DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2019, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 24 PAGES DECISION 2019 A daily Explainer on THE QUESTIONS THAT MATTER Why is VHP lowering the Ayodhya heat? PAGE 6 THE EDITORIAL PAGE WHERE’S THE MONEY FOR BUDGET SOPS? BY AMARTYA LAHIRI PAGE 10 `4.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Fraud Office probe: IL&FS trust took HDFC loan to buy shares from HDFC KHUSHBOO NARAYAN MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 6 THE SERIOUSFraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is probing the role of HDFC Ltd in connection with its ongoing investigations into the alleged fund diversion and mismanagement by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) Ltd and a few of its subsidiaries. The agency recently examined and recorded the statement of a top HDFC executive. It may also examine the former nominee directors appointed by HDFC on the board of IL&FS, sources told The Indian Express. HDFC has a 9.2 per cent per cent stake in IL&FS. An interim report of the SFIO alleged HDFC indulged in “accommodative lending” to IL&FS Red flags on disclosure, valuation HDFC LTD’S twin transactions of IL&FS share sale and funding its purchase by IL&FS Employees Welfare Trust raises red flags on disclosures and corporate governance, particularly given the relationship between HDFC and IL&FS. Since IL&FS is an unlisted firm, it is critical that the valuation of shares is fair and justified because this acts as a price benchmark for future private placement. Employee Welfare Trust (EWT). The report has referred to a transaction during 2013-14 between HDFC and IL&FS EWT where the trust acquired 8 lakh shares of IL&FS Ltd from HDFC at Rs 1,184.50 a share. The SFIO al- leged that these shares were acquired at a high price without any valuation at a time when the trust was “suffering from fund crunch” as it “not able to generate enough cash flows to service its own debt and was taking new debt from the group companies to service the existing obligations”. HDFC Ltd did not respond to queries mailed to it Tuesday. Significantly, SFIO alleged these shares were acquired by IL&FS EWT from HDFC Ltd with a Rs 94.76-crore advanced to it by HDFC Ltd itself. “The loan of Rs 94.76 crore received from HDFC Ltd is still outstanding in the books of EWT as on date and for servicing of interest on this debt the EWT is regularly taking debt from IL&FS Ltd or its group companies. The loan taken from HDFC Ltd to finance the transaction has resulted into interest payment of Rs 53.77 crore until June 30, 2018,” said the SFIO interim report. The probe agency has alleged that collateral against the loan of HOUSEFULL School children at Parliament House Wednesday. This is the final session before the Lok Sabha polls. Renuka Puri What led to mass fish death in Narmada dam? Maybe a tremor ADITI RAJA VADODARA, FEBRUARY 6 BAFFLED BY the sudden mass death of fishes in Narmada dam in Gujarat that had raised an alarm about the quality of water and possible contamination, the authorities are now inclined to believe that a seismic activity at the bottom of the reservoir could have caused a temporary release of toxic gases. With Narmada dam, also called as Sardar Sarovar Dam, being the lifeline of Gujarat as wa- Experts believe a seismic activity at the bottom of the reservoir released toxic gases ter from it is supplied to almost the entire state, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 6 PAGE 1 ANCHOR panied him to the ED office before heading to her new office at the Congress headquarters — she is now a party general secretary. She told reporters: “I stand by my family... everyone can see what is happening.” The case relates to properties in London which, the ED claims, are linked to Vadra and have been purchased through absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. In the past, Vadra has denied any association with any property in London. On Wednesday, Vadra was questioned about his association with Bhandari and financial transactions, ED sources said. He was also shown documents which, the ED claims, connect him with certain overseas properties. ED sources claimed the matter is linked to a Petroleum Ministry deal in 2009, during the rule of the UPA, in which alleged INDRANI MUKERJEA, the former director of INX Media, has sought to become an approver in the alleged corruption case where her co-accused include Karti Chidambaram, son of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Mukerjea recently wrote to Patiala House court in Delhi seeking grant of pardon as an accused. The court last month directed that she should be produced before it through video-conferencing on February 7 as she is lodged in a women’s jail in Byculla in Mumbai facing trial for the alleged murder of her daughter Sheena Bora. The Delhi court will now determine whether Indrani has made the plea under fear, pressure or under the promise of any favour. As per procedure, the court will seek the response of the investigating agency, the CBI, following which it will then determine whether to allow Indrani’s plea to grant her pardon as an accused and make her a prosecution witness. Earlier, Indrani had given a statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Priyanka and Robert Vadra outside the ED office. Reuters BUSINESSMAN ROBERT Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for over five hours Wednesday in connection with a case of alleged money laundering related to properties in the UK. This was the first time Vadra appeared before any central probe agency. He left the ED office at Jamnagar House in New Delhi at 9.40 pm. He will be called for questioning again on Thursday. Vadra’s lawyer Suman Khaitan told reporters that his client had answered all questions and was innocent. “All charges against him are wrong. We will cooperate with the agency 100 per cent,” Khaitan said. In the afternoon, Vadra’s wife Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accom- ANANTHAKRISHNAN G PAGE 17 MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 6 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 6 has begun a comprehensive process of “qualitative and quantitative evaluation” of the water from the dam. Quashing rumours that miscreants may have released toxic chemicals into the dam or the release of effluents into the dam could have caused widescale fish death, experts from the GPCB are veering towards the likelihood of a turbulence at the base of the dam that possibly caused the water to temporarily turn toxic. “We can confirm that the toxicity reported in the dam CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY THE SUPREME Court Wednesday reserved its decision on petitions seeking review of its September 28, 2018 order lifting age restrictions on the entry of women to the Sabarimala temple even as the Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the hill shrine, changed its stand The SC order on Sabarimala led to protests across Kerala. on the ruling. Giving up its opposition, the Board said it was now backing the judgment because “religious practices have to be consistent with the dominant theme... that all are equal and entitled to equal rights”. Appearing for the Board, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi told the five-judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices R F Nariman, A Chinese parts in Govt blocks proposal Bofors: Officer on judge for J&K, SC under probe murdered, says Collegium asks why MP police Proposal in April 2018 to elevate MILIND GHATWAI Senior Additional AG Wasim Nargal BHOPAL, FEBRUARY 6 M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra: “Now Board has taken a decision to respect the judgment.” The September 2018 judgment was delivered by a bench headed by then CJI Dipak Misra and included the other four judges. CJI Misra has since retired. Justice Malhotra was the sole dissenting judge in the 4-1 majority verdict that sparked A JUNIOR works manager with the Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur, who was questioned by the CBI in January for allegedly passing off China-made parts as those made in Germany, was murdered said Madhya Pradesh police Wednesday. The decomposed body of S C Khatua (44), who was missing since January 17, was found behind a hillock near the MES pump house in the factory premises He went missing on Tuesday and his family memJan 17th bers identified Khatua’s clothes and shoes. The police initially believed that the middle-level management official had committed suicide because he was reportedly depressed after being questioned by the central agency that had carried out searches in the factory premises and also his quarters in the GCF premises. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GOVT & POLITICS KARNATAKA: 7 CONG MLAs SKIP DAY 1 OF BUDGET SESSION PAGE 15 Sabarimala review pleas: Board that runs shrine changes stand, SC reserves order PAK SC TO ARMED FORCES, ISI: STAY OUT OF POLITICS TRUMP: SUMMIT WITH KIM IN VIETNAM ON FEBRUARY 27-28 SADAF MODAK DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 6 WORLD INX Media case: Indrani seeks to turn approver Called again today; Priyanka drops him at ED office, says I stand by family AANCHAL MAGAZINE CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ED questions Vadra over his ‘links’ to arms dealer and London properties CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Note ban: 6-fold jump in tax returns under scanner THE INCOME Tax Department has picked 1.34 lakh cases specifically related to demonetisation for scrutiny in 2018-19, an over six-fold increase from the 20,088 cases that came under the scanner in 2017-18, according to Finance Ministry data. Tax officials said a majority of the 1,34,574 cases picked for scrutiny were for revising Income Tax Returns (ITRs) for 2015-16, the year prior to demonetisation. “It has been found through data analysis that many taxpayers went back to revise their tax returns for 2015-16, the year before demonetisation. Many such taxpayers have revised details such as cash in hand and other details for 2015-16 in an effort to conceal the detection of cash post-demonetisation,” a senior tax official said. Separately, 2,99,937 notices were sent by the department during 2017-18 to those who deposited large sums during demonetisation but did not file income tax returns, the data tabled in Parliament show. “Those notices were mainly sent to depositors who deposited huge amounts of cash, even exceeding Rs 10 lakh, and did not file income tax returns,” the official said. A region-wise break-up of the data shows that Gujarat topped the list of states where cases related to demonetisation have been selected for scrutiny in 2018-19, with 11,769 such cases. It is followed by the northwest region (Punjab, Haryana ALL CHARGES ARE WRONG, SAYS LAWYER KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 6 ON APRIL 6 last year, the Supreme Court Collegium, then headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had cleared the decks for the appointment of Senior Additional Advocate General Wasim Sadiq Nargal as a judge in the J&K High Court. This would have made Nargal the first Muslim judge from Jammu in the High Court. Also, Nargal, who was 49 when recommended by the Supreme Court for elevation, would have had more than 12 years as a permanent High Court judge and, by convention of seniority, would have been a potential Chief Justice of a High Court in the country. The Law Ministry returned the recommendation and a year later, is yet to say why and the current SC Collegium has asked the Government to explain. It is learnt that the Centre, which returned the file to the collegium did not provide any specific information as to why it wants the collegium to recon- CJI-led Collegium asks Govt for information sider its April 2018 decision recommending Nargal’s elevation. Nargal submitted his resignation to the government in June 2018 and is now an advocate in Jammu. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court is functioning with just nine judges against the approved strength of 17. At its last meeting on January 16, the collegium headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said : “As regards Shri Wasim Sadiq Nargal, Advocate, consideration of the proposal for his elevation is deferred for the present. Meanwhile, Department of Justice be requested to furnish specific information in detail on the basis of which the proposal for elevation of Shri Nargal has been referred back for reconsideration by the collegium.” In April 2018, the collegium CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 At Gujarat Govt’s Job Placement Camps, More Girls Than Boys RITU SHARMA AHMEDABAD, FEBRUARY 6 THE PLACEMENT camps organised by the Gujarat government for final year students of government and grant-in-aid colleges have witnessed more girls than boys registering for 70,000-odd private jobs from the non-technical branches. As many as 28,106 girls — predominantly, the first generation of to-be-working woman members in the family — from over 460 government and grant- in-aid colleges have registered for jobs at the camps held across the state as against 22,042 boys. In other words, of all the 50,148 final year students of non-technical branches who enrolled for getting placement in the private sector, 56% are girls and 44% boys — a difference of 12%. The placement drive, divided among six zones, is in its second week since its launch on January 28, Till February 13, 23 “mega” camps will be organised in the state. So far, such camps have been organised in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat and IN JOB QUEUES 56 % 44 % Girls Boys Total 50,148 THE BREAK-UP Girls Girls wait for interviews at a placement camp in Surat. Express Boys Gap in %age Grant 22,421 16,500 + 15.2 in-aid Govt 4,725 4,679 + 0.6 Univ 960 863 +5.2 Himmatnagar. Compared to government colleges, girls from grant-in-aid colleges are in considerable higher proportion in job queues vis-à-vis their male classmates. As many as 22,421 girls, constituting 57.6%, from 356 grant-inaid colleges registered for jobs as against 16,500 male students (42.4%). (See box) This is in sync with more proportion of girls than boys studying in grant-in-aid colleges In the 107 government colleges and universities, while female participation in the job camps was high, the difference was not substantial. However, more participation of girls from government colleges is significant since lesser number of girls are enrolled there. The female enrollment for 2018-19 academic session in government non-technical colleges stood at 7,314 against 9,969 males. Despite it, of the 9,404 students of government colleges who enrolled for the jobs, girls constituted 50.3% (4,725), marginally more than 4,679 boys (49.7%). Similarly of the 1,823 university students enrolled at the camps, women comprise 52.6% (960) and men 47.4% (863). “This is another positive change since girls pursuing nontechnical courses usually opt for higher studies or get married,” said Principal Secretary, (Education) Anju Sharma, terming the trend as ‘aspirational changes’ among women in the state. “Already we have witnessed since 2016, the number of girls availing the Gujarat government’s ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavalambhan Yojana (MYSY)’ CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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