bhubANESWAR l friday l march 24, 2023 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l late 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 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 West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik speak to mediapersons at Naveen Nivas in Bhubaneswar, on Thursday | DEBADATTA MALLICK Naveen, Mamata call for strong federal structure in country structure in India should remain strong and permanent,” With the BJP-ruled Centre fac- Naveen told mediapersons with ing increasing pushback from Mamata beside him. The West opposition governments over ris- Bengal chief minister echoed ing interference in state affairs, Naveen’s views and said, “Our Odisha Chief Minister Naveen federal structure should be very Patnaik and his West Bengal strong and strengthened. I counterpart Mamata Banerjee strongly support and appreciate on Thursday reasserted that the this.” Mamata said she disfederal structure of the country cussed nation’s safety and demshould remain strong and ocratic rights of the people with permanent. Naveen. “Our people T he two leaders should be safe and made the statement afsound,” she stated. ter a meeting that lastBoth the leaders Our federal ed for over half an skipped questions on structure should hour at Naveen’s resithe possibility of a dence here. Mamata be very strong and third front or a regionstrengthened. I called on Naveen beal alliance for the 2024 strongly support fore concluding her general elections. “It and appreciate three-day visit to the was a courtesy meetthis state and returning to ing. There was no inMamata Banerjee, Bengal. depth discussion on WB CM While the meeting serious political mathad led to much specuters. We share a very lations over Mamata’s efforts to old friendship,” Naveen said. forge a non-BJP, non-Congress “Why do you worry about Third Front, Naveen had already elections? It is more than a year scotched such talk and the West away,” Mamata said, adding she Bengal CM too termed her visit would not reply to political a courtesy call. Stepping out of questions in the presence of a the meeting, both, however, senior leader like Naveen as he called for a strong and perma- may not like or support some of nent federal structure, hinting it them. She, however, said media may emerge as a common can ask her political questions ground for regional political when she is alone. “When I am parties ahead of the 2024 alone, you ask all the political elections. questions. I will give you a golden “We discussed that the federal box,” she said. Continued on P5 B i j ay C h a k i @ Bhubaneswar express read 7 held in Hyd for theft of 16.8 crore Indians’ data Hyderabad: The Cyberabad Police on Thursday said it had arrested seven members of a gang allegedly involved in the theft and sale of sensitive data of the government, including details of 2.55 lakh defence personnel as well as the personal and confidential data of 16.8 crore citizens across the country Manmohan appointed new state BJP President In an unexpected move, the central leadership of BJP appointed senior leader and former minister Manmohan Samal as president of the party’s state unit ahead of the crucial 2024 polls | P3 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 Up to Prez to take disqualification call? Constitutional expert P D T Acharya feels disqualification would not kick in immediately as it is tied to the quantum of sentence, which has been suspended. It’s up to the President to take the call after consulting ECI | P7 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. Amritpal out of Punjab, last spotted in Kurukshetra area “In a joint operation with Haryana Police, we apprehended Baljeet Kaur, Fugitive Khalistani leader Amrit- 28, from Shahabad. We have CCTV pal Singh escaped from Punjab and footage that shows Amritpal under an was last located in Haryana on March umbrella at Shahabad. Though the 19 (Sunday) where he got shelter from face is not visible, the gait suggests it an female MBA grad at Shais him,” said Gill. habad. With her arrest by Another of the self-styled the Punjab Police, the count preacher’s close associates, of those under detention Tejinder Singh alias Gorkha has swelled to 207. Baba of Mangewal village Inspector General of Poin Khanna district, has been lice Sukhchain Singh Gill arrested. Incriminating vidsaid after leaving a gurdeos of arms training at a wara at Nangal Ambian vilmake-shift firing range have lage on a bike, Amritpal and been recovered, which indiAmritpal Singh his accomplice subsequentcates the building of a prily took an autorickshaw. How they vate militia, Gill said. reached Shahabad in Kurukshetra on In Delhi, a yet another close aide of Sunday is not yet clear though it is Amritpal was arrested. “Amit Singh, suspected they drove in on a white who works as an insurance agent was two-wheeler. The next morning, they picked up by the Punjab Police from left Kurukshetra. Tilak Vihar,” sources said. H a r p r eet B a j w a @ Chandigarh K12K annual fee U’khand govt says cheers to personal bar permit N AR E N D RA S E T HI @ 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. power tariff OERC gives relief to consumers for 2nd consecutive yr E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i ce consumption between 201 and 400 units while `6.20 will be charged per unit for In a huge relief to consum- consumption above 400 ers, the Odisha Electricity units, Patnaik said. Regulatory Commission Four per cent rebate over (OERC) has kept retail pow- and above the normal will er tariff unchanged for the be allowed on the bill to low second consecutive year. tension (LT) domestic and This apart, to incentivise single phase general purtimely bill payment, the reg- pose category of consumers ulatory body has announced who pay their bills through a special rebate of 10 paise digital mode. The rebate will per unit in addition to the be applicable on the current existing discount for domes- month’s bill, if paid in full. tic consumers in rural areas In another major relief, who pay the bill by the due OERC has waived off dedate. layed payment surcharge Highlighting (DPS) for LT dosome of the special mestic and high features of the tartension (HT) bulk iff orders issued by supply domestic Commission the OERC here on consumers which decided to keep Thursday its secre, was one per cent of the tariff at the tary Priyabrat Patthe billed value for naik said the com- prevailing rate as each month of dediscoms have mission decided to lay. After consistgenerated a keep the tariff at surplus revenue of ent demand for rethe prevailing rate duction of tariff `1,036.71 cr a s Tat a Powe rby 50 per cent for Priyabrat Patnaik, owned distribution agro-industrial acOERC secy companies (distivities including coms) have genercold storages, the ated a surplus revenue of commission has reduced the `1,036.71 crore. rate by `1.60 paise per unit “While the discoms have in HT and LT which were improved their efficiency `4.60 and `4.70 per unit and reduced losses, sale of earlier. additional 3,000 million unit Off peak hours has been power after the Covid-19 defined as 2 pm to 6 pm and lockdown generated surplus 12 midnight to 6 am of the revenue for the utilities,” he day to allow consumers to said. get 20 paise per unit time of Electricity tariff for do- day (ToD) benefit. This was mestic consumers will re- earlier only 12 midnight to 6 main `3 per unit for first 50 am of the next day . units and `4.80 per unit beThe green energy certifitween 51 and 200 units. Simi- cation premium has been larly, the tariff remains un- reduced from 50 paise per changed at `5.80 per unit for unit to 25 paise per unit. @ Bhubaneswar
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