Vol. 65 No. 306 | THURSDAY | APRIL 28, 2022 | 15 Pages | PAINFUEL PM, OPPN SPAT EDITIONS: MUMBAI*, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, Konkan, E-paper VALUATION OF LIC IPO ATTRACTIVE, FAIR; ISSUE RIGHT-SIZED, SAYS GOVT ` ` MUMBAI 120.51/L KOLKATA 115.12/L ` CHENNAI 110.85/L ` DELHI 105.41/L OPPN HITS BACK “C alling states names for not reducing VAT, even though we never increased it, is this the co-operative federalism you're talking about, Narendra Modi ji? Telangana hasn't increased VAT on fuel since 2014 and rounded it off only once. We don't get 41 per cent of our rightful share because of the cess imposed by your government. In the form of cess, you are looting 11.4 per cent from the state and we are getting only 29.6 per cent for FY23. Please scrap cess, so that we can give petrol at Rs 70 and diesel at Rs 60 all over India. One Nation - One Price? – KT Rama Rao Working president of Telangana Rashtra Samithi W e said share fuel revenue 50-50. But the Centre did not agree. They take away 75 per cent. The Centre has earned lakhs of crores on fuel but nothing is shared with states. It owes Rs 97,000 crore to Bengal - give me that money and we'll give subsidies. Why should Opposition-ruled states face discrimination and step-motherly treatment? This is also one type of extortion. You give all the money to BJPruled states and not to Opposition-ruled ones. – Mamata Banerjee CM, West Bengal BETWEEN THE LINES Baloch bomber MA in zoology Shari Baloch, the Balochistan Liberation Army’s first woman suicide bomber who targeted the Chinese nationals in the Karachi University attack, does not come from an oppressed background. She was a secondary school teacher and had done her Bachelors in Education (B.Ed) in 2014 and Masters in Education (M.Ed) in 2018. She also did her Masters in Zoology from the University of Balochistan and Masters in Philosophy (MPhil) from the Allama Iqbal Open University. Not just that, Shari was married and had two young children. EDIT NO PARTY IMMUNE TO VENDETTA POLITICS IN TODAY’S TIME, VILLAINS ARE NOT ONE DIMENSIONAL: NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI Centre has cut excise on petrol, it is now opposition-ruled states’ turn to cut VAT, says Modi FPJ NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI Prime Minister Modi stirred a hornet’s nest when, during a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, he asked the Opposition-ruled states to reduce taxes and pass on the benefit to the people. To buttress his point, he cited the instances of Karnataka and Gujarat which have reduced the Value Added Tax on fuel and given much-needed relief to the common man, despite the move hurting the State coffers. Flagging the high prices, he urged Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala and Jharkhand – all Opposition ruled states – to reduce VAT in na- tional interest and thereby benefit the common man. He further invoked the spirit of cooperative federalism in a scenario impacted by the Ukraine war and called for better Centre-State coordination in the economic sphere. ‘‘It has become imperative to increase the coordination between the Centre and the states and uphold the values of cooperative federalism,’’ he underscored. The supply chain has been impacted and challenges are mounting, he explained. Modi said the Centre had reduced excise duties on petrol and diesel in November to diminish the price burden. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE Don’t blame us, Uddhav tells PM SANJAY JOG MUMBAI Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray lashed out against the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, after the latter accused state governments of pushing up petrol and diesel prices. Taking an aggressive posture against the Centre, Thackeray dropped sufficient hints that there would be no reduction in VAT on petrol and diesel. He blamed the Centre for its step-motherly treatment to Maharashtra despite the state being a major contributor to the country’s develop- ment. Thackeray, after attending the meeting chaired by Modi on a review of the Covid situation, said the state government had already reduced VAT on natural gas to 3 per cent, from 13.5 Putin turns off gas to Poland, Bulgaria FPJ NEWS SERVICE MOSCOW Poland and Bulgaria are the first countries in the West to have their gas cut off. Russia turned off the tap as they are not inclined to pay it in roubles. With that, Russia has opened a new front in its war since both Poland and Bulgaria are NATO countries. Political observers see in this a dramatic escalation in the conflict, which is increasingly becoming a wider battle with the West. Immediately after the announcement, European gas price surged 24 percent. The move is the Kremlin's toughest response yet to crippling Western sanctions imposed over Moscow's brutal on- Out-of-form Kohli can rear ducks SPORTS DESK MUMBAI Virat Kohli is perhaps going through the worst phase of his otherwise illustrious career. With just 128 runs under his belt in nine matches, which is his measly contribution to the Royal Challengers Bangalore this season, the buzz is that Kohli — who has captained India across formats — might get the axe when the selectors pick the squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in October later this year. An Indian website has quoted a top BCCI official who has indicated that if Kohli doesn’t find form before the squad is picked for the ICC’s show-piece event he is most likely to be dropped. In the news for his back-toback first ball ducks in the ongoing Indian Premier League, Kohli has logged dismal scores — an unbeaten 41 against Punjab, 12 against Kolkata, 5 against Rajasthan, 1 against a struggling Mum- bai Indians, 1 against CSK and 12 against Delhi, besides the two golden ducks against new entrants Lucknow and Sunrisers Hyderabad, respectively . In RCB’s 29-run defeat against Rajasthan Royals in the last match on Tuesday, Kohli could muster just 9 runs. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE A two-member commission probing the Bhima Koregaon violence in 2018 in Pune district has summoned Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar to appear before it on May 7. Earlier, the commission had summoned Pawar to depose before it on Feb 23 & 24. – Report Page 2 MASK NOT MUST Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked district collectors to impress upon people to use masks in public spaces; however, there is no government directive yet on making them mandatory. Some states have made masks must in public. – Report Page 2 Bilawal Bhutto is new Pak FM Islamabad : Another dynast, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on Wednesday took oath as the foreign minister in the government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The appointment has come at a critical time for Bilawal when Pakistan faces multiple challenges such as fixing strained ties with the US and finding a way to restart the peace process with India. Bilawal is the son of threetime former premier Benazir Bhutto who was killed in a bomb and gun attack at a political rally in Rawalpindi in 2007. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE SWEETY ADIMULAM MUMBAI Residents of the Sion GTB Punjabi Refugee Colony are finally seeing a ray of hope for the long-pending redevelopment of their colony Maha. rashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad held a meeting with officials and residents at his Shivgad bungalow opposite Mantralaya on April 26, 2022, to discuss the redevelopment of buildings that had been declared dangerous by the Brihan-Mumbai Municipal Cor- poration three years ago. A resident, Sunil Vijan, who was present at the meeting, said, “We are hopeful that some positive action will be taken by this government. We have been living in a rented house and cannot bear the rent expenses anymore. We want the government to appoint MHADA to carry out redevelopment of our buildings.” Vijan said that the BMC had finally issued demolition notices but some issues need to be addressed first. “There has been no demarcation done. Secondly if these buildings , are demolished, how can we point out later where our building stood. Most importantly the BMC has been issu, ing certificates only to the first owner. Several people sold their property but the BMC doesn’t have fresh records. Therefore, only after resolving this issue should demolition be taken up.” The Free Press Journal had earlier reported how the people of Punjabi Colony are in extreme distress, finding themselves virtually City going Delhi way: SoBo parts without power SHASHANK RAO MUMBAI There were power cuts in parts of the island city on Wednesday a day after Mum, bai’s island city suburbs and , parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region faced power outage due to the tripping of a transmission line and substation issues. Power supply was disrupted twice on Wednesday; however, this was attributed to local issues and was not a continuation of the Tuesday episode. According to sources in the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST), residents of Bhuleshwar, Charni Road and parts of south Mumbai complained that there was no electricity from 4.45am to 5.30am and then again, around 7am, there was another round of disruption, which, according to BEST officials, lasted for 30 minutes. “Due to a fault in 11kV power cable line, there was off-supply in the Mumbadevi area for 30 minutes from 7am,” said a BEST official, on condition of anonymity . In the evening, yet again there was a disruption in electric supply in the BEST area, which extends from Colaba/Cuffe Parade to Sion/Mahim and supplies 10.50 lakh consumers. According to BEST officials, off supply was reported for nearly two hours in and around Prab- ALLEGEDLY OBJECTIONABLE REMARKS BY UDDHAV & CO AGAINST JUDICIARY URVI MAHAJANI MUMBAI Chinese fintech cos feel ED heat STAFF REPORTER MUMBAI The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has attached funds worth Rs 6.17 crore of various fintech companies in a case linked to dishing out mobile-app based loans at exorbitant interest rates to gullible people during the COVID-19 crisis. A provisional order to attach the funds was issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), it said. "The accused, along with Chinese nationals, opened various companies in the name of various persons for the purpose of illegal transactions, issuing loans and raising investments through mobile apps CONTD. ON NATION PAGE Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Shiv Sena Member of , Parliament Sanjay Raut, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, the CM’s wife Rashmi Thackeray in her capacity as the editor of the Marathi daily Saamna and the publisher of ‘Saamna Vivek Kada’ for remarks against judiciary . “Let them say anything they want to say about the judiciary Our shoulders are broad . enough for such remarks. As long as our conscience is clean… let them say whatever,” said CJ Datta. The HC was to initially list the PIL filed by Indian Bar Association for hearing in June. However, the association’s counsel pointed out that the remarks by the respondents were made despite the efforts of the court. The court then asked the advocate to file a precipe (appli- homeless. The pandemic-induced lockdown had affected their source of livelihood taxi-driving - in the last two years. Most importantly the , Punjabi families here had put their hard-earned money (savings) in the PMC Bank, which was on the verge of failure when the RBI superseded the board of PMC Bank and placed it under regulatory restrictions in September 2019, set limits on cash withdrawals and began investigating its accounting lapses. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE cation seeking urgent hearing) and said it would consider the same. The PIL states that the respondents, who hold ministerial posts, are involved in a campaign to scandalize the entire judicial system only because judgments rendered by courts do not suit them. The plea read: “Their plan to keep their opponents in jail or to cause them harassment by misuse of power and police machinery have failed due to the orders of this Court and the Supreme Court.” CONTD. ON NATION PAGE HC to monitor progress of trial IN CASES AGAINST MPs AND MLAs ON A FORTNIGHTLY BASIS FROM JUNE STAFF REPORTER MUMBAI The Bombay High Court said on Wednesday that it will monitor the progress of trial in cases against sitting and former Members of Parliament (MP) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) on a district-to-district basis. A special bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice SK Shinde has been constituted to review the progress of the trials against legislators pursuant to Supreme Court directions in a 2016 petition filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seek- ing the establishment of special courts to try criminal cases against law makers. CJ Datta said that from June onwards, the special bench will sit on a fortnightly basis and review the status of such pending cases district wise. The High Court has also asked Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to inform the court about the district which has maximum number of pending cases, so that the exercise of monitoring the progress of such cases can commence. The court said that it plans to see the frequency of dates when the trial is listed and how often adjournments are After decade-long wait, residents see a ray of hope REDEVELOPMENT OF SION PUNJABI REFUGEE COLONY Sunrise: 06:12 am Sunset : 07:00 pm BEST officials claimed that the incidents were unrelated to the Tuesday episode and resulted because of damage to power supply cables, one of which was damaged during ongoing metro work hadevi and Dadar since 6pm. “There was a major feeder fault in 11kV network, due to which substations were also affected by damage caused to cables. However, a team of technicians restored the supply by 7.50pm,” said another BEST official. BEST officials claimed that Wednesday’s incidents were owing to damage to power supply cables, one of them caused during ongoing metro work. Tuesday sevOn , eral parts of Mumbai had witnessed power cuts as there were cable faults in substations between Khar and Bandra. Several pockets in Mumbai and its adjoining suburbs suffered power outages. Our shoulders broad enough: CJ Day 2 Unperturbed by the objectionable remarks made by political leaders against the judiciary , the chief justice of the Bombay high court said the judges were not bothered by these utterances and the shoulders of the Court were broad enough to take criticism. The remark came when an advocate sought urgent hearing of a public interest litigation which seeks the initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Maharashtra METRO BRIEFS PAWAR SUMMONED going invasion, that has sent the Russian economy - and the value of the rouble - into a nosedive. European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the move yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail. ‘‘This is unjustified and unacceptable,’’ Leyen said. The European Union could impose a crude oil embargo on Russia, with the two having been locked in a stand-off for weeks after the EU rejected Putin's demands for payment in roubles from so-called 'unfriendly' buyers. Moscow said that the 'unfriendly' countries had only themselves to blame, but denied the move was blackmail. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE per cent. “Maharashtra gets 5.5 per cent of Central tax. Its share in total direct tax is 38.3 per cent. Maharashtra collects the highest GST of 15 per cent in the country. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE 350c. 270c. taken in the cases. Earlier, Kumbhakoni had said that several of the cases are stalled due to stay imposed by high courts. He had then requested the bench to pass an order to all High Court benches directing them to review their respective orders of stay on the criminal trials. The judges had quipped that as a division bench they could not pass directions to co-ordinate benches. Even though, it is a special bench, it comprises two judges and hence it cannot give directions to other division benches. On Wednesday, the court said that the cases in which trial was stayed by the high court, the prosecutor could approach the concerned bench for vacating such stay . of 100+ new cases SWAPNIL MISHRA MUMBAI For the second day in a row, more than 100 new Covid cases were recorded on Wednesday, with 112 new infections and zero deaths being reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total case count to 10,59,545, with 19,562 fatalities till now. However, the test positivity rate increased to 1.18 per cent from 1.14 per cent the day before. In the rest of Maharashtra too, there was a slight surge in the last 24 hours, with 186 new cases being reported on Wednesday, pushing the state tally to 78,77,264 till now. Health officials have said they had anticipated a surge in cases in the city, as all Covid restrictions have been lifted. “There is no need to panic as the weekly growth rate is below 1 per cent and daily hospitalisation is not more than two patients at the centres or hospitals in Mumbai. We can only urge citizens to use masks and follow covid-19 appropriate behaviour,” an official said. Meanwhile, the state’s Covid-19 taskforce has expressed concern over the rise in cases in states including Delhi and Karnataka and recommended a return to masking. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE Temple chariot grazes power line, 11 persons electrocuted FPJ NEWS SERVICE THANJAVUR Eight men and 3 teenage boys died due to electrocution when a temple chariot came in contact with a high tension electricity wire during a procession. The impact threw people standing on the chariot to the ground; seventeen of them were injured. "It was all over in a matter of minutes. It took a while for us to understand that people were dead and many were injured," a local man said. Others who were part of the procession ran helterskelter. Villagers said that the wooden temple chariot had colourful lights on the top which came into contact with the overhead electricity line. These lights were powered by a mobile generator which was tied to the rear end of the temple car which was completely gutted. "In the mayhem, organizers could not turn the generator off,’’ pointed out a villager who witnessed the inferno.