DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Months after political crisis, Gehlot govt admits to phone taps CRIME BRANCH INNOVA SEIZED Vaze team’s vehicle trailed bomb scare SUV: probe HAMZA KHAN JAIPUR, MARCH 14 EIGHT MONTHS after “leaked” phone conversations between a Union Minister and Congress leaders in Rajasthan triggered a political crisis in the state and gave rise to allegations of illegal phone taps, the government of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has confirmed that phones were indeed “intercepted”. The confirmation, posted on the website of the Rajasthan Assembly in reply to a question asked of the government during the House session of August 2020, flies in the face of earlier assertions both by the government and by the Chief Minister personally. BJP MLA Kalicharan Saraf, who was Health Minister in the ‘Leaked’ tapes triggered crisis in Congress government of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, had asked: “Is it true that phone tapping cases have come up in the last days? If yes, under which law and on whose orders? Place full details on the table of the House.” In its reply, given after a delay of several months, the government has said: “In the interest of public safety or public order, and to prevent the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 4 KEY AIRPORTS ON LIST Govt to shed AAI stake in Delhi, Mumbai airports SANDEEP SINGH & PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, MARCH 14 HAVING EMBARKED on an ambitious asset monetisation drive to raiseadditionalresources,andhopingtoraiseRs20,000crorethrough saleofassetsundertheMinistryof Civil Aviation in 2021-22, the Government is looking to divest theremainingequitystakeheldby AirportsAuthorityofIndia(AAI)in theDelhi,Mumbai,Bengaluruand Hyderabadairports. The Indian Express has learnt CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Striking a balance THE STAKE sale will lift the Government’s asset monetisation programme to drive development projects and boost economic activity. But AAI’s equity presence is also important because it ensures crucial oversight, especially in terms of keeping user costs within reasonable limits. Mumbai special court remands Sachin Vaze in NIA custody for 12 days West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, in a wheelchair, leads a rally to mark ‘Nandigram Diwas’, in Kolkata Sunday. Express MUMBAI, THANE, MARCH 14 4 MPs and several ex-TMC leaders in BJP Bengal list; Sreedharan in Kerala Swapan Dasgupta, Minister Supriyo, economist Lahiri in fray for Assembly SANTANU CHOWDHURY & LIZ MATHEW KOLKATA, NEW DELHI, MAR 14 THE BJP on Sunday released its listof candidatesforthethirdand fourth phases of the Assembly elections in West Bengal, giving ticketstoseveralof itssittingMPs and recent entrants from the Trinamool Congress. Besides 63 names in West Bengal — for 27 seats out of 31 votinginthethirdphaseonApril 6 and 36 out of 44 voting in the fourth phase on April 10 – the party also announced candi- dates for 112 seats in Kerala, and 17 seats each in Tamil Nadu and Assam. Among the BJP candidates in Bengal are Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta and former Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India Ashok Lahiri, who will contest the Tarakeswar and Alipurduars seats respectively. In Kerala, the party has given CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KERALA BJP CHIEF TO CONTEST FROM TWO SEATS P6 GLOBAL DEMOCRACY DOWNGRADE ‘Custodians can’t stomach we don’t want their approval’ On India-China: Point gun, we will too ‘(On farm laws) Govt has agreed to discussions... Ball is firmly in other court’ RAJIV KUMAR VICE CHAIRMAN, NITI AAYOG PAGE 10 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MARCH 14 DAYS AFTER reports by two international organisations criticised India over freedom and democracy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar slammed them for their “hypocrisy” and calledthem“self-appointedcustodians of the world who find it very difficult to stomach that somebodyinIndiaisnotlooking for their approval”. Citing the supply of Covid vaccines to more than 70 countries by India’s “nationalist” government, he asked about the contribution of “internationalist countries” in this regard. On India-China ties, he indicatedthatifChinaextendsahand, then India will do as well — but if it points a gun, then India’s response would be similar. Jaishankar's unusually can- ‘China rise phenomenal’ did remarks came during an interview at the India Today Conclave Saturday. On the recent reports of Freedom House and V-Dem InstitutecriticisingIndia,hesaid, “You use the dichotomy of democracy and autocracy. You want the truthful answer — it is hypocrisy. Because you have a set of self-appointed custodians of theworld,whofinditverydifficult to stomach that somebody in India is not looking for their approval, is not willing to play the game they want it to be played.Sotheyinventtheirrules, their parameters, they passtheir CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Clashed with another tigress Days after she was released into wild, Avni’s cub dies of injuries VIVEK DESHPANDE NAGPUR, MARCH 14 BARELY Aweekaftershewasreleased into the wild at the Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtrafollowingtwoyears of “rewilding lessons”, a threeyear-old tigress that was better known as “cub of Avni” succumbed to injuries that officials saidweresustainedduringaterritorialclashwithanothertigress. The tigress was injured shortlyafterbeingreleasedfrom a 5.44-hectare enclosure in PTR whereshe had spent most of the last two years learning to hunt CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 How Manchester played key role in Mumbai club’s first football title PAGE 1 ANCHOR MIHIR VASAVDA NEW DELHI, MARCH 14 ON SATURDAY, as Mumbai City won their maiden Indian Super League (ISL) title, the celebrations went far beyond the FatordaStadiuminGoa.Afterall, this was a Mumbai win made in Manchester. From the appointment of a manager to the signing of players and every pass made and each goal scored, a team of specialists at Manchester-based City Football Group (CFG) played a key role behind the scenes as Mumbai City transformed from being a mid-table team to becoming champions Mumbai City manager Sergio Lobera after his side’s 2-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan on Saturday. Source: ISL in a few months. “The feeling is impossible to describe...Itisveryspecial,”manager Sergio Lobera said after his side’s 2-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan in Saturday’s final. MOHAMED THAVER, SADAF MODAK & JAYPRAKASH NAIDU For Lobera, the win felt special not just because it was his, and the team’s, first-ever ISL triumph but it is seen as a new beginning for the club — and maybe even Indian football. Mumbai City’s success story might trigger other mutually beneficial collaborations that would facilitate in-flow of expertise and talent from top footballing nations to India. In late 2019, CFG, which also owns English Premier League side Manchester City, acquired a 65 per cent stake in the club that was earlier co-owned by actor RanbirKapoor andcharteredaccountant Bimal Parekh. While the deal still requires regulatory approvals,theclub is off to a perfect start on the field. Mumbai City finished on top of the league table and by that virtue, qualified for the prestigious Asian Champions League. Then, they eked out hard-fought wins over two legs in the semifinalsagainstlast year’stable-toppers Goa before beating CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EC acts against SP, DM for Nandigram incident RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, MARCH 14 ACTINGONitsobservers’recommendation, the Election Commission(EC)onSundaysuspendedapoliceofficerforthesecurity lapse that led to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s injury during her electioncampaigninNandigram this week. The Commission also suspended the East Midnapore Superintendent of Police (SP), Pravin Prakash, and transferred District Magistrate Vibhu Goyal to a non-election post. The EC has ordered that charges should be framed againstVivekSahay,IPS,Director Security, for failing to discharge his duty of protecting a Z+ protectee, and against Prakash for “major failure of bandobast”. While the state Chief Secretaryhasbeenauthorisedto find Sahay’s replacement, IPS officer Sunil Kumar of the 2009 batchwillreplacePrakash.Smita Pandey (IAS 2005) will be the new DM of East Midnapore. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A WHITE vehicle seen trailing the SUV that was found outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence with gelatin sticks and a threat note on February 25 was allegedly being used by Mumbai Police’s Crime InvestigationUnit (CIU) led at the time by Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told The Indian Express. The NIA took custody of the white Innova vehicle from the Motor Transport department of Mumbai Police in Nagpada late Saturday night, around the time the agency arrested Vaze in con- The Innova outside the NIA office Sunday. Mohamed Thaver nection with the bomb scare case, the sources said. On Sunday, a special NIA court remanded Vaze in the agency’s custody for 12 days. According to an NIA official, the white vehicle was found parked inside Mumbai Police's CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS NETWORK MEGHALAYA GOV MALIK: INTERVENED TO STOP TIKAIT ARREST INDUS TALKS ON MARCH 23-24 PAGE 7
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