thrissur l wednesday l march 24, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION India SKIPS votE on UNHRC Resolution ON sRI LANKA However, the resolution was adopted at the United Nations body as it garnered the support of 22 of the 47 member states India ASKS lanka to empower Tamils gLOBAL PRESSURE to probe war crimes Eleven members voted against the resolution titled ‘Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ tabled by the Core Group on Sri Lanka consisting of countries such as the UK, Canada and Germany. India, however, reiterated its demand to devolve political power to Tamils in Sri Lanka including holding early polls to provincial councils ■ ■ The resolution calls upon the Sri Lankan government to ensure thorough and impartial investigation on all its alleged war crimes The resolution was moved after a scathing report released by the UN rights watchdog in January warned that Colombo’s lack of accountability increased the risk of war crimes 14 Countries, including India, abstained from voting on the sri lanka resolution 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 Supreme Court ends moratorium interest riddle E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Devpts so far l The RBI in March 2020 announced a moratorium on loan instalments due until May (later extended to Aug). l Aim was to provide borrowers relief during the pandemic, enabling them to defer payments on EMIs. l In October 2020, the govt announced waiver of compound interest charged during this period on certain kinds of loans of up to I2 cr. The Supreme Court has ruled that compound interest on loans of all borrowers between March and August 2020 will be fully waived. This is nothing but a fiscal stimulus bearing an SC imprint and is, strangely, effective retrospectively It may also be the . first time interest-on-interest is being waived uniformly, which will cost the exchequer `15,000 crore. Of this, the Centre had presumably spent `5,500 crore. Hearing a batch of petitions, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan refused to allow a complete waiver of interest on loans, which the government pegged at `6 lakh crore. Such a sum could charge the earth and seriously impact the financial health of a string of banks. The SC also refused to extend the moratorium period beyond August 2020 Last October, the Centre agreed to waive interest-on-interest component for retail and small business loans up to `2 crore for six months. The benefit was extended to MSMEs, education loans, housing loans, loans for con- 4 lakh & counting. Voter fraud row gets murkier Oppn blames CPM, chief minister denies charge, poll panel chief says Chennithala’s fresh complaints too being looked into E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram THE row over multiple entries in the voters’ list has got murkier with Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala alleging that he had pointed out as many as four lakh such cases to the Election Commission. Chennithala went on to allege that officials affiliated to the ruling CPM were facilitating bogus voting, a charge vehemently denied by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. In a Facebook post, Chennithala commended the poll panel and Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena for agreeing to look into the complaints which were given with proper evidence. The Congress leader also demanded action against all officials who have created multiple entries in the electoral rolls. “The four lakh bogus voters have entered the voters’ list move behind the duplication of when the difference of votes be- voters’ names,” Pinarayi told tween the LDF and the UDF in reporters in Alappuzha. an election is just between one According to the CM, the lakh and two lakh,” Chennith- CEO had already clarified that ala reminded. He added that duplication of voters had hapsuch irregularities were ram- pened earlier as well. “The ofpant in Kasaragod and Kannur ficials are examining it and districts where polling booths they will take necessary acare virtually controlled by the tion,” he said. ruling CPM. ChenMeanwhile, Meena nithala said he had told TNIE that the fresh KERALA ASSEMBLY also informed the complaints of ChenELECTIONS CEO about the malnithala are also being practice of using a looked into. “The Oppoperson’s photo to sition Leader has given create bogus voters a list of certain constitin different names uencies, but we have deand addresses. cided to conduct a thorMeanwhile, Pinarayi termed o u g h c h e c k i n a l l 1 4 0 the Opposition’s allegations of constituencies,” Meena said. voter fraud baseless. “The list of multiple entries “The people, whose names is being prepared and the Booth were added to the voters’ list, Level Officers (BLOs) have clearly said they were Congress been instructed to carry out workers and that the party house verfication of such cases leaders included them in the to prevent bogus voting,” Meelist. There was no organised na said. 2021 love you dear! sumer durables, credit card dues, auto loans, personal and professional loans and consumption loans. The waiver will now be extended to all borrowers, including large industries. Any amount collected as compound interest shall be adjusted to the next instalments payable. The SC also lifted asset standstill on loans. This means, banks are now free to classify loans as bad if they deemed so and make recoveries. It is estimated the NPAs will swell by `1.3 lakh to `8.5 lakh crore. ‘Judges should deal with fiscal matters warily’ New Delhi: Judges should ‘very warily’ encroach upon the field of economic and fiscal regulatory measures as they are not experts in these matters, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday. What is best for the national economy should ultimately to be decided by the government and the RBI on the aid and advise of the experts, the bench pointed out. “There are matters regarding which judges and the lawyers of the courts can hardly be expected to have much knowledge by reasons of their training and expertise,” said the bench. e x p r e ss r e a d Kodiyeri’s wife evades customs interrogation for second time Kochi: CPM senior leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s wife Vinodhini did not turn up for the customs interrogation for the second time as part of the probe into the dollar smuggling case on Tuesday. Customs had summoned her to appear at its office in Kochi by 10am. ED moves HC, seeks CBI probe into Crime Branch case Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) approached the High Court seeking a CBI probe into the state Crime Branch’s action of filing a case against certain unnamed agency officials for allegedly forcing Swapna Suresh, accused in the gold smuggling case, to give statements against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Deceased teen’s father missing since Sunday Kochi: The police on Tuesday launched a massive search operation for the father of the 13-year-old girl who was found floating in the Muttar river on Monday. Her father Sanu has been untraceable over the past two days. The duo was last seen travelling from Alappuzha to Kochi. 45+ eligibile for vax shots from next month S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi Rahul Gandhi hugs Elikuttiamma, 73, and Annamma, 85, on his way to Pala to attend a UDF election campaign on Tuesday. The two elderly women showered their blessings on the Congress leader and conveyed their regards to his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi . The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday approved Covid-19 vaccination for all citizens above 45 years across the country beginning April 1, adding an estimated 18-19 crore people to the beneficiary list. By expanding the ambit, about 30% of the India’s 1.3 billion population can expect to shield themselves against the pandemic. The vaccines can be taken free of cost in government hospitals or by paying `250 per dose in private facilities. “I appeal to every citizen who is 45 or above to register for vaccination,” Union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said after the Cabinet meeting. “This decision has been taken by the Cabinet on the basis of the advice of the coronavirus task force and experts,” he said, assuring there is enough supply of vaccine to ensure immunisation of all eligible beneficiaries. The expansion of the vaccination drive comes in wake of what looks like a second wave of the pandemic in several states. ‘NYAY will be tested in Kerala’ Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, MP, said the party’s Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) scheme would be tested in Kerala if the UDF comes to power. P6 Modi took money out of people’s pocket using demonetisation and GST. He is an instrument of two or three people who want to drain India of its wealth, an entity that will do anything for power Rahul Gandhi, former Congress chief Sabarimala darshan To end foul play, TDB to relaunch queue system M S V i d ya n a n d a n @ T’Puram As the Sabarimala women entry issue takes centre stage in the assembly election, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is suspecting foul play to sabotage the pilgrimage. The low conversion rate of darshan bookings into actual visits could be the result of an organised attempt, according to TDB president N Vasu. The board plans to counter this through a new virtual queue system wherein a nominal charge would be levied for darshan bookings. “On average, the actual turnout was less than 50 per cent of the bookings, both during the annual pilgrimage season and the ongoing Uthram festival season. The average footfall these days is less than 3,000 which is not even half the number of actual bookings,” Vasu told TNIE. “Mass bookings are made in the names of 10 or 100 persons and none of them would turn up for darshan. We suspect a foul play in that. It could be an organised effort and is pretty easy because there is no fee for booking. There could be people who want to make the pilgrimage a failure,” he said. On whether the board would demand the government to carry out a probe, Vasu said it was a difficult and futile exercise. ● More on P7 Swapna-Sarith’s depositions catch speaker on wrong foot P R a m d a s @ Kochi ALREADY in the eye of a storm over his questionable role in the gold smuggling and reverse hawala cases, it has come out in the open that Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan had wanted to start a branch of Oman-based Middle East College, in which he allegedly has stakes, in Sharjah. Besides, he had requested the Sharjah ruler to provide land free of cost to construct the college building, according to key accused Swapna Suresh’s deposition to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which got leaked to the media on Tuesday . In another damning revelation, Sarith P S, another accused, stated that the speaker had given him a bag containing around ten bundles of currency notes for handing over to the UAE consulgeneral. The contents of the depositions were revealed to the High Court as part of ED’s petition opposing the state Crime Branch’s probe against its officials. The petition seeks a CBI inquiry into the Crime Branch’s action of registering a case ac- cusing the agency’s officials of forcing Swapna to give a statement implicating the chief minister in the two cases when she was lodged in the Women’s Jail at Attakkulangara in Thiruvananthapuram. According to her deposition before the ED deputy director at the jail on December 15, 2020, Sreeramakrishnan had told her that he had an investment in Middle East College. The ED also unearthed Swapna’s WhatsApp messages to CM’s for mer principal secretary M Sivasankar in this regard. According to Swapna, Lafeer, an NRI from Ponnani, Malappuram, is the owner of Middle East College in Oman. She was introduced to Lafeer and Kiran, a native of Thiruvananthapuram and dean of the college, by Sreeramakrishnan and Sivasankar. Sreeramakrishnan wanted to start a branch of the college in Sharjah and he had requested the Sharjah ruler for land for the same. Sreeramakrishnan, Siavsankar, Kiran and Lafeer asked her to relocate to Sharjah and head their business development wing in the Middle ● More on P7 East.
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