KOCHI l SUNDAY l JULY 12, 2020 l `8.00 l PAGES 24 l LATE CITY EDITION IPHONE MAKER FOXCONN MAY PUMP $1 BN INTO TN PLANT The company is under strong pressure from Apple to slowly shift production of iPhones out of China, Reuters reported TWITTER ABOUT 6,000 NEW JOBS OVER THREE YEARS BIG BOOST FOR MAKE IN INDIA A total of $1 billion will be invested over three years in the Sriperumbudur plant, sources told the news agency. This will create about 6,000 jobs. Foxconn currently makes iPhone XR in Chennai. Once expanded, the facility would produce other models as well. This will let Apple avoid import dues and make its products more competitive in the Indian market ■ ■ Apple can also utilise India’s cheaper labour force, and with the gradual expansion of its supplier base here, it could use the country as a significant export hub, the report noted The big-ticket investment would be a major boost for PM Modi’s Make in India campaign, and would hit China where it hurts | P10 Apple ACCOUNTS FOR ABOUT 1% OF TOTAL SMARTPHONE SALES IN INDIA 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 COVID WORRIES Local transmission cases spiral, special focus on seven dists E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram THE Covid-19 infection through local contact continues to increase in Kerala signalling that the state could be moving towards community transmission. Of the 488 fresh cases reported on Saturday, 234 people contracted the infection through primary or secondary contacts, while the sources of infection of 20 people remain unknown. This is for the second time in a row that contact cases have crossed the 200 mark. The state has come out with special strategies and action plans for districts like Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Malappuram, Ernakulam, Kasaragod, Kollam and Wayanad, where the spread of infection is a cause for grave concern. “The state is dealing with a high-risk situation. It will be only a matter of time for the state to enter the stage of community transmission. At this time, the Opposition outfits should self-introspect on the propriety of organising protests. The government is not against protests, but in the time of a public health emergency, by holding such protests, the outfits not only jeopardise the life of protesters but society as a whole,” said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Mentioning the special strategies/action plan for some districts, the chief minister said that in Thiruvananthapuram, a 150-bed Covid First-Line Treatment Centre will be set up at Poonthura on a war footing. Awareness campaigns in containment zones are also on. In the case of Ernakulam, following confirmation of Covid cases, wide-scale testing was conducted at Chellanam and 13 positive cases were identified. The CM added that as two persons associated with the Aluva market got infected, the market is being considered as a cluster. Detailing the measures taken in Alappuzha, which re- Biocon drug gets nod Bengaluru: Biotechnology major Biocon on Saturday announced that its “breakthrough drug,” itolizumab has received Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) approval for its use in moderate to severe Covid cases |P7 Study raises questions New Delhi: A cohort study of Covid19 patients in Kota found that a majority of those admitted to hospitals there had no symptoms and was not in need for hospital care, negatively affecting those in real need KERALA CASE DIARY 488 3,442 cases reported on Saturday under treatment 7,438 3,965 cases have been confirmed so far recovered 4 MIGRATED DEATHS 29 COVID DEATH TOLL RISES TO 29 The Covid death toll in the state rose to 29 after the swab samples of Balakrishnan, a 79-year-old native of Pulluvazhi near Perumbavoor, who died on Friday, tested positive on Saturday corded the highest cases on Saturday (87), the CM said the government has directed the officials concerned to give special attention to and enforce restrictions in Thamarakkulam-Nooranad areas and Kayamkulam’s coastal areas. With a spike in cases, Cherthala taluk was declared a containment zone on Saturday. According to the CM, a high alert has been declared in Malappuram as various places in the district reported cases due to contact. He added that a total lockdown has been declared in Ponnani taluk on Sunday after considering the situation there. “In Kasaragod, five got infected from shops that sell vegetables/fruits. Due to the same, restrictions have been imposed on market places till July 17. Special pass has also been made mandatory for vehicles which bring vegetables from Mangaluru. For Wayanad, a special action plan has been readied for tribal dwelling areas. And for Kollam, the areas where they live and are doing business have been brought under surveillance,” said the CM. ● More on P4 Swapna, Sandeep in NIA net Big breakthrough in gold smuggling case; no answers yet on how they fled to Bengaluru amid Covid curbs BALA CHAUHAN & T O B Y A N T O N Y @ Bengaluru/Kochi THE National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday evening detained Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the key suspects in the Kerala gold smuggling case, from a hotel in Koramangala in Bengaluru, top sources told The New Sunday Express. They had managed to evade investigators ever since 30kg gold, being smuggled as part of a diplomatic consignment, was seized at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5. Swapna’s minor daughter and another minor, who had accompanied the suspects, were also reportedly present at the time of the duo’s detention. “Swapna and Sandeep are being questioned by the NIA in Bengaluru and they will be arrested in due course. After arrest, they will be taken to Kerala and produced before the special court there,” said an officer. According to highly placed sources, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair had reportedly travelled to Bengaluru in a WHO HELPED SWAPNA FLEE? Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair were reportedly helped by some Kerala government officials to cross borders. Reports said they were in Kochi for four days after leaving her apartment at Ambalamukku in Thiruvananthapuram. She met lawyers in Kochi to make preparations for obtaining anticipatory bail, sources said. P4 Swapna Suresh JULY 5: Customs department opened the consignment and found 30.24kg of gold worth 13.5 cr private car along with her husband Jagmohan, their minor daughter and another child. A former employee of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, Swapna is a key suspect in the gold smuggling bid and was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after NIA took over the investigation. According to sources, an investigation into close contacts and travel history of Sandeep led to a search for the duo in Bengal- JUNE 30: A diplomatic consignment addressed to the UAE Consulate arrived at the cargo section of Thiruvananthapuram airport. Customs department, which received an alert, withheld the consignment and wrote to MEA. Sandeep Nair Swapna Suresh later contacts Customs Assistant commissioner requesting to release the consignment Customs arrests Sarith P S, a former PRO at the UAE Consulate uru. Both will be brought to Kochi after obtaining a transit warrant on Sunday. “We have detained them. More details will be received following an interrogation which is underway a senior ,” NIA official in Kochi said. A customs officer said the duo could not have escaped to Karnataka without “some help”. “It is surprising to know that they were found in Bengaluru. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, we did not expect them to move out @ New Delhi THE Centre has asked the states and medical colleges across the country to focus on providing standard care for Covid-19 patients and advised against the indiscriminate use of investigational therapies. The advisory comes amid reports of a mad rush to use experimental drugs such as remdesivir and tocilizumab to treat Covid-19 cases. FROM July 13, the Supreme Court will start hearing miscellaneous as well as regular matters, bringing some respite to lawyers as well as litigants. This comes at a time when courts across the country seem to have been crippled by the Covid-19 lockdown. The judiciary, already reeling under huge pendency of JULY 11: NIA takes Swapna Suresh and Sandeep into custody Bachchan, Abhishek test positive for Covid-19 Mumbai: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek were on Saturday admitted to Nanavati Hospital here after they tested positive for Covid-19. The Bachchans, who are at the hospital, shared their health update on Twitter. Abhishek said both his father and he had mild symptoms and requested everybody to be calm and not panic. WITH THIS ISSUE READING MINDS PLUS 12 PAGES Bad loan mess may get messier, warns RBI guv noted. In this context, he called for a recapitalisation plan for public sector banks RESERVE Bank of India Gov- as well as private banks. ernor Shaktikanta Das on SatDas said the banking reguurday warned that the eco- lator has already directed all nomic fallout due to the lenders and non-banking ficoronavirus pandemic may nancial firms to take stock of worsen the bad loan situation critical processes, revisit in the country and urged their business continuity banks to guard against capital plans and conduct stress test erosion. on their balance “The economic imsheets to evaluate the pact of the pandemic risk posed by the -- due to lockdown and pandemic. anticipated post lockThe RBI governor down compression in also warned of the adeconomic growth -verse impact of stress may result in higher on banks over housnon-performing asing finance compasets and capital eronies and mutual sion of banks,” Das It has become a funds. “While the lot more said. NBFC sector as a important that He was addressing whole may still look the banks the seventh SBI Bankresilient, the redempimprove ing and Economics tion pressure on NBgovernance, Conclave through a FCs and mutual funds sharpen risk management video call. Calling the need close monitorskills and raise pandemic “the biging, “ he said. capital on an gest test of robustDas called for a leganticipatory ness and resilience of islative backing for a basis instead of our economic and fi‘resolution corporawaiting for a nancial system, Das situation to arise tion’ to deal with the said the outlook for financial sector RBI Governor economic recovery stress. Shaktikanta Das still remains uncer“The approach tain and will depend has been to merge a o n h o w t h e p a n d e m i c field bank with a larger bank. unfolds. While that definitely protects “The Indian economy has the depositors’ interest, it started showing signs of get- also tends to pull down the ting back to normalcy in re- balance sheet of the larger sponse to the staggered easing bank to which the failed of restrictions,” he said add- bank is merged. We need leging it is still uncertain when islative backing to have a ressupply chains will be restored olution corporation which fully Also, it is not clear how has to deal with revival of . long will it take for demand stressed financial firms,” Das conditions to normalise, he argued. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE WAIT CONTINUES An elderly woman waits for free food being distributed by voluntary groups, at East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram where lockdown is in place. Despite the government asking the elderly not to venture out, she has no choice | VINCENT PULICKAL “These can be used in specific sub-groups of patients on the basis of informed and shared decision making with the patient before prescribing these drugs..their indiscriminate use or use in conditions for which they are not desirable, may cause more harm than good,” the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement. Experts from ICMR and AIIMS, Delhi on Friday underlined that for moderate and se- vere cases, adequate oxygen support, appropriate and timely administration of blood thinners and the use of widely available and inexpensive corticosteroids should be considered the mainstay of Covid-19 treatment. The ministry said, available evidence for remdesivir suggests it may decrease the time for clinical improvement when used in moderate to severe cases, but there has been no evidence of reduced mortality . “It has to be used with extreme caution due to its potential for liver and kidney injury,” the ministry noted. “Similarly, for tocilizumab, studies have not shown any benefits in mortality reduction. Rampant use is to be discouraged since the drug’s main purpose is to suppress a Covidinduced immune reaction.” The health ministry recommended the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat mild cases. Courts bear brunt of lockdown; expect relief from Monday cases, has found ‘virtual hearings’ have not brought much relief as these are meant only for urgent matters. For regular cases, both lawyers and litigants are facing a tough time. In nor mal circumstances, the top court takes a two-month vacation every summer. This year, it has slashed the vacation time to just two weeks but it JULY 9: Centre entrusts NIA with probe HARDLY a week after the seizure of gold at the Thiruvananthapuram airport, the probe into the smuggling case has reached the flat taken on rent by Chief Minister’s former principal secretary and IT secretary M Sivasankar. The Customs raided the flat near the Secretariat on Friday — the inspection lasting around one-and-a-half hours — after Sarith P S told investigators that he and Swapna Suresh used to discuss gold deals there. The sleuths seized the visitors’ register of the complex and CCTV footage to verify whether the suspects had visited the flat. On Saturday officers questioned the , caretaker and security guards and seized the register containing the details of persons staying there. They checked the registers and other details for more than six hours. Meanwhile, Sivasankar told reporters that he welcomes any probe. “Let the probe go on. I can’t say anything more at this moment,” he said. The customs also raided the house of Sandeep Nair at Pathmakallu near Nedumangad late Saturday ● More on P4 . EXPRESS READ PANDEMIC BLUES K A N U S A R D A @ New Delhi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @T’Puram of Kerala. Now, we will wait till NIA procedures are over so that we can take them into our custody for interrogation and collecting evidence,” he said. The counsel for NIA and the Centre had told the Kerala high court that Swapna had criminal antecedents and was “involved” in arranging diplomatic papers for smuggling of over 30kg of gold which was seized by the customs early this week in Thiruvananthpuram. Govt warns against rush to use experimental drugs EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Customs raids Sivasankar’s flat ON THE GOLD TRAIL hasn’t helped matters. The main reason for hearing less number of cases during lockdown is non-availability of infrastructure for virtual hearings. In the Supreme Court and high courts, special arrangements were made only after the pandemic spread. Beginning from efiling to virtual court hearings, all was done during this period. Several glitches crop up every day, at times frustrating lawyers and judges. The Supreme Court had suspended the entry of lawyers and litigants to the court premises a day before the lockdown began in March. Later, a judicial direction was given, asking high courts to operate similarly The high courts, too, issued . orders to the subordinate judiciary to hear cases through video-conferencing. Since March 23, a total of 618 benches have heard 6,994 cases, in addition to 150 matters that were heard by the Registrar. During this period, the Supreme Court delivered 672 judgments in 134 main and 538 connected matters. In normal circumstances, these numbers would nearly be double as on an average, the Supreme Court hears hundreds of cases on each working day .
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