|Sunday, March 19, 2000,
Janakiraman quits as Pondy CM
Case under pressure from Centre:
Saxophone on hand for
23 elected to Rajya Sabha
Sonia stands by S.M. Krishna
Principals murder shocks
Delhi Cabinet clears language Bill
Festival of colours goes online
Janakiraman quits as Pondy CM
PONDICHERRY, March 18 (PTI) The Congress today failed to decide on its chief ministerial candidate in Pondicherry and sought a days time from the Governor for the formation of a new government after DMK Chief Minister R.V. Janakiraman resigned in the wake of losing majority in the assembly.
A delegation of the Congress and its allies the TMC, the AIADMK and the CPI met Lt-Governor Rajani Rai who had earlier asked them to name their leader so that she could take her next step for government formation.
The Governor called these parties after Mr Janakiraman tendered his resignation following an advice by DMK President M. Karunanidhi who asked him not to stay in the office even for a minute after losing majority.
Congress sources here said the party high commands observer P.J. Kurien sought the views of all eight MLAs on the leadership issue but could not take a decision.
Mr Kurien is in touch with the AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad who is in charge of the state Congress Affairs.
The request to the Governor for more time was made by leaders of the Congress, the TMC, the AIADMK and the CPI who met the Governor this evening. The TMC, the AIADMK and the CPI have extended support to a Congress-led government.
After the meeting, senior Congress leader V. Vaithilingam told reporters that the Lt. Governor had asked them to name their leader soon.
He said the Congress Legislature Party leader would be selected after consultations with the party high command.
Case under pressure from Centre: Laloo
PATNA, March 18 (PTI, UNI) RJD president Laloo Prasad Yadav today charged the CBI with having doctored and stage-managed the disproportionate assests case against him and Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi under pressure from senior leaders of the Centre and demanded immediate recall of the "biased" Governor V.C. Pande.
"The DA case cant be legitimate when we have already filed our returns...It has been instituted and being pushed forward for prosecution under a sinister design to tarnish image of my wife and Chief Minister Rabri Devi and myself to inflict insult on the people of Bihar," Mr Yadav told a press conference here.
He said he and his wife had already filed returns and cleared tax liabilities and the dispute, raised by Income Tax authorities over the property being held by them, could go, if necessary, up to the Supreme Court.
Mr Yadav said the Income Tax authorities had disputed the earning which accrued to Rabri Devi through dairy farming inside the Chief Ministers official residence. "We have already explained our position," he said.
The National Democratic Alliance today demanded immediate resignation of Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi for her being a co-accused with her husband Laloo Prasad Yadav in a case of disproportionate assets totalling Rs 42.52 lakh.
Mr Yadav today ruled out the possibility of resignation of the Rabri Devi government if the CBI filed charge sheet against the Chief Minister in the disproportionate assets case.
He reiterated that the
state government would not cooperate with the Raj Bhavan
until Governor Vinod Chandra Pande was removed from his
post for his partisan role in the formation
of the NDA government.
Govt buckled under pressure, say lawyers
NEW DELHI, March 18 (PTI) Striking lawyers today accused the Centre and the Delhi Government of buckling under pressure from the Delhi Police Commissioner (PC) on their demand for the suspension of the police officers responsible for the lathi charge on advocates during a protest march here last month.
"Despite announcing the suspension of some unidentified junior police officials by the Delhi Administration on March 15, there is so far neither any communication to us about this nor any report on its implementation," Bar Associations coordination committee spoksesman Amarjit Singh Chandhiok told reporters here.
"The delay in
implementation of the decision even about the suspension
of junior-level police officials shows that the statement
of the Police Commissioner in a section of the media that
he will not sign any suspension order against his
officials is true notwithstanding a subsequent denial by
him," he said.
PM may expand Cabinet after visit
NEW DELHI, March 18 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is likely to effect a minor expansion of his council of ministers inducting Sushma Swaraj into the Cabinet after the visit of US President Bill Clinton, according to highly placed BJP sources.
The sources said the inclusion of Ms Swaraj who had been in political wilderness since the party lost power in Delhi in 1998 was almost certain. They did not rule out the induction of some more new faces in the ministry as well as some changes in the portfolios of some infrastructure ministries.
Ms Swaraj has been fielded for the Rajya Sabha by the BJP from Uttar Pradesh and is expected to get Cabinet rank, the sources said.
The sources said among the new faces likely to be inducted are Mr Manmohan Samal who is being fielded from Orissa for the Rajya Sabha.
CAG refuses probe into
NEW DELHI, March 18 The ambitious step of Defence Minister George Fernandes to order the scrutiny of all defence deals in the past 15 years by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has run into rough weather with the latter refusing to take up fresh investigations.
The CAG, upset over inaction by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the past in the investigations undertaken by it, has written to the ministry saying that it was not ready to take up investigations afresh. The CAG has pointed out that there was no point in taking up the investigations as the ministry had not been interested in taking any action on the conclusions reached by it in the innumerable cases it had investigated earlier.
While the CVC has already initiated action on the orders of the Defence Minister and also handed over a list of deals to the CBI for it to take up investigations, the CAG has clearly said that it would first be interested in seeing the action taken reports (ATRs) in the previous investigations before taking up new cases.
The CAG has on its initiative been undertaking the audit and the investigations of the defence deals over the past years and has been publishing its findings in the annual reports, which are also tabled in Parliament. But to its dismay the MoD or even the three Services have not been interested in taking any action on the defaulters or the officials involved. The reports of the CAG have actually been overlooked and the defence deals have continued, even involving the same firms or the officials who have been indicted by the CAG in the past.
The CAG has been investigating various aspects of the deals and keeping a close watch on the functioning of the three Services and publishing its findings in the reports. From non-utilisation of a facility to delay in acquiring a facility, from non-recovery of dues to loss due to negligence or even fraud in import of ammunition, all have been investigated in the past by the CAG. But there has been little or no action by the ministry and even by the three Services.
The CAG was of the view that all aspects which the Defence Minister was wanting it to investigate in the defence deals over the past 15 years, had already been carried out by it in the majority of them. Even in its last report tabled in Parliament in December last, the CAG has pointed to various aspects that were amiss in various deals, the audit for which it undertook in the past year.
Incidentally, reacting to the demand from the CAG the MoD has constituted a special group of officers to scrutinise all important observations and findings of the agency over the past 15 years. It has been constituted with the idea of fixing responsibility for lapses, delays, corrupt practices, taking administrative, disciplinary and legal action on the findings in the past reports.
However, no specific time-frame has been stipulated for it. But according to reports, the group has already commenced scrutiny of the CAG reports and would be completing it in the shortest possible time.
The Defence Minister had earlier this year ordered the CAG to carry out a review or a special audit of the allegations pertaining to excessively and wrongly bought sprees that are reportedly lying as junk in various depots, alleged irregularities in emergency procurements for the Kargil operations and for non-transfer of technology, even though contracted and paid for.
For the same reasons,
the government had also requested the CVC for instituting
a probe by the CBI or any other appropriate agency into
the allegations of involvement of agents or middlemen in
major defence deals after imposition of ban on
involvement of agents, allegations made during the course
of short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha in
December last regarding irregularities in defence
procurements, and allegations made in the writ petition
filed by a serving Rear Admiral in the Delhi High Court.
Saxophone on hand for Clinton
NEW DELHI, March 18 (PTI) A temporary White House here was in place today with even a saxophone arranged for music loving American President Bill Clinton, a day ahead of his arrival.
Maurya Sheraton was ready for Mr Clinton, his daughter, his mother-in-law and about 500 other Americans who will stay there for three days.
The hotel is going to great lengths to make its most famous visitor comfortable in his 16th floor Chandergupta Maurya suite. A saxophone was arranged today from an East Delhi resident who frequents the hotels Jazz Bar. The musical instrument will be on hand should the American leader get into the mood to play a tune.
Mr Clinton is expected to check into the hotel at 9 pm tomorrow and has no official engagement till his departure for Dhaka on Monday morning.
Jet lag notwithstanding, the hotel authorities hope that the American leader will come to the Jazz Bar. They are ready for it.
Mr Clintons love for Indian food is well-known as he pays an occasional visit to an Indian restaurant in Washington.
President greets people on Holi
NEW DELHI, March 18 (UNI) The President, Vice-President and Prime Minister have greeted the people on the occasion of Holi.
In his message, President K.R. Narayanan said, "May the festival of colours bring joy and unity among us all".
"May the joy and cheerful colours of Holi usher in greater happiness, prosperity and peace. Let Holi bring together all people of the country in a spirit of brotherhood and equality," Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said here today.
23 elected to Rajya Sabha unopposed
NEW DELHI, March 18 (PTI) Union Ministers Ram Jethmalani (Independent) and Arun Jaitley (BJP), senior Congress leaders Arjun Singh and Hansraj Bhardwaj, thespian Dilip Kumar and film producer Dasari Narayana Rao (both Congress) were among the 23 candidates elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha today.
BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh and industrialists Vijay Mallya and R.P. Goenka were among the prominent candidates left in the fray for the biennial Rajya Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan respectively.
Mr Arjun Singh, Mr Bhardwaj, former Chief Minister Kailash Joshi (BJP), Mr Prafulla Kumar Maheshwari and Mr Bhagat Ram Manhar (both Congress) and state BJP working President Vikram Verma were declared elected from Madhya Pradesh after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations expired this evening.
Mr Dilip Kumar, Mr Jethmalani, Mr Prafulla Patel (NCP), RPI faction leader R.S. Gavai, BJPs Bal Apte and Shiv Senas Sanjay Nirupam made it to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra.
With the withdrawal of Mr Jawahar Goyal, brother of media tycoon Subhash Chandra of Zee TV, from the race, the entry of remaining six candidates to the Upper House from the state became a mere formality.
Besides Mr Jaitley, two other BJP nominees former Union Minister A.K. Patel and Mr Lekhraj Bachani were elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.
Sitting Congress member Raju Parmar was the fourth one to find a Rajya Sabha berth from the state.
Two sitting MPs Mr Alladi Rajkumar of TDP and Mr K.M. Khan of the Congress and film producer Rao were among the six candidates elected uncontested to the Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh.
The other three were Mr K. Rammohan Rao, Mr Vanga Geetha and Mr S. Ramamuni Reddy (all TDP).
CHINTAMANI (Karnataka), March 18 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi today ruled out any change in the leadership of Chief Minister S.M. Krishna in the wake of the caste carnage at Kambalapalli, 35 km from here, in which eight Dalits were burnt alive on March 11.
Talking to newspersons after visiting the scene of the carnage and meeting the families of victims, who have been rehabilitated here, Mrs Gandhi gave a clean chit to Mr Krishna.
"I dont think it is fair", she said when asked about the opposition demand for his resignation on moral grounds. Mr Krishna did everything to provide necessary help and promised to take all measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. There was no question of change in leadership, she added.
Mrs Gandhi described the carnage as "most tragic and heart breaking".
Mrs Gandhi said people in the village were in a state of fear and did not want to live there. Plans would be made to shift them elsewhere.
She also announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each to the families of the deceased on her behalf and assured employment to one member of each family.
She earlier visited the residence of Mr Venkatrayappa whose family was burnt alive in the caste carnage and consoled him. She also met 35 women of the village who had been accommodated at Chintamani after the incident.
Mrs Gandhi was
accompanied by Mr Krishna, Mrs Margaret Alva, MP, and
party General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, besides state
ministers Mallikarjuna Kharge (Home), Mr Kagodu Thimmappa
(Social Welfare) and Mr D.K. Shivakumar (Cooperation).
Principals murder shocks teachers
BHOPAL, March 18 Members of the academic community of Ujjain are in jitters after murder of a Principal by a student. The reason the student was in the habit of reaching late for his examination and the Principal had objected to it.
The 23-year-old class XII student, Ajay Sankhalia, has been booked under Sections 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code.
According to the police, Ajay had been reaching late for his examination at Gujarati Samaj Higher Secondary School at Nai Sadak (Ujjain) and the Principal, Mr Naveen Chandra Shukla, had objected to it. Last Saturday, the Principal did not allow Ajay entry into the examination hall because he was late by an hour.
On Tuesday, Ajay reached the school, appeared in his examination and then waited outside for Mr Shukla to come out. When he came out, Ajay went to him, talked to him for a few minutes and stabbed him twice. The police said Mr Shukla fell down even before he knew what had hit him. He was taken to the district hospital where he was declared dead.
Two policemen on duty at the examination centre, Mr Nanuram and Mr Karan Singh, also received stab injuries before they could overpower the youth.
Mr Shukla (58) had joined Gujarati Samaj School in 1963 and was made its Principal a few years ago. He is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter.
The Ujjain district police chief, Mr Mukesh Jains claim that security had been tightened at the examination centres is being taken by the academic community with a pinch of salt.
Dr Sukhnandan Joshi, president of the Ujjain unit of the Madhya Pradesh Teachers Congress, says the police and the administration have a responsibility to protect its citizens, especially those engaged in the noble task of educating the people. "There was", he added, "an increased pressure on teachers from all sections and because of this, situations were created from where such unfortunate incidents arose".
According to his colleagues, Mr Shukla always adhered to the code of conduct governing education.
The Principal of Model
School, Mr Vinod Kabra, said Mr Shukla was a man of
integrity and known for his dedication to his profession.
His murder by a student indicated that the administration
as well as the police had failed in their attempts to
prevent criminalisation from infiltrating into the field
of education. "Had he served in a government school,
his family would, have at least benefited from the
compensation given to an employee if killed while in
service," Mr Kabra observed.
Delhi Cabinet clears language
NEW DELHI, March 18 The Official Language Bill, 2000, cleared by the Delhi Cabinet, if passed by the Assembly would pave the way for according official-language states to Punjabi in the Capital.
The Bill would be placed before the Assembly in the coming Budget session, which is scheduled to begin on March 22.
The modified Bill has included various suggestions made by the Centre.
Besides, the Bill, if passed in the Assembly as it is, will also introduce the three-language formula in schools to the Capital and will result in the employment of a number of persons as teachers and translators in the state-government-run school and others departments.
The Punjabi language will be introduced in the schools as an optional subject.
Festival of colours goes online
NEW DELHI, March 18 (PTI) Like everything else, even the festival of colours has gone online and netizens can look forward to playing Holi not just on the streets, but also in cyberspace, courtesy a new website.
Http://www.holihangama.com, a vertical portal on the festival, provides not only information about customs and traditions associated with Holi celebrations, but also tells stories related to the colourful festival.
Launched by the Delhi-based Compare Infobase, the site gives information on a number of mouth-watering dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, prepared on the occasion.
Other attractions of the site include a greeting cards section, which offers cards expressing the spirit of Holi and the Holi messages segment, in which one can frame messages to share the seasons greetings with loved ones.
Abu Salem gang members arrested
BJP leader shot
Five killed in
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