had conducted searches of their houses at 17 locations across these two states for allegedly being part of a module of the Islamic State (IS). The NIA said the group — self-appointed and financed — was in an “advanced stage of carrying out a series of blasts” across the country and had “vital installations and important personalities, including politicians” on BY UNNY NDRF indicates Meghalaya miners may be dead, rescue pumps of little use DECEMBER 13 ACCIDENT: THE MINE SHAFT their target. Allegedly led by an Islamic preacher, the group, investigators said, has members from various backgrounds — from a civil engineering student to a welder, an undergraduate student to an autorickshaw driver. The agency said it had recovered a huge cache of explosives, arms and ammunition from the accused. The arsenal included a rudimentary rocket launcher which two of the accused, the NIA said, had allegedly fashioned out of scrap. The recovery of over 25 kg of explosives, as many as 112 alarm clocks and 134 SIM cards, the One of the suspects arrested from Jafrabad, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Tashi Tobgyal MORE REPORTS,PAGE 7 2019 LOK SABHA POLLS Akhilesh warning signal, Cong waits and watches 15 MINERS MISSING FOR 14 DAYS 300 ft+ CAUSE OF ACCIDENT: Miners may have breached nearby Lytein River wall, flooding the mine RESCUE PROGRESS: Nil (water level not coming down) 18 ft x 12 ft ABHISHEK SAHA SAIPUNG (MEGHALAYA), DECEMBER 26 FOR A fortnight now, 15 miners have been trapped inside a coal mine at Ksan, in Saipung area of East Jaintia Hills district in Meghalaya. And for the first time on Wednesday, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) divers, who have been carrying out search operations, reported a “foul odour”. “That is not a good sign,” says Santosh Singh, NDRF Assistant Commandant, who is heading the rescue work. While he declines to comment further, NDRF personnel discuss that the “foul 70 ft+ Rat-hole tunnel, where miners are feared trapped INSIDE MINERS STRUGGLING, WHILE PM POSES FOR PICTURES: RAHUL ILLEGAL MINING ON, LOCALS SAY REMOTE LOCATION A HURDLE PAGE 10 odour” could indicate that the miners are dead and the bodies are beginning to decompose. The workers were trapped in the ‘rat-hole’ mine on December 13, after water from the nearby CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 LUCKNOW, NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 26 SAMAJWADI PARTY chief Akhilesh Yadav today sent warning signals to the Congress, which is keen to be part of a Bihar-style SP-BSP-RLD grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh, expressing his unhappiness with the party for not making its lone MLA in Madhya Pradesh a minister, saying the turn of events has cleared the way for the SP to choose its line. He also said he would travel to Hyderabad to meet Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who is trying to forge a “nonCongress, non-BJP” front. A rattled Congress did not SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow, Wednesday. Vishal Srivastav react to Yadav’s remarks, with top leaders saying they would prefer to wait and watch how the situation unfolds. Some sug- CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Radical group from Karnataka hit Kolhapur Bible meeting: Police SMITA NAIR KOLHAPUR, DECEMBER 26 IN THE sugarcane belt, where the sickle is used for a livelihood, men with beer bottles and iron daggers came from across the state’s border and disrupted a Bible prayer meet on Sunday, leaving eight persons seriously injured. While three are being treated for head injuries at a medical facility in Belgaum, five others suffered fractures. Bhimsen with his wife Swati and mother Yallawa. Express At the border village of Kowad, in Kolhapur in eastern JAY MAZOOMDAAR NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 26 FARMERS FORCE FIRM TO SUSPEND MINING DISSENSION IN CONG AGAINST CHAVDA SANSKARI MESSAGE FROM COPS IN NEW YEAR DOS & DON’TS PAGES 3, 4 & 5 PAGE 1 ANCHOR gested it is posturing and linked it to the Congress’s performance in the recent Assembly elections. Maharashtra, a police van is parked on the Dundge road, identifying the home of Bhimsen and Swati Chavan, a Hindu couple who call themselves “believers” and “healers”, and whose rented house was the target of the unidentified men who attacked the “worshippers” gathered there. “The intention was to disturb the Sunday prayer. This phenomenon is communal and is increasingly coming towards us CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Golfer jailed for poaching in tiger reserve GUJARAT RENOWNED INTERNATIONAL golfer Jyoti Randhawa, who recently deployed his sniffer dogs to track a man-eater tigress in Maharashtra, was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh forest department on charges of poaching inside the Dudhwa tiger reserve Wednesday. Officials said Randhawa was caught along with skydiver Mahesh Birajdar, a former Indian Navy officer from Maharashtra CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Once a critic of Modi, Zadaphia appointed Shah’s pointsman in UP LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 26 MAULSHREE SETH & MANOJ C G 40 ft x 35 ft WHAT IS RAT-HOLE MINING? Miners dig a narrow tunnel to reach coal bed. From there, ‘rat-holes’ — big enough for a worker— are dug horizontally to ferret out coal. NIA said, pointed to the planning of multiple blasts. The agency also said it had recovered material that suggested preparation of a suicide vest along with evidence of online chatter that suggested fidayeen attacks. Recovery ofremote controlled devices has made NIA suspect some of the bombs were to be detonated via remote control. This is among the biggest arrests the NIA has made at one time in connection with its probe into activities associated with the Islamic State in the country. In 2015, NIA had arrested over 20 men from Jyoti Randhawa (sitting) was arrested in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve on Wednesday. Express who was court-martialled for embezzlement of funds during the 2008 World Parachuting Championship in Paris, inside the restricted area. A .22 caliber rifle mounted with a range-finder, binoculars, a dead jungle fowl and a sambar deer hide were recovered from Randhawa’s SUV bearing a Haryana numberplate, officials said. Sambar deer and jungle fowl are protected under schedules III and IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which stipulates 3-7 years imprisonment CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 STEPPING UP its preparations for the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP on Wednesday appointed leaders in charge for the party’s electioneering in 17 states. Party president Amit Shah appointed his trustworthy and experienced hands for the key states in which the BJP is fighting a fierce battle to retain dominance. Shah assigned former Gujarat minister Gordhan Zadaphia, Dalit leader and BJP viceZadaphia president rejoined BJP Dushyant in 2014 Gautam and former Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra for the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, where the party had won 71 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014, and is facing a tough challenge from the Samajawadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, which are likely to forge an alliance. The decision to appoint Zadaphia in charge of a crucial state like Uttar Pradesh, though, has surprised many in the party. Zadaphia was minister of state for home in the Narendra Modiled Gujarat cabinet during 200102 period and was dropped from RELATED REPORT PAGE 6 WORLD BANGLA OPP’S FACE: NOT A CHALLENGER... TRYING TO RESTORE RULE OF LAW 3 INDIAN TEEN SIBLINGS AMONG 4 DEAD IN FIRE IN US PAGE 18 After ‘corruption’ clip goes viral, Gujarat govt warns action against officers ‘leaking info’ Officer admits to his voice, says he had raised the issues with govt earlier EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Improper of officers to defame govt: Dy CM Nitin Patel GANDHINAGAR, DECEMBER 26 THE GUJARAT government on Wednesday said that it would take strict action against “government officers who illegally and falsely leak government information with oblique motive” after an audio conversation purportedly between an RTI activist and a government officer in which the latter was heard “indicating” corruption in a number of projects of Gujarat Pavitra Yadtradham Vikas Board (GPYVB) snowballed into a major controversy. Admitting that the officer’s voice in the audio clip was his, Additional Secretary (Rural Development Department) Anil Patel, who served as secretary, GPYVB, for 10 years, said that he was ready to face any action of the state government. He also said that during his tenure at the GPYVB, he had “raised most of the issues that were highlighted in the audio clip with appropriate authorities” and that his letters are there on the record of the Board. Anil Patel said that he always worked in the interest of the gov- ernment and had faced an inquiry in the past for the same. In the audio clip, RTI activist Kishor Nathwani is purportedly heard speaking about poor quality of work in Pavagadh in central Gujarat. In the close to nineminute-long audio clip, a voice, purportedly of Anil Patel, is heard indicating corruption or poor quality of work in several projects of GPYVB in Bahuchraji, Dwarka, Surat, Dangs etc. At one point, the officer is even heard about having exposed a recruitment scam. The GPYVB has been developing various pilgrimage sites in the state. After the audio clip went viral on social media, the issue was discussed in the Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. After the meeting, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that they have received the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FDI RULES Govt tightens selling norms for e-commerce firms ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 26 IN A move that may come as a major setback to e-commerce players, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Wednesday said that ecommerce companies running marketplace platforms, like Amazon and Flipkart, cannot sell products on their platform through companies where they hold an equity stake. “An entity having equity participation by e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, or having control on its inventory by e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, will not be permitted to sell its products on the platform run by such marketplace entity,” said the ministry in a statement offering clarity on FDI Policy on e-commerce. The decision will come into effect from February 1, 2019. As a result of this decision, retailers such as Cloudtail India ECONOMY BIMAL JALAN HEADS PANEL TO DECIDE ON RBI RESERVES PAGE 11 may not be able to sell their products on the marketplace run by companies that have ownership in such retailers. While a source close to an ecommerce company said that “Amazon may have to sell its stake in Cloudtail India, in order to allow Cloudtail to sell their products on Amazon’s platform,” there are some who feel that there may be some leeway available with the companies. “These clarifications will have a major impact on the major e-commerce players since most of them primarily source goods from sellers who are primarily relevant to such e-commerce players. However, the language of the clarification seems CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Mixed message: Curbs amid digital push THE REVISED guidelines further tighten changes announced in March 2016. Ostensibly aimed to protect domestic players and product price, the rules restrict ecommerce firms such as Amazon and Flipkart from selling products of companies in which they have a stake. These platforms may have some leeway given the equity holding in their Indian subsidiaries. The message is mixed: new curbs in the time of digital push. Agarwal steps out of Sehwag’s shadow into Melbourne spotlight EXPRESSIN AUSTRALIA SANDIP G MELBOURNE, DECEMBER 26 BACK IN the day while at Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Mayank Agarwal was known for his Virender Sehwag obsession. He didn’t just bat and bowl like his hero, the boy from Bengaluru even asked his barber to chop his hair so he would resemble the man from Nafajgarh. “He was a Sehwag Wikipedia, knew every bit ofhim, which shot he played against which spinner to complete that century, or which shot he played against that bowler to get out,” says his childhood coach R X Murali. On Wednesday, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Agarwal showed that those impressionable teenage days were a thing ofthe past — the 27-year-old had metamorphosed from a flashy stroke-maker to a tranquil presence in the middle. Agarwal’s cautious but classy knock of 76 on his debut also showcased the talent and temperament of a player who could solve Indian cricket’s perennial problem — opening in Tests. As for now, he ensured that India were 215 for two at stumps on Day One of the third Test in a series poised at 1-1. “He still likes to dominate the bowlers, but not wanting to hit each and every delivery out ofthe Mayank Agarwal marks his half century park. He’s become patient, mature, someone who can play according to the situation,” says former Karnataka coach J Arun Kumar, who has closely followed Agarwal’s career. And yet, it was the “Viru” approach that got the opener his initial success. His six-hitting prowess saw him getting picked for the U-19 World Cup and landed him an IPL contract. The transition to the senior level wasn’t smooth. In his first three firstclass seasons, he didn’t score a single hundred. The ouster from the state team in 2014 saw him reach the nadir. As his world crumbled, the reality that he was no Sehwag slowly sunk in. Murali sensed the fear and had a long chat with him. “I reassured him that he had the game. But the first thing was about accepting that he was no Sehwag,” says Murali. What happened between then and now is well storied — technical tweaks, fitness drills, 1,000 throwdowns a session, temperamental soundness and truckloads of domestic runs. At the MCG, the Australians were talking about his 2,162 runs last domes- tic season, the most scored by any Indian. Jaws dropped when they got to know how he made 1,000 of those in one month. His approach to batting might have changed but Agarwal still showed Sehwag-like temperament at the MCG. Although the pitch was benign, the pressure was piling up. The grandeur ofthe stage, the scrutiny back home, the shake-up to expel an experienced pair ofopeners and the fear ofbeing bracketed as a domestic bully. And beyond it all, facing a worldclass bowling attack. But Agarwal took his time and blunted the bowlers. In fact, rather than Sehwag, the Australian commentators spotted a bit of Virat Kohli in him, especially with the cover-drives, the forward thrust and the use of wrists. He fell 24 short ofa ton but his stay of close to two sessions and 161 balls came as a huge relief for the dressing room that is so used to seeing the openers return early. Most importantly, he had made his childhood idol happy. “Very happy for @mayankcricket. Has waited for his opportunity and has made it count on the big stage,” Sehwag tweeted.
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