CHENNAI THURSDAY OCTOBER 31, 2019 `5.00 PAGES 26 LATE CITY EDITION CM GETS PARTY MLAS’ NOD FOR HIS SECOND INNINGS BJP’s state legislature party elects Devendra Fadnavis as its leader, giving him a second shot at chief ministership FADNAVIS TO HOLD TALKS WITH SHIV SENA MERCURIAL RAUT SOFTENS A TAD Having named its chief minister and drawn a red line on the Shiv Sena’s demand for rotational CM, it was the BJP’s turn to play hardball, suggesting even the Dy CM’s post to the ally could be off the table. Also, the BJP scaled down its engagement with the Sena, asking Fadnavis to negotiate with it instead of party chief Amit Shah doing the talking ■ ■ Belligerent Sena leader Sanjay Raut changed his tune, saying it was necessary for his party to stay with the BJP-led alliance. The softer line showed the limits of political brinkmanship “We believe in the alliance as we contested the polls jointly. But the BJP should not compel us to look for an alternative,” he said Friday IS WHEN FADNAVIS IS EXPECTED TO BE SWORN-IN AS CHIEF MINISTER CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI J&K under Delhi’s thumb At stroke of midnight, state broken up into 2 Union Territories, Centre to control law, order H K H O G E N S I N G H & F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar As with lakes in Bengaluru, frothing was witnessed at Pattinapakkam beach in Chennai on Wednesday. Locals blame it on pollution | R SATISH BABU Maha cyclone to bring mega rains to TN EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai A cyclone is brewing in Tamil Nadu’s backyard. The deep depression over Lakshadweep and adjoining southeast Arabian sea and Maldives area has moved northwestwards, with a speed of 25 kmph, and intensified into cyclonic storm Maha, the India Meteorological Department has said. “It is very likely to move northwestwards across Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours, and then emerge into east-central Arabian Sea. It is likely to intensify into a Severe Cyclonic Storm over Lakshadweep areas on Thursday forenoon,” said the IMD night bulletin. Widespread rain has been forecast across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next 24 hours. Peak rainfall activity will be witnessed in southern, western, and delta districts. Fishermen along Kanniyakumari, Lakshadweep and south Kerala coasts have been asked not to venture into sea on Thursday . The pull effect of the de- pression resulted in Tamil Nadu receiving copious rainfall over 24 hours, ending 8.30am Wednesday. About 80 stations recorded heavy to very heavy rainfall. At 19cm, Tirutani recorded the highest rainfall. Chennai received 4cm. Overall, the State has received 14 per cent excess rainfall this month. It has received 196 mm as against the average of 172 mm. This October will be the wettest one for Chennai in the last five years. Meanwhile, the met department said a new low pressure area is likely to form over north Andaman sea on November 3. Weather blo g g er Pradeep John said this low pressure may actually play spoilsport, by taking away the moisture and cutting off the rain-bringing easterlies. “We have to see how this system behaves. There would be dry days between November 3-10,” he said. The Central Water Commission has issued an advisory forecast for Kosasthalaiyar, Adyar, Ponnaiyar and Vellar basins. Inflow to Poondi may increase moderP3 ately it said. , IN HIS NAME Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami garlands and pays his respect to Muthuramalinga Thevar statue in Pasumpon, on Wednesday | PONMALAR | P4 US Fed cuts interest rates again amid dip in growth The US Federal Reserve slashed interest rate by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday amid continuing trade war uncertainties and fears that the country could slip into a recession. The interest rate was lowered by 25 basis points to a target range of 1.5-1.75 per cent. Wednesday’s decision comes as fresh data showed US economic grew at 1.9% annual rate during the July-September quarter, down from 2% in the previous quarter. This was the third straight rate cut in as many meetings, but there were indications that there would be no further monetary action for now. AT the stroke of the midnight hour on Wednesday Jammu and Kashmir lost its statehood. Split , into two Union Territories (UTs) instead, their two Lieutenant Governors (L-Gs) will take oaths of office on Thursday . “From midnight tonight, J&K will cease to exist as a state,” said General Administration Department (GAD) Secretary Farooq Ahmad Lone. J&K High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal will administer the oath to the two Lt Governors. “She will first administer the oath of office and secrecy to R K Mathur as Lt Governor of Ladakh around 7.45 am in Leh. And around 12.45 pm, Girish Chander Murmu, who hitherto was Secretary Expenditure, will be administered the oath of office and secrecy of Lt Governor of J&K at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar,” Law Secretary Achel Sethi told this newspaper. The Kashmir Valley and Kargil are expected to observe a shutdown on Thursday. While a spontaneous shutdown is already happening in the Valley since August 5 over the ending of the state’s special status, Kargil is upset over Governor Satya Pal Malik’s alleged failure to keep his promises. He had last month assured the people of Kargil that their 14-point demand, including rotation of the LG’s office and other offices, renaming Ladakh UT as ‘Leh and Ladakh UT’ and giving due share to Kargil would be met by October 31, but it hasn’t been. Ahead of the bifurcation, there was speculation that mobile services in the Valley could be suspended again to maintain law and order and foil protests, but officials disCONTINUED ON: P9 missed them as rumours. HC scraps FIR against Pehlu, removes stigma of smuggling cows R A J E S H A S N A N I @ Jaipur FOR more than two years, lynched dairy farmer Pehlu Khan’s family bore the stigma of cattle smuggling. Erasing it on Wednesday, the Rajasthan High Court ruled that Pehlu and his sons were not smuggling cows for slaughter when a mob of vigilantes attacked them in 2017. The court called a first information report (FIR) against them on charges of cattle smuggling “an abuse of the process of law”. A single bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari ordered the scrapping of the FIR and chargesheet against Pehlu Khan, observing that there is no evidence to show the cows were being transported by him for the purpose of slaughtering. “The documents clearly show Pehlu Khan had purchased the cattle for dairy purposes,” the court observed. Pehlu and his sons Irshad and Arif were transporting cattle from a weekly market in Jaipur to their village in Haryana’s Nuh on March 31, 2017, when a group of cow vigilantes stopped them and thrashed the 55-year-old dairy farmer and his sons. Pehlu succumbed to his injuries two days later. The Rajasthan High Court ruled that the cows “were milch cows and the calves were one and two years old; as such, it cannot be presumed they were being taken for slaughter.” During Vasundhara Raje’s watch as chief minister, the Rajasthan Police had charged Pehlu under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act, which relates to the transport of cattle for slaughter. And the chargesheet was filed in December last against Pehlu’s sons Irshad and Aarif. “The police had acted under pressure from the then BJP government. The high court order is now a huge relief for us,” Irshad said. JUST CHILL Big buzz, but no gold amnesty scheme A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi SPECULATION over a gold amnesty scheme amid a recent spike in smuggling kept markets agog on Wednesday, but the government called it a rumour. The buzz was on imposing a gold holding cap on individuals, allowing them to declare the excess volume and pay tax to get amnesty . But finance ministry officials called it impractical, adding a sudden announcement of a threshold limit would be arbitrary “This is not . practically possible. The idea was mooted by NITI Aayog long ago and was dismissed by the then finance minister (Jaitley),” an official said. Analysts agreed. Said Pritam Kumar Patnaik, Head Commodities, Reliance Commodities, “the probability of the government launching a gold amnesty scheme anytime soon looks unlikely However, the government .” 20 per cent smuggled About 154 tonnes gold (20 per cent) entered India through unofficial channels in 2018, as compared to 134 tonnes in 2017 India’s total import of gold in 2018 was about 760 tonnes is considering taking strict measures to curb smuggling and hoarding, as recent weeks have seen a steep hike in gold smuggling cases. “There had been steep rise in gold smuggling. Both the custom and income tax departments have been actively busting several rackets but more policy reforms are required. The government is considering ways to check gold hoarding,” a senior official from the finance ministry said. Officials are also looking at ways to get temples, institutions and people to recycle their hoarded gold, so as to create ample supply within the country to curb smuggling. Mobiles to keep ringing K Vijay Kumar, advisor to Governor Satya Pal Malik, dismissed speculation on suspending mobile services. “Mobile services won’t be suspended tomorrow,” he said. Wednesday was his last day in office Security measures While Vijay Kumar claimed people’s movements won’t be restricted, a security official said adequate measures would be put in place to ensure the day passes off peacefully Terrorist firing squad leaves villagers stunned H K H O G E N S I N G H & F AYA Z W A N I @ Kulgam (J&K) A semi-broken wooden staircase provides the only access to a room measuring not more than 6x10 ft on the first floor. Clothes hang on two strings tied across the room while gas stoves, cooking utensils, blankets and apples are strewn on the floor. A single bulb is the only source of electricity in this cold and squalid dwelling unit that served as home for the five labourers from Murshidabad in West Bengal who were gunned down in cold blood on Tuesday night barely 50 metres away . The militants, as yet unidentified but suspected to be a mix of local and foreign, dragged them out of their rented room, took them to a makeshift shed containing hay and wood cut from trees, and shot them dead. At the scene of the incident, blood diluted by water spilling out of a broken drinking water pipe and bullet marks on the wall bear testimony to the mindless two minutes of terror. The room is close to a J&K Bank branch where customers frequent during the daytime. According to the locals, seven labourers were living in that rented room. They had intended to leave for their native places on Tuesday, but due to non-availability of transport, they deferred it by a day a decision that , proved fatal. “Their killing is a loss for us. The whole village is shell shocked and in grief. My young daughter-in-law has not eaten anything since yesterday. She is in total shock,” said an elderly person Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, who lives close to the site where the six labourers were CONTINUED ON: P9 shot at. KUDANKULAM Malware scare not rumours, admits NPCIL EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai A day after the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) denied any hacking attempt on its control system, the Nuclear Power Cor poration of India (NPCIL) on Wednesday confirmed the presence of malware in one of the compute r s . H o w e v e r, t h e corporation stated there was no breach of its critical internal network. AK Nema, Associate Director (CP&CC) and Appellate Authority at NPCIL, said in an official statement: “Identification of malware in NPCIL system is correct. The matter was conveyed by CERT-In (Computer emergency response team) when it was noticed by them on September 4, 2019.” The matter was investigated immediately by the Department of Atomic Energy specialists. The investigation revealed that the infected computer belonged to a user connected to an internet network used for adminP2 istrative purposes.
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