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 MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 CRIME BRANCH INNOVA SEIZED Vaze team’s vehicle trailed bomb scare SUV: probe BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Months after political crisis, Gehlot govt admits to phone taps HAMZA KHAN West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, in a wheelchair, leads a rally to mark ‘Nandigram Diwas’, in Kolkata Sunday. Express 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 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 inter- GLOBAL DEMOCRACY DOWNGRADE ‘Custodians can’t stomach we don’t want their approval’ 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-appointedcustodiansofthe world who find it very difficult to stomachthat somebody in India is not ‘China rise looking for phenomenal’ 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. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Mumbai special court remands Sachin Vaze in NIA custody for 12 days MUMBAI, THANE, MARCH 14 ‘Leaked’ tapes triggered crisis in Congress est of public safety or public order, and to prevent the occurrence of a crime which might risk public safety or public order, telephones are intercepted after an approval by a competent officerundertheprovisionsof section5(2)of TheIndianTelegraph Act, 1885, and section 419 (A) of The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2007, as well as section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. “Telephone interception has been done by the Rajasthan Policeundertheaboveprovision and only after obtaining permissionfromthecompetentofficer.” The government has not specified the telephone numbers that were intercepted, and CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 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 P7 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 that in the meeting of Core Group of Secretaries for Asset Monetisation (CGAM) held on February 8, an update was provided that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has identified 13 AAI airports to be monetised through the OMDA (Operation, Management, Development Agreement) model and that a transaction advisor has been appointed. While it was proposed to explore the clubbing of profitable and non-profitable airports “to make the package attractive,” 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. sources confirmed that the Ministry would obtain requisite approvals for the divestment of equity stake of AAI in the joint ventures for the Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports. Once approval comes through, the Government is likely to sell the remaining shareholdingof AAIinthesefour key airports. Currently, AAI holds 26 per 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 A week after she was released 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 where she 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 MOHAMED THAVER, SADAF MODAK & JAYPRAKASH NAIDU 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. 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 RanbirKapoorandcharteredaccountant Bimal Parekh. While the deal still requires regulatory approvals,theclubisoff toaperfect 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 semifinalsagainstlastyear’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 AWHITEvehicleseentrailingthe SUV that was found outside MukeshAmbani’sresidencewith gelatinsticksandathreatnoteon February 25 was allegedly being used by Mumbai Police’s Crime InvestigationUnit(CIU)ledatthe timebyAssistantPoliceInspector 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 connection with the bomb scare The Innova outside the NIA office Sunday. Mohamed Thaver 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 ‘(On farm laws) Govt has agreed to discussions... Ball is firmly in other court’ RAJIV KUMAR VICE CHAIRMAN, NITI AAYOG PAGE 10
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.