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 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2020, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 ‘UNHOLY GLOBAL GATHBANDHAN... WANTS FOREIGN FORCES TO INTERVENE’ INTERROGATION BY ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE of key accused Calling Gupkar alliance a gang, Shah StatementKamal Nath’s mentions says it & Cong will bring terror back son, Khurshid, Patel, Mehbooba, Omar hit back, say BJP ‘frustrated’ over PAGD poll unity LIZ MATHEW & NAVEED IQBAL The Abdullahs, Mufti after a meeting on Saturday. PTI AHEAD OF the first District Development Council (DDC) electionsinJammuandKashmir, UnionHomeMinisterAmitShah on Tuesday called the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) the “Gupkar Gang”, and said it, along with the Congress, wanted to “take J&K back to the eraof terrorandturmoil”.Calling it an “unholy global gathbandhan”, Shah said the PAGD wanted “foreign forces to intervene in J&K”. Former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah,whosepartiesarepart of the PAGD, reacted sharply to Shah's remarks. Both linked NEW DELHI, SRINAGAR, NOVEMBER 17 Shah's attack to the DDC elections beginning November 28 – the first political exercise since the Centre revoked J&K's special status under Article 370 on August 5 last year – and the PAGD's decision to put up a “united front”. In a series of tweets, Shah said: “The Gupkar Gang is going global! They want foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gupkar Gang also insultsIndia’sTricolour.DoSonia Ji and Rahul Ji support such movesof theGupkarGang?They should make their stand crystal clear to the people of India.” “Congress and the Gupkar Gang want to take J&K back to the era of terror and turmoil. They want to take away rights of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 With alliance and out of it: how Cong pushed to wall MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17 UNDER ATTACK, the Congress said on Tuesday that it was not part of the People's Alliance for GupkarDeclaration(PAGD).State Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, however, said they had seat-sharing arrangements “at the district level” with many parties, including the NC and PDP, which are part of the PAGD, for the District Development Council (DDC) elections. Meanwhile, the Congress remained ambivalent on the de- mand to restore Article 370. Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarksonTuesdayarebeingseen as an attempt to push the Congress to the wall and force it to take a clear stand on the issue. “TheCongressisnotpartofthe Gupkar Alliance or the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration,” Congresscommunicationdepartment head Randeep Surjewala said in a statement. Speaking to The Indian Express,hesaidtheCongresswas notcontestingtheDDCelections inalliancewiththePAGD.“There is no electoral understanding CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Lakshmi Vilas Bank placed under 30-day moratorium by RBI, caps withdrawals MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 17 THE RESERVE Bank of India imposed a 30-day moratorium Tuesday on struggling Lakshmi VilasBankLtd(LVB),superseded its board of directors and announced a draft scheme for the amalgamation of the bank with DBS Bank India, a subsidiary of DBS of Singapore, in the wake of “serious deterioration in the financial position of the bank”. The RBI also restricted withdrawals by depositors at Rs 25,000 from savings and currentaccounts,andexpenditureon anyitematRs50,000permonth. The central bank said the financial position of Chennaibased Lakshmi Vilas Bank, which has a network of 563 SC slams Centre affidavit on Tablighi reporting: ‘Silent on TV content’ KAUNAIN SHERIFF M & KRISHN KAUSHIK NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17 THESUPREMECourtonTuesday expressed its displeasure over theCentre'saffidavitinacaserelated to the media’s reporting of the Tablighi Jamaat attendees in Delhi testing positive for Covid19,andaskedittoevolveamechanism to deal with complaints against the electronic media. In its latest affidavit filed before the Supreme Court — it had filed an earlier one in October — the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry said news reports and articles in print and online publications on the issue have largely been “balanced and neutral” and not communal. It mentionedTheIndianExpress,The Times of India and the Hindustan Times to say that they “have carried largely factual reports in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE CITY E EXPLAINED GEORGE MATHEW Depositors face the ● brunt THE LAST two years have seen a string of mishaps beginning with IL&FS in 2018, PMC a year later, Yes Bank in March 2020 and LVB now. Every time a bank fails, it dents the confidence of depositors, who are at once slapped with restrictions on withdrawals. branches and deposits of Rs 20,973 crore, has undergone a steady decline with the bank incurringcontinuouslossesover CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 17 MAHARASHTRA’S CENTRALISED emergency response helplineislikelytobecomeoperational on Republic Day next year. Once functional, the helpline — 112 — will eventually replace all other emergency numbers. The Maharashtra Police awarded a five-year contract to Mahindra Defence to set up and operate two control rooms in Navi Mumbai and Nagpur. The police have also acquired office space in buildings in Mahape in Navi Mumbai for its primary contact centre and in Nagpur for itssecondarycontactcentre.The firm already operates the Uttar Pradesh Police’s emergency response centre. All personnel receiving calls will be civilian employees of PAGE 1 ANCHOR NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17 PAGE 3 AGUSTA WESTLAND DEAL CONFESSIONS OF KEY ACCUSED RITU SARIN 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) BUSINESS AS USUAL NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17 PM Modi, Putin, Xi, Ramaphosa and Bolsonaro at the BRICS meet on Tuesday. ANI REPORT P2 PM and Biden talk; flag Covid, climate change and Indo-Pacific SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17 IN THEIR first conversation since the results of the US election earlier this month, US President-elect Joe Biden called Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday night, during which the PM congratulated Biden and reiterated New Delhi’s commitment to the Indo-US strategic partnership and dis- Mahindra Defence while police personnel will work at the contact centres in supervisory roles. S Jagannathan, Additional Director General of Police, Planning and Coordination, said that70percentof allcallswillbe routed to Navi Mumbai and the rest to Nagpur. “Dial 112 was set up primarily to focus on women’s safety in the aftermath of the gangrape of the23-year-oldphysiotherapy student in New Delhi in 2013. Citizens can use the helpline for all kinds of emergencies,” he said. In line with the Mumbai Police’s emergency response system, the state police’s new system will also see police vehicles fitted with GPS systems. Jagannathan explained that personnel receiving calls at the two contactcentreswillforwardcalls to respective district control CONTINUEDONPAGE2 cussed their “shared priorities and concerns”. After the phone call, Modi tweeted, “Spoke to US President-elect @JoeBiden on phone to congratulate him. We reiterated our firm commitment to the Indo-US strategic partnership and discussed our shared priorities and concerns — Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region.” “I also conveyed warm con- gratulations for VP-elect @KamalaHarris. Her success is a matter of great pride and inspirationformembersof thevibrant Indian-American community, who are a tremendous source of strength for Indo-US relations.” Of the three issues that Modi flagged,thefirsttwo,Indo-Pacific and Covid-19, are areas of continuity between the Trump and Bidenpresidencies,whileclimate change is an old favourite of the Democratic administration. 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 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. BY UNNY WHY CONG SILENT, ASKS PRASAD PAGE 8 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 UPA II government – flowed through two companies, Saxena’s Interstellar Technologies and Global Services owned by Christian Michel who was extradited to India in December 2018 and remains in jail. These payoffs, Saxena told ED, "were (also) for the benefit of political leaders and bureaucrats who were in a position of influencing the decision at that point of time. Some of these funds were once again, directly or indirectly, through structured transactions, and some of the structures set up by me, were routed into investments in India." In its latest supplementary chargesheet filed on September 17, the CBI has said that in 2000, Saxena acquired 99.9% shares of Interstellar Technologies. The chargesheet cites Letters Rogatory from Italy and Mauritius and alleges that Saxena, in collusion with Gautam Khaitan, received Euro CONTINUEDONPAGE2 PAGE 8: HOW KICKBACKS FLOWED INTO INDIAN INVESTMENTS Dhanbad FIRs pin the nexus, of Mounting arrears, govt principals, officials, mastermind shelves Rs 1,071-cr power sop plan for households THE SCHOLARSHIP EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 17 SCAM ABHISHEK ANGAD NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17 TWO OFFICIALS of the district welfare office whose job is to screen scholarship applications, a mastermind and his two associates,fiveschoolprincipalswho have been accused of creating fake beneficiaries, a local advocate — and a mother of two who has gone missing. This is the nexus against whichthefirstsetof 11FIRshave been filed in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad, following an investigation by The Indian Express into the illegal diversion of the Centre’s pre-Matric scholarship for poor minority students. The FIRs state that the ac- Daffodils School in Dumra is named in the FIRs. Abhishek Angad cused allegedly “lured innocent people” to become “fake beneficiaries”, “submitted fake KYC documents”atthewelfareoffice and bypassed verification with help from officials to get schools registered on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP). They name a woman, who has been identified as an agent in Dhanbad, as part of the nexus based in the state's Chatra district with operations in Bihar as well. The FIRs have been filed under IPC sections on cheating and forgery,including420,andcriminal conspiracy. No arrests have been made yet. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE UDDHAV Thackeray government in Maharashtra has shelved its plan to absorb the power bills of domestic consumers for three months during the lockdown. Citing mounting arrears, Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Tuesday announced that the government will not be able to provideanyrelaxationsinpower bills for the lockdown months of April, May and June. Consumers will have to pay the full amount asperthereadingsinthebills,he told mediapersons. In the wake of complaints of excessive power bills being received by people, including by prominent industrialists and film celebrities, Raut's department had in August proposed to bearthebulkof “additional”bur- den for the April-June period of the lockdown. As per the proposal, all eligible households were liable to pay only for the units consumed in the corresponding months in 2019. For cases where the billed units for April, May and June this year exceed the corresponding usage by 100 units or less, the government had proposed to bear the entire cost of the surplus consumption. It had also proposed to absorb 50 per cent and 25 per cent of the extra burden for cases where the surplus billed units range between 101300 units and 301-500 units, respectively. But with the proposal – meant to benefit 1.14 crore households or 90 per cent of all residential consumers in Maharashtra – expected to cost the state exchequer Rs 1,071 crore, the finance department CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Footballer’s Covid dribble from Fiji to Goa: 40 days, quarantine in 3 countries MIHIR VASAVDA BMC BEGINS TESTING HAWKERS, BUS DRIVERS AND SHOPOWNERS FOR COVID Kamal Nath says son (Bakul Nath) NRI, no records to show links; Khurshid says no connection with any of the accused PART 1 112 — Maharashtra’s single emergency helpline to be operational on R-Day SRINATH RAO web of offshore firms ROY KRISHNA boarded a flight from Labasa, his hometown in Fiji, on September 24. Ten Covid tests, 40 days and four connecting flights later, the Fijian footballer of Indian origin steppedontothetrainingfieldin Goa, where this season of the Indian Super League (ISL) will start Friday. The 33-year-old spent 30 days in quarantine, in three countries, to make it in time to play for defending champions ATK Mohun Bagan. In pre-Covid times, Krishna, one of the biggest names in the ISL, would have taken two days to complete the trip. But this time, with Covid curbs and limited flights, the star striker flew from Labasa to Nadi within Fiji, to Auckland in New Zealand, to Sydney in Australia, and finally to Delhi and Goa. “I was very paranoid,” says Krishna. “I sanitised all the time, cleanedeveryspotIwasgoingto touch with alcohol wipes and wore a mask.” Last year, Krishna, whose ancestors are from Kolkata, made an immediate impact when he joined the Kolkata-based club. He scored 15 goals in 21 games to become the ISL’s joint top scorer as ATK, which merged with Mohun Bagan this year, won their third title. In the 201819 season, he was named the best player in the Australia league while playing for Wellington Phoenix. This year, ATK Mohun Bagan’s preparations were to start in late October. “So I set out ISL player Roy Krishna training in Goa. Twitter almost a month in advance. I had to take an hour-long domestic flight to Nadi, where the international airport is located, then a three-and-a-half-hour flight to Auckland where I had to be quarantined for 14 days,” Krishna says. In Auckland, those at the quarantine facility were allowed to go for a walk outside for an hour every day. “But I was told some of the positive cases were in the same facility. So I didn't take the break due to my fear of coming in close proximity to someone who was positive,” he says. Thenextconnectionhecould get to Sydney was a week after he completed his quarantine. And Krishna, who also has New Zealand citizenship, spent the time catching up with relatives and friends. “I was able to enjoy a couple of days of golfing, going to the beach and just eating out as New Zealand is a Covid-contained country,” he says. But then, when the time came for him to board the Sydney flight, Krishna was not allowed as he did not fulfill the protocols set by Australian authorities. “Due to lack of information and constant changes in policies, I had to delay my flight by a few days, which made me moreanxious.Ihadtotakemore tests prior to flying, request for special exemptions to fly to Sydney and take a connecting flight to Delhi,” he says. On October 14, Krishna took a three-hour flight from Auckland to Sydney and spent two days at a quarantine facility in the Australian city. And after another 13 hours on a plane, he reached Delhi on October 17, where he spent one night in quarantine.Thenextday,hetook another flight to Goa, where he CONTINUEDONPAGE2
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