|N A T I O N|
Apang asked to prove
majority on Jan 18
in Cuttack, probe ordered
|Report on Raos son: CBI to
NEW DELHI, Jan 10 The CBI has decided to seek time for filing the much-awaited "status report" against former premier P.V. Narasimha Raos son Prabhakar Rao in the Rs 133 crore urea scam case.
Pak diplomats safe: Advani
against RJDs inclusion in front
Six more quit ministry
ITANAGAR, Jan 10 (PTI) Arunachal Pradesh Governor Mata Prasad today rejected Chief Minister Gegong Apangs recommendation for dissolving the assembly and summoned the state legislature on January 18, asking Mr Apang to prove his majority on the floor of the House.
The Governor told reporters at Raj Bhavan here that before taking the decision, he had consulted legal experts and found it appropriate to settle the question of majority on the floor of the House.
Mr Apang had sent a letter to the Governor, recommending dissolution of the assembly.
The political crisis in the state deepened today with six more ministers, in addition to yesterdays seven, resigning from the Cabinet and a breakaway faction of the ruling Arunachal Congress claiming that the party had vertically split with 28 legislators, including 13 ministers, forming a new party the Arunachal Congress (M).
A spokesman of the new faction, Mr L.Wanglet, claimed at a press conference here that besides the 28 legislators, six Independents and four Congress MLAs were also supporting the new faction in its bid to form an alternative government in the state.
The Governor said that 31 legislators 22 of the ruling Arunachal Congress, four of the Congress and five independents called on him this afternoon and staked claim to form an alternative government under the leadership of Mr Mukut Mithi who, they said, was chosen leader of the Arunachal Congress (M) Legislature Party.
Mr Mithi, former Home Minister, was dropped from the Apang Ministry last May.
Mr Mata Prasad, however, said he was yet to receive the resignations of 13 ministers who went public with the claim of having done so.
To a query, he said the Chief Minister, in his letter today, tried to justify the recommendation for dissolving the assembly by claiming that legislators belonging to Tirap and Changlang districts were under threat from underground organisations like NSCN (K) and that some legislators had been forced to resign by some social and student organisations like the Nyishi Elite Society and the All-Nyishi Students Union.
Gangrape in Cuttack, probe ordered
CUTTACK, Jan 10 (PTI) Anjana Mishra, fighting a legal battle for the past 18 months against former Orissa Advocate-General Indrajeet Roy for an alleged attempt to rape her, today alleged she was gangraped by three unidentified youths in a forest near Barang, about 10 km from here, last night.
The police registered a case following an FIR lodged by her at the womens police station here this morning.
The incident occurred when she was on her way to Cuttack from her residence at Bhubaneswar at about 9.30 p.m., the FIR said.
The accused, who were reportedly following her in a two-wheeler, overtook her vehicle near the Nandankanan Zoological Park and forced out, at gunpoint, the driver and a scribe of a local TV channel accompanying her.
After taking control of the vehicle, they took her to a nearby forest where she was criminally assaulted, the complaint said.
The ordeal continued for over four hours after which they left with a threat not to disclose the matter to anyone, Anjana alleged.
The driver and the scribe, Sutanu Guru, News Editor of OTV, were brutally assaulted by the miscreants, the nine-page FIR said.
Anjana, who broke down several times while narrating her ordeal to the police, had been sent for medical examination. A case had also been registered under several sections of the IPC, including rape as also the Arms Act.
She said she was going to Cuttack to meet her lawyer in connection with her case against the Advocate- General. Anjana, who had been provided with police security at her residence in Bhubaneswar as per the directive of the high court, alleged she had repeatedly requested the security personnel posted in a tent near her house to intimate her personal security officer about her visit to Cuttack.
But, Anjana said, her requests went unheeded and the PSO did not turn up till about 8 p.m. As she was desperate to meet the lawyer, she requested the scribe to accompany her to Cuttack as an escort as she was afraid to go alone because of earlier threats received by her.
NEW DELHI: Orissa Chief Minister J.B. Patnaik today described Anjana Mishras charge of being gangraped last night as "nonsense" and "a part of conspiracy".
"Its all a part of conspiracy... adequate security has been provided to her by the police... its completely nonsense," Mr Patnaik, who was here to participate in the meeting on Inter-State Committee on Sales Tax, said.
On Mishras charge that she was refused police security despite having written four letters to the police, Patnaik expressed surprise saying, "How did she (Mishra) go out without security when she has already been provided adequate security".
He, however, said he was not aware of the incident nor did he know anything about the FIR.
BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa Government has ordered an inquiry by the Crime Branch of police into the alleged gangrape of Anjana Mishra, estranged wife of a senior government officer, last night even as reports of the incident sparked political turmoil in the state.
Inspector-General of Police (Crime) Indrajeet Jachuck would inquire into the case, the Director-General of Police, Dr B.B. Panda, said.
The allegation of rape almost immediately took a political turn with the opposition parties demanding the resignation of Chief Minister J.B. Patnaik.
The Chief Minister, now in Delhi, however, described Anjanas charge as "nonsense and part of a conspiracy".
Report on Raos son: CBI to seek time
NEW DELHI, Jan 10 (PTI) The CBI has decided to seek time for filing the much-awaited "status report" against former premier P.V. Narasimha Raos son Prabhakar Rao in the Rs 133 crore urea scam case.
"We will move an application in this regard before the special court trying the case because the report is not ready and some important officials dealing with the matter are away on foreign trip," CBI sources said.
A high-level CBI team is currently in Britain to seek extradition of London-based Brazilian businessman A.E. Pinto, a key accused in the case.
While framing charges against eight accused on November 17 last, Special Judge V.B. Gupta had directed the CBI to submit a "status report" by January 16 regarding material available against Prabhakar Rao in the urea scam.
"Prabhakar Rao, who is also alleged to have received kickbacks in the urea scam, has been left out by the investigating agency for reasons best known to them," Mr Gupta had observed in his order.
Rao is in judicial custody in Hyderabad ever since his arrest on November 29 following a non-bailable warrant issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which is probing a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation case relating to the scam.
The court had pulled up the CBI for not naming the former premier's son as accused and asked it to file a report stating if there was sufficient material to proceed against Prabhakar Rao, who was earlier given a clean chit by the probe agency.
Colourful start to film festival
HYDERABAD, Jan 10 The 30th International Film Festival of India (IFFI' 99), the last of this millennium, got off to a glittering start with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by Bollywood's zestful septuagenarian, "the ever-green star", Dev Anand, in the presence of the gliteratti, both national and international, including Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Prada, Shekhar Kapoor, Shyam Benegal, Shabana Azmi and several Telugu film stars.
It was, indeed, the presence in a large number of celebrities from the Andhra Pradesh film industry that lent the event a myriad lustre. The unstinted gaiety and typical Telugu razzmatazz turned the inaugural ceremony into an event to remember.
In the inaugural address, delivered in his typical style with words coming out in rapid flow, Dev Anand called movies as "the greatest phenomenon that could happen in this century". As the art of film making had taken a tremendous leap, he said, films ought to be made keeping in mind the demands of our times.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu offered to make Hyderabad, a centre of information technology, as the permanent venue for the IFFI. Reminding film makers that Andhra Pradesh had the largest film city in Asia, he offered all facilities in the area of information technology.
Mr Pramod Mahajan, Information and Broadcasting Minister, said cinema was such a potent force that there could never be anything like film illiteracy. As a policy matter, he said, he was going to permit foreign investment in India's film making sector and would soon announce fiscal benefits for the industry.
The 10-day long film bonanza, like all other film festivals held round the globe, will provide an opportunity to people engaged in various areas of film making to look beyond their narrow grooves. The younger lot, seeking training at several film institutes in India, are bound to be the real gainers in as much as they will be exposed to the changing patterns of style of film making with films from 45 countries providing them enormous choice.
Earlier in the day, India's maverick leading painter M.F. Hussain, a glow with his new love for the art of cinema, not necessarily because of Madhuri Dixit, got his own Cinema Ghar opened by the Chief Minister.
The opening ceremony was
followed by Shekhar Kapoor's epoch making film Elizabeth.
The film, which has made waves everywhere in the West,
has been described by Michael Farquhar of the Washington
Post as "visually stunning, magnificently acted,
intensely gripping." Not for nothing it is competing
with Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan for the
Digvijay's offer to host Test in
TEKANPUR, (MP) Jan 10 (PTI) Home Minister L.K. Advani today asserted that Pakistani diplomats in the country were safe and expressed the hope that the Pakistan cricket team would play in India following New Delhis assurance about their safety.
"The (Pak) diplomats are safe," Mr Advani told reporters at the BSF academy here when asked about the threat allegedly issued by some Shiv Sena leaders that Pakistani mission officials would be harmed if that countrys cricket team played in India.
Denying that Pakistani High Commissioner Ashraf Jahangir Qazi met him yesterday to discuss the issue, Mr Advani said Mr Qazi had met only the Special Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
While terrorism should be crushed with all might, the issue should not be linked to culture and sports, he said.
Asked whether the Pakistan team would play in India following the assurance given by the government about their safety in the wake of Shiv Sena threat to disrupt the upcoming series, Mr Advani said, "I hope they will come. I want them to come."
"The Centre has taken appropriate action against vandalism. We have tried to ensure full and fool-proof security to the players," he said.
Mr Advani said a white paper on the activities of Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in India would be made public early next month
"The white paper is in the final phases of preparation and will be out by early February," he said.
GUNA: Madhya pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh on Sunday offered to host a cricket Test between India and Pakistan in the state if any of the already decided venues were not able to hold the matches due to security reasons.
"We will feel privileged if Madhya Pradesh got the honour of hosting an Indo-Pak match and we will provide all security to the Pakistani players if they come here," the Chief Minister told reporters at the helipad here.
He said if a Test match was played in the state, not a single Shiv Sainik would be allowed to come near the ground.
The Chief Minister also told reporters last night at Datia that no condemnation could be enough for the destruction of the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch.
Niloufer for public debate on
FRIDAY, Jan 8. Its noon time and inside the premises of the Naval House situated at Rajaji Marg there seems total calm except for the fact that at one end two or three men are busy packing household items.
Yes our packing is almost complete... by midweek we should be moving from here, back to Bombay where we have a little flat says Niloufer Bhagwat as I settle down to interview her. Looking very preoccupied, in fact at the very onset she informs there are not only house guest but streams of people coming over to meet them, and thats why it was not surprising when midway through the interview her husband Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat came to call her to meet some of the people who had come and were presumably in a hurry. She did go in but reappeared in the next five minutes: No you have taken an appointment and come, so I have to give this interview
Excerpts from this interview:
Q: Just yesterday you have been quoted saying your husband Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat will at some point give his version of the ongoing controversy. Why doesnt he give this version right away?
A: At the moment the Appointments Committee is speaking in so many different voices, so first let them complete saying whatever they have to say and then he will speak. In fact, here I must also point out that at the moment they have not given a single reason in writing for his dismissal, except the statement that he is dismissed.
Q: Defence Minister George Fernandes has been quoted saying that Admiral Bhagwat was in a disturbed state of mind for the last one year. Comment.
A: George Fernandes didnt know Admiral Bhagwat for one year to be able to come up with such a statement. Dont overlook the fact that Fernandes was appointed Defence Minister only in March, 1998, that is not even nine months back. Also if he really thought the Admiral to be in the so-called disturbed state of mind then why was he made to lead goodwill visits to Moscow and Bangladesh. In fact the Admiral visited Bangladesh as late as November 23 and the 10-day visit to Russia was in July. Besides this, in the last few months he met Navy chiefs of different countries. Tell me why did George Fernandes not come up earlier with this disturbed-state-of-mind theory. To me it appears the Defence Minister is himself in a disturbed state of mind. Here let me also elaborate that the Admiral had also served the previous UF government for 14 months and also the fact that his name for Navy chief was cleared by the Congress. Though his name was cleared by them and his file prepared but before he could be appointed by them (Congress) elections were declared so only the UF government could appoint him. Mind you, none of these governments found him to be in a disturbed state of the mind.
Q: Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral is rather quiet on this raging controversy though former Defence Minister Mulayam Singh has spoken strongly in favour of the Admiral. What have you to say on this scenario?
A: Yes I.K. Gujral is quiet, because his role is governed by his son Naresh Gujral who in turn is close to several dealers and arms suppliers. So much so that it has been said that the former Defence Secretary Ajit Kumar was appointed at his sons behest. And about I.K. Gujral I can also say he got to know a number of arms dealers whilst he was posted in Moscow as the Indian Ambassador.
Q: With all these facts why arent you moving the court?
A: Firstly because the Admiral had only nine more months to serve (he would have retired in the normal course by September 30, 1999) so the question of challenging his sack is not really worthwhile when he has now no intention whatsoever of serving this present government. Also, going to the court at this stage will shut out public debate on this issue since the matter will be sub judice. And in the context of the serious nature of communal charges levelled against the Admiral buy his subordinate Vice-Admiral Harinder Singh it is of utmost importance that the people of this country get to know the truth.
Q: What are these charges?
A: That because I am half a Muslim (My father is a Konkani Muslim and my mother a Zoarastrian) the Admiral was favouring Muslim officers in the Navy. A ridiculous and dangerous charge. Here I would like to point out that of the 5,000 officers in the Indian Navy there are only 10 Muslim officers and not one on any favoured post. Then Harinder Singhs other serious charge is to call one of the junior officers, Aziz Lone, posted in the office of the Admiral, a terrorist. This when that officer is from the Chittorgarh Sainik School and mind you in the Admirals office there were officers from different faiths (here she rattles off several names of people belonging to different faiths). What I am trying to convey is that if officers like Harinder Singh have their way it will lead to the destruction of the armed forces for it will give encouragement to all sorts of communal designs.
Q: How do you react to the fact that the Prime Minister and his party spent this new year eve in the house of Vice-Admiral Harinder Singh at Port Blair?
A: Associations are coming out in the open. I know the PMs foster son-in-law is well acquainted with Harinder Singh and is also well acquainted with some businessmen who are dealers of equipment to the armed forces.
Q: You have been your husbands lawyer right from 1990, when he went to court on a writ petition. Isnt it rare for an officer of the armed forces to move court?
A: The lobby dealing in arms and equipment had singled out the Admiral when in 1990 he went to court challenging the appointments of certain senior naval officers, who he felt were close to that lobby and had amassed wealth disproportionate to their income. And since then that is since 1990 members of that arms lobby and those officers never actually forgave him. In fact even in 1996 when his name was being considered for the Navy chief a PIL was filed through the editor of Tarun Bharat which is the RSS daily of Maharashtra, but the Bombay High Court held the PIL fraudulent.
Q: Certain newspapers allege your husbands close proximity to former Defence Minister Sharad Pawar on the grounds that both are from Maharashtra?
A: I know certain newspapers played up that aspect though it is factually incorrect because my husband is from Uttar Pradesh. He belongs to Faizabad district. Now you know the extent to which facts are being twisted to suit some sections. In fact, the Admiral belongs to that level of composite culture that in 1993 when I was the lawyer for Srikrishna Commission investigating the Bombay riots and had actually asked him whether my assisting the commission could embarrass him, for at that time he was Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. I remember his telling me that the uniform he wears signifies that he has to protect the people of this country and so in that spirit and context my working for the commission would meet the same goal that is reaching out to save peoples rights so where was the question of clash! Such is his conviction.
Q: If you were not a lawyer would he have been able to come up with his side of the story in the context of this controversy?
A: Yes he would have, at some later stage though.
Q: What decision has been taken on the provisions of his pension. In this situation of his dismissal, would he be given pension?
A: The decision on his pension is not known. But in case it is held back he will have no choice but to move court and expose the mala fide decision of the Defence Minister who had entered into a conspiracy with some vested interests and people to remove him.
Q: Are you apprehensive of the career prospects of your son Lt-Jawahar, who is also in the Indian Navy?
A: (Looking relaxed and every inch a very strong woman she says) No, for if you have to live with your convictions then these are small sacrifices. We have to fight out against corruption and the menace of communalism, which is getting worse day by day.
Q: Do you think that the President of the country, Mr K.R. Narayanan, in his capacity as the Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces, could have played a role in the prevention of the dismissal of your husband as the Navy Chief?
A: Dont overlook the fact that the President is the constitutional head and in actual practice it is the Cabinet which plays the decision making role.
Q: Didnt the Admiral meet the President twice in December?
A: Yes. The Admiral had met him on December 10 and then on December 30 again, that is shortly after his dismissal, we both met the First Lady and the President.
Q: Couldnt you have explained the position to the President in the meetings?
Navy to have new command at Andamans
NEW DELHI, Jan 10 (PTI) A new far eastern naval command will be established in the next few weeks at Andaman and Nicobar islands to counter any threats to Indias security from the eastern side, Defence Minister George Fernandes said.
It should come up in the next few weeks and will be known as the Far Eastern Naval Command, Mr Fernandes told PTI in an interview.
The full-fledged new command will be in addition to the Eastern and Western operational Naval Commands at Visakhapatnam and Mumbai, respectively, besides the southern Training Command at Cochin.
Terming Aandamans, Indias farthest frontier, as the most insecure region, Mr Fernandes said about 300 uninhabited islands in that region were highly vulnerable and could be used as bases for dumping arms and equipment.
The 750-km long Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago is located about 1200 km from the mainland but is merely 90 km from Indonesia and 50 km from Myanmar.
According to Defence sources, the new command would counter any threat from China, which has reportedly set up surveillance posts in Myanmars Coco islands, just 40 km off the northern tip of the Andamans.
They said the command would help facilitate search and rescue and anti-piracy operations. It would also effectively regulate traffic and check pollution in the sea lanes which have heavy tanker movement.
Mr Fernandes said the command would have its headquarters either in the Andaman islands or at a place along Indias east coast.
The current Defence establishment at Port Blair is a tri-service Unified command headed by a Vice-Admiral.
Asked about any major
acquisitions for the navy, Mr Fernandes disclosed current
negotiations with Moscow for buying submarines and
warships were at a critical stage and he also
favoured purchase of heavy aircraft carrier Admiral
Gorshkov from Russia.
CPI against RJDs inclusion in front
PATNA, Jan 10 (PTI) The CPI today decided not to have any truck with the Rashtriya Janata Dal headed by Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav and backed the CPMs assertion that it would exclude the party from the proposed third front.
The CPI state secretariat member Jalaluddin Ansari, MP, told reporters that it was not possible for his party to go along with the RJD because of its anti-people policies in the state.
"Our party is in total agreement with the CPM not to include the RJD in the third front, Mr Ansari said, adding his party was committed to rebuilding the third front and that to realise this end the party will bring together other left parties and secular forces.
The CPM Politburo member, Mr Sitaram Yechuri, yesterday ruled out inclusion of the RJD into the third front. "The RJD with a scam-tainted leader like Yadav does not figure in our scheme of things, he said.
Mr Ansari also said the partys state council had criticised the Centre for introducing the Insurance Regulatory Authority Bill and Patents Bill in Parliament at the "dictates of the World Bank-IMF and the World Trade Organisation".
To protest against the Centres as well as the states anti-people policies, party workers would take part in a three-day nationwide "jail bharao satyagraha" from February 15, he said. The workers would demonstrate before the District Collectorates across the state and court arrest.
The state council meeting also condemned the "orchestrated" attack on Christians by the outfits of Sangh Parivar in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere and demanded immediate halt to such attacks.
The three-day state
council meeting, which concluded yesterday, was
addressed, among others, by party General Secretary A.B.
Bardhan, national secretary Atul Kumar Anjan, and
national executive committee member Bhogandra Jha.
Fresh crisis in UP Govt
LUCKNOW, Jan 10 (PTI) A fresh crisis erupted in Uttar Pradesh Government today with six Ministers of State belonging to two alliance partners complaining of being "ignored" even as Chief Minister Kalyan Singh prepared to meet leaders of Jantantrik Bahujan Samaj Party (JBSP), a major alliance partner, tomorrow to sort out "differences".
Six Ministers - three each belonging to the JBSP and the Loktantrik Congress Party (LCP) - charged the Cabinet Ministers of their parties with "completely ignoring" them in work allocation.
Demanding independent charge of their respective ministries, they told reporters here that the Chief Minister himself was holding charge of 30 departments, while their own Cabinet Ministers had not allocated them any work.
"This is an insult to us and we have convened a meeting of all the Ministers of State of the alliance partners on January 12 to chalk out the future course of action," they said.
Those who spoke to mediapersons were Mr Amar Mani Tripathi, Mr Vivek Singh, Mr Virendra Singh (all LCP) and Mr Yashwant Singh, Mr Prem Prakash Singh and Mr Shivendra Singh (JBSP).
MUMBAI, Jan 10 (PTI)
An alleged gangster owing allegiance to underworld
don Arun Gawli was killed and a pedestrian was injured in
an encounter with the police at Borivali in North Mumbai
late last night, the police said today. According to the
police, it had received a tip-off that Sharad Pandve, a
top Gawli gang functionary, would be visiting the area
and a trap was laid to nab the gangster. When he was
spotted the police asked him to surrender but the
gangster started firing at the police team.
|Kashmiri migrants for job
NEW DELHI: The youth wing of the All-India Kashmir Samaj, an organisation of Kashmir Pandit migrants, has appealed to the Centre to provide job reservation in professional courses to the displaced people from the valley. It also demanded the setting up of a commission to probe the cause of mass exodus of Pandits from Kashmir in 1990 and compensation for the losses suffered by the migrants after their displacement. The issues, part of a seven-point memorandum, were raised by a delegation of the youth wing of the samaj when it called on Home Minister L.K. Advani here recently. PTI
ghee looted from godowns
Panel indicts 33
ex-kings property claim
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