TUESDAY 16 MARCH, 2021 Women artistes emerged big winners in the usually male dominated top categories at the 63rd Grammy Awards epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard TA L LY O N R I S E CONCERN AS COVID COUNT SURGES PM Modi likely to discuss the prevailing situation with chief ministers today PAGE 8 ARIZ Khan, convicted in the killing of a police officer in the 2008 Batla House encounter in Delhi, was sentenced to death on Monday by a Delhi court, which said it is the most appropriate punishment for ‘dreaded terrorists’ like him. “Nature of offence and manner of committing the crime caused extreme indignation to the society in this case,” Additional Sessions Judge Sandeev Yadav said, declaring that there was no doubt that Ariz and his accomplices fired at police of ficials “without any provocation”. The encounter between the Delhi Police and a bunch of Indian Mujahideen members holed up in a flat in South Delhi had led to the death of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma while two others sustained injuries. The court also imposed a total fine of `11 lakh on Ariz, of which `10 lakh was ordered to be given to the Ariz Khan family of Sharma, who was posthumously awardFits rarest of ed the Ashok Chakra and rare yardstick many gallantry awards. Judge Yadav also sought The court put the to put an end to the allegacase in the “rarest of tions of the September rare” category while 2008 police operation beagreeing with ing a fake encounter. He Additional held that police officials Prosecutor A T had no intention to kill Ansari that this was the occupants of the flat, not just any killing stating that some membut a murder of a bers of the raiding team law enforcement were not even carrying officer who was a arms. “It is obvious that defender of justice convict Ariz Khan along with his accomplices fired at police officials without being challenged, instinctively the judge said, in the 22-page ver...” dict. Ariz’s lawyer M S Khan had opposed capital punishment saying the incident was not premeditated. “Deadly weapons like AK-47 and two pistols were retrieved from the flat where the shootout took place.... Considering the nature of devastation these weapons can cause, it will be safe to conclude that there was were kept in the flat with a view to indulge in terrorist and antisocial activities,” the court ruled. The case will now go to the Delhi High Court for confirmation of the capital punishment. ‘I CAN’T BREATHE’ IS SONG OF THE YEAR ■ ■ A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS Batla encounter convict awarded death sentence S A N A S H A K I L @ New Delhi R&B SINGER H.E.R. BEYONCE BREAKS RECORDS AS WOMEN RULE GRAMMYS 2021 BLASTS & THE GUNFIGHT Serial blasts rocked Delhi on Sept 13, 2008, killing 39 people and injuring 159 Six days later, on Sept 19, an encounter took place between police and IM terrorists after police received information about the presence of suspects at a flat in Batla House, Jamia Nagar IM opertaives Mohd Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid were killed in the gunfight while Special Cell inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was injured and later succumbed Shahzad Ahmad arrested from Lucknow on Feb 2, 201 Ahmed awarded life imprisonment by a Saket court in July 30, 2013 Ariz Khan was arrested on February 14, 2018 Khan convicted on March 8, 2021, for murder and other offences Khan sentenced to death on March 15 BENGAL MAMATA, AMIT SHAH SPAR OVER ‘PAIN’, CONSPIRACY CM says will fight BJP till her heart beats; home minister asks what about pain of mothers of slain BJP cadres | P7 RISE IN WHOLESALE INFLATION DIMS HOPES OF RATE CUT Experts say the upward trend in inflation will continue for the next three A sharp increase in fuel and months. food prices pushed the “Inflation dynamics will wholesale price inrule out any furdex-based inflation Trade deficit ther rate cuts, with to a 27-month high widens a status quo exof 4.17% in Februpected through Exports rose ary according com, 2021,” said Aditi 0.67% to $28 merce ministry Nayar, principal billion in February, data released on economist, ICRA on a year-on-year Monday . Ratings. basis, even as The WPI inflaAccording to trade deficit tion was 2.03% in government data, widened to $12.62 food index in FebJanuary and 2.26% in February last bn. Imports rose by ruary 2021 rose to 6.96% to $40.54 3.31%, compared to year. billion in the The latest numa 0.26% contracbers, coming a month The trade tion seen in the week after another deficit in February previous month. set of data showed 2020 was at $10.16 Petroleum prodbn | P10 February retail inuct prices have flation shot up to reached historic 5.03%, may force the Reserve highs as international crude Bank of India to opt for a prices have surged in recent pause in policy rate in the months and due to high indin e x t m o n e t a r y p o l i cy rect taxes both at the Central review. and state government level. NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 R&B singer H.E.R. won song of the year for I Can’t Breathe, which quotes the last words of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died while being arrested by police in Minneapolis last year Canadian YouTuber Lilly Singh turned up on the red carpet wearing a mask displaying “I stand with Farmers” (pic far left) Chandrababu faces FIR heat in land scam Completely new angle in the Amaravati land row as it pertains to deals after capital project was in place city project. As chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Naidu ARA Chandrababu Naidu held dual capacity as he was is in the dock. The three- also the Chairman of the AP time chief minister has Capital Region Development been linked to what has Authority . now come to be known as the The case, which throws up a ‘Amaravati land scam’, which completely new angle in the involved aggregaAmaravati land tion of thousands scam, has been regPRESS of acres for the proCLUSIVE istered under Secposed capital of the tion 120 B (conspirdivided state of acy) and Sections Andhra Pradesh. 166, 167 and 217 of the IPC, read The Crime Investigation De- with Prohibition of Assigned partment (CID) of Andhra Lands Alienation Act of 1977 Pradesh is learnt to have regis- and the SC/ST Prevention of tered an FIR against Naidu for Atrocities Act. A former minvarious procedural irregulari- ister in Naidu’s Cabinet, P ties with regard to decisions Narayana, has also been named taken in relation to the capital in the FIR and summons to ap- G S VASU N Expanding scope tied to more probe Whether the scope of the FIR against Naidu will be enlarged to invoke provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act will depend on further investigation pear before the CID have been issued to both. Naidu served two terms as chief minister of the undivided Andhra Pradesh and the third as CM of the divided AP after bifurcation from 2014 to 2019. One of the major charges against Naidu pertains to alienation of “assigned lands”, which form part of the aggregated 25,000-30,000 acres. Ac- cording to the investigations done thus far by the AP government agencies, approximately 500 acres of assigned land had been purchased by different persons after the announcement of the capital city . The crux of the charge in this case is that the AP government later issued a GO granting onetime exemption allowing alienation of such lands purchased by non-assignees for the capital project. Thus, they would stand to gain from the model prepared by the Naidu government under which 1,450-1,500 sq yards of developed commercial and residential plots would be given for every acre surrendered. The “returnable plots” Bill in LS again triggers Centre-Delhi face-off EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi A Bill seeking to give overarching power to Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday drawing flak from the , AAP gover nment which termed it an attempt to drastically curtail the powers of an elected government. The Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, moved by Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy aims to “promote harmonious relations between the legislature and the executive” and define the responsibilities of the L-G and the elected government.” The proposed amendments seek to clarify the expression ‘government’ which would mean ‘Lieutenant Governor’ in the context of any law to be made by the assembly . The proposed amendments make it clear that it will be mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the L-G before taking any executive action in the city The . Bill seeks to bar Delhi government from making any rule to enable itself or its committees to consider the matters of dayto-day administration or conduct inquiries in relation to the administrative decisions. Any rule made till this Act comes into effect will be void, as per the Bill. “In section 24 of the principal Act — which requires a Bill passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly to be presented to the L-G who may assent, withhold or reserve it for consideration of the President — an additional clause will be inserted to cover any of the matters that fall outside the purview of the powers conferred on the assembly,” said the Bill document. The proposed amendments drew sharp reaction from CM Arvind Kejriwal, who tweeted, “After being rejected by the people of Delhi (eight seats in Assembly, 0 in MCD bypolls), BJP seeks to drastically curtail powers of elected govern- ment through a Bill in LS. The Bill is contrary to Constitution Bench judgment. We strongly condemn BJP’s unconstitutional and anti-democracy move.” “The Bill says: 1) For Delhi, ‘government’ will mean L-G. Then what will the elected govt do? 2) All files will go to the L-G. This is against 4.7.18 Constitution Bench judgment which said files will not be sent to the L-G, and the elected govt will take all decisions and send a copy of the decision to the L-G,” he said in another tweet. He termed the move as a “revenge” on his government after the BJP failed to win any seat in MCD bypolls. Panchayat polls: HC asks UP to take 2015 as base year for seat quota N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow THE Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on Monday asked the UP government to follow 2015 as the base year for deciding the reservation and rotation of seats for village panchayats, blocks and districts and complete the poll process by May 25. A division bench, comprising Justice Rituraj Awasthi and Manish Mathur, also directed the state to complete the reservation process by March 27. The bench had on Saturday ordered interim stay on the reservation process while hearing a PIL filed by Ajay Kumar and had issued notices to the State Election Commission and the government to file their replies by March 15. The state government counsel on Monday told the bench that it had no objection in taking 2015 as the base year for deciding the reservation of seats by rotation. The petitioner had challenged the February 11 government order which had fixed 1995 as the base year. The petitioner claimed that it was in violation of an earlier order dated September 15 which had fixed 2015 as the base year. The previous polls were held as per the September 2015 order, the petitioner said. In an order in February the , Allahabad HC had expressed concern over the delay in holding panchayat polls and had directed the government to complete the rotation of reserved seats by March 17. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE CHINA’S SAND BLANKET Commuters walk along a sidewalk amid a sandstorm during the morning rush hour in Beijing on Monday. Billed the worst sandstorm in a decade, it blew in from the Inner Mongolia region and forced the cancellation of over 400 flights in Beijing due to low visibility. As many as 12 provinces in the country’s north were blanketed in yellow sand and dust | AP | P12 EXPRESS READ Centre plans to trim stake in 3 defence PSUs New Delhi: The Centre is planning to decrease its stake in three Defence PSUs — BEML, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd — but a timeline has not been fixed yet, Shripad Naik, Minister of State (MoS) for Defence said. have also been allotted to those who purchased and surrendered the assigned lands, primarily given to SCs and STs. It is understood that even a formal sanction of the Cabinet has not been obtained before the GO in question was issued. File notings by bureaucrats that such a decision would be in contravention of law were reportedly ignored. “It is possible that those in power take certain decisions with bonafide intentions, even if they are proved wrong. But, in this case, the end beneficiary is known prior to grant of exemption. Hence, the conspiracy a source explained. ,” CONTINUED ON P8 RS flags British racism, Centre says it will take it up with UK E X P R ESS N E WS S E RV I C E @ New Delhi DAYS after a tell-all interview of Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and the controversy over Indian-origin Rashmi Samant, who was forced to resign as president of the Oxford University Students Union, the issue of racism in the UK figured i n t h e R a j ya S a b h a o n Monday . Just last week, the UK Parliament had debated the ongoing agitation against the new farm laws in India and criticised the alleged violation of human rights of protesters. The Centre hit back sharply, calling it an “unwarranted and tendentious” debate. The matter of racism was raised by BJP member Ashwini Vaishnav. “She (Samant) was cyberbullied to the point that she had to resign and even the Hindu religious beliefs of her parents were publicly attacked by a faculty member,” Vaishnav said. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India would take it up with Britain. As a friend, India also has concerns about UK’s reputational impacts, he added. “We have strong ties with the UK, we will take up such matter with candour when required. We will monitor such development very closely, we will raise it when required.... As the land of Mahatma Gandhi, we can never turn our eyes away from racism wherever it is, particularly so in a country where we have such a large diaspora,” he said. INSPIRATIONAL @ New Delhi 107-year-old with medical history takes Covid jab EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi AT the age of 107, Kewal Krishan, who was part of the drafting committee of India’s Constituent Assembly, achieved another milestone. He is arguably the oldest person in India to take the first dose Covid-19 vaccine shot on Monday . Krishan was vaccinated at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute under the supervision of cardiologist Dr Ashok Seth. He is feeling fine and has not exhibited any adverse effects post immunisation, the son said, adding, that he performed his daily ‘puja’ after returning home. Kewal Krishan gets the Covid jab at Fortis Hospital in Delhi on Monday | PTI Two years ago, he was the oldest patient in the world to have undergone stenting to the artery of the left side of the brain to prevent a major stroke, said a statement issued by the hospital. Krishan was five years old when the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic had spread across the globe in 1918. “It is really a heartening moment to see that Kewal Krishan has got vaccinated safely and will continue to lead a good quality of life in safety This is . important, especially because two years ago, he started having repeated small strokes and faced the threat of a major stroke leading to paralysis,” said Dr Seth. He said the blockages were very hard, torturous and angulated, and it took two hours to treat it via a non-invasive carotid artery stent implantation. “I am happy to say that he improved and today he took the vaccine to remain well and enjoy his life with his family ,” the leading cardiologist said. Bidesh Chandra Paul, zonal director of the institute, said he hope Krishan’s decision to get himself vaccinated will encourage others, too. “We will continue to do our best in aiding the government efforts to combat and end the pandemic,” he said. Centenarians have been coming out in strength to get the Covid jab. On March 6, Tulsi Das Chawla (104), a resident of east Patel Nagar (Delhi), got vaccinated at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. On March 9, a 103-year-old woman J Kameshwari had received her first dose of the vaccine in Bengaluru.
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