sambalpur l saturday l october 09, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION Dmitry Muratov Maria Ressa Shock & awe as journalists who speak truth to power get peace nobel E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e A Nobel prize isn’t something you normally associate with hard-nosed journalists who break stories and speak truth to power at risk to their lives. So when word got out that gritty Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, journalists whose work angered the rulers of the Philippines and Russia, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, there was a collective gasp of surprise in the media. For, the last time a journalist got the prize was 86 years ago. German Carl von Ossietzky won it in 1935 for outing his nation’s secret post-war rear- mament programme. This year’s award to Ressa and Muratov was in recognition for their courageous fight for freedom of expression, Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel committee said. “At the same time, they are repre- sentatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions,” she added. “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda.” Muratov (59) dedicated his award to six contributors to his newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, who had been murdered for their work exposing human rights violations and corruption in Russia. Despite the shock honour, the Kremlin congratulated Muratov. Ressa (58) faced years of litigation in the Philippines as the Rappler website she cofounded in 2012 carried critical reports on President Rodrigo Duterte. Rappler is known for its incisive investigative reporting, including bloody police drives against the drug mafia. “We’re going through a dark time, a difficult time, but I think that we hold the line,” she said after learning about the award. She was among the journalists named in the Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2018 for fighting media intimidation. The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented on December 10. 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 Air India flies to its former owner; no resale for five years Tata heirloom returns home `2,700 cr Welcome back! L 18,000 cr `15,300 cr A n u r a d h a S h u k l a @ New Delhi SIXTY-eight years after it ceded control of Air India to the government, the Tata group on Friday won the bid to take over the national carrier, thus successfully completing the Centre’s multiple attempts to tur n around and sell the debt-ridden airline. Talace Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Tata Sons, made the winning bid of `18,000 crore, said Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM). Of the `18,000 crore, `15,300 crore would be the debt retained by the winning bidder and Tata Sons will pay `2,700 crore in cash, Pandey said. The transaction, however, does not include non-core assets such as land and building, valued at `14,718 crore. These will be transferred to the Air India Asset Holding Ltd. Air India has a debt of `61,562 crore at the end of August 31. After payout by the Tatas, `46,262 crore of debt will still Jobs, benefits protected winning BID cash debt takeover Bag of gooDies 100% stake in Air India 100% stake in Air India Express 50% stake in the joint venture Air India SATS Air India’s 117 wide-body and narrow-body aircraft remain with gover nment entities. “The next step will be to issue the Letter of Intent (LoI) and then sign the Share Purchase Agreement following which, the conditions precedent would need to be satisfied by the successful bidder, the company and Government. It is expected that the transaction will be completed by December Air India Express’ 24 narrow-body aircraft Control of 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing and parking slots at domestic airports 900 such slots at airports overseas 2021,” read a finance ministry statement. “It has been ensured that the interest of the employees and retired employees would be taken care of,” the finance ministry added, clarifying on the fate of 12,000-odd employees of Air India. The Centre added that the winning bidder will retain all employees for one year. If they Air India Employees Total 12,085 Permanent 8,084 Contractual 4,001 are retrenched after one year, they will be offered a voluntary retirement scheme. On Air India’s brand and logo, the government said the winning bidder will have to retain them for five years. The government had set the reserve price for the airline at `12,906 crore. Apart from the Tata group, Spicejet chairman Ajay Singh had placed a bid of Tata Group will have to retain all employees for a period of one year VRS benefits will be offered to those terminated after one year Employees will be provided gratuity and PF benefits as per laws Post-retirement medical benefits for those who have already retired or will retire in future will also be protected Around 5,000 employees are due to retire in the next five years `15,100 crore (`2,265 crore cash payment and `12,835 crore debt takeover). The process for disinvestment of Air India and its subsidiaries had commenced in June 2017. However, there was no bidder for the first round. The government then reworked the terms and conditions and re-commenced on January 27, 2020. With economy on recovery curve, Told govt fuel tax cut can RBI begins squeezing out money rein in inflation, says Das S u n it h a n atti ON Friday the Reserve Bank , of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) kept policy rates and stance unchanged but the key takeaway was about liquidity normalisation. That’s because the MPC’s job ends with policy rate decisions, but the central bank’s job begins soon after. Liquidity management is the operating procedure of monetary policy and ensuring ad, equate liquidity – neither deficit nor sur plus – is critical. Currently, we have surplus liquidity of `12-13 lakh crore with nowhere to go. For now, RBI is absorbing `4-6 lakh Gradual, balanced approach, says guv ”Our approach (on liquidity) would be one of gradualism. We will move ahead in a balanced manner,” RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, adding that there is no need for undertaking further G-SAP operations crore paying interest to banks in overnight, weekly and fortnight windows. The key here is the interest rate. Usually, banks park surplus funds with RBI at fixed rate reverse repo, currently set at 3.35%. But to encourage banks, RBI has begun variable rate reverse repo auctions, as overnight rates, or the short end rates, remained sticky due to liquidity glut. Following the 7- and 14-day auctions, rates are now closer to the operative policy rate of 3.35%. But RBI cannot go on paying banks, and system liquidity cannot remain in surplus forcontinued on: P10 ever. E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Alarmed by the steep rise in petrol and diesel prices, which is adding to inflationary pressures, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday nudged the Centre to cut fuel tax. “Efforts to contain costpush pressures through a calibrated reversal of the indirect taxes on fuel could contribute to a more sustained lowering of inflation and an anchoring of inflation expectations,” he said. Noting that fuel tax is something the Centre has to act upon, Das said RBI is constant touch with government. “On the petrol and diesel front, we have flagged the issue... now it is for the government to consider all the aspects and take a decision beyond that I have nothing to add,” he added. After a near three-week halt, fuel prices are now going up in tandem with the rise in Brent crude prices. Prices of petrol and diesel a g ain touched fresh highs on Friday after they were increased for the fourth consecutive day . In the national capital, the petrol price rose 30 paise to `103.54 a litre, while diesel was sold at `92.12 a litre. In the financial capital Mumbai, petrol price on Friday stood at a whopping `109.54 while diesel cost `99.92. Minor India-China Fire accidental, Bidya watched troop scuffle at LAC her husband burn: Crime Branch M AYAN K S I N G H @ New Delhi Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a physical scuffle last week along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh near Yangtse in the Tawang sector for a few hours, it has emerged. The Indian Army detained a few Chinese soldiers before the situation was defused. The Army described it as a “physical engagement”, adding soldiers on both sides sustained minor injuries during the scuffle, as there was some pushing and shoving. There was no damage to Indian defences, sources said. “The engagement lasted a few hours but the situation was managed according to established protocols and mechanisms as agreed by both sides,” sources added. Aggressive patrolling from the Chinese side led to stand-off positions at multiple points in the three sectors of the 3,488-km LAC since last year. The next round of bilateral talks is expected soon. The engagement near Yangtse is in addition to an incident at Barahoti in Uttarakhand in August-end, where PLA troops reportedly on horseback had crossed the LAC on the Indian side and remained there for a few hours. In May 2020, a physical scuffle had taken place at Naku La pass area in Sikkim and on June 5, 2020, there was a stand-off at Kalapani area. Both were later resolved. Army Chief General M M Naravane had said last week, “The Chinese have deployed in considerable numbers across Eastern Ladakh and up to eastern command,” adding India was matching their deployment. E x p ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Close to three months after Paralakhemundi Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra died in a suspicious fire, the Crime Branch on Friday said it was an accident but maintained that his wife who was present on the scene did not do enough to save him. The investigating agency relied on the dying declaration of 31-year-old ACF Soumya before the magistrate and doctor in which he had said he accidentally caught fire while burning papers using kerosene. However, at the same time, it has charged the ACF’s wife Bidya Bharati Panda with negligence which caused the death. “When the incident happened, neither did Bidya take adequate steps to douse the flames when Soumya was on fire nor did she raise an alarm. Sufficient water was also not used to save On the allegations of Soumya’s family members, a murder case was registered. However, during investigation, no evidence of homicide or suicide was found and his death can be said to be accidental Sanjeeb Panda, Crime Branch ADG him,” Crime Branch ADG Sanjeeb Panda told mediapersons in Cuttack. How did the CB investigation arrive at this conclusion? The ADG said the marital life of Soumya and Bidya was not a happy one and some of her statements during polygraph test were also found to be deceptive. Bidya is the only person to have been named in the chargesheet under Sections 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) and 304A (causing death by negligence). The two charges carry a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and both are bailable in nature. “On the allegations of Soumya’s family members, a murder case was registered. However, during investigation, no evidence of homicide or suicide was found and his death can be said to be accidental,” the CB chief said. As the Crime Branch named the wife as the solo actor in its chargesheet, it gave a clean chit to Parlakhemundi DFO Sangram Behera. The statements of the witnesses, Sangram’s call detail record analysis and polygraph test report, Soumya’s diary and his dying declaration suggest that the DFO had no role behind his death, it added. After examining Sangram and Bidya’s CDR analysis and polygraph test reports, Panda said, no evidence of any relationship between them was found. Similarly, the agency also cleared cook Kambha basing on the statements of the witnesses and his polygraph test CONTINUED ON: P5 report. Jab-o-meter Take your shot Oct 07 45,54,939 doses Oct 08 71,75,744 doses Total doses 93,90,86,001 NATIONWIDE oct 7 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths odisha Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths oct 8 22,431 21,257 24,602 24,963 318 271 oct 7 582 522 07 oct 8 524 598 04 UP gets it from SC for failing to arrest Min’s son K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi Expressing dissatisfaction at the way the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in UP is being probed, the Supreme Court on Friday said the state government should show some seriousness in dealing with it. “Your seriousness is only in words and not in your actions,” Chief Justice of India N V Ramana snapped at senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the UP government. “Is this the way you treat (murder) accused in other cases as well?” the CJI asked, when Salve said the UP Police have issued summons to accused Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, to appear at 11 am on Saturday , since he failed to turn up for questioning on Friday . When Salve said the summons was issued to the accused since the autopsy report did not find bullet wounds on the bodies of the eight victims, the court asked, “Is this a g round for not taking custody?” Salve, however, conceded, “The manner in which this car was driven, it leaves no manner of doubt that the allegations (of farmers mowed down) are true. It is possibly a 302 (Section 302, which prescribes punishment for murder).” The court shot back, “This is a responsible state government and police. When there is a serious allegation of death CJI’s cryptic comment on CBI probe “We hope the state will take necessary steps. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, we are not making any comment. And CBI may not be a solution for reasons you better know... because of persons... Better some other mode you find out (for probe),” CJI Ramana told Harish Salve or gunshot injury will the oth, er accused in this country be treated the same way? Sending them notices, like asking to please come tell us?... See what is the message we are sending. In normal circumstances, if a 302 case is registered, what will the police do? Go and arrest the accused.” The bench was hearing a PIL registered on the basis of a letter sent by two lawyers. The CJI also did not see merit in an SIT formed for the case, saying they are all local officers. He asked the state to direct the DGP to protect the evidence. The case will now be heard after the Dussehra vacations.
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