DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Covid: Near total 1-shot cover in Himachal; UP, Bengal at bottom AMITABH SINHA NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 2 SEVEN AND a half months into the national vaccination drive, India has got more than half its adult population inoculated with atleastonedoseof aCovid19 vaccine. In the two small states of Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh, and in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and DamanandDiu,almosteveryeligible person has received at least one dose of the vaccine, data show. As on September 1, nearly 51 crore people — which is 54 per cent of the estimated 93.8 crore people above the age of 18 years in India — had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Over 15.32 crore of these individuals have received their second dose as well. Besides Himachal and Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh too have done well; over 70 per cent of their adult population have been administered at least one dose (see box). In these states, over a quarter of the eligible population have beeninoculatedwiththesecond dose as well. In every state across the ‘LEAKED’ PROBE REPORT Bidtosubvert probe,saysCBI, arrestslawyer ofDeshmukh % OF ADULTS WHO HAVE GOT AT LEAST ONE SHOT Daga brought to Delhi, CBI gets 2-day custody; criminal conspiracy charges TOP 5 Himachal Pradesh 99.69 81.19 80.14 Gujarat 71.85 Madhya Pradesh 70.69 Uttarakhand Kerala BOTTOM 5 West Bengal 45.86 43.71 42.25 42.23 41.16 INDIA 54.29 Tamil Nadu Bihar Uttar Pradesh Jharkhand country, at least 40 per cent of peoplehavereceivedatleastone vaccine dose. The lowest coverage is in West Bengal, where about 41 per cent have been immunised with a single shot. Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu have done betterthanWestBengal,butarestill well short of the share of vaccinated people nationally. In at least eight big states, less than CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ANAND MOHAN J NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 2 ‘OPERATION SOCCER BALLS’ A photo provided to the Associated Press of members of the Afghan girls’ soccer team and their families in Kabul on August 29, before blasts outside the airport scuttled plans to fly them out. The women’s team managed to reach Australia last week CJI: Section of media gives everything a communal angle… country gets bad name ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 2 CHIEF JUSTICE of India N V Ramana expressed concern Thursdayoverattemptsbyasectionof themediatogivecommunal colour to news and flagged lack of accountability of social mediaanddigitalplatforms,saying they do not respond to complaints even from judges. “The problem is everything in this country is shown with a communal angle by a section of the media... The country is going to get a bad name ultimately,” the CJI said. He made these remarks while hearing a batch of petitions — the Bench also comprised Justices Surya Kant and A S Bopanna — which sought action against news channels for presenting news of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting at the NizamuddinMarkazinDelhilast year with alleged communal overtones. Expressing anguish over the manner in which social media and digital platforms tarnish institutions at times, the CJI said: “Thereseemstobenocontrolon web portals. They can publish anything they like. If you go to YouTube, so much is shown in a minute. How much fake news anddistortionstakeplace!There is no control. Anybody can start any channel, any TV.” He said the platforms do not respond to queries on what they publish. “These channels... there is no accountability... They never respond...Thisistheconditionof institutions, forget individuals,” he said, adding “they consider only people who are powerful. Institutions, common man, judges, they do not. This is what we have seen”. Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for one of the petitioners, referred to the suspension of his account by Twitter and said he had filed a petitionregardingthisbeforethe Delhi High Court. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said the government wanted viewers to get the news as it is. The government’s attempt, he said, is to balance freedom of the pressandthecitizen’srighttoget unadulterated news. Responding to the CJI’s concerns, Mehta said there was also the problem of “planted stories” THE CBI Thursday arrested Anand Daga, the lawyer of former Maharashtra Home MinisterAnilDeshmukh,inconnection with the alleged leak of a probe report of the investigative agency on allegations of policemen being coerced by Deshmukh to collect bribes on his behalf from bars and restaurants in Mumbai. Daga had been detained by the agency on Wednesday evening,alongwithDeshmukh’s son-in-law Gaurav Chaturvedi, forquestioning.Whiletheagency let Chaturvedi go after a few hours, it arrested its own SubInspectorAbhishekTiwariinconnection with the alleged leak. Following his arrest, Daga was produced at 1.40 am before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Mumbai,whograntedhistransit remand to Delhi. On Thursday afternoon,DagaandTiwariwere producedinaDelhispecialcourt, which granted police custody to the CBI for two days. In its remand application beforeSpecialJudgeCBIJudgeVimal Deshmukh has moved HC against summons by the ED KumarYadav,theagencysubmitted that Tiwari “entered into criminal conspiracy” with Daga “and unknown others and disclosed case sensitive and confidentialdocuments”tothelawyer “forthepurposeofsubvertingthe investigation of the CBI in lieu of undueadvantageandillegalgratification to himself”. In theapplication,which had soughtseven-daypolicecustody of Daga and Tiwari, the CBI stated that the “custodial interrogationof boththeaccusedpersons (is) necessary in the interest of the investigation of the case, in view of the facts and allegations”. The document in question is said to be the purported PreliminaryEnquiry(PE)reportof the agency, which found that no cognizableoffencewasmadeout against Deshmukh on the allegations levelled by former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Geelani laid to rest, police deny In a sign of distress, gold loans family’s claims of being kept out soar 77% in 12 months up to July Police failure to hold proper probe to torment sentinels of democracy: Court in Delhi riots case ANAND MOHAN J NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 2 DISCHARGING FORMER AAP councillor Tahir Hussain’s brother and two others in a Northeast Delhi riots case, a city court Thursday pulled up Delhi Police,saying“whenhistorywill look back at the worst communalriotssincePartition”inDelhi, “the failure of the investigating agency” to conduct a “proper investigation…willsurelytorment the sentinels of democracy”. Criticisinglackof supervision by senior police officers, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav, in the discharge order, said the investigation tried to “merely pull wool over the court’s eyes” and this case is a “colossal wastage of the hard earned money of tax-payers, without there being real intent INSIDE of investigating the matter”. ASJ Yadav discharged Hussain’s brother Shah Alam, Rashid Saifi and Shadabin a case related to alleged loot and vandalisation of a shop during the February2020riotsintheChand Bagh area of Delhi. Of the 750 riot cases, 150 cases have been received by this court for trial. So far, charges have been framed in 35 cases. The court said there are a “large number of accused personswhohavebeenlanguishing in jailfor the last aboutone-anda-half years merely on account of the fact that the trial in their cases are not being initiated”. “This Court cannot permit such cases to meander mindlessly in the corridors of the judicial system, sweeping away precious judicial time of this Court when the same is open PAGE 1 ANCHOR VISVA-BHARATI TOLD TO SET UP PANEL TO RESOLVE STANDOFF WITH STUDENTS PAGE 6 MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 2 AMID A strict security clampdown across Kashmir following his death on Wednesday night, Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani was given a quiet burial at a cemetery near his house in the early hours of Thursday. Geelani’s younger son, Syed Naseem Geelani, alleged that some police personnel barged into their house at night, took away the body, and held the last rites on their own. Denying this, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police said Geelani’s “relatives participated in the last rites”. BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Heavy security near Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s house in Hyderpora, Srinagar, Thursday. PTI “They were putting pressure on us to bury him at night,” Naseem told The Indian Express. “We said we would bury him at 10 am. When they didn’t relent, we said we would bury him earlyinthemorning.Butat3am, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CREDIT OFFTAKE by India Inc andtheservicessectorremained subduedoverthelast12months, but retail loans, driven by gold loan and credit card business, have shown a significant uptick. Retail or personal loans — which account for 26 per cent of total bank credit — jumped 11.2 per cent over 12 months till July 2021 compared with 9 per cent over the previous 12 months. Within retail loans, the gold loan outstanding soared by 77.4 per cent, or Rs 27,223 crore, to Rs 62,412 crore by July 2021 on a year-on-year basis. SBI, the E Whom did the banks ● lend to LATEST CREDIT data reveals that bank loans to industry and the services segment, continue to remain subdued. Personal loans have, however, grown across categories, except housing which accounts for more than 50% of retail lending. largest bank, reported a 338.76 per cent growth in gold loans as of June 2021. “The total gold loan book of the bank was Rs 21,293 crore,” said an SBI official. Butthehugejumpinthegold loans business is also an indicator of Covid-19-induced distress following a national lockdown, job losses, salary cuts and higher medical expenses. “People find it easier to get loans by pledging gold. Seeing an opportunity, banks stepped up lending since recovery in this business is not cumbersome,” said an official of anationalisedbank, whodidnot wish to be named. Credit card outstanding also jumped 9.8 per cent (Rs 10,000 crore) to Rs 1.11 lakh crore during the 12-month period ending July 2021. While this suggests CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Tokyo stars Neeraj Chopra, Bajrang Punia at Adda today EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 2 LAST MONTH, on the day wrestler Bajrang Punia won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopramadehistorybywinning India’s first track and field Olympics medal. Chopra’s gold helped India signoff Tokyo 2020 in style as they finished with their best-ever performance. Chopra and Punia will be the guests at an online Adda hosted by The Indian Express on Friday evening.TheywillbeinconversationwithSandeepDwivedi,sports editor, The Indian Express, and assistant editor Mihir Vasavda who covered the Tokyo Olympics. Chopra, who became India’s first track and field medalist and the country’s second gold medalist after Abhinav Bindra, hadwon thejunior worldchampionship, Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medal. But heading into the Tokyo Olympics, the 23-year-old was Medallists Neeraj Chopra (left); Bajrang Punia CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Fake owners, fake tenants in Bengaluru eviction racket BENGALURU, SEPTEMBER 2 PAGE 10 GEORGE MATHEW SRINAGAR, SEPTEMBER 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 JOHNSON T A TALIBAN PREPARE TO REVEAL NEW GOVT NAVEED IQBAL & BASHAARAT MASOOD E X P L A I NE D A queue for Covid-19 vaccine at a government hospital in Nadia, Bengal, the worst-performing state in vaccination. PTI THE MODUS operandi is simple — and yet, audacious. A nexus of operators creates fake documents and claims ownership to prime property. Then, a case is filed in the small causes court, which deals with civil matters, for eviction of a fictitious tenant named by the fake owner. Once a favourable decree is obtained, it is used to try and forcibly evict the legal owner. So far, 118 cases have been unearthed in Bengaluru, where “fake decrees” were obtained by the nexus including a former public prosecutorandatleastsix lawyers, in an investigation conducted by the CID after the racket came to the notice of the Karnataka High Court last year. There have been at least 12 arrests so far and the CID is likely tofiledozensof casesoncharges of forgery, impersonation and hoodwinking of courts over the coming days, based on records maintained by the registrar of the small causes court. The racket came to light in November 2020 when the High Court was hearing a case filed by a private firm, Shah Harilal BikabaiandCompany,againstits 118 cases have been found since the land racket came to the notice of the Karnataka High Court (above) last year eviction from a 100x56 sq ft property in North Bengaluru in 2018 using a small causes court decree. The firm told the High Court that it had been in possession of the land since 1954. The High Court found that within a few days of the filing of the eviction case in the small causes court, the fake owners and tenants claimed to have reached a compromise on the eviction timeline. The fake owners obtained a decree for eviction — under police protection — and started efforts to evict the actual occupant. The company approached the High Court after a police complaint filed in August 2020 failed to stop the eviction process. On November 4, 2020, a single-judge High Court bench of Justice Krishna Dixit noted that the eviction suit was filed in the small causes court on April 26, 2018. “...strangely, a compromise decree has been obtained on 31.05.2018, absolutely without any explanation for this rocket speed, even when the ink on the pleadings had not yet dried up,” the High Court stated. Crucially, the High Court also asked the registrar of the small causescourt“toinstituteapolice investigationinthisseriousmatterandcauseadomesticenquiry against the suspect officials of the court, since fraud, forgery and fabrication ordinarily do not happen without the involvement of insiders”. Inthesamemonth,theregistrar filed a police complaint. But the probe picked up speed only after the case was handed over to the CID by the state government. On June 26 this year, Justice Dixit said that despite “the enormity of the scam that has been perpetrated by forging thecourtrecordsandfabricating the seals of the sub-registrars and other offices”, there was “no progress worth mentioning”. 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.