Disqualification revoked The disqualification of Lakshadweep Lok Sabha member Mohammad Faizal P P was revoked, over two months after the Kerala High Court suspended his conviction and 10-year jail term in an attempt to murder case It comes in the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a criminal defamation case TIRUCHY l thursday l march 30, 2023 l `9.00 l PAGES 12 l late city EDITION Rahul is yet to file his appeal against the verdict Faizal’s case also came up in the SC. A bench of justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna said, “When there is a prima facie opinion based on materials that it is a case of acquittal only then suspension of conviction and sentence can be done. There cannot be a separate norm for an MP and an MLA for suspension of conviction and sentences.” 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 Deal to ramp up Russian crude imports sewed up R A K E S H K UMA R @ New Delhi express read ASP suspended in custodial torture case Tirunelveli: CM M K Stalin on Wednesday said Balveer Singh, former ASP of Ambasamudram accused of torturing suspects, has been placed under suspension. Meanwhile, one of the victims in the case, Surya, claimed that he lost his teeth after he fell on ground. As per sources, sub-divisional magistrate MD Shabbir Alam had allegedly refused to record statements of six victims. | P4 INDIA’s oil imports from Russia, which jumped 11 times in 2022-23 amid worsening geopolitical tensions, are set to hit record highs with Indian Oil Corporation inking a pact with Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft to ‘substantially’ ramp up oil supplies. Russia will also diversify the grades of crude oil it supplies to India. The deal assumes significance as it comes at a time when India is increasingly facing diplomatic pressure by Western countries to curtail imports of ‘cheaper crude’ from Russia. India, the third largest oil importer in the world, has been ignoring such calls citing its domestic energy needs and has increased Russian imports considerably in the past year. Top crude oil suppliers to India in FY23 Countries 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 (Apr-Jan) Iraq 12,873 26,381 28,694 Saudi 10,753 19,706 24,793 Russia 944 2,256 24,700 UAE 7,361 10,701 14,285 USA 5,373 9,541 9,380 All figures in $ million On Wednesday, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and IOC chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya signed the agreement in the presence of petroleum minister Hardeep S Puri. The agreement, however, did not indicate volumes. The two companies also discussed ways of expanding cooperation between Rosneft and Indian companies in the entire value chain Excreta in water tank: HC appoints 1-man probe panel of the energy sector, including possibilities of making payments in national currencies. According to energy cargo tracker Vortexa, India imported 35% of its total crude from Russia in February 2023, which is 1.62 million barrels per day . India’s other top four traditional oil suppliers are Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the US (see chart). According to the commerce ministry, Russia has for the first time become one of the five largest trading partners of India, thanks to ballooning crude oil imports. The volume of trade between the countries in 2022 reached $38.4 billion. “Thus, the goal set by the leaders of our countries to increase turnover to $30 billion by 2025 has been achieved in advance,” said the head of Rosneft. E x press N e ws S er v i c e @ Chennai The Madras High Court on Wednesday appointed a one-man commission under retired HC judge Justice V Sathyanarayanan to probe into the contamination of drinking water with faecal matter at Vengaivayal Dalit village in Pudukkottai district. The first bench of Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy also directed the commission to submit its report within two months. The order was passed on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Rajkamal, a member of Tiruvallurbased NGO Tamil Kalaikalam Trust. Rajkamal had alleged that the ongoing investigation was a “farce” and an “eye wash” and blamed the investigating authorities of acting without real intention to bring the culprits before the court. CONTINUED ON: P5 Karnataka Assembly polls on May 10. It could be anybody’s game R a m u Pat i l @ Bengaluru Karnataka will go to polls on May 10. As things stand today no , party looks to be the clear winner and the contest is likely to go right down to the wire. However, the equations may change. For now, Karnataka seems to be staring at a fractured mandate, something Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned against during his speech in Davangere. There has to be some reason why the PM mentioned it. On the ground, the Congress seems to have a slight edge. The BJP’s well-oiled election machinery is trying to bridge that gap and return to power on its own. The Janata Dal (Secular) is holding on to its base in Old Mysuru region and its performance will have a direct bearing on the Congress’ show and the overall results, to be known on May 13. Around a year ago, the Congress was clearly ahead. But, the BJP quickly re-calibrated its strategy and brought its Lingayat strongman B S Yediyurappa into the game by accommodating him in the party’s Parliamentary Board. He is now leading the charge along with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah’s frequent visits also helped the party push its development agenda and counter the Congress’ bid to set the narrative around corruption. Fast facts Date of polling: May 10 Counting of votes: May 13 Assembly strength: 224 5.24 Cr Total voters on poll rolls in Karnataka 12.15 lakh 9.58 lakh Total 80+ voters who would get to exercise their franchise from home for the first time Of them are 18+ who would exercise their franchise for the first time The BJP is depending on Modi’s popularity to overcome antiincumbency while the Congress , will make corruption its major poll plank along with freebies and welfare programmes. Karnataka is crucial for the BJP which is trying to expand its , base in the South. It is equally important for Congress, which hopes to start its nationwide revival from Karnataka ahead of the 2024 polls. As we see it now, it could be anybody’s game. Hate speech is a vicious circle, says SC, raps states S H R UTI K A K K A R @ New Delhi Terming hate speech as a vicious circle, the Supreme Court on Wednesday reprimanded states for failing to curb it. This is going on because state is impotent, powerless and doesn’t act in time. Why do we have the state at all if it is silent?” Justice K M Joseph wondered. The judge said, “This hate thing is a vicious circle. The moment politics and religion are separated and politicians stop using religion in politics, hate speeches will go away... Some sort of mechanism needs to be developed by the state so that we can curb this kind of statements.” Taking strong exception to fringe elements making hate speeches, Justice B V Nagarathna, during the hearing said, “The idea of fraternity was so much there earlier but now I’m sorry to say the cracks are coming. There must be restraint on every citizen.” She suggested that citizens could take a pledge not to vilify other members of the society . “We had orators like Nehru, Vajpayee. People from rural areas used to come to listen to them. Now fringe elements are making these statements,: she rued.
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