YK MYK RBI REPORT SHOWS PRAGMATIC OPTIMISM TO TACKLE SLOWDOWN OPINION Rs. 3 KOLKATA FRIDAY, 9 APRIL, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—321 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) WEATHER TODAY MAX 33 C MIN 26 C ABOLITION OF FCAT PART OF ‘EXTENSIVE TRIBUNAL REFORM’ SCREEN & CINEMA Morning India Campaigning ends ahead of phase IV polls MI NEWS SERVICE Sky will be clear. AT A GLANCE MAMATA ASKS VOTERS TO BE ON GUARD FROM CENTRAL FORCES BALAGARH: Apprehending that a section of central paramilitary forces may visit villages to intimidate people, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked voters to be on guard. Addressing a public meeting here in Hooghly district, Banerjee alleged central forces are working on instructions of the "Union Home Ministry run by Amit Shah." "I have respect for the central paramilitary forces but they are working on instructions from Delhi. They are committing atrocities on villagers before polling day, some of them are even harassing women. They are asking people to vote for BJP. We will not allow this to continue," the TMC chief said. Banerjee called upon the state police force "to keep vigil and not to bow their heads before Delhi. "Your job is to ensure free and fair polls, please be stern with trouble makers and keep your integrity intact." Asking villagers to lodge FIRs at local police station in case of any excess committed by central forces, the chief minister said, "If the police station refuses to accept the FIRs, inform us". Blaming BJP for "spreading lies about promulgation of section 144 in an entire constituency," the TMC supremo said, "They (BJP) spreads lies to create panic. In reality, section 144 is in force within 200 metres of a booth. CORONA METER INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,29,41,984 TOTAL DEATH: 1,66,946 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 133,881,470 TOTAL DEATH: 2,904,596 KOLKATA: The high-decibel campaigning for the fourth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections came to a close after witnessing an intense tussle between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was mostly the only big face for the ruling party during the campaigns, BJP brought out its big guns to give the TMC supremo a tough competition, with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, national president of the party JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah campaigning all out. Voting for the fourth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elec- tions will commence on April 10, covering 44 constituencies in five districts - Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly.Ahead of the upcoming phase, Shah held several high-profile roadshows in West Bengal, which witnessed massive crowd turning the electoral fever in BJP's favour. The Home Minister was also seen having a meal at a rickshaw puller's resident in Domjur. "I visited only one gram panchayat, but the kind of enthusiasm that I saw there I am confident that Rajib Banerjee will win with a majority," he said. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister announced that after BJP clinches victory in the elections, the party will create 'anti-Romeo' squads and put 'TMC Romeos' behind bars. "To safeguard the interests of sisters and daughters, BJP will create Uttar Pradesh-like anti-Romeo squads in Bengal and put all TMC Romeos behind bars," he said while addressing a public meeting in Hooghly on Thursday. Amid his tirade of attacks against the Bengal Chief Minister, Adityanath questioned why Banerjee was irritated with 'Jai Shree Ram' slogans, saying that "anyone who dares to fight Ram has to face bad results". "On May 2, Bengal will get freedom from the TMC government. TMC goons will be taken by the law. Surely, the parties like Congress, CPM and TMC will definitely give protection to the criminals, but they will be sent behind the bars," he said, adding that Banerjee herself will start chanting 'Jai Shree Ram' after the results. Meanwhile, Nadda also intensified the attack against TMC by saying that the state has decided to give Mamata Banerjee some rest by giving BJP a chance to serve people here. The gathering at this event indicates that the people are eager to bring BJP into power in the state. They are saying that 'Mamata ji ko aaram do... BJP ko kaam do' (Give Mamata ji some rest and let BJP work)," he said. He also commented that the people of the state have turned against 'tolabaaji' (extortion) and corruption and that BJP alone can improve the law and order situation here. Former TMC minister and BJP's candidate from the Majhi appears before CBI MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Anup Majhi aka Lala the alleged kingpin of the illegal coal smuggling case once again appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday for questioning for the fourth time. According to CBI officials, Majhi appeared before the CBI around 11 a.m. A CBI official said that he is being questioned in connection with the case and about his financial dealings. The CBI had earlier grilled Majhi for several hours on April 1 and 6 and on March 30 in connection with the case. Majhi's close aide Ganesh Bavaria was questioned on April 3, and Birbhum's former Superintendent of Police Shyam Singh on April 1. The CBI had also questioned former Asanol Commissioner, Laxmi Narayan Meena in connection with the case. On April 5, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the money laundering part, attached Majhi's immovable assets to the tune of Rs 165.86 crore. The attached assets EC should stop Mamata from campaigning : Babul MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who is trying his luck from the Tollygunge assembly seat, feels Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should be barred from campaigning for making "vitriolic and communal" speeches and taking Bengal's political discourse to an "all-time low". Supriyo, one of most suave faces of the BJP in Bengal and the Lok Sabha MP from Asansol, rejected opposition claim of having been "demoted" after being fielded for the assembly election, and said he himself wanted to contest the poll against a "formidable opposition and not a weak one". "Despite being a chief minister, the kind of comments that Mamata Banerjee is making is shameful. Through her vitriolic speeches and the communal campaign, she has taken the political discourse to an alltime low. The EC should ban her from campaigning for the entire election," Supriyo said in an interview. Criticising Banerjee and the ruling TMC dispensation for changing the grammar of political opponents to enemies, Supriyo, a noted singer, appealed to everyone to refrain from making personal attacks. He said, in politics, people should fight over ideology and policies. "But this change from opponents to being treated as enemies is a gift of Mamata Banerjee to Bengal politics. This trend has to change, and BJP will change it," he said. Responding to claims that several party MPs and senior leaders have been "forced" to contest the assembly polls as the BJP did not have enough good candidates, the Minister of State or Environment replied in the negative. "BJP is fighting for Bengal's honour, pride and soul, and we all want to play our part in it," he asserted. The BJP has fielded five MPS, including Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta and party vice-president Mukul Roy. Dasgupta had to even resign from the Rajya Sabha due to constitutional reasons. Supriyo is pitted against TMC heavyweight and state minister Aroop Biswas, a three-time MLA from Tollygunge. When asked why he was contesting from a seat far away and more challenging than his home constituency Asansol, Supriyo said he wanted to fight from a tough seat. He is a two-term MP from Asansol. "I am happy to play my part in this fight to free Bengal from misrule, and when my name first came up, I requested the leadership to pit me from a tough seat. Fighting from Asansol would be a cakewalk for me. include land, factory premises, plant machinery and other assets of two companies -Ispat Damodar Private Ltd and Sonic Thermal Private Ltd. The manufacturing plants of both these companies are situated in West Bengal's Purulia and Bankura. Majhi, the director of a company engaged in the purchase and sale of dry fuel, is accused of alleged illegal coal trading in the AsansolRanigunge belt of West Bengal. The CBI had registered a case involving alleged illegal coal pilferage in November last year, naming Majhi, Eastern Coalfield Ltd General Managers Amit Kumar Dhar and Jayesh Chandra Rai, ECL chief of security Tan Das, area security inspector Kunustoria Dhananjay Rai, and SSI and security in-charge Kajora area Debashish Mukherjee. It had also recorded the statement of Rujira Banerjee, wife of Trinamool Congress MP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee and his sister-in-law Menka Gambhir in the last week of February. Domjur constituency, Rajib Banerjee also slammed the Chief Minister for betraying the trust of the people of West Bengal, saying that her aim of 'Badla nahi badlav' has taken a back seat. "I was first one to raise voice against corruption in the Amphan relief. Bengal trusted Banerjee (Mamata). When you (Mamata Banerjee) say 'Khela Hobe', what do you mean by that? It means that you will loot the votes just like CPI(M)," Rajib Banerjee said. On lowering the bar of discourse in campaigns, Rajib Banerjee said the language used by the CM shocked him to the core, adding that BJP will definitely win 12 out of 16 constituencies in Howrah. However, Mamata Banerjee, called herself 'the Bengal tigress' who would not bend easily. She held several public rallies ahead of the fourth phase, launching a series of attacks against the rival party. Speaking at a public gathering in Cooch Behar on Wednesday, Banerjee said: "They (BJP) will bring goons from Assam. They will explode bombs and threaten people. Do not be afraid. They do not want our mothers and sisters to vote. Central forces are blocking your mothers and sisters from voting." She also alleged that BJP will create detention camps like the ones in Assam and urged people to not convert Bengal into Gujarat. "We will not let Gujaratis capture Bengal. Bengal will stay in Bengal, we will not let goons from Gujarat take over MP, MLA clash for credit as Godda gets train to Delhi SANJAY SAHAY RANCHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday flagged off Humsafar Express from Godda for New Delhi. The function was, however, marked by a clash between BJP MP from Godda Nishikant Dubey and Congress MLA Pradip Yadav. The Humsafar Express was earlier running from New Delhi to Bhagalpur. With its flagging off from Godda, the train would now run from Godda to New Delhi. The Memorandum of Understanding for the extension of the train from Bhagalpur to Godda was signed in 2012 under which the Union and the state government bore 50 per cent of the cost each. The state government also provided the land required for the project. Even as the programme was to begin Pradip Yadav arrived at the venue along with his supporters. Soon an altercation broke out between Yadav and Nishikant leading to pushing and manhandling between the leaders and their supporters. The authorities had a tough time separating the two groups and also saving the gadgets installed for the programme. CoBRA commando Manhas released by Maoists: CRPF RAIPUR/JAMMU: CRPF commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, who was held captive by the Maoists in Chhattisgarh for over 100 hours after the April 3 gun battle, was released on Thursday evening, the CRPF said. Manhas, a constable of the 210th CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), an elite wing of the CRPF, was safely handed over to the state police and to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). "Our CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas has reached our camp safely. He is being sent for medical examination," CRPF's IG, Operations, C.G. Arora told IANS. Manhas is physically fine, he added. In Jammu, family members of Manhas celebrated the news of his release. Neighbours and family members reached his residence, raised slogans and celebrated the news of his release by distributing sweets. His wife said she had not slept since he was made captive by the Maoists. "I want to thank the Prime Minister. I wasn't able to sleep for the last six days," said Meenu. "I am very happy that he Bengal," she said. After the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued her a notice for asking votes on communal grounds, the TMC supremo challenged the order and said she will continue to ask people to vote unitedly against BJP. Speaking at a public rally in Domjur, Banerjee said: "Even if 10 show cause notices are issued against me, my answer will remain the same. I am telling everyone to vote unitedly, there will no division. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, do not give a single vote to them." Hitting out at exTMC minister Rajib Banerjee, who is contesting from the Domjur constituency for BJP, Mamata Banerjee said: "I apologise to the people of Domjur for allowing Gaddar Mir Zafar. AICC Bengal incharge Jitin Prasada nCoV + KOLKATA: All India Congress Committee incharge (AICC) of West Bengal Jitin Prasada announced that he tested positive for Covid-19. The former Minister for State for Human Resource in a tweet said, "I have tested positive for COVID-19. Anyone who may have come in contact with me over the last few days, please get yourselves tested. I am presently in quarantine as advised by my doctors." On April 5, he was seen campaigning in Kolkata Port in the South Kolkata district of Bengal for the Congress candidate, MD Mukhtar ahead of phase four of the West Bengal Assembly elections. Polling in the fourth phase in the eight-phased West Bengal Assembly election is scheduled to be held on April 10. Mamata skips meeting over COVID-19 situation CoBRA jawan Rakeshwar Singh Manhas (L) kidnapped by Naxals during the Bijapur attack on April 3, has been released by them, on Thursday. (ANI Photo) has been released... we just got the news," said his brother Sahil. The trooper had gone missing during the fierce gun battle with over 300 PLGAs ultras in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district on April 3 in which 22 security personnel were killed and 31 were injured. Over 1,000 security personnel of the CRPF and Chhattisgarh's District Reserve Guard (DRG) and Special Task Force (STF) took part in the operation. The gun battle took place on Saturday noon near Tekulgudem village under Tarrem police station. The Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the outlawed CPI-Maoist on Tuesday announced Manhas was "safe" in their custody and sought an interlocutor appointed to for his release. As the Ministry of Home Affairs, in close coordination with the Chhattisgar government, was busy in scrutinising the names of likely interlocutors, the ultras released Manhas. NEW DELHI/ KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee skipped the meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday over the COVID-19 situation, sources said. According to sources, West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay attended the meeting. Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Chief Ministers of various States on the COVID-19 situation and vaccination-related issues on Thursday via video conferencing. Fresh COVID19 cases hit an all-time high in India on Thursday, surpassing the 1.26 lakh mark in a single day.According to the Union Health Ministry, the country recorded 1,26,789 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. With this fresh surge, the total number of infections has reached 1,29,28,574. ED alleges Abhishek's family received illicit funds MI NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI: The ED has alleged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee's family benefited from illicit funds obtained from certain illegal coal mining in the state under a "deep system" of political patronage driven by a "well-oiled" machinery. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made these claims Wednesday in a remand note presented before a special court seeking enhanced custody of West Bengal police officer Ashok Kumar Mishra, also the inspector in-charge of Bankura police station. The police officer, apart from TMC youth wing leader Vinay Mishra's brother Vikas Mishra, was arrested by the ED in a case which has local trader Anup Majhi alias Lala as the prime suspect. The inspector was arrested by the ED here on April 3 and the court had sent him to custody till Wednesday. The court extended his ED remand till April 12. The ED case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was filed after studying a November, 2020 FIR of the CBI alleging a multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to the Eastern Coalfields Ltd mines in the state's Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol. The ED, in the remand note, alleged that certain illegal mining instances were flourishing in the state under the "patronage" of the political party in power. The agency connected the policeman to Majhi, Vinay and Vikas Mishra, going up all the way to the Abhishek Banerjee's family. The Diamond Harbour MP has denied these allegations. All coal assets fall directly under Centre and are guarded by the Central agencies. If BJP thinks TMC leaders got money from those illegally operating the coal assets, then what's stopping Centre from investigating all culprits who failed to manage these national assets? he had tweeted earlier this week. He added, "Also it is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS that according to BJP, Coal Ministry and Home Ministry officials were more keenly following TMC leaders' orders than listening to their own bosses' (Read Modi-Shah's) commands! Whom are you fooling." The ED said documents seized from Majhi and Niraj Singh showed the former had "maintained detailed coded records in the form of pay- ments made to various entities from the proceeds of crime generated from illegal coal mining". "...it is further revealed that in a span of less than 2 years, an amount to the tune of Rs 1,352 crore has been illegally generated by Majhi through illegal coal mining," the agency claimed. "Investigation also revealed a deep system of political patronage and well-oiled network by which the system was subverted to carry out these illegal activities in a brazen manner." Quoting the recorded statement of an unidentified "close associate" of Majhi, the ED said the alleged kingpin of this coal pilferage scam did his "illegal coal mining business smoothly by managing senior functionaries of the political party of West Bengal though Inspector Mishra." The statement of the unidentified "witness" added, "it is known fact that Vinay Mishra collected money from illegal coal mining of Majhi and his associates for his closely associated political boss in present ruling party; that Vinay Mishra is youth leader of TMC and he is very close to Abhishek Banerjee and that he (Vinay Mishra) is the eyes and ears of Abhishek Banerjee." The ED also annexed the recorded statement of the Inspector where he allegedly stated that "Vinay Mishra was the secretary of TMC and was very close to Member of Parliament Abhishek Banerjee." The policeman told the ED that he once transferred about Rs 1-1.5 from the state to Delhi allegedly on the directions of Vinay Mishra and this was done under political pressure and knowing his (Vinay Mishra) clout in the party, he (Inspector Mishra) has to obey him or his career will be finished. "He (Inspector Mishra) facilitated in transferring funds through a nonbanking channel from India to London for a close relative of Shri Abhishek Banerjee and the funds were transferred by Niraj Singh (Majhi's accountant)." "The message regarding funds transfer to Thailand from India was forwarded to him either by Vikas or Niraj Singh and that the subject transaction of Thailand was related to Rujira Banerjee who is the close relative (wife) of Abhishek Banerjee," the ED said quoting the statement recorded by it of Inspector Mishra.