Facebook security chief likely to leave amid alleged data breach: Report

Mar 20, 2018 0

New York– With Facebook dealing with an alleged data breach crisis, the Chief Information Security Officer of the social network, Alex Stamos, is planning to leave the company by August, according to a report in The New York Times.

Facebook is facing a backlash as a data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team allegedly harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters to influence their choices at the ballot box.

Mark Zuckerberg

The social network announced in mid-March its decision to suspend Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies and commitments, but refused to call the incident a “data breach”.

The impending exit of Stamos reflects heightened leadership tension at the top of the social network, The Times report said.

Citing versions of some current and former employees of the social network, the report said that much of the internal disagreement is rooted in how much Facebook should publicly share about how nation states abused Facebook’s services.

Stamos reportedly met with resistance by colleagues when he had advocated more disclosure around Russian interference of the platform and some restructuring to better address the issues.

In December 2017, Stamos’s responsibilities were reassigned to others, following which he expressed desire to leave the company. But he was convinced to stay until August to help see through the transition of his responsibilities, according to the report.

His group, which once had 120 people, now has three, the current and former employees were quoted as saying.

Responding to the report on Monday, Stamos in a tweet said that he is still fully engaged with his work at Facebook, while avoiding divulging details about whether he intended to leave Facebook or not.

“Despite the rumours, I’m still fully engaged with my work at Facebook,” he tweeted.

“It’s true that my role did change. I’m currently spending more time exploring emerging security risks and working on election security.”

Following the reported data leakage of its 50 million users for alleged political purposes, Facebook suffered the biggest one-day drop of its stocks by seven per cent on Wall Street on Monday in four years, Xinhua new agency reported.

Cambridge Analytica received user data from a Facebook app years ago that purported to be a psychological research tool, though the firm was not authorised to have that information.

Facebook admitted that an estimated 270,000 people had downloaded the app and shared their personal details with it. (IANS)

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‘Cold comfort’ for India as neighbours give ‘pause for thought’ on Chinese aid

Mar 19, 2018 0

By Anjali Ojha

New Delhi– China’s growing imprint through building of infrastructure projects in South Asian countries is proving to be “not so useful” for them and New Delhi is finding “cold comfort” in the fact that China’s aid was being relooked at by many of India’s neighbours, the government has told a parliamentary panel.

According to a report by the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, the panel was informed by the government that “experiences” with Chinese infrastructure projects in neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka were leading these countries to give “at least some pause for thought”.

In “oral evidence” to the panel on February 16, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that China had been a “net exporter of capital infrastructure technology in last five years”. China has said for many years that it did not intend to do this because it was very typically a Cold-War construct which the Americans had done, Gokhale pointed out.

“The logistics base at Djibouti is the first one where Chinese President Xi Jinping, wearing combat fatigues, addressed the soldiers in October, thereby removing even the veil of some ambiguity whether or not this is a military base,” Gokhale said.

He said China has begun a number of projects in every South Asian country with substantial commitments. “The experience has been that while initially the appearance of free money or cheap money as well as quick execution of projects — which we have to admit is very much a part of the Chinese modalities — was attractive to a number of these countries… there have been some experiences in some of our neighbouring countries which are now giving at least some pause for thought,” he said.

Giving examples, he said it was generally accepted that Hambantota port, for instance, had proved to be an “economic burden” for the Sri Lankan government. “In case of Bangladesh, the general sense we got is that President Xi committed $23 billion when he went an official visit two years ago, but it now transpires that a large amount of this money is actually commercial credit and at interest rates which are comparable to international commercial interest rates, but they are also insisting on buying Chinese equipment rather than tendering on international basis,” he said.

Similarly, in Myanmar, there had been some rethinking on the Kyauk Pyu — a deep sea port which was to be a part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative — because the sheer size of the port did not appear to be something that the Myanmar government was going to utilise.

“That is the cold comfort to us,” he said, adding that the Indian government’s aim was to try to build infrastructure projects which were of interest of the countries in our neighbourhood.

“Our infrastructure projects are different from Chinese infrastructure projects in that they are largely demand-driven. In other words, we wait for governments of our neighbours to tell us what projects are required and then we proceed to do it,” he said, adding that prominent among these were India’s projects in Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Gokhale also told the panel that India had raised concerns with China at the “highest level” about the proposed projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and a constant vigil was being maintained.
During Xi’s visit to Pakistan in 2015, several bilateral cooperation agreements, including those on hydroelectric and nuclear projects, highways, motorways, ports, export processing zones, agriculture, and financial arrangements for projects were signed. Most of these agreements were for projects proposed under the CPEC, and some of the proposed projects were in PoK.

“Government’s consistent position is that Pakistan has been in illegal occupation of parts of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir since 1947. Government has conveyed to the Chinese side, including at the highest level, its concerns about their activities in PoK and asked them to cease these activities,” the report says.

“Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes all necessary measures to safeguard it”, the report quoted the foreign secretary as saying. (IANS)

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Canada’s top Sikh tycoon donates $10 mn to university

Mar 15, 2018 0

By Gurmukh Singh

Toronto– Canada’s top Sikh real estate tycoon Bob Dhillon donated $10 million to the University of Lethbridge in Alberta on Wednesday.

The university has renamed its business school after him. It will henceforth be called the Dhillon School of Business.

Bob Singh Dhillon (Photo: Twitter)

Calgary-based Bob (Navneet) Dhillon is the president and CEO of the real estate giant Mainstreet Equity Corporation which he started from the back of his car in the 1980s.

With its assets over $1.5 billion, the company owns over 10,000 apartment units across Canada.

The university said the Dhillon School of Business will drive futuristic learning and focus on new technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies and new growth industries, including artificial intelligence and robotics.

“I’m a first-generation immigrant and I’m very fortunate that I’m in a position to make this contribution. This is my way of giving back to Canada,” said Dhillon whose family hails from Tallewal village near Barnala in Punjab.

Dhillon, who is an alumnus of Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, said: “I am an immigrant and a businessman and I’m extremely thankful for the opportunities I’ve had growing up here in Canada.

“I was very fortunate that the importance of education was drilled into me by my family, my parents, my brother, really everybody around me growing up.”

The Sikh real estate tycoon, who also holds an MBA from the famous Ivey School of Business at Western University, added: “Education is what drives successful global nations and Canada is unique in that there is so much opportunity here.

“The UofL is a world-class university that the world needs to discover.”

University President and Vice Chancellor Mike Mahon said the donation from Dhillon will be transformational for his institution.

“Our university was founded by forward-thinking mavericks…Here we are 50-plus years later and we’re still looking ahead, pushing boundaries and creating an educational experience like no other.

“This gift, this commitment from Dhillon, will help drive us forward.” (IANS)

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Job creation is happening in new economy: Jayant Sinha

Mar 9, 2018 0

Mumbai– India is witnessing a major upsurge in job creation, not in the traditional economy but in the new economy, a central minister said on Friday, citing the example of cab aggregators Ola and Uber who created lakhs of jobs in the past few years.

Jayant Sinha

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha was addressing a session titled “Democracy, Demography, Demand: The Mystery of the Missing Jobs” at the India Today Conclave here.

“There is a tremendous upsurge in job creation, not in the traditional economy but in the new economy, in entrepreneurship,” Sinha said

“For instance, Ola and Uber have given employment to 10 lakh drivers. So, I would say it is not about the missing jobs..it is about the missing data,” the Minister said.

In support of his contention, the Minister pointed to various estimates, including Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) data to say that “job situation is not as bad as it is being made out to be”.

As per EPFO data, over one crore new accounts were added in 2017 to the 4.5 crore members of the organisation.

Former Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot of the Congress, who participated in the discussion, highlighted the dismal employment situation in the country, pointing to the stressed agriculture sector, which has prompted a farm friendly Budget 2018-19, as well as the slowdown in exports.

“Our country is at a turning point with the number of young people who are unemployed or underemployed,” Pilot said.

“We have a situation where 40 per cent of people going out to seek jobs are underskilled,” he added.

Rebutting Pilot, Sinha said that it is precisely to meet this gap in skilling that the ruling NDA government had created a Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

“No doubt there is work to do in the area of job creation, but we are a 2.5 trillion dollar economy and we are on the right trajectory,” Sinha said.

While the NDA made an election promise of creating 10 million jobs a year, slowing private investment and huge corporate indebtedness has made the job scenario a difficult one.

Besides, with the larger part of the workforce in the informal economy, demonetisation made 2017 an even more difficult period.

The 5th Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey, 2015-16, shows that with rising education levels, the unemployment rate has also gone up in the age group of 18-29 years.

“The unemployment rate for persons aged 18-29 years and holding a degree in graduation and above was found to be maximum with 18.4 per cent based on the Usual Principal Status Approach at the all-India level,” said the Survey report on Youth Employment-Unemployment Scenario, Volume II.

The unemployment rate for the age group at the all-India level was estimated at 13.2 per cent.

The Survey’s Volume I suggested that the unemployment rate was estimated to be five per cent at the all-India level. (IANS)

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Trump mimics Modi, says US ‘getting nothing’ on Harley-Davidson tariff issue

Feb 27, 2018 0

Washington– US President Donald Trump, upset over the issue of high import duty on Harley-Davidson motorcycles in India, has said that Washington was “getting nothing” despite India’s announcement of slashing customs duty on imported motorcycles to 50 per cent.

He also imitated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but this time without the Indian accent.

PM Modi and President Trump (Photo: twitter)

Trump described Modi as a “fantastic and a beautiful man” while talking about his recent conversation with him in which India informed the US about reduced tariffs on imported motorcycles, but Trump said that US was “getting nothing”.

“When they (Harley Davidson) send a motorcycle to India, as an example, they have to pay 100 per cent tax, 100 per cent,” Trump said in his remarks to a gathering of governors of all the states at the White House on Monday.

“Now, the (Indian) Prime Minister, who I think is a fantastic man, called me the other day and said we are lowering it to 50 per cent. I said okay, but so far we’re getting nothing. So we get nothing. He gets 50 (per cent), and they think they’re doing us a favour. That’s not a favour,” he said.

Trump imitated Modi by folding his hands and taking in a soft and serious tone.

He said: “I wasn’t sure, he said it so beautifully. He’s a beautiful man. And he said, ‘I just want to inform you that we have reduced it to 75, but we have further reduced it to 50′. And I said, huh. What do I say? Am I supposed to be thrilled? And that’s not good for you people, especially as governors. It’s just not right. And we have many deals like that,” the US President said.

He said the US gets “zero” when it buys an Indian motorcycle.

“So when they have a motorbike, a big number, by the way – they have a company that does a lot of business. They have a motorcycle or a motorbike that comes into our country… we get zero. They get 100 per cent, brought down to 75; brought down, now, to 50. Okay,” Trump said.

“It’s a great company. When I spoke with your chairman or the president of Harley, they weren’t even asking for it because they’ve been ripped off with a trade so long that they were surprised that I brought it up. I’m the one that’s pushing it more than they are, but it’s unfair. And India sells us a lot of motorbikes,” Trump said. (IANS)

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PNB fraud touches Rs 12.6K cr as Nirav Modi firm in US files for bankruptcy

Feb 27, 2018 0

New Delhi– The ongoing Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case took a turn for the worse on Tuesday as the bank reported an additional Rs 1,300 crore unauthorised transactions, taking the estimated quantum to around Rs 12,600 crore in the scam related to diamond trader Nirav Modi and owner of Gitanjali Gems, Mehul Choksi.

In a 11.22 pm filing with the stock exchanges on Monday, the bank said: “In continuation to our filing with stock exchanges on February 14, 2018, we have to inform that quantum of reported unauthorised transactions can increase by $204.25 million.”

Earlier on February 14, PNB, the second largest public sector bank in India, had said it had detected a $1.8 billion or Rs 11,300 crore, fraud in the Brady House Branch in Mumbai. On Tuesday, the bank said in regulatory filings with the stock exchanges that it had appointed a group Chief Risk Officer.

In another development, Firestar Diamond Inc, the US company of Indian billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi filed for bankruptcy in a New York court, under chapter 11.

According to the court filing at the Southern District Of New York on Monday, the firm listed assets and liabilities in the range of $50 million and $100 million. A Chapter 11 filing under the Bankruptcy code usually allows a company to reorganise its business.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed the first FIR in the scam on February 14 against Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, uncle Mehul Choksi and his firms Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamond.

The CBI on Tuesday said it had questioned former Punjab National Bank Managing Director Usha Anant Subramanian and ICICI Bank Executive Director N.S. Kanan in connection with ithe bank fraud case.

“The agency also questioned the ICICI Executive Director because it was the leader of a consortium of banks that sent money to Mehul Choksi’s Gitanjali Group,” a CBI official, who did not want to be named, said.

In the evening, a statement from ICICI said it was a lender of working capital to the Gitanjali group of companies along with several other banks in the consortium. It said its exposure was not the largest in the consortium and it had not lent any money to the Nirav Modi group, nor did it have any buyer’s credit exposure against LoUs to the two groups.

The CBI also questioned two PNB General Managers, Nehal Ahad and Vimlesh Kumar, apart from two statutory auditors of the PNB.

The agency has till date arrested 12 persons in the case.

Keeping in view the biggest-ever banking fraud in India, the government on Tuesday set a deadline of 15 days for public sector banks (PSBs) to examine all non-performing assets above Rs 50 crore for possible fraud and to identify operational and technical gaps.

“PSB MDs directed to detect bank frauds and consequential wilful default in time and refer cases to CBI. To examine all NPA accounts > Rs 50Cr for possible fraud. Involve ED/DRI for PMLA/FEMA/EXIM violations if any,” Financial Services Secretary Rajeev Kumar said in a tweet on the Finance Ministry’s Twitter handle

He also said that executive directors and chief technological officers of the PSBs have to prepare a blueprint for combating increasing risks.

With the escalation of the fraud amount, the bank’s shares tanked on the bourses. The bank’s stocks closed 12.11 per cent down on Tuesday at BSE at Rs 98.35 per share. (IANS)

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Digital economy cannot be forced on people: Former minister Pallam Raju

Feb 20, 2018 0

By Mohd Asim Khan

New Delhi– The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has “twisted” some of the things in the digital revolution, such as “forcing digital transactions” on people and insisting on linking Aadhaar with everything, says M.M. Pallam Raju, a minister in the earlier Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

He contends that the genesis of India’s electronics and information technology (IT) revolution can be traced back to Congress governments in the previous century, adding that the momentum has been lost now.

M Mangapati Pallam Raju, Minister of State for Defence at Parliament House in New Delhi, India. (Parliament Session Aug – 2011. Politics)

Raju, an electronics engineer and a former Minister for Human Resources Development, trashed the idea of a totally cashless or even “less cash” Indian economy, saying digital transactions should be “an option and convenience” and not forced upon people.

“Cashless economy has to be integral to the overall economy. It is essential where large transactions are involved, but not on a day-to-day basis. It can be an option and convenience if somebody wants to pay digitally, but cash has been the comfort factor, especially for the rural population that is comfortable transacting in cash rather than digitally,” Raju said.

“Also, see how much fraud is happening in cyberspace, in terms of accounts getting hacked, money getting diverted, etc. And the chances of such frauds are higher with rural and uneducated people,” he said, adding that a “suitable ecosystem” has to be created before anything is “imposed on people”, which “unfortunately has not happened”.

As a former Union Minister, how does he see the current government’s insistence on linking everything from SIM cards to bank accounts and insurance covers with Aadhaar? After all, Aadhaar was conceived and rolled out during the UPA’s time.

“Aadhaar was envisioned to link welfare schemes. The whole idea was to streamline government benefits and to curtail losses/pilferage. That is being twisted and made into big monster without adequate preparation.

“If databases are to be secure — which I don’t think they are right now — there have to be more security features built in, and then if you utilise linking of Aadhaar for putting some checks and balances in place in the system, that’s all right. But don’t insist on linking everything with Aadhaar.

“That is not what founding fathers desired when they gave us the Constitution. We have a right to live our life, but that is being encroached upon,” Raju said.

Raju recently wrote “A Contribution in Time: India’s Electronics Revolution”, based on the life of his father, Dr M.S. Sanjeevi Rao, who served as Deputy Minister for Electronics in Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ‘s cabinet. It was unveiled by former President Pranab Mukherjee and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He said that while the book is a personal tribute to his father, it also tells the larger story of the genesis of India’s electronics revolution.

“As Electronics Minister and Chairman of the Electronics Commission, Dr Sanjeevi Rao ushered in dynamic and far-reaching policies that enabled exponential growth of the electronics, telecom and IT sectors in India. He was part of the team, along with Sam Pitroda, which led the country into the era of telecom, computers and IT (during Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure),” Raju said.

“As millennials are so familiar with technology and its utilisation, it would be quite insightful for them to understand the genesis of this revolution — when electronics was happening and becoming a phenomenon worldwide,” he added.

Raju said that the vision of the leaders in India then was to make electronics-based technology accessible to the common people at an affordable price.

“It all started with consumer electronics and then became all pervasive with information technology, telecom and its role has increased exponentially,” he said, speaking of the book that captures the life of Sanjeevi Rao and the contemporary milieu in text and pictures.

It also contains a report that throws light on the coming into being of the Electronics Commission and the Department of Electronics in 1971.

“The good work that was started back then (in the 1970s-80s) for creating an ecosystem for manufacturing of electronics, which are the building blocks for applications anywhere, that momentum has not been sustained,” Raju said.

Of the modern internet and mobile phone connectivity revolution, Raju said that the “building blocks and the foundation of all this” was laid under the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government.

“We realised there was a need for bigger bandwidth, higher speeds as the digital communication was growing and becoming all pervasive. And so we envisioned this high-speed network — which the current government has named as Digital India.

Striking a personal note on how he conceived of the book, Raju recalled: “When our father passed away in 2014, it was an emotional moment for us. After suffering a stroke in 1998, he was paralysed, lost his speech. He was like a child (to me). It was a reversal of roles. He became the child and I became the father. When he passed away, it was like losing a child. I had to get that pain out. So the idea of writing a book occurred.” (IANS)

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‘Strictest’ action taken against Nirav Modi, Congress playing politics: Prasad

Feb 15, 2018 0

New Delhi– The NDA government has taken “strictest” and “fastest” action against jeweller Nirav Modi accused of duping the state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of thousands of crores but the Congress was doing politics over national interest, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference, Prasad said that the scam started in 2011 when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was in power and is the “latest in line in the legacy of corruption and fraudulence left by the Congress Party”.

Ravi Shankar Prasad

He said that the agencies are already taking action against Nirav Modi who fled the country.

“The ED (Enforcement Directorate) and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) are already in action against Nirav Modi. ED has already raided nine properties associated with Nirav Modi, three in Surat, four in Mumbai and two in Delhi. Assets worth Rs 1,300 crore have been seized. Action has been taken to initiate revocation of his passport,” Prasad said.

He added the CBI is also raiding 20 locations associated with him and has seized his Mumbai residence.

He said that the CBI first received a complain from PNB pertaining to Rs 280 crore on January 29 this year and a case was registered on January 31. Lookout notice was issued on February 1.

“The Prime Minister had said in the Lok Sabha that our government has not given any loans that have become NPA (Non Performing Assets). The legacy of NPAs comes from the Congress,” he said, claiming that it was a “well known fact” that Nirav Modi was close to the Nehru-Gandhi family.

“The genesis of the scam was in 2011 and interesting thing to note is that the total income of Geetanjali Jewels almost doubled within a span of 2 years between 2011 and 2013. Geetanjali Jewels — a company owned by Mehul Choski who is also one of the partners along with Nirav Modi in the firms booked for fraud by PNB,” Prasad said.

Prasad also questioned Congress’ right to comment on the incident, claiming that their government allowed liquor baron Vijay Mallya to run away with around Rs 9,000 crore which he had taken as loan from 17 Indian banks.

He also slammed the Congress for referring to Nirav Modi as “chhota Modi”. “Rahul Gandhi is the President of a party not because of his capability but because of his family. What kind of language are they using?”

He denied the incident will taint the Prime Minister’s image, saying PM Modi “has the blessing of the people of India”.

The Congress on Thursday asked the Modi government to come clean on the government’s “failure” to prevent the scam and identify those who helped the alleged kingpin, billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi to flee the country.

It accused the Prime Minister’s Office and other authorities of not taking action even after a complaint was filed in July 2016. (IANS)

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Not our job to recruit journalists for content: Facebook

Feb 14, 2018 0

San Francisco– In a clear message to news publishers, a top Facebook executive has emphasised that it is not their job to recruit people from media organisations for the content on the social media platform.

At the “Code Media 2018” conference in California organised by the famous tech portal ReCode, Facebook’s Head of News Partnerships Campbell Brown said “her job is to make sure there is quality news on Facebook”.

But “my job is not to go recruit people from news organisations to put their stuff on Facebook,” she was quoted as saying in The Verge late on Tuesday.

Facebook hired former NBC and CNN anchor Brown to lead its news partnership team last year.

When asked about why Brazil’s largest newspaper Folha de Sao Paolo had stopped publishing content to its six million Facebook followers, she said: “This didn’t come as a big surprise to me quite honestly”.

“Folha hadn’t been publishing regularly on Facebook for a while, she said. And in any case, it wasn’t her job to persuade them,” the report added.

“Publishers who want to be on Facebook …have a business model that works. If anyone feels this isn’t the right platform for them, they should not be on Facebook,” she was quoted as saying.

Facebook in October launched a new programme that would allow publishers to sell subscriptions to their news sites on Facebook.

At the event, Brown also announced a deal with Apple to commence the go-ahead of the subscription service programme in the Facebook iOS app.

Facebook recently rolled out an update to its News Feed that will prioritise local news that have a direct impact on the users and they can discover what’s happening in their area.

The update comes after the social media giant announced changes to News Feed that showed posts from friends and high-quality news sources.

Users can choose which news sources, including local or national publications, that they want to see at the top of their feed with the social media giant’s “See First” feature.

According to Alex Hardiman, Head of News Product and Brown, there are no constraints on which publishers are eligible, which means large local publishers will benefit, as well as publishers that focus on niche topics like local sports, arts and human interest stories.

“That said, small news outlets may benefit from this change more than other outlets because they tend to have a concentrated readership in one location,” Hardiman said recently.

In addition to prioritising local news, Facebook is also testing a dedicated section on Facebook that connects people to news and information in their community, called “Today In.” (IANS)

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Delhi HC upholds order on shifting IndiGo’s operations

Feb 13, 2018 0

New Delhi– The Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld its order which dismissed airline IndiGo’s plea against DIAL’s decision to shift a part of its operations from Terminal 1 to the newly-opened Terminal 2 of the IGI here.

The court’s direction came while hearing an appeal filed by IndiGo, India’s biggest private airline by market share, challenging the single-judge order of December 20, 2017, upholding Delhi International Airport Ltd’s (DIAL) decision related to shifting a part of the airline’s operations to a new terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Rekha Palli observed that the decision of DIAL cannot be said unreasonable only because it may operate harshly against IndiGo and ruled that “when public interest competes with private interest, then the latter has to give way to public interest”.

“In the present case, public interest lies in expediting the redevelopment activity at T-1, which is a purely administrative decision,” the court said while pointing out to delay in renovation work.

“It is not as if IndiGo, and for that matter, SpiceJet and GoAir have been banished forever from T-1. If we may twist the American idiom, ‘My way or the Highway’ to fit the present context, then the IndiGo cannot be heard to say that it is either their way, or the runway,” the court said.

“IndiGo are tending to forget that this part relocation from T-1 to T-2 proposed by the DIAL is only a temporary measure and once T-1 is renovated and commences its operations after capacity building, all the airlines can operate from there full throttle and take wings.”

However, the division granted a last opportunity of one week to IndiGo and SpiceJet to approach DIAL to suggest other sectors that they would be ready and willing to shift from T-1 to T-2, as long as they collectively meet the yardstick of one-third passenger traffic volumes of their operations at T-1.

“In the event such a request is received by the DIAL within the stipulated timeline, the same shall be considered and a decision taken under written intimation to both the airlines within one week from the date of receipt,” the court said.

“If no such request is received within the stipulated timeline, then DIAL shall fix a deadline for shifting one-third of the flight operations of the concerned airlines from T-1 to T-2, under written intimation to them.”

On December 20, 2017, a single judge bench had rejected IndiGo’s plea.

“We are of the opinion that there is no illegality, arbitrariness or infirmity in the impugned judgment (December 20 order) that warrants interference. Moreover, the learned Single Judge has gone to the extent of watering down the option given by DIAL to IndiGo and SpiceJet by directing that in the event they make a request to shift one third of their operations by excluding the three identified sectors, i.e., Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, they may do so within one week from the date of the judgment,” the division bench said.

The court held that “logistics are aspects that need expertise in the technical field and have attendant financial and administrative dimensions of serious magnitude, apart from other practical considerations, best left to be handled by experts”.

DIAL, which operates the airport here, had asked three airlines operating from T-1 to shift a third of their flights to T-2 to enable it to expand the terminal to meet growing passenger traffic.

Defending its decision, DIAL had said T-1 had already exceeded its capacity and if airline operations were not shifted partially, it would lead to overcrowding of the airport.

DIAL had said the safety and security of passengers was its primary responsibility and in case of fire or a terror threat, an overcrowded airport would lead to serious consequences for which it alone would be answerable, not the airlines.

IndiGo contended that shifting partially from T-1 to T-2 would result in confusion and cause inconvenience to passengers. By this decision, IndiGo will be spread across three terminals as it operates international flights from Terminal 3 (T-3).

Seeking quashing of DIAL’s decision, IndiGo said the decision would strain its operations and proposed an alternative solution of giving the entire T-1 exclusively to it and shifting the other two carriers to T-2.

The DIAL had directed IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir to relocate their operations in “parts” and split their operations by shifting flights to and from some sectors, namely Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, to T-2.

It also said that the capacity of the three airlines to and from the three sectors would amount to around eight million persons per annum and shifting those to T-2 would considerably reduce the burden on T-1. (IANS)

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