DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA THE GOVERNMENT ON Wednesday cut interest rates on various small savings schemes sharply by 40-110 basis points. The revised rates will come into effect from April 1 and remain in effect till June 30. Small saving rates are linked ONE-YEAR DEPOSIT SEES DEEPEST CUT Instrument SavingsDeposit 1-yeartimedeposit 2-yeartimedeposit 5-yeartimedeposit SeniorCitizenSavingsScheme PublicProvidentFundScheme KisanVikasPatra Source: Finance Ministry Old Rate (%) New Rate (%) 4.0 5.5 5.5 6.7 7.4 7.1 6.9 3.5 4.4 5.0 5.8 6.5 6.4 6.2 to yields on benchmark government bonds, which have fallen over the last one year as the ReserveBankof Indiacutratesto support the economy. The interest rate on savings deposits has been reduced to 3.5 per cent from4percent forthefirstquarter of 2021-22. Among the most popular fixed income products, Public CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUEDONPAGE2 EXPLAINED: WHY PAK IS LIFTING BAN ON INDIAN IMPORTS P10 39 OF 126 SEATS 345 candidates in fray; 26 women Day ahead of Ph 2, Mamata writes to Opp leaders: unite against BJP Cong cold; some parties agree; others raise issue of timing ATRI MITRA & MANOJ C G KOLKATA, NEW DELHI MARCH 31 ADAYaheadof thesecondphase of elections in West Bengal, whichwillseeMamataBanerjee battling it out in the high-stakes Nandigram contest, the Chief Minister wrote to Opposition leaders, asking them to unite against the BJP's “one-party authoritarian rule” and proposing that they chart a plan of action after the ongoing polls. Mamata Banerjee in Singur on Wednesday. Express Thethree-pageletterwasaddressed to more than a dozen non-BJP leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Aam Aadmi Party convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, DMK president M K Stalin, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and NC president Farooq Abdullah. The letter got a cold response from the Congress, which is fighting the Bengal elections as part of the Left-led front -- the party did not officially respond HEARING A petition filed by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, seeking a CBI probe against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh for alleged malpractices, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday said prima 73.44lakh 5,315 voters pollingbooths WEST BENGAL Phase 2 30 OF 294 SEATS 171 candidates in fray; 19 women 75.95 lakh 10,620 voters pollingbooths BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY MUMBAI, MARCH 31 IN A setback to Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday appointed Sena MP Arvind Sawant as the party's chief spokesperson along with Raut. So far, Raut was the only chief spokesperson since September while Sawant was The CM with Sanjay Raut at the foundation stone laying ceremony for Balasaheb Thackeray Memorial. PTI the party's spokesperson for the past few years. The move is seen as an attempt by Thackeray and state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray to downsize Raut in the backdrop of his statements in the last two weeks: his statement that NCP chief Sharad Pawar should head UPA did not go down well with the Congress while his criticism of Home MinisterAnilDeshmukhinacol- facie there can be no investigation without an FIR. It asked Singh why he had not filed a complaint on his allegations and if hedidnothavefaithinhisown police force. Afterasix-hourhearing,adivision bench of Chief Justice DipankarDattaandJusticeGirish SKulkarnireservedordersonthe preliminaryobjectionsraisedby the state government to the PIL filed by Singh and others along with the interim relief sought by the petitioners. Singh had also soughtdirectiontothestategovernment to ensure transfers and postingsof policeofficialsarenot done in exchange for pecuniary benefits to any politician. Chief Justice CJ Datta asked Singh, “Where is FIR? You have to approach the police/agency with FIR. Our prima facie obser- vation [with respect to prayer seeking CBI probe] is that there cannot be investigation without FIR,” the bench said, questioning the maintainability of the PIL. “The petitioner [Singh] is no lay person. He is a senior police officer. If he has no faith in the police, what about the general public? He knows the registration of complaints is not just CONTINUEDONPAGE2 umn in Saamana angered the NCP. Sources in the Sena said Raut went beyond his brief when he put out a tweet denying a secret meeting between Pawar and Amit Shah in Ahmedabad. Also, his criticism of the government over the Ambani terror scare case, former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh's allegations and subsequent CONTINUEDONPAGE2 THE CITY OFFICERS WITH FIVE-YEAR TENURE IN CRIME BRANCH NOT TO GET EXTENSION, FRESH POSTING IN SAME DEPT HOW CAN ANY RETIRED JUDGE INVESTIGATE A SERVING HOME MINISTER WITHOUT POWERS: FADNAVIS PAGE 4 Waze panicked probe would be out of his hands, got Hiran killed: NIA in Ambani bomb scare case PAGE 1 ANCHOR DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, MARCH 31 WITH GROWING evidence linking arrested Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze to the alleged murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) — probing the Mukesh Ambani bomb scare case — is veering towards the conclusion that Hiran could have been killed after Waze “panicked” that the probe was being taken away from him andcouldbegiventotheCentral agency, sources said. Though the NIA is yet to get the report of the final forensic analysisdoneonHiran’sbody,the agencybelievesthatthecardecor shopownerwassmothered,and not strangled, sources said. Hiran was allegedly in possession of the Mahindra Scorpio which was found outside Ambani’s house in Mumbai on February 25 with gelatin sticks and a threat note. According to the NIA, Waze had taken the car from Hiran before allegedly planting the explosives and parking the car outside the industrialist’s house. “Hiran’s viscera report is yet Waze (left) has so far denied his role in Hiran’s murder to come. However, based on prima facie evidence, it appears Hiran was smothered. His postmortem report has not specified the cause of death. There are no ligature marks so strangulation does not appear to be the cause of death. When his body was fished out of Kalwa creek in Thane (on March 5), multiple handkerchiefs were taken out of hismouth,”anofficerprivytoinvestigation details said. Investigations have so far pointed to how, days before the bomb scare incident, Hiran had allegedly handed over the keys of the car to Waze and later gone ontofileavehicletheftcasewith the police. WhileWazehascontinuedto deny his involvement in Hiran’s murder, sources said, there is mounting evidence against him. “There is enough evidence in the form of call data records, locationof thepeopleinvolvedand other electronic footprints that States told to identify low coverage, keep vaccine wastage less than 1% KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MARCH 31 AMIDASURGEinCovid-19cases in several parts of the country where the total active caseload hasclimbedto5.52lakhcases,the thirdphaseof vaccinationwillbe rolled out Wednesday, making every person above the age of 45 eligible for a vaccine shot. Thisroundofvaccination,two andahalf monthsafterthecountrybeganitsCovid-19vaccination drive,willmakethelargestagecohorteligiblesofarforphase-wise administration of the vaccine. It will cover the population which is at the highest risk: 90 per cent of Covid deaths in India have been in the category of those above the age of 45. Of the total active caseload of 5.52 lakh cases, five states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Chhattisgarh — cumulatively account for CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SETBACK FOR COVAXIN IN BRAZIL A beneficiary gets his shot, in Delhi Wednesday. Amit Mehra Localised lockdowns in second wave set to hit services recovery AANCHAL MAGAZINE & ANIL SASI NEW DELHI, MARCH 31 THE LOCALISED IMPACT of the fresh wave of rising Covid-19 cases could potentially dent the uptick in business activity, especially in the services sector. High frequencyindicatorshavebegun to reflect some moderation due to administrative clampdown in a bunch of districts including Maharashtra and Gujarat. Mobility indicators, such as the Apple mobility index, which capturetheimpactof risingcases at a localised level, indicate that whilemovementhasnormalised across all major cities through February and March 2021, there hasbeenaslightblipinlocations such as Mumbai and Pune. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PFIZER SAYS ITS VACCINE PROTECTS CHILDREN PAGE 11 Three Gujarat cops accused in Ishrat encounter case discharged by CBI court Uddhav appoints Arvind Sawant as Sena chief spokesperson, to share post with Raut VISHWAS WAGHMODE Amid Covid surge, third vaccination round rolls out today for key group PAGE 6 CONTINUEDONPAGE2 ‘You remained silent when you found out your boss was indulging in a crime’ MUMBAI, MARCH 31 EXPLAINED ASSAM Phase 2 Why didn’t you file FIR: HC pulls up Param Bir Singh over allegations against Deshmukh OMKAR GOKHALE WHILE THE lowering of interest rates will help the government reduce costs, they will hurt investors, particularly senior citizens and the middle-class. With banks too reducing rates on fixed deposits, income avenues have shrunk for small investors. 2021 ` 56 per Dozen PAKISTAN WILL buy sugar and cotton from India, newly appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar announced on Wednesday,liftingabanontheir import from the neighbouring country imposed in the wake of heightened tension over Kashmir in 2019. Thedecisionwastakenatthe meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which was chaired by Finance Minister Azhar. Azhar said that the meeting discussed21itemsontheagenda, including import of cotton and sugarfromIndia,whichitallowed after detailed discussion. The resumption of import of these goods will lead to partial revival of bilateral trade relations,whichweresuspendedafter the August 5, 2019 decision of India to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The private sector was allowed to import 5 lakh tonnes of Blow to savers DECISION ` 174 per kilo ISLAMABAD, MARCH 31 ● Partha Paul ` 140 per kilo SAJJAD HUSSAIN E AGE 45 & ABOVE ELIGIBLE FOR JAB At Nandigram on Wednesday. A day ahead of the high-stakes Mamata Banerjee vs Suvendu Adhikari clash here, the Election Commission imposed prohibitory orders. ` 112 per kilo Ending trade ban, Pak says will import cotton, sugar from India `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Interest rates on small saving schemes cut sharply: PPF to fetch 6.4%, NSC 5.9% NEW DELHI, MARCH 31 REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES SUNNY VERMA ● link Waze and his associates to the crime. We are also trying to retrieve data from the electronic devices recovered from the bed of Mithi River,” the officer said. Sources said the agency has found that after the bomb scare incident, Waze was pressuring Hiran to own up to the crime. “The Opposition had begun mounting pressure on the government to transfer the case to NIA. There were also murmurs about the case going to Mumbai ATS. With Hiran not agreeing to own up, Waze panicked. We are now trying to establish whether Waze was himself present at the scene of the crime when Hiran CONTINUEDONPAGE2 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, MARCH 31 A SPECIAL CBI Court in Ahmedabad on Wednesday discharged three police officers accusedinthe2004killingof Ishrat Jahan and four others, stating there was “no question of any fake encounter” and there was Nothing to suggest victims not terrorists, says court “nothingonrecordtosuggestthat the victims were not terrorists”. IPS officer GL Singhal, retired policeofficerTarunBarotandassistant sub-inspector with State Reserve Police Force Anaju Chaudhary were the last three accused from the Gujarat police cadre against whom charges of abduction, murder and criminal conspiracy, among others, were dropped almost 17 years after the extrajudicial killing took CONTINUEDONPAGE2
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