DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Pfizer says can give 5 cr doses in July-Oct; Moderna next year S K JAISWAL NEW DIRECTOR CBIgetsachief: Asthana,NIA’s Modioutafter CJIdrewtheline PAYAL BANERJEE & PRASHANT RANGNEKAR NEW DELHI, MAY 25 MODERNA IS expecting to launch a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine in India next year and is in talks with Cipla among other Indian firms. Another US giant, Pfizer, is ready to offer 5 crore doses in 2021 itself but wants significant regulatory relaxations, including indemnification, sources said Tuesday. With a shortage of vaccines in India, and the need to inoculateabillion-pluspopulation,the Cabinet Secretary held two rounds of meetings last week to assesstheavailabilityof vaccines in the global as well as domestic markets. The meetings were attended by officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, NITI At B L Kapur vaccine centre in Delhi Tuesday. Tashi Tobgyal Aayog, Department of Biotechnology,LawMinistryand Health Ministry. In the meetings, it was discussed that Moderna did not MAHARASHTRA GETS BIDS FROM VACCINE ‘FACILITATORS’ P8 INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL company Wockhardt has told the government it can produce as many as two billion doses a year of most Covid-19 vaccines, starting with a capacity of 500 million doses by February 2022. In a formal submission to the Centre earlier this month, Mumbai-based Wockhardt has CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 GUYANA E E X P L A I NE D NEW DELHI, MAY 25 DEEPTIMAN TIWARY & MANOJ CG NEW DELHI, MAY 25 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Wockhardt offers to make 2 billion Covid vaccine doses a year PRABHA RAGHAVAN CJI Ramana sets precedent: Less than 6 months for retirement not eligible Aquick plan to ● ramp up THE GOVERNMENT has an opportunity to not only diversify its short-term supply of vaccines by using capacities of companies like Wockhardt, but also secure access to vaccines in the long term. PREPARING FOR THE STORM Ahead of Cyclone Yaas, a fisherman secures his boat at Digha in Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal. The cyclone is likely to make landfall near Dhamra Port in Odisha’s Bhadrak district early Wednesday, the IMD said. Partha Paul REPORTPAGE12 ‘BENEFIT OF DOUBT TO ACCUSED’ Acquitting Tejpal, court: Woman did not behave like sexual assault victim MAYURA JANWALKAR PANAJI, MAY 25 ACQUITTING Tarun Tejpal, formereditor-in-chief of Tehelka,of the charges of sexually assaulting his then colleague in a Goa hotel in 2013, the District and Sessions judge held that the complainant “did not demonstrate any kind of normative be- KHUSHBOO NARAYAN THE WORLD BLINKEN: U.S. WILL AID GAZA WITHOUT HELPING HAMAS PRESIDENTIAL VOTE: IRAN BARS ROUHANI ALLIES PAGE 14 GOVT & POLITICS JAMMU COVIDSPIKE: BJP SAYSUT ADMINISTRATION ‘LACKADAISICAL’ PAGE 9 FUGITIVE DIAMOND merchant MehulChoksiismissingfromhis homeinAntiguaandBarbuda,the Caribbeannationofwhichhehas been a citizen since early 2018. The 62-year-old Choksi is accused of defrauding the publicsector Punjab National Bank (PNB) of almost Rs 13,600 crore. Choksi'snephewNiravModi,also an accused inthe case,is fighting to ward off extradition from the Tejpal was accused of sexual assault in 2013 haviour” that a victim of sexual assault “might plausibly show”. Ruling there was no medical evidence and there were “facts” Last seen on May 23, say police UK, where he is in prison. Accordingtoanoticeissuedby the Royal Police Force of Antigua andBarbuda,Choksiwasreported missing on May 23 at Antigua's Johnson Point Police Station. “He was last seen at about 5.15 pm on the above-men- tioned datebeforeleaving home in a motorcar which has since been recovered. Based on additional information received the police have conducted numeroussearches,buttonoavail,”the police said in the notice issued on May 24. The police have sought the assistance of the local public to find Choksi. Choksi left India on January 7, 2018, several days before the PNBscamcametolight,andtook theoathof citizenshipof Antigua CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Narada arrests: CBI withdraws plea as SC says let HC decide EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 25 WITH THE Supreme Court observing that the matter was pendingbeforetheCalcuttaHigh Court, and it should take a call first, the CBI Tuesday withdrew an appeal over the Narada sting case. The agency had approachedtheapexcourtoverthe HighCourtsendingthefourTMC leaders arrested in the case to house arrest. A vacation Bench of Justices VineetSaranandBRGavaiof the Supreme Court pointed out that a five-judge Bench of the Calcutta High Court was seized of the matter. All parties could raise their contentions before theBench,itsaid,addingthatthe High Court was also a constitutionalcourt.“Afterthefive-judge Bench decides, we (can) peruse the opinion of the Calcutta High Court," the Court said. Thetopcourtadded,“Wehave notexpressedanyopiniononthe merits of the case and our observationsdonotreflectourviewson (the) merits of the matter." ThoughtheCBIsoughttolink the High Court order on the four TMC leaders, including two CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 POST-POLL CLASHES: SC NOTICE TO CENTRE, BENGAL P 9 that“createdoubton(her)truthfulness,” the court said the woman’s messages to the accused“clearlyestablish”thatshe was neither “traumatised nor terrified” and this “completely belies” the prosecution's case. In her 527-page judgment made available Tuesday, Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi wrote: “Upon CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘Concerned’ as edible oil prices soar to 11-yr high, govt takes stock HARIKISHAN SHARMA NEW DELHI, MAY 25 THE MONTHLY average retail prices of packed edible oils – groundnut, mustard, vanaspati, soya, sunflower and palm oils – have soared this month to their highest levels in over a decade, according to official data. The increase in prices of cooking oils comes in a midst of a pandemic and lockdowns in differentstatesthathavehiteconomic activities. OnMonday, the Department ofFood&PublicDistributionheld a meeting with all stakeholders and asked states and businesses to take all possible steps to bring down prices of edible oils. “The need to hold the meeting was also felt because Centre got concerned about more than proportionate rise in the prices of edibleoilinIndiaascompared with the rise in international pricesof edibleoilduringthelast fewmonths,”thestatementsaid. Domestic edible oil prices usually mirror international CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In deluge of Covid numbers, one stands out: 577 children orphaned in second wave of pandemic PAGE 1 ANCHOR ESHA ROY NEW DELHI, MAY 25 OF ALL the Covid numbers swirling in the air, this one doesn’t amount to much. And yet, it will make you pause. On Tuesday, the Ministry of WomenandChildDevelopment said that 577 children across the country have been orphaned in the past 55 days by the second wave. According to senior officials, theMinistrybeganinvestigating the issue of Covid orphans after messages for adopting them started flooding social media. “We have been in touch with all statesandaskedthemtoidentify Covid orphans from their districts.Wehaveascertained,from the data received, that there are currently577of them...Delhi,for instance, has one Covid orphan in this period,’’ an official said. The officials did not reveal a state-wisebreak-upbutsaidthat several did not report even one case. Taking to Twitter, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani wrote that the Government is “committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to lossof bothparentstoCovid-19”. “From 1st April 2021 till 2:00 PM today, the State BY UNNY ‘No medical evidence... messages show she wasn’t terrified’ PNB-accused Choksi goes missing in Antigua, family claims no clue MUMBAI, MAY 25 BUSINESS AS USUAL Inside the classroom of a school turned into a Covid care centre in Mumbai. Reuters Governments & UTs across the country have reported 577 children whose parents succumbed to Covid-19,” Irani posted. “We have allotted Rs 10 lakh per district for the non-institu- tional care of these orphans, which will be distributed by District Magistrates under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.Ouraimisthatnoteven onechildslipsthroughthecracks. Our priority, however, is that the childrenberetainedintheirfamily and community structures and not plucked from these setups,” a senior official said. The Ministry's count comes at a time when several states have announced welfare measures for children orphaned by the pandemic.Delhi, Punjaband Madhya Pradesh are among those that have promised free education apart from financial assistance, while others like Uttarakhand, Karnataka and CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SUBODH KUMAR Jaiswal, Director General of the CISF and an IPS officer from the 1985 batch Maharashtra cadre, was named CBI Director Tuesday. A day earlier, when the high-powered selection committee met, at least two frontrunners were knockedoutof contentionwhen Chief Justiceof IndiaNVRamana, one of its three members, drew the attention of the panel to SupremeCourtguidelinesonappointment of police chiefs. It is learnt that CJI Ramana pointed out that the March 2019 guidelinesof theSupremeCourt, on an application by retired IPS officer Prakash Singh, made it clear that no officer with less CJI is one of three members of selection committee than six months to retirement should be appointed a state police chief. By invoking this direction in the appointment of a CBI chief, the CJI may have set a precedent thatcouldalsoapplytoselection of chiefs for the IB and R&AW. The CJI was firm on this principle and Opposition leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury backed him. Prime Minister CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JAISWAL’S RUN IN MAHARASHTRA P7 Class 12: Centre leans towards exam, at schools INSIDE IN RURAL UP, VACCINE HESITANCY, WASTAGE FEAR PAGE 8 RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, MAY 25 WHILE THE Union government is waiting for feedback from states on whether to hold the Class 12 board examination this year,EducationMinisterRamesh Pokhriyal is learned to have underlined the importance of the school-leaving examination at the national consultation held onSunday,whichwasechoedby senior officers of the ministry. Pokhriyal, in his address, said the outcome of the examination impacts every student's life and decidestheirfutureinacademics. While the minister insisted thatstudents'safetywasthegovernment'stoppriority,healsoemphasisedthepitfallsofpromoting studentswithout"reliableassessment". The latter, he added, risks affecting students' career and their prospects in the job market. Pokhriyal, in his concluding remarks, is learned to have also told states that in recent consultations with schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had got the stakeholders' CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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