DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ● REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2019, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 22 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 POLITICAL FIRESTORM OVER MINISTRY NOTE On GST Council table: Tax relief for real estate, duty relaxation for exporters Rafale:DefSecysaidPMOundermining talks,GovtsaysOppfloggingdeadhorse AANCHAL MAGAZINE & ANIL SASI NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 DUTY RELAXATION for exporters and a tax relief package for the real estate sector are likely to be discussed at the next meeting of the GST Council, which is expected to meet once before the model code of conductkicksinaheadof theLok Sabha elections. Targeting the steady erosion of exportcompetitivenessacross segments, which is especially tellinginlabourintensivesectors such as textiles and garments, theCentreisreadyingaproposal for a duty drawback like scheme under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime that could comprehensively compensate exporters for embedded taxes. Also, a ministerial panel setup last month to analyse tax issuesfacedbytherealestatesectorundertheGSTregimeissetto makeastrongpushforlowertax ratesforunder-constructionresidential properties and the affordable housing segment. Currently, under the GST regime, compensation for taxes other than the basic customs duty (BCD) is not given to exporters, which ends up eroding their competitiveness. Officials involved in the exercise confirmed that the duty drawback scheme is being readied after a letter from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes&Customssoughtrelief on this count. After this, a proposal has beensenttotheGSTPolicyWing for a duty drawback like scheme CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Narendra Modi in Jalpaiguri on Friday. PTI What was the interference by the National Advisory Council led by Shrimati Sonia Gandhi... Did she interfere? Was that interference? You enforce the law on Robert Vadra and Chidambaram and all others... But you give a reply on the Rafale matter also — NIRMALA SITHARAMAN, DEFENCE MINISTER — RAHUL GANDHI, CONGRESS PRESIDENT Rahul says Govt lied to He now says: It was not SC, Sitharaman says PMO about parallel negotiations, inquiries not interference but parallel viewpoints EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 LESSTHANtwomonthsafterthe Supreme Court dismissed four petitions seeking a courtmonitored probe into alleged irregularities in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France, a political firestorm erupted Friday after Congress president Rahul Gandhi, citing a report in The Hindu newspaper, said the Ministry of Defence had objectedto“paralleldiscussions” conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office with Paris since it “weakened the negotiating position” of the Ministry and the Indian negotiating team. With the spotlight returning totheRafaledealaheadoftheLok Sabha elections and rocking proceedings in the House, the government hit back. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attackedtheCongress:“Theyare floggingadeadhorse...whenperiodically, PMO enquires about theprogressof anywork(it)cannotbeconstruedasinterference.” Addressingapressconference in the morning, Rahul Gandhi said he was also addressing members of the armed forces: “We have been saying that there should be a JPC, there should be aninquiry.Nowitiscrystalclear... it is open-and-shut that the Defence Ministry itself is saying that the Prime Minister is conducting parallel negotiations. (Former French President Francois) Hollande (had) said CONTINUEDONPAGE2 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 ALMOST TEN months before India and France inked the final agreementtopurchase36Rafale aircraft in September 2016, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had objectedto“parallel”discussions conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office with Paris sayingthis“weakenedthenegotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team”. According to a report Friday in The Hindu, a Defence Ministry note dated November 24, 2015, flagged the PMO’sdiscussions to thenDefenceMinister,Manohar Parrikar. In the note, then Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar wrote: “RM may pl see. It isdesirablethatsuchdiscussions be avoided by the PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously.” RM was a reference to Raksha Mantri. KumarFridaytoldTheIndian Express that the noting was not about“parallelnegotiations”but about “parallel viewpoints” and that the PMO had not interfered in the final negotiations In the 2015 MoD noting, Kumar was responding to a note by Deputy Secretary (Air-II) S K Sharma, who wrote: “We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays (parleys) with the officers of French Government. In case the PMO is not confident about the Under the spotlight again, as pollsnear THE NEW developments, coming as they do weeks after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal, provide new ammunition to the Opposition against the ruling BJP ahead of the announcement of Lok Sabha elections. It will be an irritant for the BJP and the government which stood vindicated after the Supreme Court ruling had settled the issue in their favour last December. These documents will likely be used by the Opposition to target the BJP, especially the Prime Minister, in the run-up to the vote. How the BJP counters this remains to be seen. CONTINUEDONPAGE2 PAGE 8 Chowkidar alert, all parivar secrets will be out: PM on Cong DIPANKAR GHOSE RAIPUR, FEBRUARY 8 A DAY after targeting the proposed alliance of Opposition parties against the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday again warned against a “mahamilavat” (highly adulterated) government at the Centre. Attacking the Congress, which wrested Chhattisgarh from the BJP after 15 years, Modi toldarallyinRaigarhthatalmost every member of the party’s “parivar” was out on bail and the “chowkidar” was alert and committed to revealing “all of their secrets.” The Prime Minister also slammed the state government for “pulling out of Ayushman Bharat” — which the state government denied — and barring the CBI from entering the state. “There is a problem in the Congress because they are already preparing to hide their corruption. After all, even from Delhi, they get these traditions in inheritance. For the next elections, they have to make Chhattisgarh an ATM. If the CBI sits here how will the ATM work?Becausetheyhavetosend boxes of ‘maal’ to Delhi,” he said. “This is why in the naamdaar family of Congress nearly everyone has a serious case in the courts. Some are on bail, some are surviving on anticipatory bail. What are these cases? Of stolen tax. Of scams in land and property. The condition is such thatmostof thefamilyareeither on bail or on anticipatory bail.” Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s brother-inlaw, Robert Vadra being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate, the Prime Minister said, “Amid their attempts to evade the law, the chowkidar is alert. He is working to reveal every secret. The secret keepers hereandabroad,themamasand thechachasare beingbroughtto India and handed over to investigating agencies. After seeing this strict action by the chowkidar, they are in panic. From different part of the country, people are trying to mix who once cursed the Congress and left.” CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Facing pollution notice, distillery does CSR project, gets licence extension Ailing UP tanneries shut for Kumbh, start shifting to Bengal MANISHSAHU LUCKNOW,FEBRUARY8 Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and others in the Assembly on Friday. PTI Karnataka govt alleges BJP poaching bid, BSY says fake audio clip JOHNSON T A BENGALURU, FEBRUARY 8 AMID SPECULATION of the BJP’s involvement in the absence of seven Congress and one JD(S) MLA from the Assembly since thestartof theBudgetSessionon Wednesday, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday released an audio recording of a purported conversation between BJP state president B S YeddyurappaandSharanagouda Kandakur, son of JD(S) MLA Naganagouda Kandakur, in which the BJP leader is allegedly trying to lure him with the offer of moneyandaministerialberth. Yeddyurappa dismissed the audio clip as “fake” and said Kumaraswamy is an “expert in THE EDITORIAL PAGE SHADOWBOXING IN KOLKATA BY PRAKASH SINGH PAGE 10 MAHARASHTRA SPECULATION ON JOINT POLLS SPARKS WAR OFWORDS WITHIN RULING, OPP PARTIES PAGE 5 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY voice recording”. Meanwhile, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Friday decided to seek the CONTINUEDONPAGE2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR AT LEAST 12 tanneries in Kanpur have been allotted land by the West Bengal government to shift their operations to the state. The allotmentsweremadeduringthe Bengal Global Business Summit. Thereare400tanneriesinKanpur and 40 in neighbouring Unnao district. The UP government had issuedadirectivetoshutthesetanneriesfromDecember15,2018to March2019tostopwastedisposal in the Ganga during the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj. Around four months ago, 80 industrialists in Kanpur applied for land to the West Bengal government to shift their tanneries. Two weeks ago, 12 applications wereapprovedandtheapplicants were told to collect the allotment letters on Friday, the second day of the Bengal Global Business Summit. “The letters have been issued by the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and Textiles Department. The West Bengal government is giving us land at the rate of Rs 2,150/sq metre in Bantala area where Kolkata’s leatherindustryissituated,”Javed Iqbal,RegionalChairman,Council forLeatherExport(Centralregion, CONTINUEDONPAGE2 CBI TO QUESTION TOP COP TODAY Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar arrives at the Shillong airport on Friday. He is set to be questioned by the CBI in the Saradha chit fund case on Saturday. ANI SC: Maya should return funds spent on statues of herself, elephants EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 8 SIGNALLING TROUBLE for BSP chief Mayawati, the Supreme CourtonFridaysaiditwasprimarily of the view that she should return the public funds spent on erecting statues of herself and elephants—herparty’ssymbol— in Uttar Pradesh. The bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and JusticesDeepakGuptaandSanjiv At the Ambedkar Park in Lucknow. Vishal Srivastav Khanna,washearinga2009petition filed by a group of lawyers against what they alleged was “collusionoftherespondents,especially the UP government, CM, UPandrulingBSPtofalselyglorify the incumbent CM and to meet her fanciful whims of putting up statues of her by misusingpublicmoneyandland”. The petition said “the said activity is being carried out as a statepolicy,whichisarbitraryand violativeofArticle14oftheConstitution”. It also challenged “the installationof60elephantstatues ofRs52.20crore,whichistheelectionsymbolofBSP,atpublicplaces byutilisingstatefunds”.Thematter will be heard next on April 2. Farm land affected by soil contamination in Pathri. Express Pankaja Munde’s husband and mother are directors in company TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 8 FOUR MONTHS after the Maharashtra environment regulator issued two notices to a distillery company, in which state Minister Pankaja Munde’s husband and mother are directors, for polluting soil and water inavillageinAurangabad,itgave the firm consent to operate in January following a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project undertaken by it to clean up a portion of contaminated soil. The distillery, Radico NV DistilleriesMaharashtraLimited, has Pankaja’s husband Charudutta Prabhakar Palwe listed as a whole time director (appointed May 2008) and mother Pradnya Gopinath Mundeas director (appointed in December 2016). Until just before the 2014 Assembly elections, Pankaja, the state rural development and women and childdevelopmentminister,was alsolistedasacompanydirector. Radico NV distillery is joint venture between N V Group and Radico Khaitan. Its website says it produces whiskey, rum, vodka and gin. The Aurangabad unit has a production capacity of 1,20,000 litres per day of extra neutral alcohol. It is located in Shendra MICD, about an hour away from Pathri village in Phulambri taluka. In January 2018, farmer Sanjay Navgire (52) first saw CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Journalist in jail under NSA, wife wages lone battle TORA AGARWALA IMPHAL, FEBRUARY 8 ON FEBRUARY 5, Elangbam Ranjita Devi stated on Facebook that she was on a date. The venue,however,wasfarfromromantic — nothing like the parks andwarcemeteriesherhusband andshefrequented in Imphalalmost 20 years ago. There's little privacy at the Sajiwa Central Jail in Imphal, where her husband Kishorechandra Wangkhem has been incarcerated since November 27, 2018, and it was often hours before she was allowedtomeethim,onlytoshout across the grille over the din of cacophonous conversations. A Manipur journalist, Wangkhem was arrested under the National Security Act (NSA) in December last year for allegedlymakingderogatorycomments againsttheChief Minister Biren Singh and uploading controversial videos criticising the BJP-ledManipurgovernmentfor observing Rani of Jhansi’s birth anniversary. On Tuesday morning, after updating her status while waiting outside the jail, Elangbam (38) scrolled through her Facebook profile filled with updates about her husband’s arrest: press clippings, support messages, protest photos, and occasionally, the emotional throwback to happier times: a picture of her, Wangkhem and their two girls (aged five and one) celebrating a birthday. “I was emotional when I posted the status about the date, too,” she says. Since the arrest, Elangbam juggles between her job,lawyer visitsandcourt hear- Elangbam Ranjita Devi with her daughters. Express ings. Her aunt Sandhyarani has taken over household duties, including round-the-clock care of her two young nieces. Things are slowly looking up now. On February 22, after several delays, the court will hear Wangkhem’s appeal, and there is hope of some relief. Since the arrest, Elangbam, an occupational therapist, has been rallying support for Wangkhem while shielding her two daughters from the answer to a question frequently asked: “Where is my papa?" Last month, one daughter, asked, “Is papa in jail? Is jail a good place?” She brushed it aside and told the five-year-old that her father was on a training mission and would return soon with toys. “She is just five. How will she understand?” While both belonged to familieswhofollowedSanamahism, the indigenous religion of the Meiteis, Elangbam says they were never similar. “He was alwaysthecalmone,Iwouldstress out easily. He loved reading books and discussing politics,” she says. CONTINUEDONPAGE2
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