DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2019, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 20 PAGES `4.00 WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 OUT, IN, OUT: CBI DIRECTOR ALOK VERMA MOVED TO FIRE SERVICES & HOME GUARDS Fired, ceremoniously Tried to uphold CBI integrity, attempts were being made to destroy it: Verma PM-led selection panel votes 2-1 to remove Verma from CBI Director post, cites ‘serious observations’ by CVC GUJARAT NEW TEXTILE POLICY ANNOUNCED: GOVT ENDS INCENTIVES FOR GINNING, SPINNING SECTORS 6-YEAR-OLD MALE LEOPARD CAPTURED PAGES 3 & 4 Mamata pulls out of PMJAY, says Centre taking credit West Bengal was one of the better performing states SANTANU CHOWDHURY & ABANTIKA GHOSH KOLKATA, NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10 WEST BENGAL Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Thursday that her government will pull out of the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme. She said the Narendra Modi-led BJP government has been taking credit for the scheme, which is funded by state governments. “Today we are withdrawing from the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Now, the Centre will have to bear the entire cost of the scheme as we will no longer pay our share of the money. Why should we pay if it (Centre) takes all the credit?” Banerjee said at a rally at Krishnanagar in Nadia district. Her government then sent a letter to the Centre on its intent to pull out of the scheme CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MANOJ C G, RITU SARIN & RAHUL TRIPATHI NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10 TWO DAYS after CBI Director Alok Verma was reinstated by the Supreme Court, the highpowered selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed him from the post over charges of corruption and dereliction of duty in a 2-1 decision Thursday evening. He is the first CBI chief to be ousted from the post. Shortly thereafter, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet put out an order saying Verma had been “transferred from the post of Director, CBI and posted as Director General, Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards for the residual period of his present term ending on 31.01.2019”. The ACC said “as per the earlier arrangement”, M Nageswara Rao, Additional Director, CBI “will look after the duties of the Director, CBI till the appointment of a new Director, CBI or until further orders, whichever is earlier”. Of the three members of the selection panel, Prime Minister Modi and Justice A K Sikri were against Verma’s continuance as CBI chief in light of the Central Vigilance Commission’s report and “the extremely serious nature of observations made by the CVC against Verma”. RAIPUR, JANUARY 10 THE COMPTROLLERand Auditor General has red-flagged the e-procurement process of tenders in Chhattisgarh between April 2016 and March 2017, when the Raman Singh-led BJP government was in power. According to the CAG, it found that 74 common computers were used by 477 bidders for 1,971 tenders across 17 government departments, worth a total of Rs 4,601 crore, which indicated that “bidders and officials were in close touch” even before the bidding process. The CAG has recommended WORLD AMITAV RANJAN NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10 WITH ITS legislation on a 10 per cent quota for the general category poor in jobs and education getting parliamentary backing in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led government is now exploring the possibility of providing direct benefit transfers to those below the poverty line (BPL) through a universal basic an “investigation from the vigilance angle” and said the inbuilt “business intelligence module” to detect such “collusive bidding” was completely bypassed. The CAG, which tabled its audit report before the Chhattisgarh Assembly Thursday, also said that there were violations of the Income Tax Act because multiple bidders with common email IDs and five tenders worth Rs 15.44 crore were given to ineligible contractors. Addressing a press conference, B K Mohanty, Accountant General (Audit) Chhattisgarh, said that the e-procurement system, by the Chhattisgarh PAGE 1 ANCHOR Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the third member, who gave a dissent note, objected to Verma’s removal “simply on the basis of the CVC report”. Two days ago, when it set aside the October 23, 2018 orders of the CVC and the government CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10 Outside Alok Verma’s residence in New Delhi on Thursday evening. Amit Mehra Kharge dissents, seeks probe into events of October 23 night MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10 CONGRESS LEADER Mallikarjun Kharge, the lone dissenting voice in the high-powered selection committee that decided to oust CBI Director Alok Verma, appeared for Thursday’s meeting with a “note” questioning the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) report against Verma and arguing why he should be restored with “full extent and authority of powers” under his office. ‘Conspiracy at the highest levels of govt’ income (UBI) and for farmers through direct investment support. According to sources, the government may announce a UBI of Rs 2,500 per month initially to families below the poverty line. The money would be directly transferred to this section while ending other sops such as food and LPG subsidy to them, the sources said. The UBI dole is expected to take care of half the nutritional INSIDE requirements of a family of five in rural areas and one-third requirement of those who make the urban poor. The government is expected to budget around Rs 32,000 crore for April-June 2019. Sources said the actual number of beneficiaries would depend on the funds that the Reserve Bank of India transfers to the national exchequer. Persons below poverty line are BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY In the note, Kharge also demanded that Verma be allowed to continue as CBI Director for an CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TIMELINE POINTS TO PM, NSA ROLE: KHARGE NOTE PAGE 17 THE EDITORIAL PAGE QUOTAS, THEIRS AND OURS BY SATISH DESHPANDE PAGE 8 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IN FIRST remarks after his ouster as CBI Director by the selection committee Thursday evening, Alok Verma said he “tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it”. Without naming CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana who levelled allegations against him — these became the basis of the CVC report on him — Verma said “it is sad” he was transferred “on the basis of false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to me”. Verma told The Indian Express: “The CBI being a prime investigating agency dealing in corruption in high public places is an institution whose independence should be preserved and protected. It must function without external influences. I have tried to uphold the integrity of the institution while attempts were being made to destroy it. The same can be seen from the orders of the central government and the CVC dated October 23 , 2018 which were without jurisdiction and were set aside.” ‘One person inimical to me’ INSIDE CONGRESS, BJP TRADE CHARGES HC RULES TODAY ON ASTHANA PLEA FULL COVERAGE, PAGE 17 “It is sad that on the basis of false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to me, I have been transferred to another post pursuant to the orders of the committee which was assigned the task ofdeciding my future course of action as Director CBI. I have stood up for the integrity of the institution, and if asked, will do it again in order to uphold the rule of law,” he said. Breather for small businesses: GST exemption cap up to Rs 40 lakh ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10 IN A bid to provide relief to small taxpayers, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Thursday decided to double the exemption threshold to Rs 40 lakh and hike the limit for composition scheme to Rs 1.5 crore from Rs 1 crore with effect from April 1. The threshold will be Jaitley after the GST Council meet, Thursday. Renuka Puri Rs 20 lakh for “some hilly/northeastern states”. In its 32nd meeting, the Council also provided relaxation to composition scheme registrants to pay taxes quarterly and file a single annual return, along with extending the scheme to service providers and suppliers of goods and services up to a turnover of Rs 50 lakh with tax rate of six per cent. States will have the option to choose between the two exemption thresholds — Rs 20 lakh and Rs 40 lakh — within a week’s time. With the hike in exemption CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Ayodhya: Justice Lalit recuses, Manifesto release new bench meets January 29 72 hrs before poll begins: EC panel ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10 SHEILA DIKSHIT IS NEW DELHI CONGRESS CHIEF PAGE 5 EXPRESS NETWORK GEN RAWAT RULES OUT SAME-SEX RELATIONS IN ARMY PAGE 7 HEARING OF appeals in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case failed to start Thursday and the Supreme Court adjourned the matter until January 29 after Justice U U Lalit, one of the five judges on the designated Constitution Bench, recused himself since he had appeared as a lawyer in an Ayodhya related matter in the past. A reconstituted bench will now take up the appeals challenging the September 30, 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court on January 29 to fix the schedule for hearing. The High Court had ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10 Outside Supreme Court on Thursday. Tashi Tobgyal acres site between the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, Uttar Pradesh and Ramlalla Virajman. Justice Lalit decided to recuse after senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing one of the parties in appeal, pointed out that the judge had appeared as a CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE MODEL Code of Conduct (MCC) should be amended to ensure that political parties release their manifesto at least 72 hours before voting ends in the first phase of polls, a committee set up by the Election Commission has recommended. The panel has also suggested that the provision of “election silence” be extended to cover print and social media, internet, cable channels and online version of print media. And that social media agencies be asked to label po- litical advertisements to separate them from other content, and maintain an account of expenditure incurred by political parties and candidates for advertising on their platforms. These recommendations were made by the 14-member committee set up by the EC last year to revisit the MCC, Section 126 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act and other related provisions in the wake of rapid expansion in the media, The Indian Express has learnt. The report was submitted to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 DNA from toothbrush ties Lankesh shooter to hideout BENGALURU, JANUARY 10 PAGE 10 CLEARLY, THE Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate Alok Verma as CBI Director two days ago was more about process than the merits of his case. The fact that Justice A K Sikri agreed to his removal today limits how far the Opposition can push its political point. All eyes are now on how this selection panel decides on Verma’s successor. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JOHNSON TA BORDER WALL: TRUMP THREATENS TO DECLARE EMERGENCY YEMEN’S HOUTHI DRONES STRIKE MILITARY PARADE All eyes on panel’s next choice After 10% quota, Govt plans basic income for poor, aid for farmers CAG red-flags Raipur tenders: 477 bids came from only 74 computers DIPANKAR GHOSE SEEMA CHISHTI A DNA match from a toothbrush left behind at a hideout by Parashuram Waghmore (26), accused of shooting journalist Gauri Lankesh at her home on September 5, 2017, is among the key pieces of evidence in the Karnataka police SIT chargesheet filed in the case. The DNA profile of Waghmore is “identical and matching with the DNA profile result of epithelial cells detected on toothbrush sent in item No. 6 of DNA 376/2018” states a November 16, 2018, report from the DNA section of the Karnataka Forensic Science Laboratory, which is part of the 9,235-page chargesheet filed against 18 people. Waghmore, a former activist of the Sri Rama Sena, who was recruited and trained in using guns by an extreme right-wing group linked to the Sanatan Sanstha, has been identified by the SIT as the man who shot Lankesh. The toothbrush with Wagmore’s DNA was among material dumped following the murder by a suspect — a building contractor H L Suresh, whose house was used as a hideout for planning and executing the murder. The SIT recovered a bag containing toothbrushes, clothes and other material like fake vehicle number plates in August 2018 following the arrest of Suresh — an activist of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) — who was allegedly tasked with disposing material left behind at the hideout by the others in- Amol Kale, alleged mastermind of the murder of Gauri Lankesh, in custody. File volved in the killing. He was also allegedly asked to hide the guns used in the murder until it was retrieved by one of the killers. The SIT has also matched DNA strands from hair found on a blanket at the hideout with the DNA profile of the alleged mastermind of the murder Amol Kale (39), a former Pune convenor of the HJS. The SIT has also placed in court a report from the Gujarat Directorate of Forensic Sciences comparing video footage of the murder, captured on a CCTV camera at her house, with a recreation of the shooting that was conducted after Waghmore’s arrest in June 2018. The gait analysis report suggests that Waghmore’s profile and mannerisms closely match that of the person seen gunning down Lankesh. The analysis of call data reports (CDR) ofmobiles phones allegedly used by the main suspects is also among the circumstantial evidence the SIT has presented in the chargesheet. The SIT has found that the main suspects attempted to make it seem like they 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.