kottayam l tuesday l november 17, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Wholesale inflation soars to 8-month high in October Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation rose to 1.48% last month, as manufactured products turned costlier Manufactured goods drive the index Why wpi-based inflation is important This is the highest level of WPI inflation since February’s 2.26%, govt data showed on Monday. What fuelled the inflation rate was manufactured items such as pharmaceutical products and metals, which witnessed higher demand in the aftermath of lifting of lockdown restrictions. Experts say WPI data makes the case for RBI to maintain status quo in policy rates ■ ■ Both WPI and Consumer Price Index (CPI) are used to calculate the inflation rate. WPI tells us about inflation at the business level while CPI indicates price rise at the consumer level October CPI inflation was at 7.61%. Certain WPI items, such as fuel, are closely linked to global prices, creating a gap with CPI WPI Measures changes in prices of goods sold and traded in bulk 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 ED arrested me after I refused to name political targets: Sivasankar T O B Y A N T O N Y @ Kochi FORMER principal secretary M Sivasankar, who has been remanded in judicial custody on charges of money laundering in connection with the gold smuggling case, alleged on Monday that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested him because he refused to name po- litical targets. Sivasankar stated so in a counter argument after the ED filed a report opposing his bail plea at the special court in Kochi dealing with cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The court is set to deliver the verdict in the bail petition on Tuesday . His counsel filed a petition claiming that ED has adopted dishonest and unethical practices to frame him. “Sivasankar was pressurised to name a few political targets of ED’s choice which he refused and consequently he was arrayed as an accused and was arrested,” said the argument note. The IAS officer also claimed that he was an easy political target because of the post he held. “Sivasankar was purposefully dragged into controversy apparently due to the post held by him whereby he had proximity to the executive head of the state. Therefore, the applicant is a ED refutes allegations Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate denied allegations raised by M Sivasankar. The agency claimed that all the WhatsApp chats by Sivasankar, which prove his involvement in the case, were not included in the argument note. Nitish sworn in, Bihar gets first woman Dy CM Five-time legislator At 62, Renu Devi represents Bettiah in the Assembly. She entered public life through the Durga Vahini, a VHP wing for women. She served as minister for sports and culture in 2005-09 Two deputy chief ministers Renu Devi and Tarkishore Prasad in 14-member ministry R a j es h K u mar T h a k u r @ Patna While Nitish Kumar was on Monday sworn-in as Bihar chief minister for the fourth consecutive term, the bigger talking point was around his two deputies from the BJP, one of whom is a woman. Renu Devi, five-time MLA from Bettiah, also became the first-ever deputy chief minister of the state. Her appointment was perhaps meant to acknowledge the role of women as the silent voters in this Assembly elections. And Tarkishore Prasad, who retained his Katihar seat for four consecutive terms and considers Sushil Kumar Modi as his mentor, is the other deputy chief minister. Sushil Modi was Nitish’s deputy in the previous cabinet. Governor Phagu Chauhan administered the oath of office and secrecy to Nitish and his cabinet colleagues in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP chief J P Nadda and others. After the ceremony, Nitish chose to deflect persistent media questions as to why BJP’s Sushil Modi was dropped. “It is the BJP’s discretion… better ask them,” he said. He also avoided questions on the two deputy CMs who were seated to his left during the swearing-in as per protocol. The 12 other ministers sworn in include Santosh Kumar Suman, an MLC and son of former chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha founder Jitan Ram Manjhi, and Mukesh Sahani, the founder of the Vi k a s s h e e l I n s a a n Party . Analysts saw in the choice of the two deputy CMs the BJP’s attempt to consolidate its extremely backward caste and trading community vote banks as Renu Devi belongs to the EBC and Tarkishore Prasad hails from the vaishya community which , Sushil Modi represented in the previous cabinet. “Renu Devi’s appointment indicates the empowerment of women in the party said a leader. ,” Mentored by Sushil Modi Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan (R) congratulates Nitish Kumar after latter took oath as the Chief Minister for a seventh term in Patna on Monday | PTI Congratulations to @NitishKumar Ji on taking oath as Bihar’s CM. I also congratulate all those who took oath as Ministers in the Bihar Government - Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Rift wide open in Congress as Sibal and Gehlot spar over soul-less performance EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi The Congress’ dismal performance in Bihar appears to have further widened the rift within the party with senior leader Kapil Sibal openly criticising the party leadership and Rajasathan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot slamming the ex-Union minister for raising internal issues in public and “hurting the sentiments” of party workers. On Monday, Sibal tweeted a media interview in which he hits out at Congress’s central leaders for their “business as usual” attitude despite the party’s poor show in elections. Sibal’s views were backed by Congress Working Committee member Tariq Anwar, who said the party needs to introspect and act “before it is too late”. Berating Sibal’s comments, Gehlot said he shouldn’t have mentioned the party’s internal matters in media. “Congress has seen various crises including 1969, 1977, 1989 and later in the 1996. But every time we came out stronger due to our ideology programmes, policies , and firm belief in party leadership... We shall overcome this time too,” said Gehlot. The Rajasthan CM said there could be various reasons for electoral losses but the rank and file of the Congress support the party leadership. Suresh, was generated from gold smuggling with his active support. Later, ED backtracked from its earlier claim in a report filed before the court on November 5 and stated that the money in the locker was a kickback received from one Khalid in connection with the LIFE ● More on P4 Mission project. More relief as Moderna finds its shot is 94.5% effective in early trials E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi The race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine picked up pace on Monday with US biotech firm Moderna announcing its candidate was 94.5% effective in interim analysis of its phase 3 trials, which involved more than 30,000 volunteers. Two aspects stood out. One, the shot was also found to save severe cases; and two, the vaccine can be stored at -200C in a normal refrig erator for six months as against competitor Pfizer’s -700C to -800C, which is not easy to manage. P f i z e r h a d re c e n t ly claimed its vaccine candidate was over 90% effective in early results. Soon after, the Russian government said its Sputnik V which has also entered , into a distribution and phase 3 trial partnership with an Indian company was 92% effec, tive as per early results. Moderna now plans to seek emergency use authorization with the US Food and Drug Administration and regulators in other countries. By this year-end, the company plans to have 20 million doses of the vaccine ready for the US. It will manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses for global use next year. The first interim analysis was based on 95 cases, of which 90 were observed in the placebo group and five in the vaccinated group who were given two doses, 28 days apart. Like Pfizer, Moderna’s candidate uses a technology called messenger RNA that has never been used before to build an approved vaccine. In all, there were 11 severe cases in the first interim analysis, all of which were in the placebo group, which means they were given dummy shots, not the real thing. Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech announced start of phase 3 trials of its Covaxin. abuse attempt by covid centre staffer on woman Accused took the complainant to a deserted floor of a hospital in Kozhikode on the pretext of meeting a doctor and tried to molest her | P4 RSS leader Ram Madhav gave nod to move against KIIFB, says FM Isaac ACTOR ABDUCTION Ordeal at trial left survivor in tears: Counsel EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @Alappuzha E xpress N ews S ervice @ Kochi The survivor in the actor abduction and sexual assault case on Monday submitted before the Kerala High Court that there were attempts to harass and intimidate her during the cross-examination which had left her in tears most of the time. Counsel for the victim submitted that his client believed that she will be more comfortable with a woman judge and she had approached the High Court seeking to constitute a special court presided by a woman judge. It was allowed by the High Court. “But now see the hardship she had to undergo? During the trial, she was forced to undergo the ordeal of cross-examination for about nine to 10 days during which irrelevant and unnecessary questions maligning her character were posed,” said the counsel. When the petitions filed by the survivor and the state government seeking to transfer the trial came up for hearing, Senior Advocate S Sreekumar, counsel for the victim, submitted that she was compelled to narrate the horrendous incident before a large number of ● More on P5 advocates. Tarkishore Prasad, 64, is not a graduate, but he has held a string of positions in the BJP. Elected from Katihar for 4th time. Sushil Modi proposed his name as leader of the legislature party victim of association and nothing more,” his counsel claim in the report. Sivasankar contested his arrest and ED’s claim at the Kerala High Court when his anticipatory bail plea was considered. He said one of the main grounds for his arrest was that the amount recovered from the s e c o n d a c c u s e d , S w ap n a Unending woes Padma Rajappan, 80, a resident of Thanthonni Thuruthu, removes the sludge which got deposited in the courtyard of her house following a high tide on Sunday night. The residents of the island, situated 350 metres away from Kochi city, have been requesting for an outer bund and bridge for decades, but the authorities have turned a blind eye to their demands | A Sanesh Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said here on Monday that the CAG report on the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) came about after RSS leader Ram Madhav’s green signal to move against KIIFB. During a press conference, Isaac said Madhav -- a leader of the Sangh Parivar-outfit Swadeshi Jagran Manch -- gave the nod after a meeting of its leaders at Ramanilayam in Thrissur. “The move is aimed at destroying the state’s development by sabotaging the functioning of KIIFB. Congress leader Mathew Kuzhalnadan is implementing the united agenda of BJP-Congress to destroy the constitutional organisation. The people of the state are realising the motive behind the move,” Isaac said. He said KIIFB was formed according to a law formulated Pinarayi comes down on central agencies T’Puram: Central agencies are circling above state’s bureaucrats to make them indifferent to development projects, CM Pinarayi Vijayan has said. His outburst came while explaining the government’s position on the controversy surrounding KIIFB. by the state assembly . “It is corporate in nature and the legislature has powers to constitute organisations. Such power is entrusted with the central government and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Coal India were formed using such powers. They are corporate bodies under the central government. The Congress-BJP alliance is trying to destroy such a corporate body formed for the development of the entire state,” the finance minister said. Terming the case politically motivated, he demanded the Congress and Mathew to explain the case to the people. ● More on P4 L700-cr project e x p r e ss r e a d Chottanikkara temple to get golden roof, ring roads & hosp Ornaments worth L1.5cr stolen from Eloor shop E xpress N ews S ervice @ Kochi CHOTTANIKKARA Devi Temple, one of the most ancient and prominent temples in Kerala, is all set to get a `700-crore facelift. Gaanasravan, a Bengaluru-based gold merchant, has offered to sponsor the project as ‘thanksgiving to the deity for the bountiful blessings” he received. Gaanasravan, who visited the temple along with his family members and Swamiji Group of Companies’ top officials on Monday, said he has offered to cover the temple’s sanctum sanctorum using gold and build a 500-bed super specialty hospital in order to provide free treatment to all. “The super speciality hospital will offer free treatment to all, irrespective of religion, caste or creed. We plan to build seven guest houses of 300 rooms each and a VIP guest house. An old-age home, which can accommodate 200 people, too will be built. There will also be an orphanage and a 5,000-seat auditorium. We’ll develop Chottanikkara as an international pilgrimage centre on the lines of Tirupati,” said Gaanasravan. We’ll develop Chottanikkara as an Apart from widening the international pilgrimage centre on roads in the town, two ring the lines of Tirupati — Gaanasravan roads will be developed. There will also be a water purification plant, sewage treatment plant and a dedicated parking lot. Massive gopurams will be built using laterite stones at the easter n and wester n entrances. The pond in front of Keezhkavu will be renovated and a dining hall for free distribution of food will be built at an expense ● More on P5 of `3 crore. Kochi: Miscreants broke into a jewellery shop at Eloor in Kochi and decamped with gold and silver ornaments worth H1.5 crore in the early hours of Monday. The theft at Aiswarya Jewellers came to light when nearby shop owners found a portion of the rear wall damaged, said police. The burglars entered after drilling the wall of a barbershop, which is adjacent to the shop. They also cut the shop’s power supply | P5
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