DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, AUGUST 6, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES SINCE 1932 `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM BRINGS TAXATION LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL IN LOK SABHA In signal to global investors, Govt moves to bury controversial retrospective tax policy Centre’s response to long-pending demand to change UPA law comes amid Vodafone, Cairn disputes AANCHAL MAGAZINE, SUNNY VERMA & PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, AUGUST 5 IN A move to bury the controversial policy of retrospective taxation,thegovernmentonThursday proposed amendments to the Income-tax Act and Finance Act, 2012toeffectivelystatethatnotax demandshallberaisedforanyindirect transfer of Indian assets if the transaction was undertaken before May 28, 2012. Assam and Mizoram hold talks: ‘neutral force’, no new deployment by states As FM, Pranab Mukherjee behind UPA’s retro tax call; Nirmala Sitharaman moved amendment Bill Thursday The Bill adds that demand raised for indirect transfer of Indian assets made before May 2012 shall be nullified on fulfilment of specified conditions suchaswithdrawalorfurnishing of anundertakingforwithdrawal of pending litigation, and furnishing of an undertaking to the effectthatnoclaimshallbefiled. Following the retrospective amendment moved by the UPA government in 2012, tax demands have been raised in 17 cases, including against British telecom company Vodafoneand gas major Cairn Energy. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NDA called it tax terror; took 7 yrs, adverse verdicts to course-correct PRANAV MUKUL, AANCHAL MAGAZINE & SUNNY VERMA NEW DELHI, AUGUST 5 ITTOOKoversevenyears,andthe possibilityofanadverseverdictin international arbitration rulings, for the BJP-led government to withdrawtheretrospectivetaxation amendment in I-T Act introduced in March 2012, by Pranab Mukherjee, the then Finance Minister in the UPA government. Though delayed, the decision sends out a loud and clear message to global investors that India will coursecorrect, and bite the bullet even if circumstances around it aren't exactly propitious. The move also sets out India’s stand as a nation on the principle of taxation. Though the Centre stressed on the need to establish its sovereign right to tax, the scrapping of the retrospective levy pro- vides clarity to investors by removing a major source of ambiguity on taxation laws. While Mukherjee’s Union Budget 2012-13 did not directly mention the issue of the retrospective taxation, a closer reading of the accompanying Finance Bill and the memorandum that formed part of the Budget documents revealed one of the most consequential and controversial CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Bronze Medal, Gold Moment NEW DELHI, AUGUST 5 DESCRIBING THE allegations of surveillance through the use of thePegasusspywareas“serious”, the Supreme Court Thursday wondered why no one had filed an FIR if there was reason to believe that phones had been hacked.Italsopointedoutthatthe allegations first surfaced in 2019. Chief Justice of India N V Ramana who, along with Justice Surya Kant, was hearing eight petitions seeking an independent probe into the matter, said: “Nodoubt,theallegationsareserious, if the reports are true.” The bench did not issue notice to the Centre and instead asked the parties to first supply copies of their petitions to the governmentcounselafterwhich it would hear the matter again on August 10. “Somebody should appear TORA AGARWALA GUWAHATI, AUGUST 5 PAGE 1 ANCHOR Petitioners seek probe, told by SC to first give plea copies to Govt ANANTHAKRISHNAN G Chief Ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma; Zoramthanga FOLLOWING THE first government-leveltalksbetweenAssam and Mizoram since the July 26 border incident in which six Assam Police personnel were killedinfiringandclashes,representatives of the two states resolved Thursday to not have any “fresh deployment” in the disputed areas. “Both the state governments agree to maintain peace in the inter-stateborderareasandwelcomed the deployment of (a) neutralforcebytheGovernment of India in this regard,” said a joint statement released after the representatives held a 90minute meeting in Aizawl Thursday morning. The statement added a condolence message from the MizoramgovernmentontheJuly 26 deaths as well as wishes for speedyrecoveryof thoseinjured. Late in the evening, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma officially withdrew the traveladvisoryissuedbythestate on July 29 that asked people not totraveltoMizoramdueto"threat topersonalsafety".Inatweet,tagging the handles of Union Home MinisterAmitShahandMizoram CMZoramthanga,Sarmasaidthis was "pursuant to signing of Joint Statement between Assam and Mizoram... inter alia to maintain peace and harmony". Assamwasrepresentedatthe talks by Border Protection and DevelopmentMinisterAtulBora, Urban Development Minister AshokSinghal,andCommissioner and Secretary, Border Protection CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CJI bench: Pegasus snooping charges serious, but why no FIR until now The Indian players celebrate their victory over Germany in Tokyo on Thursday. India won the match, 5-4, to claim the bronze. PTI MOREREPORTS,PAGES17,18 First hockey medal at Olympics since 1980: ‘don’t have any words’ EXPRESSAT OLYMPICS MIHIR VASAVDA TOKYO, AUGUST 5 GOALKEEPER P R SREEJESH sprintedtowardsthefarcornerof the field, slid on his knees, pumpedhisfistsandroaredatthe empty stands. He jogged back, paid an emotional tribute by lying on the ground with folded hands in front of the goal mouth, somehow found his way to the top of the goal post, made funny faces and laughed hysterically. Minutes earlier, the joker of the pack had played his biggest hand. With just seven seconds left in the playoff, Sreejesh parried a goal-bound shot. And with that one flick of his hand, India exorcised the ghosts of 41 years of barren ignominy, ensuring a 5-4 win against Germany and a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics. The last time India won a hockey medal at the Olympics, cricket was still the country’s number two sport, the BJP had been formed less than three months before, tensions between Iraq and Iran were simmering, the Cold War was at its peak — and the USA had defeated the USSR in a dramatic game of ice hockey that was labelled ‘Miracle on Ice.’ CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Dahiya wins silver: ‘this is okay, but my target was gold’ TOKYO, AUGUST 5 THE EDITORIAL PAGE FROMEX-COACH, WITHLOVE BY HARENDRA SINGH PAGE 10 GOVT & POLITICS PM DRAWS AUGUST 5 LINK: ART 370, RAM TEMPLE, HOCKEY MEDAL PAGE 7 IT IS the biggest dilemma for an athlete at the Olympic Games: do you lose gold or win silver? OnThursday,RaviDahiyabecame only the sixth athlete in India's sporting history to win a silvermedalattheOlympics.But when he was told to go backstageforthemedalceremony,he trudged across reluctantly. Even on the Games podium, the highest point of an athlete's career, Dahiya had the look of someone who had been forced to stand there. His glum face stood in sharp contrast to those of theotherwinnersashepicked up the medal from a shiny tray CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Night before Centre’s Aug 5 move, BJP reached out to Cong chief whip in RS; he quit next morning MANOJ C G & RAVISH TIWARI NEW DELHI, AUGUST 5 MIHIR VASAVDA Ravi Dahiya at the medal ceremony in Tokyo on Thursday. PTI for the government to take notice,” it said, making clear that the question of issuing notice will be considered after hearing from the government as well. The bench indicated that mostof thepetitionswerebased onnewsreportsandshouldhave had something more for the court to set the legal process in motion. “You all know that there is a prima facie material, as well as credibility of reports, on the basis of which we can order an inquiry etc. Unfortunately, from what I read from the writs, this matter came to light in May 2019. I don’t know if any effort was made. Persons who have filed the writ petitions are knowledgeable persons having resources. They should have made more effort to bring forth more material... Some of the petitionerswhohavefiledthepleas are not affected and some claim CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 LOST IN the din of the government’s move on August 5, 2019 stripping J&K of its special status under Article 370, splitting and downgrading it to two Union Territories,weretheresignations of threemembersof RajyaSabha. It was not known then that theresignationsof Bhubaneswar Kalita of Congress and SP’s Surendra Singh Nagar and Sanjay Seth were part of carefully orchestrated moves by the BJP to ensure smooth passage of its legislative plan for the day. It now emerges that these three members of Rajya Sabha were approached by the ruling party and establishment in the final hours leading to the August 5 announcement. Bhubaneswar Kalita A top government functionary, in an unmarked vehicle driven by an Assam politician, visited Kalita’s New Delhi house the night before the announcement on J&K to persuade him to dump the Congress and cross over to the BJP. Such was the secrecy and urgency, sources said, that even Kalita seemed surprised. As Plan B,rulingestablishmentmembers hadalsoinvolvedKalita’srelatives andothersclosetohim.Theyhad been brought to New Delhi from Assamtoconvincehim—thisoptionwasneverexercisedbecause CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Vigil at Haridwar gates to check kanwariyas, one vehicle at a time LALMANI VERMA HARIDWAR, AUGUST 5 VIJENDER SINGH and three friends, riding motorcycles from Ludhiana, reach the Mandawar check-postontheUttarPradeshUttarakhandborderinHaridwar district on Tuesday morning. Questioned by the Uttarakhand Police, Vijender says he is going to Haridwar for “sewa karya (offering service)” at Har ki Pauri. However,thegroupneitherhave a negative RT-PCR report nor are they registered with the state government portal monitoring entry into Uttarakhand. Sub-Inspector Anand Chauhan asks the four to turn back. “There is no entry in Haridwar till August 7 because Kanwar Yatra is banned. You don’t have any valid document toproveagenuinereasonforvisiting Haridwar,” Chauhan tells Vijender, even as a constable notes down the registration numbers of their motorcycles. Starting July 25 when the kanwariya pilgrimage began, every day, at this check-post alone, over 150 vehicles are turnedaway,astheUttarakhand Police tries to separate potential kanwariyasfromthosewithgenuine reasons and negative re- ports, to implement a state government ban on entry of pilgrims due to Covid fears. As per a Haridwar police report, 26,217 kanwariyas had been sent back from over 15 border check-posts and inside the city till Wednesday. While Vijender insists he is notakanwariyaandnotawareof restrictions on entry into Uttarakhand, Chauhansaysthey will record the four friends as kanwariyas as"they did not have negativeCovidreportsandregistration, and had no valid reason to visit Haridwar". "We assume that they were kanwariyas and going to Har ki Pauri for collect- Over 150 vehicles are turned away daily at the Mandawar check-post in Haridwar. Lalmani Verma ing Gangajal," the S-I says. Around 20 police personnel guardtheMandawarcheck-post at all times, in two shifts of 12 hours each. Overall, 800 police personnel are deployed on kanwar duty at different locations across Haridwar. With most of the kanwariyas coming to HaridwarfromPunjab,Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, all vehicles from these states are checked. About an hour after Vijender has left, Rakesh Tyagi arrives with his wife and two children. The couple are vaccinated and urge the policemen to let them in.Whenapolicepersonnelasks him to collect Gangajal instead from the tanker stationed near the check-post by the government for pilgrims, Tyagi says, "We have a religious function in the family after a few days and need to take a dip in the Ganga as part of the ritual." Hepromisestoreturnstraight after visiting the temple, and police finally let the family go through, but after they have registered on a government portal. The most insistent are those coming with ashes of family members for immersion in the Ganga. A police personnel says that between Monday and Tuesday, more than200families had approached the check-post for the purpose. Oneof themisVompleSingh, here fromSirsa withtheashesof her aunt. Police stop the family as 11 of them are packed in a vehicle,withnonecarryingaCovid report.Chauhansaysthegovernment SOP only allows four for immersion of ashes, and the family is told to assign some, who are cleared after undergoing a rapid antigen test. The SP (City) and nodal inchargeforKanwarYatra,Kamlesh Upadhyay,says,“Segregatingkanwariyas fromother touristsis the main challenge for police CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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.