31012019-TT-01.qxd 30-01-2019 23:17 Page 1 13 chandigarh | gurugram | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | vol.139 no.30 | 16 pages | ~4.50 | regd.no.chd/0006/2018-2020 established in 1881 | thursday, january31,2019 ANNA HAZARE BEGINS FAST OVER LOKPAL PAGE 7 INDIAN OIL’S PROFIT PLUNGES 91% ON INVENTORY LOSSES PAGE 12 /thetribunechd ! haryana THERESA MAY ON COLLISION COURSE WITH EU PAGE 13 /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com Indicted & sacked Finally, some debt relief for Punjab on way Chanda Kochhar held guilty by Srikrishna panel ICICI to recover bonuses, retiral dues of ex-CEO New Delhi, January 30 An independent inquiry has indicted former CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar for violating various regulations. The bank has decided to stop all unpaid retirement benefits and recover bonuses paid to her since 2009. The leading private sector lender, which had given a clean chit to Kochhar in the Videocon loan matter, will treat her resignation as ‘Termination for Cause’. The development comes days after the CBI filed an FIR naming Kochhar and others in the alleged quid pro quo in extending a Rs 3,250-crore loan to the Videocon Group. An independent inquiry panel led by Justice (retd) BN Srikrishna observed that Kochhar violated bank policies and rules. Based on the findings, the ICICI Bank board has advised “further action as may be warranted in the matter”. The committee report concluded there was lack of diligence with respect to annual disclosures as required by the bank in terms of its internal policies and violation of Code of Conduct and applicable IN BRIEF AgustaWestland co-accused Rajiv Saxena extradited New Delhi: Rajiv Saxena, an accused in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, was extradited from Dubai to India on Wednesday, making it second catch for the investigating agencies after Christian Michel. The development assumes significance because the agencies allege that Rajiv, a Dubai-based businessman, played a key role in laundering the money received to pay kickbacks in the scam. AGENCIES Pehalwan gang members ‘in touch with arms smugglers’ Ropar: Three members of the Pehalwan gang, who were arrested on Monday, were in touch with global arms smugglers, it is learnt. Following information provided by the accused, a police team with the help of BSF personnel recovered two German-made pistols hidden at the India-Pak border across the fence near Ajnala. TNS Jind byelection result today Chandigarh: Key contestants in the Jind Assembly bypoll have expressed confidence that they would win, as the counting of votes begins on Thursday. TNS RISE AND FALL ■ Kochhar became CEO of the country’s leading pvt sector lender in 2009; left the bank in Oct 2018 ■ A high profile banker, she was bestowed with Padma Bhushan in 2011 ■ There were charges of Kochhar’s role in a loan to Videocon Group on a quid pro quo basis delay in recognising impairment in 31 loan accounts between 20082016 to save on provisioning costs ■ These allegations led to probes by multiple agencies, including the CBI, ED and SFIO, and also questioning of Kochhar’s kin ■ It was alleged the group had Chandigarh, January 30 Saddled with a huge debt — a legacy of the SAD-BJP government — there could be some relief for the Capt Amarinder Singh government in Punjab. The 15th Finance Commission will be setting up a committee under Dr Ramesh Chand to find ways to settle the Rs 31,000 crore debt taken by the ruling coalition then, days before the Assembly poll results in March 2017. Each year for 20 years beginning 2017, Punjab is to pay Rs 3,240 crore as interest towards the loan taken to settle the food credit account. Of the Rs 31,000 crore that the Centre has asked Punjab to pay, the principal amount is Rs 12,000 crore and the interest amount Rs 18,000 crore. This is eating into the state’s already depleting cash resources, leaving little room for the government to initiate development projects with most of the revenue going towards committed liabilities, including repayment of interest for a public debt that has A LEGACY ISSUE ■ A Rs 31,000 crore debt was taken by SAD-BJP govt to settle food credit account, days before Assembly poll results in March 2017. ■ Of the Rs 31,000 crore that Punjab is to pay to the Centre, the principal amount is Rs 12,000 cr and interest Rs 18,000 cr ■ Each year for 20 years beginning 2017, Punjab is to pay Rs 3,240 crore as interest towards this loan Finance Commission chief NK Singh soared to Rs 2.11 lakh crore. Captain and Finance Minister Manpreet Badal pleaded the case before the Finance Commission. Chairman NK Singh agreed to set up a committee, comprising representatives of the Centre, Punjab and FCI, to explore all possibilities. “Reimbursement by the Centre is below the procurement cost of foodgrain incurred by Punjab. So, the matter must be looked into,” Singh said. The panel will submit a report within six weeks. — TNS Rahul’s ‘opportunism’ irks Goa CM Honour long-term packs, TRAI tells Congress president again flags Rafale, cites former Defence Minister DTH operators put money into NuPower Renewables owned by her husband Deepak ■ The allegation of conflict of interest was made by whistleblower Arvind Gupta nowhere in the picture in the process of procuring Rafale, nor did I have any information on it. I feel let down that you have used this visit for petty political gains,” Parrikar wrote to the AICC president, claimng that Rafale was not even mentioned during the five minutes they were together. The letter came on a day when Rahul, addressing a Youth Congress event here, again invoked Parrikar, saying “”Parrikar ji himself said that while changing the deal, the PM did not ask the Defence Minister.” Accusing PM Narendra Modi of “selling the IAF”, he didn’t contextualise the quotes he attributed to Parrikar, triggering angry reactions from the BJP camp. Parrikar lashed out at Gandhi asking him to state the truth of the matter. “Kindly do not use your visit to an ailing person for political opportunism,” the Goa CM wrote. “I have said this before and reiterate the fighter aircraft are procured following the stated procedures... continued on page 7 Data no more ‘safe’ All set for Interim Budget tomorrow from govt influence Govt plans some big-ticket announcements, Opposition sees red SC: No stay on amendments to SC/ST Act ■ Later in March, unnamed whistleblower alleged deliberate BANK PERFORMANCE DIPS From a performance perspective, when Chanda Kochhar took over, ICICI Bank was the second largest in the system and the largest among its private sector peers. But at the end of her stint at the bank, it was reduced to No. 3 and the second largest private sector lender after HDFC by a wide margin. PTI laws. ICICI Bank CEO Sandeep Bakhshi said the bank had put out a statement on Kochhar and the lender’s role now was limit- ed to cooperating with regulatory agencies. In March 2018, the board of ICICI Bank had given a clean chit continued on page 7 New Delhi, January 30 Ahead of the February 1 deadline for switchover to the new broadcast regime, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked DTH operators to honour pre-paid commitment on ongoing long-duration packs, if customer so wishes. The advisory assumes significance as there have been reports that some DTH players are nudging customers with long-duration packs to choose channels under the new framework, without offering them the option to continue with their plan. — PTI Govt on back foot as 2 NSC members quit New Delhi, January 30 The government will present the Interim Budget on February 1. This will be the last Budget of the BJP-led NDA government ahead of the General Election. The session will start tomorrow with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind to both Houses of Parliament and conclude on February 13. There will be no Economic Survey. The session is expected to be stormy with the government planning some big-ticket announcements in the Interim Budget to be presented by interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal besides pushing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha after it was passed by the Lok Sabha in the last session. The Finance Ministry today clarified that the forthcoming Budget would be called Interim Budget 2019-2020 and not General Budget. Even the provisional busi- New Delhi, January 30 The Rafale jet purchase row took a new turn today with Goa CM Manohar Parrikar accusing Congress president Rahul Gandhi of exploiting a personal visit for petty political gains. Rahul had visited the ailing Parrikar at the Goa Assembly complex on Tuesday. “You called on me without prior information … We have a healthy political tradition in India to rise above bipartisan considerations and wish opponents a quick recovery. I ❝Paying a courtesy visit and then stooping so low as to make a false statement for petty political gain has raised in my mind questions about the sincerity and purpose of your visit.❞ Manohar Parrikar, GOA CM . received your visit in that spirit, fighting as I am a severe ailment. However, reading media reports covering your visit to my office has caused me distress. It is reported that you have said, quoting me, that I was Aditi Tandon Tribune News Service Tribune News Service New Delhi, January 30 On the back foot following the resignation of two independent members of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) — PC Mohanan, acting chairman, and J V Meenakshi — the Union Government today asserted that the members had never expressed their concerns during any of the meetings. The Congress accused the Modi government of destroying yet another institution, claiming one more venerable institution had “died” owing to government’s “malicious negligence”. Congress’Ahmed Patel said the resignations served the government’s objective to “blackout” all data on “misgovernance”. “The report and the commission which prepares such reports belong to the people of India and not to ❝We mourn the death of the National Statistical Commission and remember with gratitude its valiant fight to release untainted GDP data and employment data.❞ P Chidambaram, CONG LEADER any political party. The government has no business to sit on it..,” Patel tweeted. Talking to The Tribune, former chairman Dr Pronab Sen said the developments defeated the very purpose of the panel that had been set up “to insulate data from government influence”. He went on to add that of late, NITI Aayog had “bypassed the commission and on its own created back series for computing GDP figures”. This, he claimed, had caused resentment among the panel members. SESSION BEGINS TODAY Tribune News Service ■ Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will present the Interim Budget on Friday, seeking Parliament nod to spend for four months ■ The Budget Session will begin on Thursday with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind to both Houses of Parliament ■ The government is also likely to push for the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha that has already been passed by the LS CONG TO OPPOSE CITIZENSHIP BILL IN RS ■ Congress general secretary for Assam Harish Rawat said on Wednesday that the party would issue a whip to its Rajya Sabha members to vote against the Citizenship Amendment Bill ■ The Bill facilitates citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Parsi migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who entered India before December 31, 2014 ness list of the Lok Sabha terms it as “Interim Budget 2019-2020”, which is in line with tradition whereby the outgoing government takes the nod of Parliament to spend for four months through a Vote on Account until a new government assumes office. The nature of the forthcom- ing Budget came up for discussion at the meeting Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called today with political party leaders to discuss the agenda on the eve of the Budget Session. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said he flagged the issue with his party earlier warning the government against presenting a General Budget. Other Opposition parties also joined the Congress in this demand with the sense being that the BJP could use its last Budget to pledge what it cannot constitutionally pledge. The Congress had threatened to oppose a full Budget in the Lok Sabha saying the government had no electoral or constitutional mandate to present six full Budgets. The NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in May 2014 and presented a Budget for financial year 2014-15 followed by Budgets for financial years 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. The government can’t present a sixth full Budget because financial year 201920 would commence on April 1, 2019, and continue till March 31, 2020, whereas the tenure of the BJP government would end on May 26, 2019, and a new government would assume office before May 26, 2019. New Delhi, January 30 The Supreme Court today again refused to stay amendments to the SC/ST Act that restored the “no anticipatory bail” provision and said all matters, including the Centre’s review petition, would be heard on February 19. A Bench headed by Justice UU Lalit said the issue required hearing in detail and it would be appropriate if all matters were heard on February 19. The Bench refused to stay the amendments passed by Parliament after senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for one of the petitioners, sought an immediate stay. The apex court had on January 25 said it would consider listing the Centre’s review and petitions challenging the amendments to the SC/ST Act 2018 together before an appropriate Bench. On August 9 last year, Parliament passed a Bill to overturn the apex court order relating to certain safeguards against arrest under the SC/ST law. — PTI No paediatrician, 3 newborn die in a day Keep off gurdwara affairs, Akalis warn BJP Mukesh Tandon Tribune News Service Panipat, January 30 The special neonatal care unit (SNCU) at the general hospital here is without any paediatrician and ventilator. Three neonates died here on Monday, while 33 had died in 2018. Last year saw the unit virtually turn into a referral centre with 351 neonates being referred to other hospitals due to lack of amenities. Reena, wife of Chanderlal of Khojkipur village, gave birth to twins — boy and girl — on January 24. As per record, the delivery was premature and the weight of kids was 1.3 kg and 1.2 kg, respectively. A newborn admitted to Special Neonatal Care Unit at General Hospital in Panipat. TRIBUNE PHOTO SNCU medical officer Dr Ekta Bathla said one child had a congenital deformity as its one foot had not developed while both kids suffered from respiratory distress. They died on Monday night. Another newborn, child of Mehroon of Garhi Besak village, was shifted to SNCU in a serious condition on Mon- day night. He died in the wee hours on Tuesday. The SNCU has been functioning without any paediatrician for the past two months while it was mandatory to have a paediatrician and two doctors on round-the-clock duty here. Only four nurses are posted here against the required strength of eight. Paediatrician-cum-incharge of SNCU Dr Dinesh Dahiya was suspended in connection with a criminal case last year, while paediatrician Dr Niharika is on child-care leave. Dr Alok Jain has become Medical Superintendent (MS) due to which there is no paediatrician at the hospital now. It is being run under the supervision of three doctors—two of them on contract. Dr Ekta said, “Though we try to provide proper care to the newborn, the non-availability of any paediatrician has made things difficult. In many cases, we have no option but to refer serious patients to other hospitals.” MS Dr Alok Jain said low weight and respiratory distress were the main reasons behind the death of the three newborns at the centre recently. Officiating Civil Surgeon Dr Naveen Suneja said, “We have advertised for the paediatrician’s post twice, but no doctor seems ready to join on a monthly salary of Rs 80,000. I have talked to the higher-ups and we will advertise for the post once again.” Tribune News Service New Delhi, January 30 The ruling BJP found itself under attack from yet another ally with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today warning the party against interference in Sikh religious affairs. In a series of tweets, SAD spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa accused the BJP of meddling in the affairs of Sikh gurdwaras by trying to install its own persons in gurdwara managements. “We can sacrifice the alliance but cannot tolerate interference in the religious affairs of the community. Sikh minorities across the world are feeling agitated over attempts by the BJP to ❝Let the BJP be warned. For us MLA/MP posts are not important. For us, the service of the community is important. If they don’t stop meddling in our religious affairs, we will be forced to take the extreme step.❞ Manjinder Singh Sirsa, SAD SPOKESPERSON try and interfere in Gurdwara Patna Sahib. We stopped that by petitioning BJP chief Amit Shah. Now attempts are being made by the BJP-led Maharashtra Government to install their own person as head of the board of Gurdwara Takht Hazur Saheb, Nanded. “This cannot be tolerated. Let the BJP be warned. For us MLA/MP posts are not important. For us, the service of the community is important. If they don’t stop meddling in our religious affairs, we will be forced to take the extreme step,” Sirsa warned in a video message. The SAD objection is to an amendment to Section 11 of Sri Hazur Sahib Management Act which allows the government to elect gurdwara management chief. Even though the BJP claimed no attempts were being made to “dilute” Sikh shrines, the Akalis remained defiant. Earlier in the day, BJP leader RP Singh referred to an old tweet by Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, assuring Union Minister Harsimrat Badal on putting on hold the controversial amendment to the Act. “Some BJP leaders are creating confusion in the media. Our point is reflected in @Dev_Fadnavis tweet also. He says “not to push amendment in winter session”. That means BJP government plans to get amendment done post winter session! The agenda is clear — gaining control of Gurdwara Management,” Sirsa said in another tweet.
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.
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