ANI tirupati l thursday l september 22, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION CBI arrests ABG shipyard founder in `22,842 crore bank fraud case Rishi K Agarwal was arrested on Wednesday after the probe officer suspected he was not cooperating during questioning Case registered after complaint from SBI Forensic audit found diversion of funds Apart from Agarwal, the CBI had also booked ABG’s former executive director Santhanam Muthaswamy, and directors Ashwini Kumar, Sushil Kumar Agarwal and Ravi Vimal Nevetia on February 7. The case was registered on a complaint from the State Bank of India, which was part of a consortium of 28 banks led by ICICI Bank that lent to ABG Shipyard ■ ■ The complaint was filed after a forensic audit of ABG’s loan accounts, which had turned bad, showed the company created a web of transactions between 2012 and 2017 to cheat the lenders According to the CBI, the fraud was primarily on account of huge transfer of funds by the company to some of the accused `7,089 cr ICICI Bank’s exposure to ABG, followed by IDBI Bank (`3,639 cr) & SBI (`2,925 cr) CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Centre mute spectator to hate speech: SC Comes down hard on television channels for promoting hatred, raps biased TV anchors S h r u t i K a kk a r @ New Delhi T H E S u p re m e C o u r t o n Wednesday rapped the Centre’s inaction on the hate speech issue, while directing it to file its reply within two weeks indicating clearly whether it intends to enact a law to curb the menace, as recommended by the Law Commission. Highlighting the same issue, the Election Commission of India had told the apex court last week that it does not have the legal power to de-recognise political parties or disqualify candidates over hate mongering because existing laws don’t define what constitutes hate speech. “Why is the government of India standing as mute witness when all of this (hate speech on TV news channels) is happening? Why is the Centre treating this like a trivial issue? Political parties will come and go, but the nation will endure,” said a bench of judges K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy while hearing a batch of petitions seeking to curb hate mongering. Slamming TV news channels promoting hate speech, the bench noted that television anchors allow certain panellists to make vitriolic comments but stop the other side to express their counter views by muting their microphones. The bench said strict action should be taken against erring news anchors and that such people should also be taken off air. “Mainstream TV channels still hold sway The role of an. chor is critical and it’s their duty to see that hate speech doesn’t occur... Many a time those who want to speak are muted,” the bench observed. Stressing the fact that there is no definition of hate speech, advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, appearing for one of the petitiones, submitted that the people accused of hate speech are now charged under Section 153A of IPC (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence) but they ultimately get off the hook. He added that political parties were being benefited by hate speech. The bench posted matter for hearing on Nov 23. AP’s non-adherence to FRBM Act, lack of clarity in PD accounts flagged P H a r e e s h @ Vijayawada The State government has not adhered to the targets prescribed under the AP Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (APFRBM) Act with respect to fiscal deficit and outstanding liabilities, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) revealed. The report on State Finances Audit Report for the year ending March 31, 2021, tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday also , noted that outstanding public debt at the end of March 2021 increased by 15.39% (`46,444 crore) over the previous year. It also flagged the lack of transparency in the operation of Personal Deposit (PD) Accounts. Pointing out that the State government amended the APFRBM Act in December 2020 which was deemed to come into force from August 30, 2020, the report said, “The projections on fiscal parameters were, however, amended by the government retrospectively with effect from the financial years 2015-16 to 2020-21. The government had not adhered to the targets prescribed under the APFRBM Act with respect to fiscal deficit and outstanding liabilities.” In February 2022, the government had said that the delay in implementing the amended Act was due to the State’s bifurcation and shifting of capital. The report stated that the government’s response was not acceptable, as the fiscal projections, by their very nature, are generally for future years and the APFRBM has to be amended based on the recommendations of each FiP5 nance Commission. CAG’s key concerns Outstanding debt increased to K3,48,246 cr in 2020-21 from K2,01,314 cr in 2016-17, a spike of 72.99% Public Debt of composite State of AP was K1,66,522 cr as of June 1, 2014. Postbifurcation of the State, AP was allocated a debt of K97,124 cr on population basis. The public debt increased to K2,67,948 cr by March 2021 (an increase of 176% over that of 2014-15) Total outstanding liabilities of the State to GSDP during 2020-21 was over the target of 35% which includes the additional borrowing limit of 2% of the GSDP provided by Centre for the year 2020-21 Deductions of electricity charges, with respect to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI), at source from their 14th Finance Commission Grants. This goes against the spirit of the Constitution — CAG Govt renames NTR varsity The decision of the YSRC government to rename Dr NTR University of Health Sciences as Dr YSR University of Health Sciences has sparked a war of words between the ruling YSRC and TDP, founded by former CM NT Rama Rao ‘YSR’s soul will not laud the move’ TDP cadres, protesting against the move to rename Dr NTR University, scaling the gates of the institution, in Vijayawada on Wednesday I Prasant Madugula Who said what It was a well-thought-out move to give due credit to former CM late YS Rajasekhara Reddy and it was by no means disrespecting NTR. Due credit should be given to YSR for providing quality medicare with his innovative measures. While taking the decision, I questioned myself many times whether it was correct or not and proceeded ahead only after thinking it was genuine CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy It’s illogical and hurts the self-respect of Telugu people. Had I thought of changing names, the name of YSR Horticulture University would not have retained and the name of Kadapa district, too, would have been changed. CM Jagan Mohan Reddy can set up a steel plant in Kadapa and construct an irrigation project and name them after his father Former CM and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu Official Language Commission chairman Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad announced his resignation to register his resentment against the government’s decision. Lakshmi Prasad said the decision to change the name of Dr NTR Health University was not right. He opined that the University’s name should have been retained after the great leader, NTR. Even (former CM) YS Rajasekhar Reddy’s soul will not appreciate the decision, he said. Higher edu spend below 0.5% of GSDP in 2014-19 K K a lya n K r i s h n a K u m a r @ Vijayawada ANDHRA Pradesh’s expenditure on higher education has dropped below 0.5 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) during the five years from 2014, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has reported. In its report on the State’s performance higher education between 2014-15 and 2018-19 academic years tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday, the CAG pointed out that the percentage of expenditure had dropped to 0.25% of the GSDP from 0.47% while TDP was in power. The report stated that between 2014 and 2019, the Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) conducted only five meetings between July 2016 and December 2018 as against 20. It was required to meet at least once a quarter. The APSCHE also did not prepare a prospective plan, annual plan, and financial work plan for the same period. The CAG report was released after auditing all constituent colleges, 26 affiliated colleges under three universities: Andhra University (AU), Adikavi Nannaya University (AKNU) and Sri Venkateswara University (SVU). The audit was conducted between November 2019 and March 2020. Referring to the pass percentage 2018-19 in comparison with 201415, the report stated that the number of students successfully clearing final year undergraduate examinations was not encouraging at AU and AKNU. Stating that seven out of 26 test-checked affiliated colleges and five of nine constituent colleges maintained data on students progression to higher studies, the report stressed on the need to strengthen systems to maintain data at the univerP5 sity and college level. Law Commission’s recommendations In its Report No 267 tilted Hate Speech, the Law Commission suggested the following amendments to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: Insert a new IPC Section 153C (Prohibiting incitement to hatred) following Section 153B Insert Section 505A (Causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases) following Section 505 IPC Other observations Hate speech poses complex challenges to freedom of speech and expression In the US, hate speech is given wide constitutional protection, whereas under international human rights covenants and in other western democracies, such as Canada, Germany, and the UK, it is regulated and subject to sanctions Live-streaming Constitution bench cases Supreme Court Constitution bench proceedings will be livestreamed from September 27. According to sources, the decision comes after a full court meeting comprising all the top court judges, who unanimously agreed to the idea. The cases that are likely to be livestreamed include the pleas challenging the EWS quota, Centre’s curative plea seeking additional aid for the victims of Bhopal Gas tragedy, among others Page 7 partial mobilisation 3L reservists get Putin call for war Y e s h i S e l i @ New Delhi R ussian P r e s i d e n t Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilisation of 3 lakh reservists to start pre-emptive military operations in Donbas, weeks after Ukrainian troops managed to recapture vast swathes of its territory from Russian invaders. This is the first such call-up in Russia since World War II. Timed as it was a day after four regions in Ukraine — Luhansk, Kherson, partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk — decided to hold referendums on amalgamating themselves with Russia, Putin’s attempt to swallow them by weaponising the democratic exercise was clear. The votes are to be held between September 23 and 27. “Primarily those who served in the armed forces will be called up,’’ the Russian President said. Ahead of his seven-minute televised address, Putin signed an executive order for the immediate mobilisation. Putin also warned he wasn’t bluffing over using everything at his disposal to protect Russia, which was an apparent reference to his nuclear arsenal. He also accused the West of making attempts to weaken, divide and destroy Russia. “The West has used indiscriminate Russophobia as a weapon... primarily in Ukraine, which was designed to become an anti-Russia bridgehead,” he said. A spokesman for Ukraini- Panic, rush to fly out The partial mobilisation triggered panic in Russia with a large numbers of people rushing to book one-way tickets out of the country. Flights filled up quickly and the prices of tickets zoomed an President Volodymyr Zelensky said conscripts sent to Ukraine would face a similar fate as ill-prepared Russian forces who were repelled in an attack on Kyiv in the first days of the war. US national security council spokesperson John Kirby said Putin’s speech is “definitely a sign P9 that he’s struggling.” AICC election: Gehlot confirms fight Cynthia Chandran & Shahid F a r i d i @ T’Puram/New Delhi With the process to file nomination papers for the Congress presidential election set to begin in a few days, Kochi is becoming the epicentre of action as everyone who matters in the party is or will be here. Apart from Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the Bharat Jodo yatra, Rajasthan chief minister and official candidate of the Gandhi family Ashok Gehlot’s bete noir Sachin Pilot, Mallikarjun Kharge, Digvijaya Singh and Jairam Ramesh are here. Gehlot and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal are expected to arrive tomorrow. Pilot, who reached on Tuesday night, is learnt to have held closed door discussions with Rahul twice during the day He . also took part in the Bharat Jodo Yatra. “Sachinji has urged Rahulji to take up the post of party president. He is still hopeful,’’ a KPCC leader close to the former told this newspaper. Sources said Pilot expressed strong displeasure at Gehlot intending to stay on as CM while entering the presidential race. Talking to this daily, Sachin said, “It is Rahulji’s decision if he should contest or not.” Earlier, Gehlot indicated his candidature saying, “I am lucky that Congress people across the country love and trust me…So I won’t be able to say no. Jahan mujhe kahenge… form bharna hai, main form bharoonga (If they ask me to fill a form to contest, I will fill it and contest),’’ he said. Gehlot, however, added that he would still try to change Rahul’s mind. “There will be more impact if he undertakes the yatra as Congress president. I will talk to him, and then decide (on filing nomination papers),” he said. Jagan made permanent YSRC prez: APCRDA, APMRUDA ECI seeks clarity on media reports Acts get more teeth amaravati Express News Service @ Vijayawada The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday directed the ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) to make a clear and categorical public announcement contradicting media reports that YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has been appointed as the permanent part president. Categorically rejecting any attempt or even a hint of any organisational post being of permanent nature being inherently anti-democracy, the ECI said, “Any action which denies the periodicity of elections, is in complete violation of the extant instructions of the Commission. If not categorically contradicted, it has the potential to create a confusion in other political forma- YSRC constitution amended During the YSRC’s plenary meet on July 8 and 9, the party’s Constitution was amended to make YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Chief Minister, the permanent party president tions of such a move being condoned by the ECI and in turn can assume contagious proportions,’’ ECI observed. The ECI had July 19 and lat- er on August 1 asked the party to respond into the allegations of Jagan being appointed as the permanent president of the party. Another reference was sent stating that the delay in responding “adds credibility to the said allegation.” As there was no response, another communication was sent on August 18, the ECI said. On August 23, the party responded but did not categorically admit or deny the allegation. The YSRC later confirmed to the ECI that the issue was reported in the media and that the party has launched an internal enquiry . “The party will take action on the same on finding the facts,” the YSRC informed the ECI. express read TDP MLAs suspended on final day of session Vijayawada: TDP MLAs were suspended on the fifth and final day of the Assembly session on Wednesday. Denouncing the government move to rename Dr NTR University after former CM YSR Rajasekhara Reddy, the TDP MLAs climbed the Podium and raised ‘Johar NTR’ slogans | P4 3 killed in fire mishap at paper plate unit Chittoor: Three persons, including a father-son duo, were reportedly suffocated to death after a fire broke out in a paper plate-making unit in Rangachari street of Chittoor on Tuesday night. Chittoor district chief fire officer said the fire broke out approximately at 10.30 pm | P2 Jus K T Thomas, Tata join PM CARES Fund New Delhi: Ratan Tata, Justice K T Thomas and former deputy Lok Sabha speaker Kariya Munda have joined the Board of Trustees of the PM CARES Fund, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said. The newly nominated members took part in the meeting on Tuesday Express News Service @ Vijayawada T he S t at e A s s e m bly o n Wednesday passed a Bill to amend the AP Capital Region Development Authority Act (APCRDA), 2014, and the AP Metropolitan Region and Urban Development Authorities Act (APMRUDA), 2016. The Bill inserted the phrase, ‘social housing for the Economically Weaker Sections’ in any schemes of the State or the central government. It would allow to allot housing sites in CRDA limits. The phrase affordable housing for the poor would make any citizen of the State eligible for the State/central schemes in CRDA, and would not be restricted to the villagers in the capital city or capital region area. Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development Audimulapu Suresh explained that the provisions of the APCRDA Act, initially repealed under Act 27 of 2020, stood revived by Act 11 of 2021. Before repealing the Act, various activities, including the notification of master plan of the capital city had been concluded. The construction of houses for the poor had also been initiated. The Act has been amended in 2018 for better achieving the objective initially envisaged under the provisions of the Act. T he development plan (master plan) of the capital city initially notified on February 23, 2016 was modified on cer- tain occasions. On each occasion, the modification was initiated suo motu by the authority without a reference from the local body Ac. cordingly a preliminary notifi, cation was issued on March 10, 2020, proposing suo motu modification of the sanctioned plan. The gazette notification was challenged in the Andhra P5 Pradesh High Court.
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