thrissur l friday l march 24, 2023 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l city EDITION After Adani, Hindenburg goes after Jack Dorsey’s Block Inc Hindenburg Research on Thursday disclosed short positions in Block Inc and alleged that the payments firm overstated its user numbers Up to 75% of user accounts fake: Report Founders accused of cashing out $1 bn The former Twitter CEO’s firm was also accused of understating customer acquisition costs. The US short-seller, behind the over $100-billion market rout in Adani Group, said in its latest report that former Block employees estimated that 40%-75% of accounts they reviewed were fake, involved in fraud, or were additional accounts tied to a single individual ■ Hinderburg added that co-founders Jack Dorsey and James McKelvey collectively sold over $1 billion worth of the firm’s stock during the pandemic as the company’s share price soared. Block’s Indian-origin CFO Amrita Ahuja also dumped millions of dollars in stock, it alleged ■ Last month, Block had said it was going slow on hiring to control costs 20% Fall in shares of Block Inc after the Hindenburg report was published 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 ‘Remark undid KCBC’s efforts, retract,’ Church journal tells Pamplany the bishop’s statement is being discussed, the editorial The Ernakulam-Angamaly said. archdiocese has summarily “There is no doubt that we rejected Thalassery Archbish- have to respond politically to op Mar Joseph Pamplany’s re- realise our demands and promark that the Church will tests that turn into votes have help the BJP break its value in a democracy . jinx in the state if it But it (the bishop’s raises the price of statement) dangerousrubber. ly diluted the probIn a hard-hitting edilems faced by the torial, Sathyadeepam farmers and this is — the mouthpiece of something that can’t the archdiocese — acbe condoned,” the edicused Pamplany of torial said. Mar Joseph “belittling” the larger It added that the Pamplany farming community right to vote is perand “nullifying” all sonal, and “any exterthe efforts made so far nal interference or asby the Kerala Catholic sertion of rights is There is no Bishops’ Council anti-democratic”. doubt that we (KCBC) and the synod Further, Pamplato the cause of farm- have to respond ny’s statement gives politically to ers. It also asked the the impression that realise our bishop to retract the the farmers in the demands and controversial state comprised of protests that remark. only those who cultiturn into votes Titled ‘Parajayapetvate rubber. And all have value in a t a P r a s t h a v a n a ’ democracy. But their problems will be it (the bishop’s (Failed Statement), solved once the price statement) the editorial lamented of rubber is hiked to dangerously that no one bothered `300. diluted the to remind the bishop problems faced “It has dangerously about the one-yearsimplified and utterly by the farmers long farmers’ struggle failed to represent the Sathyadeepam against the Union govproblems faced by editorial ernment. “It’s unforfarmers,” the editoritunate,” it said, and al said. wondered who’s idea was it to This statement ignores the play “rubber politics” to find fact that the problems faced by a solution to farmers’ prob- farmers in the state are re● More on P4 lems. Only the politics behind gional. E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @Kochi Stayed HC puts on hold drive to capture rogue tusker Arikomban Division bench asks forest department not to capture the elephant till March 29. Department can take steps to track the jumbo’s movement near human settlements | P4 Rahul sentenced to two years in jail for Modi slur Gets bail, will file appeal; court says his crime is more serious since he is an MP; judgment suspended; verdict sparks political slugfest D i l i p S i n g h K s h at r i ya @ Ahmedabad Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on Thursday sentenced to two years imprisonment by the Surat District Court in a criminal defamation suit over a ‘Modi surname’ slur. The court suspended the sentence for 30 days to let Rahul file his appeal and granted bail. Rahul was present in the court when the verdict was delivered. The case was filed following a police complaint lodged by BJP leader Purnesh Modi. Rahul made the remarks while addressing a rally at Kolar in Karnataka in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In its verdict, the court said the seriousness of Rahul’s crime increased because a speech delivered by a Member of Parliament has a “very wide impact on the public”. Chief Judicial Magistrate H H Varma said if the accused is given lesser punishment, it would send a wrong message to the public, adding the purpose of defamation law would not be fulfilled. Rahul could have limited his speech to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Anil Ambani, but “intentionally” made a statement that hurt individuals carrying the Modi surname, committing defamation, the court said. Rahul’s lawyer Kirit Panwala said, “We will file an appeal. The verdict is flawed because there has been no loss or defamation to society or the community.” In the court, he had argued that Narendra Modi Congress leader Rahul Gandhi arrives at the IGI airport in New Delhi on Thursday hours after his conviction in a criminal defamation suit by a Surat court | PTI Jury is still out on disqualification Whether or not Rahul would be liable to be disqualified as a Lok Sabha member is not clear yet. While a section feels the disqualification clause would kick in immediately, others claim it won’t because the sentence has been suspended and not Purnesh Modi ought to have been the complainant because the PM was the main target of Rahul’s speech. For his part, Purnesh Modi welcomed the verdict. “Rahul irresponsibly tried to defame the entire community He must . be punished,” he said. Rahul’s sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra lashed out at the BJP , saying “the entire machinery of a scared government is using money and muscle power to silent Rahul Gandhi’s voice. My brother has never been afraid and will never be. He lived his life speaking the truth and will continue to do so.” Whether or not Rahul’s would stand disqualified as an MP is still a legal gray area. The Representation of the People Act mandates that a lawmaker sentenced to imprisonment of two years or more shall be disqualified “from the date of such conviction” and remain so for another six years after serving time. While DMK chief M K Stalin spoke to Rahul over the phone, the latter got support from unexpected quarters, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the BJP-led government wants to get Rahul removed from the LS through disqualification as he speaks P7 the truth and exposes it. E X P RESS REA D Property tax to go up by 5% from April 1: Minister T’Puram: Local Self-Government Minister M B Rajesh on Thursday said existing property tax in local bodies will go up by 5% from April 1. “New property tax rates will apply to buildings built from next year. The LSGD will fix the new rates,” he said. It has also been decided to issue construction permits for buildings up to 300 sqm in corporations and municipalities on the same day | P4 Squads to act against illegal dumping of waste Scavenger hunt A bale of turtles emerges from a pond near Durbar Hall in Kochi in search of food on Thursday. It is not very common to see the amphibians come out of the pond in large numbers | A Sanesh T’Puram: The Local Self-Government Department (LSGD) has deployed 23 special enforcement squads to implement solid waste management rules in the state. The move comes after a fire broke out at the Brahmapuram dumpsite in Kochi. The squads will mainly conduct inspections and take action against those dumping waste illegally, a senior LSGD official told TNIE | P5 K12K annual fee U’khand govt says cheers to personal bar permit NAR E NDRA S E THI @ Dehradun IN a move that could cheer up liquor lovers, the Uttarakhand government has amended its excise policy to allow residents of the state to open ‘authorised personal bars’ in their homes — for a fee. Permit holders will be able to stock up to 60 litres of English liquor (whisky imported and Indian , scotch, beer) equivalent to 80 bottles at their home bars against nine litres (12 bottles) now, excise secretary Harichandra Semwal told this newspaper. An annual fee of `12,000 will have to be paid for the licence. Besides, the excise department will collect an amount of `50,000 as guarantee at the time of applying for the licence. Only those who have been regularly filing income tax returns (for at least five years) will be able to apply. Applications will have to be submitted online and approved by the district magistrate. The licence comes with a set of conditions, though. The licencee can keep only the liquor meant for civilian use. Action will be taken if the liquor is obtained from military canteens or any other state. The licence terms also stipulate that young men or women below the age of 21 years should not be allowed entry to the personal bar premises. There are set limits for separate types of liquor that can be kept a t i n d iv i d u a l bars. According to the terms and conditions, alco- hol made in India and Indian Scotch cannot exceed nine litres each. In the case of imported liquor, the limit is double, at 18 litres (two boxes). Only one box of wine can be kept in a licenced home bar, while the maximum allowed quantity of beer is 15.6 litres. Meanwhile, the excise department has also reduced the licence fee for opening imported liquor shops, in a bid to encourage tourism in the hilly state. Uttar Pradesh, too, has a similar policy to allow its residents to have licenced home bars. Other states such as Jharkhand give temporary permits to serve liquor on special occasions such as private parties. Lucky streak Pa‘luck’ad all the way in 2022’s lottery wins list M S V i d ya n a n d a n @T’Puram When it came to top lottery wins, Lady Luck smiled the most on Palakkad in 2022. Of the total lottery tickets sold in Kerala last year, Palakkad had the most winning the top three prizes, revealed an analysis of the results of six weekly lotteries and six bumper lotteries conducted by the State Lotteries Department. As many as 462 tickets sold in Palakkad won the first, second or third prizes, with the winning amount ranging from `1 lakh to several crores. This, said department officials, was due to the sheer volume of tickets sold in the district. In second place was Thrissur with 449 winning tickets. Capital Thiruvananthapuram was third position with 368 prize-winning tickets in 2022. “Palakkad and Thrissur are among districts with huge volume of tickets sales. So, it is natural they will have a high number of winning tickets,” said an official with the lotteries department. Sales figures of a randomly-chosen weekly lottery showed 13.5 lakh tickets – the highest in state – were sold in Palakkad. Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram followed with 13.50 lakh and 10.50 lakh tickets sold, respectively . The six weekly lotteries included in the analysis were Win-Win, Sthree Sakthi, Akshaya, Karunya Plus, Jackpot Bumper lottery wins-2022 District No of winning tickets* Palakkad Ernakulam Thrissur Kollam T’Puram Kannur Alappuzha Kottayam Wayanad Kozhikode Idukki Malappuram P'thitta Kasaragod 17 17 13 9 8 7 7 5 5 4 3 3 2 1 Lotteries analysed Weekly: WinWin, Sthree Sakthi, Akshaya, Karunya Plus, Nirmal & Karunya Bumper: X’Mas-New Year, Pooja, Thiruvonam, Monsoon, Vishu and Summer *Only 1st, 2nd, 3rd prizes counted Nirmal and Karunya. The bumper raffles were X’MasNew Year, Pooja, Thiruvonam, Monsoon, Vishu and Summer bumpers. Together, there were 3,803 first, second and third prizes from 315 draws. The FiftyFifty weekly lottery was not included as it was launched mid-2022. Consolation prizes of bumper lotteries that carry a purse of `1 lakh were not included as the results did not mention the place of sale. Meanwhile, Kasaragod was at the bottom of the list, both in terms of winning numbers and sales of the randomly-chosen ticket. Of the total tickets sold in the northern district, 105 bagged one of the top three ● More on P4 prizes.
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