THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l Sunday l march 07, 2021 l `8.00 l PAGES 24 l late city edition after shock senate upset, Imran secures trust vote The Pakistan PM got 178 votes on Saturday after the 10-party Opposition boycotted the voting alleging procedural lapses Show of strength to boost party morale Opposition leaders manhandled Imran Khan is not required to prove his majority under the amended Pakistani constitution. The unilateral call was seen as Imran’s attempt to boost his party’s morale after Wednesd ay’s defeat of his finance minister to ex-PM Gilani, who was backed by the Opposition amalgam PDM. Imran needed 172 votes to stay at helm in the House of 342 ■ ■ Days after questioning the Election Commission’s role in the Senate upset, Imran promised electoral reforms, including introducing EVMs and granting voting rights to oveseas citizens Unsavoury scenes were witnessed outside Parliament when Imran’s supporters tried to disrupt a presser by the PDM leader 176 Votes secured by imran’s pakistan tehreek-i-insaf three years ago 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 CAGed? Top audit body’s reports on Centre’s money management down 75% Cause of delay K u m a r V i k r a m @ New Delhi A source said the delay was due to the office starting audit of subjects which are of crosscutting themes. Such reports likely take more time, he added The number of reports brought out by the country’s top audit body, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, has come down sharply in the past five years, raising concerns that the government’s financial accountability is not coming under the CAG’s gaze closely . The total number of CAG reports relating to central gov- ernment ministries and departments came down from 55 in 2015 to just 14 in 2020, a fall of nearly 75%, a reply to an RTI application filed by this newspaper said. The CAG’s mandate is to serve as a watchdog, bringing out financial, performance and compliance reports of the government. “The constitution of India has entrusted the CAG with the responsibility of audit of ac- counts of the union and states and other entities. The CAG is the supreme audit institution of India and is expected to promote financial accountability and transparency in the affairs of the audited entities,” the CAG said in its 2019-20 own performance report. The power its reports yield came out starkly during the United Progressive Alliance gover nment of Manmohan Customs dials Kodiyeri wife over iPhone linked to LIFE scandal Vinodini summoned for quizzing on March 10; she denies any connection with Unitac MD phones distributed by Unitac MD Santhosh Eapen. Putting the CPM further on The customs is learnt to have the defensive ahead of the as- recovered the SIM card of the sembly polls, the customs will phone. In his statement to the interrogate Vinodini, wife of customs, Santhosh had reformer CPM state secretary vealed that he gave the iPhones Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who as bribe for obtaining the was found to be using one of project contract. the iPhones that the Meanwhile, VinodiUnitac Builders MD had ni has denied any condistributed as gifts to nection with Santhose who helped him thosh, while the latter get the Wadakkanchery maintained that he LIFE Mission contract. had given the particuVinodini has been lar iPhone to former summoned to customs UAE Consul General Vinodini Kochi office for interroJamal Husein Rahma gation on March 10. Husein al Zaabi. In the case pertaining Customs officials to LIFE Mission — Kerwill question Vinodini ala government’s flagto know from where ship housing project — she got the iPhone and corruption allegations why she stopped using were raised that the it immediately after Kodiyeri Balakrishnan contract to construct the gold smuggling 144 apartments was scam broke out. awarded to Unitac at the behest The latest development has of M Sivasankar, then princi- put the CPM in a spot when the pal secretary to CM, in 2019. party has been striving hard to Customs officials told TNIE resist allegations regarding the that they issued notice to Vin- role of Chief Minister Pinarayi odini after a probe found that Vijayan and Speaker P Sreerathe iPhone with a specific IMEI makrishnan in the gold and number was used by a mobile dollar smuggling cases, espephone number taken in Vinodi- cially following the customs’ ni’s address. The particular submission in the High Court P5 iPhone was one of the six on Friday . E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Kochi I n t e r v iew ‘BJP-CPM hidden pact can’t be ruled out in state’ Former chief minister Oommen Chandy said a hidden pact between BJP and CPM cannot be ruled out, going by the recent developments in state. The CPM agenda is to ensure a second term and BJP wants to garner a few seats, he said. In an interview to TNIE Assistant Editor Cynthia Chandran, Chandy said Congress is confident people will rally behind it in the polls. Oommen Chandy | Q&A: p2 express read CD scare: 6 K’taka mins get court injunction Bengaluru: With sleazegate already scalping one minister in the B S Yediyurappa cabinet, six others — Shivaram Hebbar, B C Patil, S T Somashekhar, Dr K Sudhakar, Narayana Gowda and Byrathi Basavaraj — on Saturday secured a temporary injunction from a city civil and sessions court restraining media from telecasting or publishing any news or showing footage and pictures defamatory. Earlier, former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi got a similar injunction order. P5 WITH THIS ISSUE In Praise of Older Women PLUS 12 PAGES LDF workers taking out a protest march to the customs zonal office in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday | Vincent Pulickal Central agencies helping BJP-Cong alliance in state: CM E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram As the state got into the election mode, the central enforcement agencies have finally resorted to ‘poozhikadakan’ — the last of the 18 techniques in ‘Kalaripayattu’ which is considered an evasive measure done in desperately disadvantageous situations — to put the state government on the mat with an eye on helping the Keralalevel Congress-BJP alliance, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said. Addressing the media in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday Pi, narayi said if the Enforcement Directorate has been trying to destroy KIIFB, now the customs has taken over the campaign for BJP and Congress in Kerala against the government. “The customs commissioner has submitted a statement recorded under Section 164 in the High Court in a case in which he was not a party The motive behind the move is . to tarnish the image of the state government,” he said. Pinarayi alleged that the customs commissioner has been dancing to the tune of some political leaders. “The commissioner had submitted the statement recorded in last November. Firstly, the statement under Section 164 should not be re● More on P2 vealed to anyone,” he said. Axar Patel and Rishabh Pant celebrate with the trophy after 3-1 series win over England | AFP India storm into WTC final Axar Patel and R Ashwin made a mockery of England to skittle them out for just 135 runs in the second innings on Saturday. India won by an innings and 25 runs to storm into World Test Championships final | P11 Stick to basics to nip 2nd wave: Centre E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ New Delhi Amid concerns that the second wave of Covid-19 is spreading across the country, the Centre has urged states to return to the fundamentals of pandemic control — test, track and treat. During a meeting on Saturday, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and V K Paul, member (health) Niti Aayog, asked top officials from Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Chandigarh to increase the share of RT-PCR tests in districts that depend on rapid antigen testing. These states, apart from eight others that have been a cause of concern for the past several weeks, have seen increased positivity and higher number of daily positive cases. Contact tracing States were asked to refocus on surveillance and containment of areas that are witnessing clusters and carry out an average close contact tracing of 20 persons per positive case. 55 key audits 45 Railway Defence 3 6 2011 4 3 2012 37 2013 2 2 42 7 5 2014 34 6 6 2015 4 3 2016 21 5 8 26 2017 23 4 6 14 2018 NUMBER of cag reports 2019 2 3 Source: RTI reply 2011 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 2020 3 0 39 Singh. Its scathing reports on the 2G auction, coal block auction, Adarsh housing society and the Commonwealth Games of 2010 blighted Singh’s corruption-free image. The information received through the RTI application revealed that the number of CAG reports tabled in Parliament was the highest in 10 years during the early years of the NDA government.But the numbers have fallen steadily after that. The RTI reply revealed that defence audit reports prepared and tabled in Parliament have also come down during the last few years. While eight audit reports were tabled in Parliament in 2017, it was zero last year. The story is repeated in railway audit reports. In 2017, five reports were prepared but it was only three in 2020. Continued on: P7 Suvendu to take on Mamata in Nandigram E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi/Kolkata Clash of titans While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is banking on her political war cry of ‘Ma, Mati, Manush’, the BJP is seeking to set the electoral narrative with Suvendu Adhikari against her. With the BJP unveiling its first list of 57 candidates for the eight-phase West Bengal Assembly elections on Saturday, the Nandigram constituency is set for a battle of titans after the saffron outfit pitched former state minister Suvendu Adhikari against chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Both the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress have fielded heavyweights, hoping to pin down each other in the constituency. BJP national general secretary Arun Singh announced the names of the candidates on Saturday at the party headquarters in Delhi even while the full might of the out- Suvendu Adhikari Mamata Banerjee fit was busy preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Brigade Ground election rally on Sunday . The BJP also sought to create another buzz by fielding former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh against another former senior police official, Humayun Kabir, from the Debra Assembly seat. Ghosh had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but lost. In line with the open-arm welcome to sitting legislators from other parties, the BJP fielded former CPM leader Tapashi Mondal from Haldia and Sudip Mukherjee, ex-TMC, from Purulia. The two had won the 2016 elections from the same seats. The BJP national general secretary said the first list has 19 Dalits and seven tribals but no minority face. While the chief minister is banking on her political war cry of Ma, Mati, Manush, the BJP is seeking to set the electoral narrative with Adhikari against her. The BJP is hoping that the politically influential Adhikari family can upset the chief minister. “Since his joining the BJP Adhikari has been , saying that he will defeat the chief minister by over 50,000 votes,” said a BJP leader.
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07-03-2021 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram