BUTTLER COOKS ROYAL'S WIN; ENDS MUMBAI’S WINNING STREAK PG 8 Fast News PTI Tamil Nadu cops vote through postal ballots in Chennai. Shinde-Ambedkar 'chai pe charcha' fuels speculation SOLAPUR (MAHARASHTRA): An impromptu meeting between Congress candidate Sushilkumar Shinde and VBAAIMIM leader Prakash Ambedkar at a hotel on Saturday morning sparked a hot political speculation. Both of them -- staunch rivals in the campaign field -- were seen exchanging pleasantries, eating breakfast and sipping tea for a short while, at Hotel Sarovar. Ambedkar was accompanied by local leaders while Shinde had gone to meet former Speaker Shivraj Patil. Later, VBA-AIMIM also sent out official messages on social media saying "the meeting between Ambedkar-Shinde was sudden, Bhim Sainiks should not get wrong ideas about it." Share picture on Earth Day: NASA WASHINGTON: Sharing your best photo showing a detail of Earth on social media with #PictureEarth on Earth Day on April 22, can win you a chance to get that photo featured in NASA videos or composite images. "We'll check Instagram, Twitter and our NASA Earth Facebook event page to find your images and select photos from around the world to showcase later in videos and composite images," NASA said. People can post a close-up photo on social media of fave natural features, such as crashing waves, ancient trees, blooming flowers, or stunning sunsets. You need to use the hashtag #PictureEarth and upload the photo on April 22. Delay decision on India's GSP: US WASHINGTON: Two top American Senators, Senators John Cornyn from the Republican party and Mark Warner, have urged the Trump administration to delay until the end of the general elections its decision to terminate India's designation as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) due to a lack of compliance. Assisted suicide for terminally ill WASHINGTON: New Jersey has legalised assisted suicide by enacting a law that will allow terminally ill individuals in the state the right to choose when they want to die. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed "the Aid in Dying for the Terminal Act" on Friday, which will go into effect on August 1, making New Jersey the seventh state in the US to permit assisted suicide. Black hole's name a little fuzzy WASHINGTON: The newly pictured supermassive black hole is a beast with no name, at least not an official one. And what happens next could be cosmically confusing. A language professor has given it a name from a Hawaiian chant — Powehi — meaning "the adorned fathomless dark creation." Finland: World's happiest country VANTAA: The UN crowned Finland the world's happiest nation last month for the second year running. Finland's residents enjoy a high quality of life, security and public services, with rates of inequality and poverty among the lowest of all OECD countries. In an EU survey last year, 86 per cent of Finns said they were satisfied with their work-life balance, against an EU average of 78 per cent. VOL. 30 NO. 50| MUMBAI, PUNE, INDORE, BHOPAL SUNDAY| APRIL 14, 2019| 8+8=16 PAGES POWER, MONEY AND INFLUENCE France waived $162 million in Ambani taxes after Rafale Deal AGENCIES / New Delhi France waived taxes worth $162.6 million or 143.7 million euros to a French-registered telecom subsidiary of Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications in 2015, months after PM Narendra Modi's announcement of buying 36 Rafale jets, leading French newspaper Le Monde reported on Saturday giving a fresh twist to , the deal in the middle of the Lok Sabha polls. While the French embassy here said a global settlement was reached with the firm under legislative and regulatory framework, the defence ministry said any connections drawn between the tax issue and the Rafale deal was totally "inaccurate" and "tendentious". In October 2015, six months after Modi announced in Paris about the Rafale deal, the French tax authorities accepted 7.3 million euros from Reliance Flag Atlantic France as a settlement as against original demand of 151 million euros, the French newspaper reported. As per current exchange rate, the amount waived was Rs 1,123 crore. Reliance Flag owns a terrestrial cable network and other telecom infrastructure in France. Following the report, the Congress stepped up its attack on the government on the Rafale deal and alleged that the Reliance received the tax waiver due to Modi's "blessings" and that he acted as a "middleman" for Ambani. In its reaction, Reliance Communications rejected any wrongdoing and said the tax dispute was settled under legal framework which is available for all companies operating in France. Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016. The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the deal and has been targeting the government over selection of Ambani-owned Reliance Defence as an offset partner for Dassault Aviation. The government has rejected the allegations. The French embassy in a , statement, said a global settlement was reached between the French tax authorities and Reliance company in a tax dispute per, taining to the period 20082012. "This settlement was conducted in full adherence with the legislative and regulatory framework governing this common practice of the tax administration. It was not subject to any political interference whatsoever," it said. CONTD. ON P4 CONG fires fresh salvo F RCom rubbishes French media report NEW DELHI: Earlier in a statement, Reliance Communications clarified that the tax issue of its subsidiary Reliance FLAG Atlantic France SAS pertained to 2008 and had been settled as per local laws, much before the Indian government decided to purchase Rafale jets from French company Dassault. "Reliance FLAG tax issue pertains to 2008, nearly 10 years old," the company said. "Reliance FLAG says tax demands were completely unsustainable and illegal. Reliance denies any favouritism or gain from settlement," it added. The statement added that Reliance FLAG settled the tax disputes as per legal framework in France available to all companies operating in that country. "During the period under consideration by the French Tax Authorities in 2008-2012 (nearly 10 years ago), FLAG France had an operating loss of Rs 20 crore (2.7 million euro). "French tax authorities raised a tax demand of over Rs 1,100 crore for the same period. As per the French tax settlement process as per law, a mutual settlement agreement was signed to pay Rs 56 crore as a final settlement," the company said. The deal for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault was announced in April 2015 during Modi's visit to Paris. FLAG France owns a terrestrial cable network and other telecom infrastructure in France. T Cambridge offers M Phil straight from undergrad, says Congress The war of words over educational qualifications has now brought Union Minister Arun Jaitley into the spotlight. Hours after Jaitley came out in support of Union Minister Smriti Irani and questioned Rahul Gandhi's degree, Congress wondered if any college offered a degree in "entire political science", which would help it understand Anil Ambani's tax waiver. Calling Jaitley "Blog Mantri ji", the grand old party tweeted, "FYI Cambridge offers M Phil straight Revert to ballot paper system: Naidu tells EC AGENCIES / New Delhi Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora here and submitted a memorandum alleging that a large number of EVMs malfunctioned during polling in the state on Thursday and inadequate security led to incidents of violence. Accusing the Election Commission of bias, he claimed that police and administration officers were removed arbitrarily creat, ing policy paralyses in the administration. He also demanded that the EC return to the ballot paper system to "preserve the sanctity of the electoral process" as there was a "possibility of tampering" with EVMs. "The manner in which the Election Commission of India, a constitutional body ,... miserably failed to live up to the spirit of the constitutional duty is not only dis, turbing but also dangerous to the future of democracy in the country ," the TDP chief said. CONTD. ON P4 from undergrad. What nobody offers is a degree in "Entire political science". After the Opposition attacked Irani over her educational qualifications in poll affidavit, Jaitley making a , scathing attack on Congress, came to her defence and said the academic credentials of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, too, were the subject of debate. "One day the focus (of Congress campaign) would be on the BJP candidate’s educational qualification, fully forgetting that a public audit of Rahul Gandhi's academic credentials may leave a lot to be answered. After all, he got an MPhil without a Master's degree," Jaitley said in a Facebook blog titled 'India’s Opposition is on a Rent a Cause Campaign'. CONTD. ON P4 BJP will neither get votes of Ali nor Bajrang Bali: Maya Sri Sri Ravi Shankar AGENCIES / Badaun (UP) tant information about our ancestors. So, it is a very happy moment to note that we have both Ali and Bajrang Bali and their coming together will give us very good results in these elections," she said. Mayawati was addressing a rally of the BSP-SP-RLD alliance in favour of SP nominee Dharmendra Yadav for the Badaun Lok Sabha seat. "In the Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi's party (BJP) will neither get the votes of Ali nor Bajrang Bali, who is associated with my caste," she said. "In these elections, the Namo Namo people are going out of power and the Jai Bhim ones are coming, which is also the need of the country ." Support Programme) and said, “Congress and dishonesty are best friends. The otherwise dishonest Congress mistakenly spoke the truth on one occasion. Now they are saying ''Nyay'' (justice) will happen. Even if they did not intend to, they have admitted that they have done ''Annyay'' (injustice) for the last 60 years.” Continuing in the same vein, Modi said, “I want to ask the Congress, who will do Nyay to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots? Who will do Nyay to the victims of anti-Dalit violence? Who will do Nyay to the government of the great M G Ramachandran (AIADMK founder), which was dismissed by the Congress (in 1980) just because one dynasty did not respect him? Who will do justice to the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy?” Responding to Rahul Gandhi''s posturing that the Congress will ensure that Tamil Nadu is not ruled by Nagpur (RSS headquarters), he charged that the Congress never did justice to regional aspirations. “NDA accords top priority to regional aspirations. Cooperative federalism is an article of faith for us,” he said. In Ramanathapuram, the home town of former President Abdul Kalam, he said the late leader had worked with the motto of India First. “Congress works with ''Family First'', so they even forget great sons of Tamil Nadu… Their only interest is one dynasty he charged. ,” Modi believed that the political climate in Tamil Nadu clearly favours the NDA. CONTD. ON P4 had announced his party was not contesting the elections and had made it clear he would campaign only against the BJP and the Shiv Sena. The EC is in a fix over the rallies being conducted by Raj Thackeray the MNS , chief. When the model code of conduct is in effect, rallies are shown as expenses by the candidate. Thackeray has been conducting rallies through out the state. He has been campaigning against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP president, Amit Shah, and recently he , spoke at Mumbai's Shivaji Park and in Nanded. Satyanarayana said the BJP has to decide on what grounds it wants to lodge a complaint. "Parties like the MNS, which do not endorse any particular candidate do not come under the ambit of the EC," she said. She further explained, "Parties can come to CONTD. ON P4 No political interference: France AGENCIES / NEW DELHI: In the wake of reports that it granted huge tax waiver to Anil Ambani's French firm, France Saturday said a global settlement was reached between the French tax authorities and the Reliance subsidiary and that it was not subjected to any political interference. have seen reports drawing conjectural connection between tax exemption to a private company and procurement of Rafale fighter jets by government of India. Neither the period of the tax For a lonely person, beauty is in companionship. Giving her own twist to a recent remark by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP chief Mayawati on Saturday said her party wanted both Ali and Bajrang Bali -- particularly Bajrang Bali as the deity is "linked with my own Dalit caste". Addressing a rally in Badaun, Mayawati recalled Adityanath's comment on Tuesday in which he referred to her earlier appeal to Muslims to vote for the opposition alliance in Uttar Pradesh. "In this connection, I want to tell him (Adityanath) that both Ali and Bajrang Bali are ours.... So we want both Ali as well as Bajrang Bali," she said. Adityanath had said if Ali was with the BSP-SP-RLD combine, Bajrang Bali was with the BJP Ali is a revered . figure in Islam and Lord Hanuman is often called Bajrang Bali. Both Mayawati and Adityanath were served notices by the Election Commission over their remarks. "We particularly want Bajrang Bali because he is linked to my own Dalit caste," Mayawati said. The BSP chief was apparently referring to Adityanath's comments last year when he had described Lord Hanuman as a forest dweller and a Dalit. "I am very thankful to Yogiji that he has given us impor- iring a fresh salvo at PM Narendra Modi on the Rafale issue, the Congress on Saturday alleged that the 143.7 million euro French tax waiver to Anil Ambani's telecom company in 2015, after India announced the fighter jet deal, was due to PM Modi's "blessings" as he acted as a "middleman" for the businessman. "This is called zero sum choices, startling tax concession and Modi 'kripa' (blessings)," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here while referring to a French newspaper report that France waived taxes of the Reliance Communications' subsidiary. AIMED AT DISINFORMING PUBLIC: DEFENCE MINISTRY he Defence Ministry termed as “mischievous” and “inaccurate” the attempts to draw a connection between the tax issue and the Rafale deal and said they are aimed at disinforming public. "We EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AGENCIES / New Delhi Successful social media influencers share tips and tricks with DISHA PRASHANT on how to win followers and influence concession nor the subject matter of the concession relate even remotely to the Rafale procurement concluded during the tenure of the present government," the ministry said in a statement. Cong accepts did injustice: PM DRAVIDA THAMBI / Chennai A day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi oftrying to control Tamil Nadu through the ruling AIADMK, Modi hit out at the grand old party''s ''Ab Hoga Nyay'' (Justice will happen now) campaign saying the Congress has finally admitted that injustice was done by them over the past 60 years. Addressing election meetings in Theni and Ramanathapuram in southern Tamil Nadu on Saturday Modi referred to the Congress'' campaign themed around its proposed NYAY scheme (Minimum Income BJP to EC: Who is footing the Veteran on letter to tab for Raj's anti-saffron rallies? President Kovind Politicisation of armed forces NEW DELHI: An Army veteran who spearheaded a campaign by ex-military personnel to condemn the "politicisation of the armed forces" ahead of the Lok Sabha elections expressed surprise over three former officers backing off a day after endorsing the letter, and said that their initial words of support are clearly recorded in the email chain. "I really cannot say why they are distancing themselves from the letter. They may have their own reasons, and I respect them. But I have recorded consent of all the veterans to whom I sent the mails," Major General Sunil Vombatkere told NDTV today For. mer Air Chief Marshal Nirmal Chandra Suri and retired Army chief General SF Rodrigues were among those who reconsidered their support to the letter. The army veteran dismissed the former Air Chief Marshal's claim that the text of the letter was not shown to him before it was e-mailed to President Kovind on Thursday "Suri would have seen it . in the mail because it was there along with other veterans' emails. CONTD. ON P4 FPJ BUREAU / Mumbai Former election commissioner Neela Satyanarayana has said those rallies which are not in support of the poll candidate cannot be endorsed by the Election Commission. She was speaking about the complaint by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), seeking investigation of the latter's expenses. The MNS has not fielded a single candidate for the 2019 elections. The Election Commission (EC) is wondering which candidate is footing the bill for Raj's rallies. Raj At Jallianwala, British envoy non-committal on apology 100TH ANNIVERSARY "We particularly want Bajrang Bali because he is linked to my own Dalit caste" AGENCIES / Amritsar As the nation commemorates the 100th anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of innocent Indians by British forces at the Jallianwala Bagh, British High Commissioner Sir Dominic Asquith on Saturday expressed deep regret and sorrow but remained non-committal on any apology coming from the British government on the brutal killings. "We deeply regret what happened," the British High Commissioner said in his remarks in the Visitor's Book at the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial here. Asquith paid floral tributes at the me- morial. On the issue of an apology by his government, Asquith evaded a direct response to the media: "I know this is a really important question. I would just ask you to respect what I came here to do which was to commemorate those who died here a 100 years ago -- to ex- press the sorrow of the British government and the British people." "What happened 100 years ago was a tragedy . Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Parliament this week referred to it as a 'shameful scar' in our history "Her predeces. sor, Prime Minister CONTD. ON P4 IL&FS CEO Ramesh Bawa arrested on charges of fraud AGENCIES / New Delhi Making its second arrest in the IL&FS case, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) Saturday arrested former IL&FS Financial Services chief Ramesh C Bawa, official sources said. They said Bawa, who had served as managing director and CEO, was arrested on the grounds of abusing his powers at the company through fraudulent conduct. He also granted loans to entities which were not creditworthy and caused wrongful loss to the company and its creditors, they added. Earlier this month, the probe agency arrested former IL&FS VC Hari Sankaran. The sources said IL&FS Financial Services Ltd had borrowings of around Rs 17,500 crore through debt instruments and bank loans. Provident funds, pension funds, gratuity funds, MFs as well as public and pvt sector banks are among the entities that have invested in these debt instruments. The alleged financial irregularities at IL&FS came to light last year after some group entities defaulted.