bhubaneswar l Saturday l june 12, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l late CITY EDITION `2,790-cr dodgy transactions put heat on Crypto biggie The ED is probing if Mumbai-headquartered WazirX, India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has violated FEMA norms Chinese nationals laundered money: e.d. In compliance with all laws: WazirX The showcause notice issued by the central probe agency under various sections of FEMA names the exchange and directors Nischal Shetty and Sameer Hanuman Mhatre. The ED issued a statement saying that it stumbled upon the transactions of the exchange during an ongoing money laundering probe into “Chinese-owned” illegal online betting applications ■ ■ ED said Chinese nationals laundered crime proceeds worth `57 cr by converting INR deposits into cryptocurrency and transferring them to Cayman Islands-registered Binance, WazirX’s parent firm However, WazirX’s promoters flatly denied any wrongdoing and claimed they are “in compliance with all applicable laws” | P12 Binance The global cryptocurrency exchange acquired wazirx in 2019 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 emergency Mukul Roy ghar wapsi Covaxin’sin US fails nod push Jolt to Bengal BJP as he rejoins Trinamool; was soft on Didi during poll P r a n a b M o n d a l @ Kolkata Packed lot Despite lockdown, hundreds of four-wheelers parked on Janpath near Bapuji Nagar in Bhubaneswar on Friday | Express the BJP, which is still smarting from the poor show in the recently held Assembly election in West Bengal, on Friday received another jolt as its national vice-president Mukul Roy and his son Subhrangshu deserted the saffron party to rejoin the Trinamool Congress. Roy met West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek, the party’s national general secretary, at the party’s headquarters Trinamool Bhavan. “Mukul is an old member of the TMC family and old is gold. The BJP had threatened and tortured him using central agencies. After coming back to the TMC, mental peace has returned to him. No one in Bengal can survive in the BJP. Mukul’s return is a reflection of the BJP’s intra-party oppression,’’ said Mamata. Roy was TMC’s national secretary and the second-in-com- Mukul Roy with TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee in Kolkata on Friday | PTI mand when he switched over to the BJP in 2017 after he was interrogated by the CBI and the ED in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation case. Roy’s return to the TMC was not entirely unexpected. Mamata’s soft stance on Roy during the election campaign had triggered speculation. While addressing a rally in Nandigram, from where Mamata contested and lost to Suvendu Adhikari, she said Roy was much better than Suvendu. Roy, too, re- S u m i S u k a n ya D u tta @ New Delhi frained from launching a frontal attack against the TMC. Endorsing the speculations, Mamata said, “Many others attacked the TMC and showed their cheap mentality, but Mukul was not like them.’’ After he was welcomed back to the TMC fold, Roy said, “I am happy to be in my old place. I could not continue in the BJP, so I decided to join the TMC.” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, however, sought to downplay Roy’s departure, saying, “With his presence, we did not get any dividend. What damage will be caused because of his defection?’’ TMC sources told this newspaper Roy’s old rivalry with Mamata’s nephew could dent his position in the party. “He was the second-in-command in the party But later, he became . unhappy with the rise of the CM’s nephew Abhishek. Now Abhishek is much more powerful as the national general secretary which indicates the par, P9 ty’s line of succession.” C ova x i n m a n u f a c t u r e r Bharat Biotech, which is already drawing flak in India for the unusual delay in releasing its final phase 3 clinical trial results, got a fresh jolt as the US drug regulator declined emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the vaccine in its country . Indian authorities, however, claimed the US decision will have no bearing on the nation’s Covid vaccination drive, of which Covaxin — apart from Covishield — is a key element. The USFDA advised Bharat Biotech’s US partner Ocugen to take the biological license applications — or full approval — route instead for the approval. Putting it in context, Bharat Biotech said the USFDA has already stopped issuing EUAs, since the country now has good tions in the battleground state. The much delayed Cabinet expansion at the Centre, filling of vacancies in the BJP Parliam e n t a r y Board and organisational issues in the specific cont e x t o f U P, were learnt to be on the meeting a g enda. The BJP’s attempt to make course corrections by wooing smaller parties that were previously allies but drifted away due to differences with Adityanath, could be reflected in the Cabinet expansions both at the Centre and UP sources said. , While the Prime Minist e r ’s O f f i c e completed its perfor mance appraisal of the Union ministers early last year, the expected shake-up in the team was put off primarily because of the Covid challenge, said sources. They added that herd immunity and a significant percentage of its population is vaccinated. “Our US partner, Ocugen, has received a recommendation from the FDA to pursue a Biologics License Applications path for Covaxin,” the firm said. It added that for standard approval, data from an additional clinical trial will be required, extending the company’s timelines. No vaccine manufactured or developed from India has ever received EUA or full licensure from USFDA. “Thus, it will be a great leap forward for vaccine innovation and manufacturing from India when approved,” claimed Bharat Biotech. Covaxin has restricted use permission from 14 countries while its applications are under evaluation in more than 50 other countries. The WHO is yet to issue its EUA due to lack Continued on: P10 of data. Centre flags PMAY-G scam, seeks action Sedition Now, buzz on Cabinet expansion at Centre too against erring officials actor Aisha Sulthana SUMMONED on June 20 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Putting Odisha government in a spot, the Centre has confirmed gross irregularities in selection of beneficiaries, defalcation of funds and other lapses in the flagship rural housing scheme under Pradhan Mantri Awas YojanaGramin (PMAY-G). Pointing out specific cases, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has sought recovery of funds released to ineligible beneficiaries and criminal proceedings against officials responsible for committing fraud and swindling government funds. “I would like to request you to direct the officials concerned for initiating action immediately on the cases of irregularities in order to ensure that the perpetrators of the fraud and their collaborators are dealt with sternly said a letter from ,” Union Rural Development Secretary Nagendra Nath Sinha to Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra. Sharing the findings of the inquiry report of the Central team with the State government on April 22, Sinha requested Mahapatra to submit an action taken report to the MoRD at the earliest. The State government, however, was sitting over the matter till Friday when BJP MP from Sundargarh Jual Oram shared a letter along with the inquiry report from the Union Minister with the media. The Central team observed several cases of irregularities such as absence of PMAYG logo on houses, poor quality construction and moreover, houses shown completed on AwaasSoft found incomplete during inspection. Some of the irregularities mentioned in the report said both the father and son have been sanctioned houses, while full funds have been released to some of the beneficiaries without any construction. In other cases, the PMAY funds have been diverted. While asking the State government to recover funds from ineligible beneficiaries, the Centre directed criminal action against authorities concer ned in case of fund CONTINUED ON: P7 diversion. The Kavaratti police summoned filmmaker Aisha Sulthana next week for stating that the Centre has used a bio-weapon against Lakshadweep residents | P7 NATIONWIDE june 10 june 11 94,052 91,702 1,51,367 1,34,580 6,148 3,403 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths June 10 30,32,675 doses June 11 31,50,368 doses Total doses: 24,93,16,572 Jab-o-meter Take your shot odisha Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 10 6,097 8,299 44 june 11 5,235 8,516 43 Decision on lockdown relaxation post Raja festival Bhubaneswar: The test positivity rate (TPR) may have come down below five per cent (pc) in half of Odisha, but the State government on Friday made it clear that the decision on phase-wise unlock process will be taken next week after observing the Covid situation | P2 Cultivator of ‘food forest’, Prof Radhamohan no more E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar EMINENT environmentalist Prof Radhamohan passed away on Friday while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar. The 77-year-old former professor of economics was under treatment for bronchial asthma for the last few days. Prof Radhamohan and his daughter Sabar matee were awarded India’s fourth highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri, last year along for their contribution to the field of agriculture. They had transformed 36 acres of a degraded land in Nayagarh district into a ‘food forest’, as was called by Prof Radhamohan, through soil and water conservation techniques. The ‘food forest’ now has over 1,000 species of plants, 500 varieties of rice and supports a seed bank with 700 indigenous varieties of seeds. Besides, he had started Sambhav, a resource centre for farmers across the country, to exchange seeds and train them in organic farming. Born in Rangani Patna village in Nayagarh, Prof Radhamohan was an eminent academic and teacher. An economics professor who retired as principal of SCS College at Puri in 2001, he was appointed as the first State Information Commissioner (SIC) in 2005. He demitted the office of SIC in 2008 and continued to work for various government bodies as a member including State Planning Board, Watershed Mission, Task Force on Education and NSS Evaluation Committee and State Pollution Control Board. He also initiated work at the grassroots for establishment of schools and colleges besides, being actively involved in environment safety, agriculture and gender justice. For his work on environment, the United Nations Environment Programme had conferred ‘The Global Roll of Honour’ on him. The Odisha government awarded him the highest civilian award ‘Utkal Seva Samman’ for dedicated public service. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gover nor of Odisha Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Andhra Pradesh Gover nor Biswa Bhushan Harichandan condoled his CONTINUED ON: P7 demise. M A N IS H A N A N D @ New Delhi The BJP’s attempts to energise its organisation and governments at the Centre and Lucknow gained pace on Friday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding extensive discussions with Union home minister Amit Shah and party chief J P Nadda. They got into a huddle after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met Modi and Nadda separately, amid indications that the party brass will take full command of the poll prepara- Flipkart footprint K’taka HC allows competition panel probe into e-tailers B i s m a h M a l i k @ Bengaluru IN a major win for small retailers, who have been alleging that foreign firms are violating the Competition Act and Foreign Direct Investment Act, the Karnataka High Court on Friday allowed the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to probe the anticompetitive practices by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart. The HC dismissed the e-tailers’ petitions seeking quashing of a probe ordered by the CCI last January based on a complaint by the Delhi ED lens on Vyapar Mahasangh. The Amazon e-comm giants are accused of making special Enforcement agreements with select Directorate is sellers, having stakes in investigating Indian companies selling allegations of on their platforms, and FEMA violations by Amazon deep discounting. Earlier, the CCI had ap- after the Union proached the Supreme commerce Court, which told the Kar- ministry asked nataka HC to decide on the agency to take necessary the matter in six weeks. Amazon told TNIE that action it will review the judgment and decide on the next step. Flipkart didn’t respond to queries. Senior lawyer Abir Roy who appeared for , the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, said the CCI can continue the ongoing probe against the companies. However, the e-comm giants may appeal before a larger bench. The CCI’s lawyers informed the court that it was in possession of emails exchanged between Amazon, Flipkart and sellers offering to incur a part of the discounts during big sale events as well as allegations of common directors at Amazon, Flipkart and seller firms like Cloudtail, Omnichannel Retail, Appario which merits investigation. 10,000 deaths added to Maha tally | P9 the BJP is now keen to give visibility to NDA allies. The list of the Union Cabinet hopefuls has grown, with former Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal joining the likes of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sushil Kumar Modi, besides NDA ally JD (U). And the Parliamentary Board has four vacancies. A common theme emerging out of consultations between RSS and BJP leaders recently is the need for an image makeover of the government at the Centre with the induction of new faces.
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