Kozhikode l saturday l march 27, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 22 l city EDITION S.C. dismisses plea to stay sale of electoral bonds The plea was moved by the Association for Democratic Reforms alleging lack of transparency in funding of political parties ‘No evidence of adverse impact on polls’ The NGO had claimed that the sale of electoral bonds before the Assembly elections would “increase illicit funding of political parties through shell companies”. Dismissing the plea, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said there is no evidence that electoral bonds would adversely impact elections. The SC said fresh electoral bonds can be issued from April 1 ■ A1 crore Transactions via banking channels ■ “The purchase as well as encashment of the bonds, happening only through banking channels, is always reflected in documents that eventually come to the public domain,” the order stated Donors can buy e-bonds from SBI and donate to political parties, which can encash them through their accounts within 15 days Is The highest denomination value of electoral bonds 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 With own probe, LDF gets back at Centre’s agencies Cabinet decides to launch judicial probe, awaits EC’s nod to appoint panel; it’s likely to examine Swapna’s statement against Pinarayi E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram Cabinet meeting decides to appoint retired High Court judge K V Mohanan as the chairman of the commission In an unprecedented move, the state government on Friday decided to launch a judicial inquiry against the central agencies investigating the gold smuggling and related cases. The cabinet meeting decided to appoint retired High Court judge K V Mohanan as the chairman of the commission. The surprise decision has come when only 10 days are left for the assembly polls. The government hardened its stance against the central agencies after the Crime Branch registered a case against the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The commission will have the mandate to inquire whether the central agencies’ investigation into various cases have gone astray or beyond their mandate. The commission will also consider the investigation into the cases related to the voice clip purportedly of gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh, a letter by Sarith P S and three other issues. The state government move is clearly aimed at ED officials involved in the investigation. The voice clip had revealed that Swapna was arm-twisted by ED sleuths to implicate the chief minister in the case. The surprise decision comes 10 days ahead of assembly elections If EC denies nod, state will explore other ways Judicial probe against central agencies joke of century, says Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan Oppn leader Ramesh Chennithala terms the state government decision a mere publicity stunt Raid on KIIFB: CM criticises IT Dept poll bytes T’Puram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan unleashed a scathing attack on the IT for its search at KIIFB office. Terming the raid on KIIFB by Income Tax officials as a violation of federal principles, Pinarayi said the agencies could do no harm to KIIFB. “Do not try to intimidate the government with such petty acts,” warned Pinarayi. EC says no to rice subsidy scheme Sunni faction wants LDF govt to stay T’Puram: The State Election Commission has put a stop to the LDF government’s EasterVishu-Ramzan scheme to provide 10kg rice at `15 for blue and white ration card-holders. Kochi: The Sunni faction led by Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musaliyar has openly expressed the desire for the continuation of the Left Democractic Government in the state. P5 The commission will examine if anyone had forced Swapna to give a statement against the CM. If yes, who had exerted pressure on her, what was their motive and whether there was any conspiracy. The commission will file its report to the state government suggesting the steps to be taken against them in case there was a conspiracy behind the episode. The government will have to seek permission from the Election Commission to appoint the commission chairman as the model code of conduct is in force in the state. Hence, the order appointing the commission will be issued only after receiving the EC’s permission. If the EC denies permission, the state will explore other ways to take on the central agencies. Besides the gold smuggling and reverse hawala cases being investigated by the central probe agencies, the income tax department also carried out an inspection at the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) headquarters here on Thursday. The I-T sleuths were particularly looking into the details of the financial transactions made with the contractors who were awarded various works funded by KIIFB in the last five years. INTERVIEW ‘JOKE OF THE CENTURY’ ‘Sabarimala used as diversionary Tactic’ T’Puram: The Opposition was using Sabarimala as a diversionary tactic, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said in an interview with TNIE. The state won’t make any change in its Supreme Court affidavit, he said. P2 ‘Didn’t let Students lose a year’ E x p r e s s ne w s s e r v i c e @ Chennai Much like everything else, the biggest education conc l ave, T h i n k E d u , went virtual this year. Union minister for education Ramesh Pokhriyal, in his inaugural address, elaborated on his vision for the National Education Policy and the way ahead. He also spoke about how India was among the very few countries in the world that didn’t let students’ year go waste. “Even when the rest of the world had foregone a year, India ensured that its students didn’t waste it. Around 33 crore students were given education online. Provisions were made for those who couldn’t come online through mediums like radio,” said Pokhriyal. TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla kicked off the ninth edition of ThinkEdu, saying: “This year, we have brought illuminating discussions and conversations about new ideas from India’s finest thinkers — scientists, businessmen and storytellers.” In a different session, Subhash Kak was in conversation with Indic scholar Dushyanth Sridhar and senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai. Kak spoke about how he sifted through various layers of Sanskrit literature to find a lot of subjects, including astronomy , that had been lost for thousands of years. “It opened a whole new horizon to me,” he said. S Vaidhyasubramaniam, Vice-Chancellor, SASTRA Deemed-to-be University was in conversation with Makarand Paranjape, Director, Indian Institute of Advance Study, who spoke about Swami Vivekananda and AI replacing human teaching. “Swamiji is so important because he takes us beyond the idea of education being some sort of livelihood training.” Full coverage: P7 We successfully conducted JEE and NEET amid the pandemic, which are the country’s largest competitive exams - Ramesh Pokhriyal, Union education minister HC seeks poll panel view on bogus voters LDF, Latin Church spar on deep-sea fishing deal again E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Kollam @ Kochi THE High Court on Friday directed the election commission to respond to the petition filed by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, seeking a directive to the poll panel to delete or freeze 4.3 lakh bogus and multiple entries of names in the electoral rolls published for the assembly polls. Chennithala’s counsel T Asaf Ali requested the court to hear the matter urgently as it could affect poll process. When the case came up for hearing, the counsel contended that unless those fake voters are restrained from participating in the polls and criminal action is initiated against those who are responsible for the entries as per law, the electoral system will have to face far-reaching consequences. The court will consider the case on Monday . Nearly a week after Bishop Paul Antony Mullassery of Kollam diocese of Latin Catholic Church issued a pastoral letter against the LDF government over the deep-sea fishing deal, both sides have sharpened their attacks. A day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s outburst against the pastoral letter -read out in the churches in Kollam diocese last Sunday -- Fisheries Minister and LDF candidate in Kundara constituency J Mercykutty Amma on Friday said the Church diocese was taking a line adopted by the opposition UDF. Pinarayi who was in the district as part of electioneering on Thursday had criticised the , pastoral letter, saying the diocese was attacking the government on behalf of the opposition parties. He also said the sanctity of the letter would be questioned by the faithful. Reacting to it, the Kollam WAR OF WORDS Bishop Mullassery, in a pastoral letter, had criticised the state government over the deep-sea trawler deal It had urged the faithful to exercise their franchise keeping in mind the decisions taken with the aim of destroying fishers’ livelihood Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma said the Church diocese was toeing UDF’s line “It looks like the Church is against the fishermen earning more money,” said the minister diocese committee of Kerala Latin Catholic Association (KLCA) termed his comments as “immature”. The pastoral letter voiced the concerns of the people who have lost their work and workplace, the association said. Echoing the CM, Mercykutty Amma said the letter gives an impression that the Church was siding with the middle- men in the sector. “It looks like the Church is against the fishermen earning more money .” She said she hopes the Church would correct the letter as it was against truth and a misinterpretation of the fisheries policy of the government. “No bishop has ever made a blind intervention in the history of the district. The pastoral letter was issued with a political motive. It has nothing but contains the false allegations raised by the Opposition leader,” she said. The controversy was triggered after Bishop Mullassery , in the pastoral letter, urged the faithful to exercise their democratic right keeping in mind the decisions taken with the aim of destroying the livelihood of fishermen and selling out the fisheries sector to monopolies. It criticised the state government for the deep-sea trawler deal and the interventions in the sector that adversely affected the livelihood of the fishing community . 10 perish in Mumbai Covid hospital fire E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Mumbai Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over the Gandhi Peace Prize conferred upon Mujibur Rahman, to his daughters Sheikh Rehana (L) and PM Sheikh Hasina, in Dhaka on Friday Modi hails Bangabandhu, announces scholarship on Day 1 of B’desh visit P u s h k a r B a n a k a r @ New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday began his twoday trip to Bangladesh by hailing the contributions of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Indian armed forces in Bangladesh’s war of liberation. “Bangabandhu gave up his life for the people of Bangladesh. Today, on the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and Bangabandhu’s birth centenary celebrations, I remember and salute his contribution and the contributions of the Indian armed forces, mukti jodhas in Bangladesh’s war of independence,” Modi said at the National Day celebrations of Bangladesh in Dhaka. Saying that India and Bang- ladesh’s future together has a lot in store, he said it is important that New Delhi and Dhaka progress together. “The youth of both the countries need to be connected for better ties. I hence announce the setting up of suvarna jayanti scholarships for Bangladeshi students and also invite 50 entrepreneurs of Bangladesh to visit India,” he said. Earlier, Modi presented the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 awarded posthumously to Mujib, to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Modi also recalled how he had participated in Bangladesh’s struggle for independence by holding a satyagraha. Meanwhile, a protest by a mob against Modi’s trip got violent, leaving four persons dead with bullet injuries. P9 Drug gangs shoot at cops in Manjeshwar G e o r ge P o i k ay i l @ Kasaragod AT least 10 coronavirus patients died and several others were injured in a major fire at Sunrise Hospital in Mumbai on Friday . The hospital is situated on the top floor of Dreams Mall at Mulund. According to the BMC, the blaze was noticed around midnight on Thursday on the first floor, and it quickly spread to the upper floors. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray visited the spot and ordered an inquiry. Thackeray apologised for the incident and said the guilty won’t be spared. Thackeray also announced `5 lakh as financial help to the families of the deceased. SINGED by a police crackdown, the drug gangs of Uppala and Paivalike created terror in Manjeshwar, first by opening fire in the air and then by firing at police officers. Karnataka police subdued three suspected gangsters at Vitla, and another team lost 140kg of marijuana to the Kerala police. “We put our lives at stake in the past 24 hours,” said Kasaragod Deputy Superintendent of Police P P Sadanandan, who led the operation. “It’s not over yet. We’re still in pursuit of three gangsters led by Raheem of Miyapadav,” he said. It all started five days ago when a special police team raided a house at Vorkady and arrested five suspected members of a drug gang and seized a pistol and a car in Paivalike, said Sadanandan. The pistol was made in England. The police were taken aback by the cocky response of the gangs to the raids. “They released a video on social media where they displayed five guns — four pistols and a rifle. It was as if to say you have seized one , pistol but we have more,” he said. In one video, a person sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car pulls out a pistol from the mobile storage, cocks it, and taps the gun on the stereo which is playing hip-hop music. The camera pans out and focuses on the road signage which says Morthana, straight, Manjeshwar and Up● More on P3 pala, left. Patients from the Covid-dedicated Sunrise Hospital being shifted after a fire in the adjacent Dreams Mall in Mumbai on Friday early morning | PTI Win for Tata Sons, SC says Mistry’s ouster kosher K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi In a huge win for Tata Sons, the Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the ouster of former Tata Sons executive chairman Cyrus Mistry was legal, setting aside a 2019 National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order that directed his reinstatement. A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice S A Bobde said, “There was no oppression of the minority shareholder (Mistry). There was no mismanagement by Tata Sons.” The apex court, however, added it was open for Tata and Mistry to work out their terms of separation. The court answered all the legal questions arising out of this dispute in favour of Tata Sons bringing an end to one of the biggest corporate battles in recent times. “If someone, aggrieved after his removal from office can engage in shadow-boxing through the companies controlled by him, he cannot accuse the very same person who chose him as successor to be a shadow director. Someone who gained entry through the very same Cyrus Mistry Ratan Tata door, cannot condemn it when asked to exit,” the 282-page judgment read. Welcoming the verdict, Ratan Tata said the order validated the values and ethics that had always guided the Tata Group. “It is not an issue of winning or losing. After re- lentless attacks on my integrity and the ethical conduct of the group, the judgment upholding Tata Sons is a validation or the values and ethics that have always been the guiding principles of the group. It reinforces the fairness and justice displayed by our judiciary,” he said in a statement. The ruling came on a plea that challenged the December 18, 2019 NCLAT order which reinstated Shapoorji Pallonji Group scion Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of Tata Sons.
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