06012018-TTC-01.qxd 1/6/2018 1:28 AM Page 1 13 established in 1881 saturday, january 6, 2018 late city chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 138 no. 6 | 40 pages | ~5.00 | regd. no. chd/0006/2018-2020 /thetribunechd Union Budget on Feb 1, no clarity on triple talaq Bill as session ends /thetribunechd Pak ‘terror inaction’: US freezes $2 b aid Pretty devoted Vibha Sharma Says move has nothing to do with JuD chief Saeed Tribune News Service New Delhi, January 5 The fate of the triple talaq Bill continues to hang in the balance with the winter session of Parliament ending today. The NDA government can now try to get the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session, which starts on January 29, with President Ram Nath Kovind addressing a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The Economic Survey would be tabled the same day and the Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister on February 1, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar announced here today. The session will be held in two phases — the first till February 9. After a recess from February 10 to March 4, it will meet again between March 5 and April 6. The triple talaq Bill has been cleared by the Lok Sabha, where the BJP-led NDA enjoys a brute majority. However, not just the Opposition but BJP ally TDP too is reported to be rooting for wider consultations. In other words, it wants the Bill to be sent to a select committee. While the government would want a “discussion” on the Bill in its current form to “expose” the Opposition, the latter is expected to hold its ground, seeking a division of votes on resolutions for sending it to a committee. The BJP may try to push the Bill around April. And, the ordinance route is always there. For Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, it was his first full session as Rajya Sabha Chairman. “Though the House could transact some important business, it could have been better,” he said. A girl stands in a queue inside a gurdwara during Guru Gobind Singh birth anniversary celebrations in Jammu on Friday. REUTERS Whistleblower who first called UIDAI Village-Level Entrepreneur reported data theft to authority, no one paid heed Rachna Khaira Tribune News Service Jalandhar, January 5 Thirty-two-year-old Bharat Bhushan Gupta is the man who reported the matter of illegitimate Aadhaar data access to The Tribune, which was followed up by the paper with an investigation of its own, aided by this whistleblower. However, he had first attempted to take an even more appropriate channel, approaching the UIDAI. The Jalandhar-based Village-Level Entrepreneur (VLE) was on December 29 lured into buying access to the data by people who approached him on WhatsApp. But the moment he tried to check if the access worked by entering his own Village-Level Entrepreneur (VLE) Bharat Bhushan Gupta working at his shop in Jalandhar on Friday. PHOTO: SARABJIT SINGH Aadhaar number and those of a few of his friends, he realised the information that showed up on the screen was more than he should be authorised to get. He could figure that out as he was a VLE who previously had legal access to Aadhaar data, but to a limited extent. Gupta pondered over the matter for a couple of days, ED summons to Rana Gurjit’s son Asked to explain about funds raised abroad; denies any wrongdoing Varinder Singh Tribune News Service Jalandhar, January 5 The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons for January 17 to Rana Inder Partap Singh, son of Punjab Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, in connection with raising of funds abroad to the tune of $18 million (around Rs 100 crore) by floating foreign shares, or GDRs (Global Depository Receipts), for one of the family-owned companies, Rana Sugars Ltd, allegedly without the mandatory permission of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Inder Partap is the managing director of Rana Sugars, a Rana Group company founded in 1992 in collaboration with Punjab Agro Corporation, with its head office in Chandigarh. The Central investigation agency suspects the funds may have been raised in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA). The ED also believes that the company extended its own guarantees for loans taken by foreign investors/entities from banks abroad for subscribing to its shares (GDRs) floated outside India. Indian companies issuing GDRs have to comply with certain conditions under FEMA, and filing of information with the RBI is one of the mandatory requirements. The RBI has told the ED that it has no information regarding Rana Sugars issuing GDRs. The company had also not filed any information regarding the end utilisation of the money in India. The money raised by Rana Sugars was kept in a Portugal bank based in Madira Island for a while before being transferred to India. This was also “not reported” to the RBI or the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The ED initiated its investigation into the matter after it was flagged by SEBI. Responding to the ED’s queries, Rana Sugars submitted copies of audited balance-sheets from 2005-06 to 2007-08, along with details of GDRs issued by the company. In a letter to the ED, Inder Partap Singh contended that no permission was required as the GDRs were issued under the ‘automatic route’ in accordance with the “Issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (Through Depositary Receipt Mechanism) Scheme, 1993” and the guidelines issued by the Department of Economic Affairs dated January 19, 2000. Continued on page 7 and decided to report. He dialled the toll-free helpline number, 1947, of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). “I called up twice, but could only connect to an operator, who was unable to understand my concern. I told her since it was a technical and sensitive matter, she should put me through to a senior. She said no official was available in that office,” Gupta said. Not getting a response from the UIDAI, he approached The Tribune correspondent, who, with Gupta’s assistance, approached the Aadhaar access sellers on WhatsApp and purchased another login in the name of ‘Anamika’. Continued on page 7 Edit: Aadhaar data leaked SBI’s minimum balance ~1,000 New Delhi, January 5 In a move that will benefit 25 crore customers, the SBI today announced to reduce the minimum average balance requirement. Customers in Metro and urban centres will now have to maintain average Rs 1,000 during the quarter compared to Rs 3,000 average on a monthly basis. The requirement of QAB stands revised at Rs 500 instead of Rs 2,000 in semiurban and Rs 1,000 in rural areas. The charges will be levied on quarterly basis. The charges for non-maintenance of QAB in Metro centres will now stand reduced up to Rs 50 per quarter, instead of Rs 50 per month. — TNS MoD rank parity sorted out Territorial Army can THE TRIBUNE IMPACT Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service New Delhi, January 5 The Ministry of Defence today ended what was seen as “false equivalence” between civilian employees and armed forces. However, one part of the MoD order might require clarity. The ministry said, “The letter dated October 18, 2016, on the issue of equivalence between armed forces’ officers and Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (AFHQ) officers is withdrawn.” Sources said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, at NEEDS CLARIFICATION Rendition of annual performance appraisal report (APAR), status quo ante is restored, i.e., the position that existed prior to the issue of MoD letter dated October 18, 2016, shall prevail. a meeting to sort out the matter in the second week of December, was decisive and had issued instructions to withdraw the letter. The issue was first raised by The Tribune last October. In the October 2016 letter, the AFHQ cadre had given itself a status higher than mandated. It had equated a Major General (Rear Admiral in the Navy and Air Vice-Mar- shal in the IAF) with a Principal Director at the AFHQ cadre. A Brigadier (Commodore/Air Commodore) was equated with a Director, a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain with a Joint Director. The armed forces protested. The warrant of precedence (WoP) issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs says the Maj Gen is equivalent to a Joint Secretary and a Brigadier to a Deputy Director General. Then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar ordered “rechecking of facts”. The MoD in its letter today said the cadre restructuring of the AFHQ, as approved by Continued on page 7 have women:Delhi HC New Delhi, January 5 The Delhi High Court today paved the way for recruitment of women in the Territorial Army (TA), saying any provision that bars them is ultra vires of the fundamental rights provided under the Constitution. The Territorial Army is the second line of defence after the regular Army. A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the words “any person” in Section 6 of the TA Act shall include both men and women. The court also said that any provision of the Act which bars or Today’s issue consists of 40 pages, including four-page The Tribune Trends, eight-page Chandigarh Tribune and six-page Life+Style. bans recruitment of women into the TA would be ultra vires of the fundamental right of equality. The ruling came on a PIL alleging discrimination against women in recruitment in the TA, in which actor Mohanlal and cricketers Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni are honorary members with senior ranks. The petitioner had alleged “institutionalised discrimination” against women for not being recruited in the TA, which is an organisation of volunteers who get training in order to be mobilised in case of an emergency. — PTI Washington/Islamabad, Jan 5 The US today suspended about $2 billion security aid and delivery of military equipment to Pakistan for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantling their safe havens. The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan comes after President Donald Trump in a New Year’s Day tweet accused the country of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing a “safe haven” to terrorists in return for the $33 billion aid over the last 15 years. The suspended amount also includes $255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the 2016 fiscal as mandated by the Congress. The $2 billion security aid includes $900 million in the Coalition Support Funds (CSF) money to Pakistan for fiscal year 2017. In addition, the Department of Defence has suspended other unspent money from previous fiscal years. ❝ We are suspending national security assistance until Pakistan takes decisive action against terror groups, including Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network US State Department “We are suspending national security assistance to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistan Government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told the media. “We consider them (terror groups) to be destabilising the region and also targeting US personnel. The US will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan,” she said, adding that the US would not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan, unless required by law. Reacting to the move, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said: “We are engaged with the US Administration on the issue of security cooperation and await details. Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats.” It said Pakistan believed its cooperation with the US in fighting terrorism directly served US national security interests as well as the larger interests of the international community. Historically, the US has provided Pakistan over $1 billion in security assistance annually. In August, in his new South Asia strategy, Trump had accused Pakistan of providing “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror”, emphasising the time had come “for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to continued on page 19 Agnihotri to be CLP leader in HP Shimla, January 5 2003, after which he posted Four-time Congress MLA three consecutive wins in from Haroli in Una district 2007, 2012 and 2017. A BrahMukesh Agnihotri (55) will be min leader, he also remained the Congress Legislathe Chief Parliamenture Party (CLP) tary Secretary in the leader in the Virbhadra regime in Himachal Pradesh 2003 and chairman of Vidhan Sabha. the Housing Board. The journalistThe CLP had yesturned-politician was terday adopted a sinthe Industry and Par- Mukesh Agnihotri gle-line resolution, liamentary Affairs authorising Congress Minister in the last Congress president Rahul Gandhi to regime. He was elected to the take the final call on appointAssembly for the first time in ing the CLP leader. AICC general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde, party affairs incharge, met Rahul today and submitted a report on the feedback received from party MLAs. Shinde, and Bala Sahib Thorat, former Maharashtra minister, had interacted with MLAs. The four-day winter session of the Assembly would commence at Dharamsala on January 9. The Congress has 21 legislators as against 44 of the BJP in the 68-member House. — TNS
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).