DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2020, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 INTERROGATION BY ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE THE EDITORIAL PAGE Statement of key accused mentions Kamal Nath’s son, Khurshid, Patel, web of offshore firms WAR AGAINSTTHE VIRUS BY RAJIB DASGUPTA PAGE 10 Bail pleas of journalist, another: SC says why not go to HC Kamal Nath says son (Bakul Nath) NRI, no records to show links; Khurshid says no connection with any of the accused APURVA VISHWANATH NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 16 OBSERVING THAT it is “trying to discourage” individuals from filing petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution — which grants individualstherighttoapproach the top court seeking enforcement of fundamental rights — a SupremeCourtbenchheadedby Chief Justice of India S A Bobde sought responses from the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh governmentinapleaseekingthe release of Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan. “Whycan’tyougotothehigh court?” the bench remarked while hearing a plea filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists challenging the journalist's arrest. The same bench referred a similar case invoking Article 32 — which involved Sameet Thakkar, a Nagpur resident who hadchallengedthemultipleFIRs against him for alleged derogatorytweetsagainstMaharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and his ministers—tothehighcourt,observing that “even high courts canupholdfundamentalrights”. Kappan, 41, and three others were arrested while on their way to Hathras to report an alleged incident of gangrape and murder. UP Police have alleged that Kappan, 41, and two members of the Campus Front of India (CFI) were part of a “conspiracy” to inflame religious enmity over the Hathras rape, and booked them on various charges, including under the stringent UAPA and sedition. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the journalists' union, argued that the Supreme Court has intervened in similar cases in the past where Article 32 had been invoked. “We are aware of our powers under Article 32,” CJI Bobde observed, issuing the notices and listing the case for hearing on November 20. OnNovember11,whilegrantinginterimbailtoRepublicTVeditor-in-chiefArnabGoswami,the Supreme Court had asked every highcourttoexerciseitsjurisdiction“toprotectliberty…theultimate reason for our existence as constitutional courts”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AGUSTA WESTLAND DEAL GRIEF Familymembersatthefuneralof20-year-old jawanRushikeshJondhale,whowaskilledinfiringfromacrosstheLineofControlat GurezinJammuandKashmironFriday,atBahirewadivillageinKolhapuronMonday. PTI PM ASSURES ‘ALL POSSIBLE HELP’ TO BIHAR Nitishswornin,BJPpickstwo DyCMsinNDAsocialbalancing 15 ministers take oath: 7 BJP, 6 JD(U), 1 each VIP, HAM; BJP gets Speaker post SANTOSH SINGH PATNA, NOVEMBER 16 NITISH KUMAR took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the seventh time on Monday with two Deputy Chief Ministers from the BJP — four-time Katihar MLA Tarkishore Prasad and four-time Bettiah MLA Renu Devi. A total of 15 ministers were administered the oath of office by Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan — seven from the BJP, including Tarkishore Prasad and RenuDevi;sixfromtheJD(U),including Nitish; and one each fromtheVikassheelInsaanParty (VIP) and Hindustani Awam BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Nitish with deputy CMs Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, after swearing-in, in Patna Monday. PTI MOREREPORTS,P5 Morcha (Secular). Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda were among those who attended the ceremony. Congratulating Nitish, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “The NDA family will worktogetherfortheprogressof Bihar. I assure all possible support fromtheCentreforthewelfare of Bihar.” TheBJP'sformerdeputychief minister, Sushil Kumar Modi, whohasbeendroppedthistime, may be accommodated at the Centrce, but there is no official word yet. Sushil Modi first became Deputy Chief Minister in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BJP’s challenge: Wider RJD base, Left revival, its own new faces RAVISH TIWARI NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 16 IN TERMS of power politics, retaining the government in Bihar is an achievement the BJP has been talking up since the results came in. But the shuffling in its ranks with the swearing-in of the new government Monday underlined how the party is bracing for what it sees as the challenges of its 2020 mandate. The choice of two — not one — Deputy Chief Ministers, TarkishorePrasadandRenuDevi, reflects how the BJP is addressing the churn from the word go. Indeed,formerDeputyCMSushil Modi’s ejection from state politics underlined this signal. The party may be putting up a brave face citing its win in 74 seats but sources note that this isn’t its best performance in alliance with the JD(U). It had won 91 Assembly seats (of 102 it contested) in 2010 in alliance with CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Govt incentives across sectors Alagiri set for own outfit, but bitter reality check for sugar may join BJP-led alliance NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 16 EVEN AS the Centre has announced production-linked incentives worth some Rs 2 lakh croreforahostof sectorstoboost manufacturing investments,the sugar industry is complaining of huge non-payments against schemes notified more than a year ago. WORLD PAGE 1 ANCHOR NAGPUR, NOVEMBER 16 PAGE 15 INSIDE GUPKAR ALLIANCE: BJP ATTACKS CONG PAGE 7 I&B’S NOTICE TO ONLINE FIRMS ON FDI PAGE 6 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 — Quantity (in lakh tonnes) 26 27.82 0.46 38 56.5 6.32 Responding to the incentive scheme, exports surged in 2019-20 ARUN JANARDHANAN CHENNAI, NOVEMBER 16 AFTER GETTING actor-turnedpolitician Khushbu into its fold, the state unit of the BJP is working towards getting the support of another prominent face, M K Alagiri, the elder son of late M Karunanidhi and brother of DMKpresidentMKStalin,ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu. Sources in the state BJP and the Alagiri camp confirmed there has been significant progress in the alliance talks. If everything goes as per the BJP's plan, Alagiri is likely to launch a new political outfit in Madurai on November 20 and meet Amit Shah the following day, when the Union Home Minister is scheduled to visit Chennai. “It is likely to be a one-on-one meeting,” a senior BJP leader said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PART 1 Rajiv Saxena told ED about the web of transactions between his firm and that of Christian Michel (left) with entities owned by Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri (right) extraditedfromDubaiinJanuary 2019 and was interrogated by the Enforcement Directorate, which attached his assets worth Rs 385 crore. The ED is now before the Supreme Court in a bid to divest Saxena of his approver status for allegedly not fully disclosing the facts of the case. Saxena’s statement, running into over 1,000 pages (including supporting documents) was accessed by The Indian Express along with copies of banking statements, records of offshore companies, and email correspondencebetweenkeyplayers. These show several alleged hawala transactions and a complex web of offshore structures that Saxena admitted to setting up for the co-accused. The crux of Saxena’s statement details how alleged kickbacks of the Augusta Westland deal — it was cancelled by the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Study on benefits, costs helped govt firm up RCEP stand Moderna says vaccine 95% effective; may be promising option in India RITU SARIN NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 16 NOT JUST former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’snephewRatulPuributhis son Bakul Nath, too, along with Congress leaders Salman KhurshidandAhmedPatel,finds mention in the interrogation statementsof RajivSaxena,chartered accountant and key accused in the Rs 3,000-crore AugustaWestlandVVIPchopper deal case. Saxena,currentlyonbail,was Deal inked on Sunday, RCEP members keep the door open for India to return PRABHA RAGHAVAN & ANIL SASI NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 16 AN INTERNAL assessment of India’s bilateral free trade agreements with nine countries, including five signatories of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), played a pivotal role in the government firming its position against joining the mega trade pact. The assessment showed a “moderate utilisation rate” of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) over a five-year period, and a trade deficit for India in most cases, save in regard to SAARC nations, The Indian Express has learnt. While the remaining RCEP memberswentaheadandinked a deal on Sunday — a little over a year after Prime Minister NarendraModiannouncedIndia was walking out of negotiations citing“significantoutstandingissues” — the bloc has made it clearthatthedoorforIndiatoreturn to the negotiating table will remain open. However, India’s escalating political tensions with China overthelastyearareseenashaving pushed up the entry barrier CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Zhong Shan, Li Keqiang of China at a virtual RCEP event in Hanoi, Monday. Reuters Looming shadow of China NEW DELHI has cited concerns relating to countries using tariff, as well as inability to implement auto-trigger safeguards for domestic industries, to argue that RCEP does not address its issues. Steps by India targeting Chinese investments could also run foul of RCEP if it were to join the pact. INDIA DEFENDS STAND PAGE 9 TOMORROW: HOW KICKBACKS FLOWED INTO INDIAN INVESTMENTS PRABHA RAGHAVAN NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 16 THE AMERICAN biotechnology company Moderna announced on Monday that early results of its large ongoing late-stage trials of a vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus had showed an efficacy of 94.5 per cent — an outcome that surpassed the expectations of researchers. The Moderna results offer strong hope that vaccines that would defeat the deadly virus that had until Monday sickened over54.5millionandkilledmore than 1.3 million people worldwide were finally within sight — even though they are unlikely to be widely available for at least several more months. Last week, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Russian makers of the Sputnik V vaccine announced that their candidates had been found to be over 90 per cent effective in preliminary results of phase 3 human trials. While Moderna does not yet haveanarrangementtosupplyits vaccineinIndia—where8.8million have been infected with the coronavirus and 1,30,000 have diedsofar—vaccineexpertssaid on Monday evening that it could potentially have an edge over Pfizer’s mRNA candidate CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Will Walker finally stay put? Answer key to tiger roadmap VIVEK DESHPANDE TRUMP DROPS KEY PART OF LAWSUIT SUGAR EXPORTS 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 HARISH DAMODARAN The Narendra Modi government had, last year, provided an incentive of Rs 10,448 per tonne formillstoexportsugarduringthe 2019-20 season (OctoberSeptember). That “lump sum assistance” — towards expenses on marketing,internaltransport,port handlingandoceanfreight—was notified by the Department of Food and Public Distribution on September 12, 2019. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONFESSIONS OF KEY ACCUSED INMARCH,aradio-collaredtiger inIndiagrabbedglobalattention by traversing a circuitous forest route from Yavatmal in Maharashtrathrough Telangana before re-entering the state to finally settle down in Buldana — an estimated distance of 3,000 km covered in nine months. They called him Walker. Today, Walker, now over three years old, is at the centre of a conservation challenge to find whether establishing corridors from one “island-like forest” to anotheristhesolutiontoaccommodate the country’s growing tiger population. For now, officials say, Walker “seems to be doing just fine”, killing wild boars and blue bulls inside the 205-sq-km Dnyanganga sanctuary. But given its solitary life, they say, it will soon be time to find a mate. Already, a government committeeheadedbySrinivasReddy, the field director of Melghat Tiger Reserve who also supervises Dnyanganga, has recommended that a female tiger be translocated. But experts warn that “the challenge is much bigger than that”. “Dnyangangaislikeanisland. Unless it has some connectivity to other tiger-bearing areas like Melghat in Amravati district and Muktai Bhavani in Jalgaon district, it makes little sense to facilitate the growth of Walker’s progeny in Dnyanganga. Where do they go and how do we ensure their genetic plurality?” says Nitin Kakodkar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Maharashtra. Dnyanganga, he reiterates, needstobedevelopedintoaregular tiger-sustaining area by developing corridors to connect with other such locations. “We need to first facilitate connectiv- Walker snapped on a trap camera. Courtesy Maharashtra Forest Dept ity before letting Walker’s tribe grow,” says Kakodkar. Officials point to two forest stretches that can provide a larger area for a tiger population to move about: the 74-sq km Katepurna Sanctuary in Akola and the 18-sq km Karanja Sohol Sanctuary in Washim. “ButKatepurnaisadegraded, thorny forest, and Karanja Sohol a grassland. They won’t be ideal for tigers. I thought Walker might walk in the direction of Melghat or Muktai Bhavani in searchof afemalesincethatarea does have some tigers. But it has so far not gone that side. I hope it goes there this winter, which issupposedtobeabreedingseason,” says Kakodkar. Officials say Walker’s next step is a crucial test to create space for a growing population. From 2,226 in 2014, India's tiger numbers grew 33 per cent to 2,967 in 2019, according to the all-India tiger census carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). “For a tiger, the top priorities arehavingitsownspaceandsufficient food. Walker became stable only after getting space and food. Providing a female is the easy option — we can do that — but for long-term conservation, 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.