Vol. 65 No. 339 | TUESDAY | JUNE 7, 2022 | 18 Pages | GOVT TO TWEAK SPENDING TO AVOID EXTRA BORROWING AMID RATE SPIKE EDITIONS: MUMBAI*, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, Konkan, E-paper EDIT LESSONS FROM QATAR & CO TO A MATURED DEMOCRACY OIC comment: India says it’s very ‘narrow minded’ PROPHET REMARK: UAE DECRIES TOO FPJ BUREAU NEW DELHI The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has joined the other nations in condemnation of now suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s and party Delhi unit media head Naveen Jindal’s derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad. Denouncing the comments, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “rejects all practices and behaviours that contradict moral and human values and principles”. Asserting the need to respect all religious faiths, the UAE called for tolerance and human coexistence. The Kingdom of Jordan, too, condemned the remarks on Monday . Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Iran had expressed their strong displeasure on Sunday . Meanwhile, India changed its stand from defensive to passive-aggressive on Monday by hitting out at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for its criticism of India. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India categorically rejects the OIC Secretariat’s “unwarranted and narrow-minded comments” and asserted that New Delhi accords the highest respect to all religions. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE PAK SUMMONS INDIAN ENVOY, ISSUES DEMARCHE T he Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday summoned the Indian Charge d’ Affaires and conveyed the government’s “categorical rejection and strong condemnation” of the derogatory remarks. The Indian envoy was told that these remarks were totally unacceptable and had not only deeply hurt the sentiments of the people of Pakistan but of Muslims across the world. NATION PAGE PRODUCTS PULLED OFF SHELVES A PIC: SALMAN ANSARI A day after NUPUR SHARMA’S SUSPENSION from the BJP and despite her apology, Mumbai Commissioner of Police Sanjay Pandey said a summons would soon be issued asking her to be present for questioning in connection with the case. THE LINES 10-YR BOND YIELDS SURGE TO 40-MTH HIGH The yield on 10-year benchmark government paper on Monday crossed 7.5 per cent, the highest level in over three years, on fears of aggressive rate hike by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India. Fears of additional market borrowing by the government have also contributed to the rise in yields, amid an adverse global environment. LIC SHARES SLUMP TO RECORD LOW The share price of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) slumped to a record low of Rs 782.45 on Monday, which is 17.55 per cent down from its IPO issue price of Rs 949. The scrip opened flat at Rs 800.25 but witnessed selling pressure later in the day. Lowest since its listing on the stock exchanges last month, LIC share traded in the red for the fifth straight session. 1ST POST-COVID HAJ FLIGHT TAKES OFF After a gap of almost two years, the first flight with about 377 pilgrims on the Haj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, took off from Lucknow on Monday. A total of 7,500 passengers will be sent from Uttar Pradesh for Hajj 2022 on 13 flights that will run till June 15. With the Centre’s cancellation of Haj subsidy, there is also a 200 per cent increase in Haj fee that pilgrims have had to shell out. HC VACANCIES: CJ RECUSES FROM PIL The Bombay High Court (HC) Chief Justice Dipankar Datta has recused himself from hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking setting up of a permanent mechanism to fill up vacancies of judges in the HC. He recused himself as besides being the administrative head of the HC, he also heads the collegium, the body of judges that makes recommendations for appointment of judges. The plea, filed in March by the Bombay Lawyers Association, prayed that vacant posts be filled for the HC to function at its sanctioned strength. Covid testing 1/4th of Dec ’21 SWAPNIL MISHRA MUMBAI The ever-growing coronavirus numbers in the city could be much higher than reported as the testing is four times less than what it was in the last week of December 2021. On an average, the BMC had conducted around 35,000 tests every day at the start of the third Covid-19 wave, when cases were less than 1,000, compared to over 8,500 tests per day between May 30 and June 5, 2021. Officials, though, have attributed this drop to the Centre’s guidelines where they had stated not to conduct RtPCR for everyone except mild and severe patients. More- over, testing was reduced ever since restrictions were lifted after the third wave. However, the civic chief had directed on June 2 to increase testing by five times. An official said, “There is no doubt testing has been reduced drastically compared to what it was during the third wave. The Central government issued a circular in NATION PAGE January advising testing only symptomatic people. In the Omicron-Covid wave, over 85 per cent of those who tested positive had none to mild symptoms.” State health minister Rajesh Tope said, “We have been witnessing a surge in Covid cases owing to which the test positivity rate has increased to 8 per cent from 2-3 per cent. Moreover, it is the Omicron variant and its sub lineages such as BA.4 and BA.5 which have been spreading in the city.” Dr Rahul Pandit, a member of the Covid-19 Taskforce said “Testing will increase in the next three to four days as per the order issued by the civic chief. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE MUMBAI IS MOST FORGETFUL SHASHANK RAO MUMBAI Of all the cities in India, Mumbai suffers the most from forgetfulness. As per an app-based cab aggregator’s index of items left behind by passengers in taxis, it tops the list, closely followed by Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata. The cab aggregator has also listed the 340c. 270c. Sunrise: 06:00 am Sunset : 07:14 pm MOST FORGOTTEN ITEMS Phone/camera Laptop Backpack Wallet Clothing Groceries Cash Water Bottle Headphones items that riders tend to forget, though actual numbers are not provided. The study states that from ghewar (sweet) to Aadhaar card to musical instruments like flute, riders have been known to leave behind an array of items during cab rides. The index also lists unique items like stickers, birthday cakes, mangoes, dumb bells, cricket bats, spike guards and even bike handles. On June 6, the aggregator released the index for March 2021 to April 2022. Interestingly, it also mentions the days of the week and time of the year when riders tend to be most forgetful. Passengers tend to forget the most during the afternoon, and this March has been the most forgetful month. tween Surat and Billmora in 2026. “There has been good progress in the construction of infrastructure for the bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and the work is being done at a high speed,” Vaishnaw said on Monday adding , that Surat’s will be the first bullet train of India, for which construction work will be completed by 2024. Apart from Surat, work on three more stations – Vapi, Bilimora and Bharuch – is in full swing and also likely to complete by 2024. He said every month around 300 pillars are being erected, covering a distance of around 12 km. Vaishnaw said Maharashtra should work with the spirit of cooperation and collaboration on the project. He said, “This is a national project and there should not be any politics over it. I believe we would set an example of working together on this project.’ ‘No willpower for Bullet’ KAMAL MISHRA MUMBAI Days after Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar ‘supported’ the Bullet train project, the Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw alleged that the state government does not have the willpower to implement the MumbaiAhmedabad bullet train project as acquisition of around 30 per cent land is still not complete. However, Vaishnaw said he is fully confident to run the country’s first bullet train be- Bullet train will have both Fast and Slow services AGENCIES GHAZIABAD A local court on Monday sentenced terror convict Waliullah Khan to death for serial blasts in Varanasi that killed 20 people and injured over 100 almost 16 years ago. District sessions judge Jitendra Kumar Sinha convicted Khan on Saturday but had held back the pronouncement on the quantum of punishment for the blasts in 2006 at Varanasi’s Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple and a railway station. On Monday, Khan was brought to the district court CONTD. ON NATION PAGE See City Salman Khan’s security beefed up Death sentence for blasts in Varanasi STAFF REPORTER MUMBAI The Mumbai police have beefed up actor Salman Khan’s security following the threat letter received by his father Salim Khan on Sunday The police . have also taken into account that jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi had earlier confessed to having sent his henchmen to reconnoitre the actor’s residence in a bid to kill him after he was accused in 1998 of poaching black bucks, which are regard- ed sacred by the Bishnoi clan. The Bandra police had on Saturday registered an FIR of criminal intimidation against unknown persons, after Salim Khan found a letter threatening the father-son duo. The letter, written in Hindi, stated they would both soon meet the same fate as murdered singer Siddhu Moosewala. A senior police officer said, “The extra security is a precautionary measure as recent events and their possible connection can’t be ignored.” CONTD. ON NATION PAGE Backed by rider insights and gigabytes of data, the index aims to educate riders in a fun yet informative manner about the aggregator’s in-app options available to them at the tap of a button, in case they lose or forget something during their trip. Over this past year, phones, speakers/headphones, wallets and bags top the list of items left behind. MAHATMA TO STAY T he Reserve Bank of India has clarified that there is no proposal to replace Mahatma Gandhi on banknotes. It said there were reports in certain sections of the media that the RBI was considering changes to the existing currency and banknotes by replacing the face of Mahatma Gandhi with those of others. “It may be noted that there is no such proposal in the Reserve Bank,” the central bank said in a release. On Sunday the media was , aflame with reports that the central bank might consider using images of late poet Rabindranath Tagore and late APJ Abdul Kalam, former president, on banknotes. Reports also claimed that the finance ministry and the RBI were considering using their watermark figures on a new series of banknotes of some denominations. Sources had said that designing of the watermark samples had official sanction. While no firm decision had been taken yet, the move was afoot to explore possibilities of including watermarks of multiple figures on currency notes, the report had said. June 11: Mumbai’s 12 new conservation reserves, 2 sanctuaries date with monsoon Rains to intensify after June 15, confirm IMD and Skymet Weather STAFF REPORTER MUMBAI In an annual ritual, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has set June 11 as the date of the onset of monsoon in Mumbai and has said that the conditions have become favourable over the city. First, though, it will arrive in the Konkan and Goa regions. The monsoon has already arrived in Karnataka and is estimated to intensify over Mumbai and the adjoining areas after June 15. An official from the IMD Mumbai said, “The monsoon has reached Karwar in Karnataka, and we are currently monitoring the situation. We will have to wait for it to enter south Konkan and Goa before it reaches Mumbai.” Mahesh Palawat of Skymet Weather also confirmed that pre-monsoon activities have begun. “However, rains will not be very heavy like the typical monsoon in the beginning,” he said, adding that activity in Kerala is currently weak, but northeast India is observing a good rainfall. “Mumbai, too, will gradually experience a good rainfall post midJune,” he added. On Monday the minimum , temperature recorded in Santacruz was 28 degrees Celsius and the maximum was 34.1 degrees Celsius, with relative humidity touching 67 per cent. Colaba, meanwhile, experienced a minimum temperature of 27 degrees Celsius. State also approves extension of Lonar wildlife sanctuary area and 10 endangered wildlife habitats FILE PIC BETWEEN Kuwaiti supermarket pulled Indian products from its shelves as the row grew on Monday. Workers at the Al-Ardiya CoOperative Society store piled Indian tea and other products into trolleys in a protest against comments denounced as “Islamophobic”. MANUSHI REVEALS DEEPIKA’S CONNECTION IN SAMRAT PRITHVIRAJ AUDITIONS! SANJAY JOG MUMBAI The 18th State Wildlife Board meeting on Monday chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray approved 12 new conservation reserves that will cover an area of 692.74 sq km and two new sanctuaries (including a flamingo sanctuary) covering an area of 298.61 sq km. In addition, the board also cleared BOJO: FATE HANGS BY A THREAD AGENCIES / LONDON British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night faced a vote on his future as the number of parliamentarians from his Conservative Party had reached the necessary threshold, CNN reported. Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady said Boris Johnson faced a vote of confidence, triggered by discontented lawmakers in his own party He said . that 15 per cent of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party had been exceeded. CONTD. ON NATION PAGE ED: Choksi’s wife helped form dummy firms THE AGENCY SAYS SHE ALSO HELPED LAYER TAINTED MONEY BHAVNA UCHIL MUMBAI Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi’s wife Priti Kothari helped him incorporate dummy companies in the UAE to acquire properties and layer tainted money, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said in its supplementary chargesheet naming her as an accused among others in the Rs 6,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case. This is the first time any agency has named her as an accused in connection with the PNB scam. This is the second supplementary chargesheet, and it names her along with Mehul Choksi and Gokulnath Shetty, who was the deputy manager of the bank’s Brady House Branch where the scam began in 2017. Three companies – M/s Gitanjali Gems Ltd, M/s. Gill India Ltd., M/s. Nakshatra Brand Ltd – have also been named as accused. The agency said she was “hand in glove” with her husband in getting companies incorporated to siphon off and launder the money and was aware of the source of the monies. It has called her an “abettor’ for the crime. Citing the incorporated companies, it stated, “She was fully aware that all the Gitanjali companies M/s Asian Diamond & Jewellery FZE , including M/s Hillingdon Ltd., M/s Goldhawk DMCC (former name M/s Diminco DMCC) were incorporated for beneficial use of Mehul Choksi and the same were beneficially owned and controlled by him.” It added that during its probe it had issued summons to her, but she did not honour it. The ED said Choksi’s wife, along with one Dion Lillywhite, an employee of UAEbased Gitanjali Group and a dummy director in some of the group companies, had approached one CD Shah in the UAE for incorporation of a few dummy companies. On being approached, Shah and some others helped them incorporate three companies – namely M/s Charing Cross Holdings Ltd., M/s Colindale Holdings Ltd. and M/s Hillingdon Holdings Ltd. – in the UAE. “The ultimate beneficial owner of all these companies was Priti Pradyotkumar Kothari, wife of Mehul Choksi and eventually Mehul Choksi,” the agency said. the extension of Lonar wildlife sanctuary area and 10 endangered wildlife habitats. Further, the board also approved construction activity for the water supply scheme to Aurangabad in the Jayakwadi bird sanctuary This is impor. tant when Aurangabad, which is the state’s tourism capital, is currently facing acute water shortage as residents are getting potable water once a week. The CM asked the board to immediately submit the proposal in this regard to the National Wildlife Board for its consent. Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said, “The MVA government has embarked on the agenda of sustainable development in urban and rural areas, along with increasing forest cover and biodiversity protection.” CONTD. ON NATION PAGE Loan app cases an uphill task: Top cop GAUTAM S. MENGLE MUMBAI Amidst the rising menace of cybercrimes, including the recent spate of cases involving loan apps, Mumbai Commissioner of Police Sanjay Pandey on Monday indicated that it’s an uphill task as the cases under the Information Technology Act can only be probed by a police inspector (PI) rank officer but there are only 3,000 PIs in the force. A senior police officer said that even though cases involving loan apps had multiple laws invoked, the fact that the crime was committed using the internet and electronic de- vices make them automatically eligible for the IT Act. This, in turn, means that a PI rank officer had to be compulsorily appointed as the investigating officer of every such case, leading to an increased workload and pendency . CONTD. ON NATION PAGE 24 train tickets a mth for single user STAFF REPORTER / MUMBAI Here’s bidding a goodbye to train ticket booking touts, probably In . what could ease bookings for long distance trains, the Indian Railways has decided to allow a single user to book 24 tickets a month if the IRCTC account is Aadhaar-linked. If not, 12 tickets can be booked for one User ID in a month. Until now, this used to be half the number. Officials said this will remove dependence on agents.