SINCE 1928 PRAJNESH MAKES THE CUT; ENTERS AUSTRALIAN OPEN MAIN DRAW Pg 21 TIME TO RESTORE CBI’S SAGGING IMAGE REG. NO. MCS/048/2018-20; RNI NO. 1541/1957 M.P.C.S office Mumbai-400001 Fast News KARACHI BLAST: PAK BLAMES RAW New Delhi: Pakistan on Friday made the sensational claim that the attack on a Chinese consulate in Karachi in November last year was carried out with the assistance of Indian intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. The Indian government was quick to reject the allegation, calling it fabricated and a scurrilous attempt to levy accusations. The Karachi police chief claimed the involvement of R&AW at a press briefing and said that the attack was planned in Afghanistan. was It aimed at sabotaging the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. They wanted China to believe that Karachi is not [a] safe [city], he said. FACTORY OUTPUT IN THE DUMPS New Delhi: There is a dramatic slump in India's industrial production, which saw a measly growth of 0.5 percent in November, as against a rise of 8.4 percent in October and 8.5 per cent during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.Factory output, reflected in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), is the best way of measuring economic activity in the manufacturing sector. Accounting for more than three-fourths of the entire index, it saw deceleration of 0.4 percent in November from a year-on-year rise of 10.4 per cent.According to sources in the government, December data is needed before concluding there is an economic slowdown. Also, it is reasoned that there is generally a slump post-Diwali. No quashing of FIR against CBI’s No 2 FROM OUR BUREAU New Delhi The Delhi High Court on Friday not only refused to quash the FIR against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, whose allegations led to removal of his boss Alok Verma from the agency but also , cleared way for his arrest by removing the interim protection granted to him against the criminal proceedings. The single-judge Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri also directed the CBI to complete investigation in the case of criminal conspiracy and corruption against Asthana and his accomplices within 10 weeks. She refused to cancel the case registered against Asthana, his deputy SP Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad. The judge also ruled that the government's permission for prior sanction to prosecute Asthana and Devender was not needed in view of the facts of the case. The FIR was registered against them on a complaint of Hyderabad-based businessman Satish Babu Sana, who was allegedly forced to cough up a bribe to get relief in a money laundering case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi. CONTD. ON P6 GOOD NEWS AWAITS H-1B VISA HOLDERS wAShiNGTON: US President Donald Trump on Friday assured H-1B visa holders -- an overwhelming majority of whom are IT professionals -that his administration will soon bring changes that will give them certainty of stay in America and a "potential path to citizenship". Trump’s good news was contained in a tweet addressed to Indian professionals. BANKER MEERA SANYAL DEAD MUMbAi: Banker-turnedpolitician Meera Sanyal died on Friday after a brief illness. Sanyal, 57, had joined the Aam Aadmi Party after quitting her job as the country chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, and contested the Lok Sabha election in 2014. AAP leader and Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia confirmed her death in a tweet, saying the country has lost a “sharp economic brain and a gentle soul. You will forever remain in our hearts,” Sisodia said in the tweet. The Kochi-born Sanyal had also served as the head of corporate finance and chief operating officer for ABN Amro for Asia. QUOTE ‘‘There are so many fights happening within the Cbi, so many allegations and counter-allegations... who will probe the Cbi?" -- Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav EDIT SURPRISED BY ‘ELITE CLASS’ TAG: ZOYA AKHTAR Pg 18 Pg 8 Sikri had sought Verma’s transfer FROM OUR BUREAU New Delhi Supreme Court judge A K Sikri not only sided with Prime Minister Modi in the 3-member high-powered committee meeting which decided to remove Alok Verma, but it was he who sought his transfer to another equivalent post pending an inquiry into the prima facie findings of guilt by the Chief Vigilance Commissioner. He has justified Verma's removal on the ground that it is not a termination. His explanation is that Verma's services have not been terminated, nor has he been even suspended but just transferred to an equal rank post and certainly one can't be terminated without a hearing. CONTD. ON P6 The day-long hearing in the Bombay High Court failed to break the deadlock between the workers’ union and the management of the BEST undertaking on Friday . The ball is now in the union’s court as the high court has asked them to ‘take the first step’ to resolve the issue.The division bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Nitin Jamdar also asked the Maharashtra government to mediate and try to break the stalemate, even as the strike entered its fourth day on Friday . Is State vying with Delhi for ‘bad air day’ status? 17 cities in Maharashtra have toxic air OUR BUREAU New Delhi Ousted CBI chief Alok Verma resigned on Friday a day , after the 3-member high powered selection committee headed by the Prime Minister shunted him as the Director General of Fire Services, holding him guilty of "not acting with the integrity expected of him." Verma refused to take up the job, which he saw as a slight, and has resigned 20 days ahead of the 2-year term he was given as CBI chief beyond his age of superannuation. In a resignation letter to the government, Verma wrote: The bench was hearing a petition filed by advocate Datta Mane, highlighting the plight of lakhs of commuters, stranded due to the strike. After the adjournment, in the afternoon session, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni informed the judges of a three-member committee constituted to deal with the issue, under the chairmanship of state’s chief secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain. Counsels appearing for the municipal corporation and BEST said they would like to resolve every issue, but it is possible only after the workers resume work. “Workers will have to cooperate with ‘Accidental’ protest by Congmen contenders for the same distinction. Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Badlapur, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur and Nagpur, are among the 17 cities in Maharashtra with toxic air. The union government had released the data on air pollution and toxicity in August 2018. However, the states have taken no effort to remedy the situation. According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Pune, Badlapur and Ulhasnagar have recorded very high levels of nitrogen dioxide, touching toxic levels and Vidarbha, Nagpur, Akola, Amravati and Chandrapur are the most polluted cities. MoEF launched a national clean air programme on Thursday The respective state . governments of 102 toxic cities have been asked to give presentations and the remedial measures they propose to take to improve air quality . The MoEF officials noted that despite releasing data on toxic and polluted cities, no action has been taken by the state governments as yet. Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Amravati, Jalna, Kolhapur and Latur had submitted action plans which were rejected. After that they have failed to submit the revised plans. CONTD. ON P6 tation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi. However, no invitations have been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president, Amit Shah, as yet.Amit Thackeray will wed fashion designer Mitali Borude on January 27. Raj, the president of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, is the nephew of Shiv Sena founder, Bal Thackeray, on whom he has modelled himself. Although his party started with a bang in the state and municipal elections in 2006, today, the MNS barely registers its presence on the state’s political turf. Once a strong supporter of Modi and the Gujarat model of development, Raj has now made a complete Uturn after demonetisation, the Nanar refinery project and the bullet train project. Raj has extended invitations to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and BJP ministers in the union government, Members of Parliament and leaders. Since 2014, Raj had addressed Rahul as ‘Pappu’ and had mocked his waving to the crowds as the ‘gesture of a truck cleaner’. CONTD. ON P6 Shah-Modi ‘kankotris’ still in the mail? AMIT THACKERAY WEDDING: EVEN AS RAHUL GANDHI GETS INVITE... FPJ BUREAU Mumbai Wedding bells are ringing in the Raj Thackeray household, as the family prepares for his son, Amit’s nuptials. He began by sending out invitation cards to his friends, mentor Lata Mangeshkar and politicians. He has sent emissaries to New Delhi to hand over a wedding invi- Soul consciousness awakens divinity leading to noble to thoughts and feelings. Brahma Kumaris "The undersigned is no longer Director, CBI, and has already crossed his superannuation age for DG Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards. The undersigned may be deemed as superannuated with effect from today (Friday)." In a brief statement, Verma said he "tried to uphold dignity of the CBI while attempts were being made to destroy it.’’ He further slammed his transfer to another post pursuant to the orders of the committee on the basis of "false, unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations made by only one person, who was inimical to me." CONTD. ON P6 us and it is only then that we can come to a solution. They cannot continue to hold guns to our heads,” senior counsel Anil Sakhre, representing BMC, said. The submissions were vehemently opposed by advocate Neeta Karnik, who appeared for the workers’ union. “We resorted to a strike after 98 per cent of our members voted for it. Our issues are genuine and that is why we have gained the support of all political parties. We too want to work, but there must be some assurance,” Karnik said.Soon there was a war of words between Sakhre and Karnik as CONTD. ON P6 NEETA KOLHATKAR A From City Editor’s Desk tragedy is unfolding in Mumbai, with the firstever longest public transport strike entering the fifth day . Even as major chunks of the city and its suburbs remain dug up, 'for a better tomorrow', the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking workers are struggling for survival. Worse still, most citizens who depend on this second lifeline of Mumbai, could hardly give a damn for the cause of this strike. Most are worried about their pockets being pinched, shelling out for auto rickshaws and taxis, whose refusals and insults they must take in their stride on a daily basis. While politicians and ‘babus’ take pride in saying the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is the richest civic body in the country it is time they intro, spect on how it is that the corporation's transport section is haemorrhaging! It is no surprise the transport wing is a loss-making one. Most public transport undertakings across the globe are not profitable, but none are in as shabby a state as our BEST. There are other fears expressed by workers like the phasing out of jobs and buses and discontinuation of routes. Even as BEST officials complain of being cash-strapped, they dole out subsidies to different sections of society Many benefici. aries of this BEST largesse are employed journalists, who are State-accredited and are members of the Mantralaya ani Vidhi Mandal Vartahar Sangh. And to top it, Mumbai’s destiny is her politicians who don’t seem to care for her. Shiv Sena, the ruling party in the BMC and an ally in the state and the union government, is busy merrily targeting its partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party at every given opportunity , . It has now outclassed itself. First, their party representative, Ashish Chemburkar, is the chairman of the BEST committee, while Suhas Samant is the Sena Kamgar Union leader. At first, both first participated in this strike only to withdraw a day later, under the pretext of supporting Mumbaikars. For the past three decades, the Sena has held sway over the BMC. How have they allowed the transport section to be crippled thus? Such lies will only put Sena in the dock. One can only hope citizens see through their devious games and think twice before bringing them back to power in the civic body . We have to wait a few years for metro services, which will definitely help commuters, but surely it cannot , come at the cost of the BEST buses. Rumours have been doing the rounds that the metro will replace the buses and that the BEST will be privatised. Many activists have expressed these fears, which the authorities have rubbished. There is however, quite a chasm between the authorities' intent and action. Ashok Chawla quits as NSE chairman AGENCIES Kolkata A group of West Bengal Congress activists on Friday allegedly interrupted the screening of 'The Accidental Prime Minister' and resorted to vandalism at a posh Kolkata multiplex on Friday evening. The agitators carrying Congress flags allegedly entered an auditorium in central Kolkata's Quest Mall round 8 pm while the film was about to start and damaged the screen, causing the show to be cancelled. The activists also allegedly threatened the viewers, asking them to immediately leave the auditorium. They asserted that they would not allow the film to be screened anywhere as its content is "disrespectful" towards senior party leaders. Earlier in the day the , screening of the film had to be cancelled in central Kolkata's CONTD. ON P6 FPJ BUREAU Mumbai It seems as though Maharashtra is vying with New Delhi for the worst air quality title. There are 102 cities in India which have violated the ‘most toxic’ air ceiling and their respective state governments are yet to take remedial measures. What is so smart about a city with bad air? That is a question for the 43 smart cities with toxic air to answer and speaks volumes for gated communities. The union Ministry for Environment, Forests and climate change (MoEF) has demanded an action plan from the state governments. Mumbai residents, who until now, turned up their noses at their counterparts in Delhi for breathing the most polluted air, are now serious prefers to resign MEDIATION COMMITTEE UNDER CHIEF SECRETARY TO HELP BREAK STALEMATE NARSI BENWAL Mumbai West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is not too amused at the release of the film, "The Accidental Prime Minister." She wryly commented that "all are accidental prime ministers." Stretching the analogy further, she said if such movies are allowed to be made, then one day there would also be films like "The Disastrous PM". THOUGHT FOR THE DAY A strike we Ousted CBI chief richly deserve HC tells BEST union to take the first step PM Modi holding a lotus flower at the BJP national executive Sunrise: 07:18 am Sunset: 06:15 pm Vol. 62 No. 220 | SATURDAY | JANUARY 12, 2019 | 22 Pages EDITIONS: MUMBAI*, PUNE, INDORE, BHOPAL www.freepressjournal.in twitter.com/fpjindia A QUESTION OF HONOUR, NOW MURDER RAP: DERA CHIEF HELD GUILTY PANChKUlA: A CBI court on Friday held Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and three others guilty of murdering journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati in 2002. “All the four accused have been convicted,” the CBI counsel HPS Verma told PTI. The sentence will be pronounced on January 17. The 51-year-old sect head appeared before the court through video conferencing from Rohtak's Sunaria jail. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is currently serving a 20-year prison term in jail for raping two of his followers. `2 WEATHER 290C. 140C. ONLINE REPORT / MumbaiI Pandya, Rahul are on first bus home Only Harbhajan won’t be there… AGENCIES / Sydney Team India members Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul will be sent home on the first available flight from Australia. The BCCI suspended them on Friday for their outrageous comments in TV show ‘Koffee with Karan’, hours after skipper Virat Kohli frowned at their conduct. (The two had boasted of their night outs on the TV show. Soon after the episode, social media was abuzz with fans questioning the statements.) The players have been suspended pending an inquiry which rules them , out for the three-match ODI series against Australia beginning Saturday in Sydney . Pandya had apologised for his comments and even replied to the BCCI's showcause notice but his response did not cut ice with the Committee of Administrators. The likes of Rishabh Pant and Manish Pandey will be in contention as their probable replacements. The remarks were condemned by Kohli, who called them inappropriate and asserted that the side does not stand by "those individual opinions". Ace spinner Harbhajan Singh also slammed the players for their sexist comments, saying they have put the reputations of cricketers at stake. He also said he would not want to be on the same team bus with Hardik or Rahul and added the two players had brought the team into disrepute. CONTD. ON P6 Former bureaucrat Ashok Chawla resigned as chairman of the National Stock Exchange with immediate effect, the bourse said on Friday hours after the CBI , said the Centre has granted sanction to prosecute him in the Aircel-Maxis case. The exchange, while making the announcement on Friday night, did not provide specific details. Chawla quit as Yes Bank chairman in November last year. The CBI, earlier in the day , informed a Delhi court that the Centre has granted sanction to prosecute five people, including serving and former bureaucrats, accused in the Aircel-Maxis case involving Congress leader and ex-Union minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti.The then members of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), against whom sanctions have been obtained, are the then secretary (economic affairs) Ashok Jha, the then additional secretary Ashok Chawla, the then joint secretary in finance ministry Kumar Sanjay Krishna, the then director in the ministry Dipak Kumar Singh, and the then undersecretary in the ministry Ram Sharan. Of the five, three are working with various government departments while two have retired. The CBI is probing how Chidambaram, who was the Union Finance Minister in 2006, granted FIPB approval to a foreign firm, when only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs was empowered to do it. (Input News 18).