Wednesday, December 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India




National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Is Jyoti Basu Oppn nominee?
Post of country’s President
Kolkata, December 11
Will Mr Jyoti Basu be the country’s next President, when the present incumbent, Mr K.R. Narayanan, retires in July? The question has been raised both in the political and administrative circles following the publication of a news item in a local Bengali daily, quoting the party sources two days ago, stating that Mr Basu would be the Opposition’s choice for the President’s chair.

Centre may convene joint session
Passing of anti-terrorism Bill
New Delhi, December 11
The Vajpayee government seems to be preparing itself to hold a joint parliament session for getting the anti-terrorism Bill passed, as the Opposition parties made clear their intentions to oppose it tooth and nail by forcing the adjournment of the Lok Sabha today.

A decorated cow, with bells around its neck, waits for people to ask questions on whether their wishes would come true, in Calcutta on Tuesday. The owner of the cow, Om Prakash, claimed the beast would nod its head to indicate a yes or no when questions on wish-fulfillment were asked. Cows are revered as gods by Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's population. — Reuters


EARLIER STORIES

 

USA tells Pak banks to halt operations
New Delhi, December 11
All Pakistani banks operating in the USA have been asked to stop day-to-day financial transactions after US intelligence agencies got evidence that the banned Pakistan-based Al-Rashid Trust had diverted funds worth 3.5 crores to terrorists in Chechnya, well-placed sources disclosed here today.

Bengal CM refuses to meet VHP chief
Kolkata, December 11
The working president of the VHP, Mr Ashok Singhal, who was in the city on a day’s tour was denied a meeting with the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharyya. Mr Singhal, who was in the city on Sunday on a mission to garner public support in favour of VHP’s building of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, wanted to meet Mr Bhattacharyya to seek support for the erection of Ram Temple.

Hindujas’ plea to go abroad together
New Delhi, December 11
European-based three Hinduja brothers accused in the Bofors case have sought the Supreme Court’s permission to go abroad together, saying they were required to monitor their global business daily in view of the recession in world economy after the September 11 terrorist strikes against the USA.

NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
First phase of Science City to be over by June
New Delhi, December 11
The first phase of the Science City being planned for Jalandhar is expected to be completed by June, 2002. In the first phase, the Science city will include Space Odyssey Hall and Gate Complex, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Jagmohan told the Rajya Sabha today.

National Security Board revamped
New Delhi, December 11
Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee today reconstituted the National Security Advisory Board with the appointment of the former Ambassador to China Mr C. V. Rangnathan, as its convener and the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, as one of its members.

Range officer shifted, guard suspended
Dehra dun, December 11
A range officer has been transferred and a forest guard suspended in connection with the killing of two tuskers in Rajaji Park in Uttaranchal even as the state police is clueless to the identity of the culprits.

Tehelka: George to be first witness
New Delhi, December 11
The plea of Defence Minister George Fernandes to depose as the first witness before the Venkataswami Commission, probing the Tehelka expose on corruption in defence deals, has been accepted by the Commission today.

VIDEOS
The turnout of people who cared to pay their last respects to the doyen of the Hindi film industry, actor Ashok Kumar, was dismal.
(28k, 56k)

There is treat in store for all those eagerly awaiting the release of the movie "Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham".
(28k, 56k)


Lying abandoned and unused for close to four years Asia's largest arts center in Raipur begins bustling with life as an international block printing competition gets underway.
(28k, 56k)


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Is Jyoti Basu Oppn nominee?
Post of country’s President
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, December 11
Will Mr Jyoti Basu be the country’s next President, when the present incumbent, Mr K.R. Narayanan, retires in July?

The question has been raised both in the political and administrative circles following the publication of a news item in a local Bengali daily, quoting the party sources two days ago, stating that Mr Basu would be the Opposition’s choice for the President’s chair.

Mr Basu denied the report but added that the CPM leadership had not taken any decision in this regard. He said he would welcome Mr Narayanan to continue for another term. But if Mr Narayanan declines the offer on health grounds, then, of course, a suitable alternative could be decided, he added.

The BJP and some other NDA partners will sponsor the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah as the presidential candidate. The Congress, however, would like to field Dr Karan Singh.

But some of the Left Front partners, like the Forward Bloc and the RSP will welcome Mr Basu as a right candidate in the President’s chair. Mr Ashoke Ghose (FB) felt a veteran politician like Mr Basu would be the right choice for the country’s highest chair. He, however, did not rule out the possibility of an alternative government of the third front at the Centre with Mr Basu as the Prime Minister. According to Mr Debabrata Bandopadhyya (RSP), it will be an honourable post for Basu who had spent the whole life in politics.

CPM leadership in Kolkata denied the report of Mr Basu’s becoming the next President. ‘It’s a cock and bull story published in the media’, remarked a CPM politburo member, Mr Biman Basu, who is also the Chairman of the Left Front committee in Bengal.

BJP and Trinamool Congress leadership in Kolkata bantered at Mr Basu’s staking the claim for the presidential chair.
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Centre may convene joint session
Passing of anti-terrorism Bill
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The Vajpayee government seems to be preparing itself to hold a joint parliament session for getting the anti-terrorism Bill passed, as the Opposition parties made clear their intentions to oppose it tooth and nail by forcing the adjournment of the Lok Sabha today.

An indication to this effect came from Union Home Minister L.K. Advani and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan.

The Home Minister, who chaired the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting here this morning as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was in Japan, told members: “If the anti-terrorism Bill is not passed, then we would have to find a way.”

The BJP, on its part, has already issued a three-line whip asking its members to cancel all their programmes till December 24 and stay in Delhi.

“All MPs have been told to cancel all programmes and stay in Delhi in case the Bill is not passed by the Rajya Sabha on December 18. In that case, the government would decide whether to convene a joint session or not,” BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Mr V.K. Malhotra told newspersons after the meeting.

The Home Minister said the government had already held discussions with Opposition parties as well as allies of the NDA on the Bill and accepted all suggestions on it, the party spokesman said.

Mr Pramod Mahajan told the members that of a joint session appeared to be on the cards and therefore, apart from the three-line whip, members had been asked to remain in the Capital till December 24.

The meeting took strong exception to the attack on BJP offices in Kerala yesterday as well as on pilgrims to Sabarmalai and was critical of the Kerala Government’s attitude on the issue, Mr Malhotra said.

Some members wanted the government to seek the report of the Kerala Governor on the incidents and also to take measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents, the BJP spokesman added.
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USA tells Pak banks to halt operations
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
All Pakistani banks operating in the USA have been asked to stop day-to-day financial transactions after US intelligence agencies got evidence that the banned Pakistan-based Al-Rashid Trust had diverted funds worth 3.5 crores to terrorists in Chechnya, well-placed sources disclosed here today.

The American move has come in accordance with the new laws enacted by the Bush Administration following the September 11 terror attacks which endeavour to stop money flow to terrorist organisations.

The Pakistani banks in the USA have been instructed to issue certified cheques, money orders or personal cheques and not cash money transactions. They have also been prohibited from carrying out transactions in foreign exchange, transfers of credits to foreign banks and import and export of currencies or securities, the sources said.

This step followed evidence that the Al-Raashid Trust sent 750,000 US dollars in cash to Chechnya after the allegation that the aid sent to Chechnya through the United Nations never reached Chechen Muslims.

The amount was, in fact, handed over to terrorist groups headed by Ismail Dawood (unrelated to the notorious Dawood Ibrahim).

Sources said the Al-Rashid also sent Rs 20 million in cash to the Taliban and to the Muslims of Kosovo. It has also been giving financial aid to Maulana Masood Azhar, who heads the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Over the years, Al-Rashid, with its connections with the Taliban, had opened 21 branches all over Pakistan. Its main charter was to carry out welfare projects within Pakistan, but covertly it started giving aid to different terrorist outfits and was working closely with Bin Laden’s Al-Qaida.
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Bengal CM refuses to meet VHP chief
Our Correspondent

Kolkata, December 11
The working president of the VHP, Mr Ashok Singhal, who was in the city on a day’s tour was denied a meeting with the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharyya.

Mr Singhal, who was in the city on Sunday on a mission to garner public support in favour of VHP’s building of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, wanted to meet Mr Bhattacharyya to seek support for the erection of Ram Temple.

But the Chief Minister refused to meet him on the plea that the BJP was a communal party and the VHP had playing communal card and destroying the country’s unity and integrity.

The BJP and VHP had committed a crime by demolishing the Babri mosque, the Chief Minister alleged, adding that they were making another mistake by building the Ram Temple on the disputed site.

Veteran Marxist leader, Mr Jyoti Basu said the Chief Minister had taken the right decision in refusing a meeting with Mr Singhal. In Mumbai, the CNP leader, Mr Sharad Pawar and AIADMK leader, Ms J. Jayalalitha met him last week but the DMK leader, Mr Karunanidhi, refused to meet him.
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Hindujas’ plea to go abroad together

New Delhi, December 11
European-based three Hinduja brothers accused in the Bofors case have sought the Supreme Court’s permission to go abroad together, saying they were required to monitor their global business daily in view of the recession in world economy after the September 11 terrorist strikes against the USA.

The Hindujas, British citizens Srichand and Gopichand, and Swiss national Prakashchand, contended that the deterioration in the world economic situation “has significantly affected” their global business.

Their application would be considered on Friday by a Bench comprising Justice M.B. Shah and Justice R.P. Sethi, which on September 27 had allowed any two of the three brothers to go abroad at one point of time.

Seeking complete freedom of movement, the three brothers said they had not only “fully cooperated in the investigations, but continue to do so”.

Grave and irreparable harm and prejudice would be caused to them if they were not allowed to go abroad to finalise the credit lines for their business, they said in their applications filed through counsel Ujjwal Rana.

“There is a sudden, emergency and pressing need for day-to-day and continuous supervision and monitoring of different business in different regions of the world, which has necessitated the need for total flexibility and free movement to deal with varied problems which are arising at short notice in different parts of the world,” they said. PTI
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NORTH INDIA IN PARLIAMENT
First phase of Science City to be over by June
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The first phase of the Science City being planned for Jalandhar is expected to be completed by June, 2002. In the first phase, the Science city will include Space Odyssey Hall and Gate Complex, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Jagmohan told the Rajya Sabha today.

Financial Package

Minister of State for Finance, Balasaheb Vikhe Patil told the Rajya Sabha that the government was not considering any plan to grant a financial package to Himachal Pradesh on the pattern of the North-East.

Panipat refinery

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Ram Naik told the Rajya Sabha that the refining capacity expansion programme of Panipat Refinery from 6 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) to 12 MMTPA was being appraised by Indian Oil Corporation Limited from May 5, 2000.

Srinagar airport

Minister of Civil Aviation Syed Shahnawaz Hussain told the Rajya Sabha that the previous proposal for expansion and modification of the terminal building of the Srinagar airport envisaged single-level operations. It was subsequently changed to provide for two-level operations in the terminal building.
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National Security Board revamped
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee today reconstituted the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) with the appointment of the former Ambassador to China Mr C. V. Rangnathan, as its convener and the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, as one of its members. An official release issued today said that NSAB had been reconstituted for 2001-2002 and would have its term for one year.

The 15-member Board includes besides General Malik, a former Secretary (Economic Relations) in the ministry of External Affairs Mr S.T. Devare, Air Marshal Vinod Patney (retd), Vice-Admiral K.K. Nayyar (retd) and the Chief of BJP Economic Cell, Mr Jagdish Shettiyar.

Dr Charan Wadhwa, Dr Kalyan Banerjee, nuclear physicist Dr M.R. Sriniwasan, Mr B. Raman, defence analyst Mr K. Santhanan, former Delhi Police Commissioner Mr Arun Bhagat, Jawahar Lal Nehru University Professor Mr Amitabh Mattoo, former Special Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Mr Nikhil Kumar and Mr R.K. Ahuja were the other members, the release said.
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Range officer shifted, guard suspended

Dehra dun, December 11
A range officer has been transferred and a forest guard suspended in connection with the killing of two tuskers in Rajaji Park in Uttaranchal even as the state police is clueless to the identity of the culprits.

“We have suspended Mr Pitamber Dutt Tewari, a forest guard of Gauhari range, where the incident took place, and transfered officer Rooly Ram for their negligence,” Rajaji Park Director Sunil Kumar Pandey told PTI over the phone.

A post-mortem report regarding the exact cause of the death is still awaited but the elephants apparently died due to poisoning. He, however, ruled out the possibility of involvement of park staff, saying that only professional killers could kill the tuskers so brutally and remove their tusks.

Two male elephants were found dead with their tusks removed on Saturday evening in the park.

Meanwhile, security in all wildlife areas in the state has been beefed up. In all, there are 1507 elephants in Uttaranchal and 464 are found in Rajaji Park, forest officials said.

Meanwhile, the Centre has announced a Rs 100,000 reward for information on the poachers. PTI
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Tehelka: George to be first witness
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The plea of Defence Minister George Fernandes to depose as the first witness before the Venkataswami Commission, probing the Tehelka expose on corruption in defence deals, has been accepted by the Commission today.

Mr Fernandes had appealed through his lawyer that he be the first to depose as there were no direct allegations against him and he was the only person to be served with a notice under Section 88 (b), a provision in the Commissions of Inquiry Act allowing an opportunity to a person to defend his reputation.

The order said an exception had been made in Mr Fernandes’ case.
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