DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES Ajoy Mehta now head of State Real Estate Regulatory Authority KHUSHBOO NARAYAN & YOGESH NAIK MUMBAI, JULY 20 MAHARASHTRA REAL Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) Chairman Ajoy Mehta’s apartment in Mumbai has come under the scanner of the Income Tax department, which has alleged that its previous owner was a “shell entity made only for the purpose of holding benami properties”. Mehta, who was Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s principal advisor from July 2020 tillhisappointmentasMahaRERA chairman in February this year, earlier served as Maharashtra ChiefSecretary(May2019toJune 2020) and Mumbai Municipal Commissioner (2015 to 2019). InOctober2020,heboughtan apartment in the Samta Cooperative Housing Society, in Mumbai’supscaleNarimanPoint, forRs5.33crorefromPune-based Anamitra Properties Pvt Ltd. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 INSIDE BJP LEADERS ‘FAKED’ MILITANT ATTACK IN J&K FOR SECURITY PAGE 2 Pegasus row: Storm in House, Opp says democracy in crisis, seeks SC judge probe LS adjourned, protests inside, outside House BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, JULY 20 THE ROW over an alleged surveillance operation using the Pegasus spyware rocked Parliament Tuesday as the Opposition and some parties friendly to the ruling coalition, seeking answers from the government,disrupted proceedings in Lok Sabha and did not allow the treasury benches to transact any business for the second consecutiveday—signallingthatthe first week of the Monsoon Session could be a washout. TheCongress-ledOpposition did, however, allow a discussion in Rajya Sabha on the Covid-19 pandemic situation — it led the debate — after the government agreed to its demand for a debate on the floor of the House ahead of a briefing outside Parliament on the Covid preparedness levels. There were stormy scenes in Lok Sabha where members of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 4TH SERO-SURVEY, 1ST INCLUDING CHILDREN Two-thirds of Indians have Covid antibodies, 40 cr still at risk: ICMR Rural-urban data same; on schools, ICMR says can start with primary first HARIKISHAN SHARMA Opposition leaders hold a meeting to chalk out their strategy for the Parliament Session Tuesday. ANI Cost of putting Pegasus in phones runs into crores PRANAV MUKUL & ANIL SASI NEW DELHI, JULY 20 THE COST of deploying a spyware like Pegasus is, even by conservative estimates, rather steep. According to estimates basedondocumentsontheNSO Group’s commercial proposal acquired by The New York Times in 2016, the Israeli spyware maker priced its surveillance tools on a par with traditional softwarecompanies—$500,000 installation fee, followed by $650,000tospyon10iPhonesor Android users; $500,000 for five BlackBerry users; or $300,000 for five Symbian users. Further surveillance targets, according to the report, required theclienttopayanadditionalfee —$800,000for100extratargets; $500,000 for 50 extra targets; or $150,000 for 20 extra targets. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, JULY 20 HEADS OF STATE, EX-CM AIDES ■ 3 presidents, 10 PMs — among them Emmanuel Macron, Imran Khan — and a king in list ■ Aides of Karnataka exCMs Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah said to have been targeted in run-up to collapse of Cong-JD(S) govt in 2019 ■ Also in list are student leaders, activists, such as Umar Khalid PAGES 7, 12 UP TO two-thirds of the Indian population above the age of six have already been infected with the coronavirus, the latest nationwideserologicalsurveyconducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has found. That still leaves about 40 crore people who are susceptible to the virus. The serosurvey, the fourth such exercise, was conducted in June and July, after the second wave hadbeganto subside. A total of 28,975 people were tested for the presence of antibodies specific to SARS-CoV2 virus, and CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D Uddhav ex-advisor’s flat: I-T says bought via shell firm `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Indicates amilder ● 3rdwave THE FINDINGS of the fourth sero-survey, are significant. Apart from dissipating some worries regarding the ferocity of a third wave, it will also help the government go ahead with its gradual opening up. NO DEATHS DUE TO O2 SPECIFICALLY: GOVT PAGE 6 Opp cracks in open as PM seeks unity at Covid briefing EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JULY 20 PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi told Parliament floor leaders Tuesday that the Union government and the states must work together as a team and rise above politics to tackle the spread of the pandemic. Maintaining that India is in a betterposition than many countries in terms of the ratio of population hit by Covid-19, the Prime Minister underlined that CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Bakrid: SC pulls up Kerala for ‘bowing to Kundra ran the porn app, kin involved: Police pressure’, says heed Kanwar Yatra order MOHAMED THAVER & SADAF MODAK MUMBAI, JULY 20 BUSINESSMAN RAJ Kundra, arrested in a pornographic films case, was “actually running” the mobile application which streamed these videos, overseeing the content as well financial dealings, Mumbai Police said on Tuesday. A Mumbai court on Tuesday sent Kundra, husband of BollywoodactorShilpaShetty,to police custody till July 23. The IT head of his company, Ryan Thorpe, was also arrested and sent to custody till July 23. PolicesaidKundra’sMumbaibasedcompany,ViaanIndustries, was linked to the UK-based Kenrin Pvt Ltd, which has been Kundra, associate in custody on Tuesday. Ganesh Shirsekar under the police scanner since February this year, when they first registered an FIR in the case and arrested nine persons. According to police, Kenrin owned the ‘Hotshots’ phone applicationonwhichpornographic content was uploaded. Kenrin is aproductioncompanyownedby Kundra’sbrother-in-lawPradeep Bakshi, who has also been CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JULY 20 CRITICISING THE Kerala government for easing Covid-19 restrictions for Bakrid even in areas with high test positivity rate, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said that “to give in to pressure groups so that the citizenry... is laid bare to a nation- A market on eve of Bakrid in Kozhikode, Monday. PTI wide pandemic discloses a sorry state of affairs”. While the Bench of Justices R FNarimanandBRGavaidirected the state government to “follow the law laid down” in the court’s order in the Kanwar Yatra case, it said it was not quashing the government’s notification as Tuesday was the last day of the three-day relaxation period. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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