SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Minor changes in MP ministry
Bhopal, August 27
Mr Babulal Gaur constituted his 32-member Council of Ministers today, 16 of them with Cabinet rank. Of the 16 Ministers Of State, three will be given independent charge.

Maoist terror knocks at Uttaranchal border
Dehra Dun, August 27
With fears of Maoist infiltrators slipping into Indian territory coming true, terror has gripped villages in the border areas of Uttaranchal. Intelligence agencies have been alarmed and the Union Home Ministry has been informed about the situation.

India, Kuwait call for denial of sanctuaries to terrorists
New Delhi, August 27
India and Kuwait have closed ranks on a host of issues as diverse as terrorism, education and investment and called for denial of sanctuaries to terrorist outfits and increased international cooperation to combat terrorism.

Govt to take Oppn in confidence on Pak
New Delhi, August 27
The Cabinet Committee on Security today decided to take the UPA allies as well as the Opposition into confidence before plunging into the next round of talks between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan on September 5 and 6 even as External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh advised against pitching up expectations.






EARLIER STORIES

 
Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray slaps an effigy of Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar with a slipper, signalling the start of Shiv Sena’s agitation against Mani Shankar Aiyar’s insult to freedom fighter Savarkar, in Mumbai on Friday.
Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray slaps an effigy of Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar with a slipper, signalling the start of Shiv Sena’s agitation against Mani Shankar Aiyar’s insult to freedom fighter Savarkar, in Mumbai on Friday.


Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav adjusts a traditional Rajasthani turban that was offered to him in Bandikui, Rajasthan, on Friday. The Minister was in Bandikui to flag-off the new Bandikui-Bharatpur broad gauge railway service.

Drummers perform Singarimelam as part of Onam celebrations at New Delhi's Kerala House on Friday
Drummers perform Singarimelam as part of Onam celebrations at New Delhi's Kerala House  on Friday. — PTI photos

Surjeet to bat for truckers
New Delhi, August 27
After tasting apparent success on EPF and FDI issues, the Left, led by CPM General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet, has decided to press upon the government to compromise on the service tax issue, that has led to a nationwide indefinite strike by a majority of the 40 lakh truck operators across the country for the past six days.

Courts burdened with decade-old pending cases
New Delhi, August 27
The Law Ministry’s annual report tabled before Parliament has shown that there had been alarming increase in the number of cases in high courts and the lower courts during past few years even as the judiciary remained burdened with decade-old pending cases.

NDA prolonging Uma issue with eye on poll, says Cong
New Delhi, August 27
The government-Opposition spat continued today with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad accusing the NDA of prolonging their protests on the Veer Savarkar-Uma Bharti issues with an eye on the October Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Raja Bhaiya cases: DSP being ‘victimised’
New Delhi, August 27
The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Government, state police and the CBI on a petition by a police officer, accusing the Mulayam Singh government of “victimising” him for probing POTA cases against controversial leader Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya, who was inducted into the ministry last month.

Inquiry against cops in Godhra escape case
Ahmedabad, August 27
A departmental inquiry has been initiated against the two constables who were on duty when Govind Nai, the prime accused in a post-Godhra communal riots case escaped from their custody at a hosital in Kalol town of Panchmahals district yesterday, the police said here today.

Miniature Guru Granth Sahib to be exhibited
Pune, August 27
A rare miniature Guru Granth Sahib of the First World War period was today brought here from Sachkhand Sahib in Nanded for exhibition during the inauguration of one of the biggest Gurudwaras in the region.

Congress leaders plead not guilty in ’84 riots case
New Delhi, August 27
Union Ministers Kamal Nath, Jagdish Tytler and senior Congress leader Vasant Sathe today denied before the Nanavati Commission, probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, that they instigated violence in the aftermath of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

SC notice to film producer for links with D-company
New Delhi, August 27
The Maharashtra Government today moved the Supreme Court for cancellation of the bail of Bollywood producer Nazim Hassan Zoha Rizvi and his associate, convicted by a special court for having links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who had financed their film “Chori Chori, Chupke Chupke”.

2 cops arrested in Jayalakshmi case
Madurai, August 27
Two police constables have been arrested on the charge of “abducting” a multi-level marketing businesswoman, who has levelled various allegations, including that of sexual assault, against several policemen in Tamil Nadu.

Tension in Orissa town following attack on church
Phulbani (Orissa), August 27
Business establishments, schools and colleges were closed and vehicular traffic remained off the roads at Raikia, 72 km from here, today, as tension prevailed in town following the attack on a Catholic church there.

‘War and Peace’, ‘Kya Pooche...’ best documentary films
New Delhi, August 27
A documentary film searching the roots of violence — manifested in communal riots to nuclear race — and another capturing the myriad faces of humanity around the Howrah station today won the National Awards for best non-feature films.

Warrants against Rajasthan BJP chief
Jaipur, August 27
A Judicial Magistrate has issued bailable warrants of arrest against Rajasthan BJP chief Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi, Mr. Raghuvir Singh Kaushal, MP and Mr Nathulal Gurjar, a former member of the legislative Assembly.

President visits model village
Cuddalore, August 27
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today visited Keerapalayam, a model village, nestled on the National Highway-45 in this district in northern Tamil Nadu.

70 militants surrender in Assam
Tezpur (Assam), August 27
Seventy militants, including 47 from ULFA, surrendered in Assam’s Sonitpur district, a day after serial blasts in the state claimed six lives and injured 103 persons, official sources said.

Acquittal of judge challenged
Mumbai, August 27
The Mumbai police on Monday challenged the acquittal of a judge who was allegedly accused of being linked with gangster Chotta Shakeel.


Video

Rising water level in Narmada river force villagers to evacuate.
(28k, 56k)

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Minor changes in MP ministry
N.D. Sharma

Bhopal, August 27
Mr Babulal Gaur constituted his 32-member Council of Ministers today, 16 of them with Cabinet rank. Of the 16 Ministers Of State, three will be given independent charge.

The oath of office and secrecy to the ministers was administered by Governor Bal Ram Jakhar, at a messed-up-as-always function at Raj Bhavan. Mr Kailash Vijayvargiya, who was the PWD Minister in the Uma Bharti Cabinet, could not reach on time to be sworn in along with others. He was administered the oath later on.

An Indore court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mr Vijayvargiya in a criminal case. This morning he was busy obtaining bail and then only he could fly to Bhopal in a chartered plane.

Mr Gaur had taken oath as the Chief Minister on Monday evening — minutes after Ms Uma Bharti submitted her resignation in the wake of a non-bailable warrant issued against her in a riot-related case by a Hubli court.

Only a Cabinet Minister and three Ministers of State have been dropped while three new Ministers of State have been added to the old team. Mr Gaur had pleaded with the party high command to permit him to make substantial changes but Mr L. K. Advani reportedly asked him not to tinker with Ms Bharti’s team, barring a few minor changes.

Ms Bharti’s team has 35-members, including the Chief Minister. Now there are 33 members.

The following are the members of the Council of Ministers sworn in today:

Cabinet Ministers: Dr Gauri Shankar Shejwar, Mr Kailash Chawla, Mr Raghavji, Mr Dhalsingh Bisen, Mr Gopal Bhargava, Mr Kailash Vijayvargiya, Mr Chandrabhan Singh, Mr Narendra Singh Tomar, Mr Harnam Singh Rathore, Mr Om Prakash Dhurve, Mr Anup Mishra, Mr Dilip Bhatere, Mr Jayant Malaiya, Mr Vijay Shah, Mr Rustam Singh and Ms Archana Chitnis.

Ministers of State (independent charge): Mr Sunil Nayak, Mr Rajendra Shukla and Mr Lakshmi Kant Sharma.

Ministers of State: Ms Meena Singh, Mr Badrilal Yadav, Mr Lavkesh Singh, Mr Gangaram Patel, Mr Jagdish Devra, Mr Uma Shankar Gupta, Mr Gopilal Jatav, Mr Karan Singh Verma, Mr Moti Kashyap, Mr Narayan Singh Kushwaha, Mr Shiv Narayan Jagirdar, Mr Rampal Singh and Mr Attar Singh Arya.

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Maoist terror knocks at Uttaranchal border
Swati Vashishtha
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 27
With fears of Maoist infiltrators slipping into Indian territory coming true, terror has gripped villages in the border areas of Uttaranchal. Intelligence agencies have been alarmed and the Union Home Ministry has been informed about the situation.

After the villagers of Hansa Khata in Nainital, about 50 km from Nepal, reported a brush with armed Maoist guerillas a few days back, the suspicion of Maoists being active in the region has sent the police into action.

About 12 armed Maoists, including two women, in khaki uniforms spoke to the villagers for over two hours and even ate dinner there. The Maoists told (warned) the villagers of dire consequences if they leaked information about their presence, the police said.

The police, along with companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), has begun search operations in the area. The police is conducting combing operations in the border districts of Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar, said DGP Kanchan Choudhary Bhattacharya.

Monitoring the combing operation closely, Mr K.R. Negi, ADGP (law and order), told The Tribune that three core teams led by SSPs had been constituted to comb through the border areas.

Udham Singh Nagar SSP Amit Sinha, who led the operations, said the Maoist guerillas told the villagers that they would help them if they cooperated.

The 278-km long porous Indo-Nepal border in Uttaranchal has been in the news for reports of infiltration and smuggling but the problem remains unplugged. Highly placed official sources said the Secret Service Bureau was to set up posts to monitor such activities but the plans had not seen the light of the day.

There have been reports of the Maoists escaping into the Indian territory to find safe hideouts from the Nepalese Army, of late.

Even as the security forces plan to scan the border to prevent infiltration in the days to come, the possibilities of established hideouts in the districts of Nainital, Pithoragarh, Champawat and US Nagar need to be looked into, officials said.

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India, Kuwait call for denial of sanctuaries to terrorists
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 27
India and Kuwait have closed ranks on a host of issues as diverse as terrorism, education and investment and called for denial of sanctuaries to terrorist outfits and increased international cooperation to combat terrorism.

At the end of an official visit (August 24-26) here by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the two sides issued a joint statement yesterday which amply indicated Kuwait’s increased desire to forge closer all-round relations with India.

While the Kuwaiti minister’s discussions with External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh also focused on terrorism, note was also taken of continuing efforts to secure the earliest possible release of the three Indian hostages in Iraq, according to the foreign office here.

On the issue of terrorism, the statement said: “Both sides exchanged views on their common concerns on the threat to open and democratic societies from terrorism and extremist violence. They called for effective international cooperation to combat terrorism and deny sanctuaries to terrorist outfits. They recognised the need for increased consultation and cooperation in this area.”

Kuwait, a member country of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), wants to develop itself as a regional hub and would be happy if India would be a partner. That is why it is keen on exploring new possibilities of investment in India.

The GCC is keen on overhauling its educational curriculum and we need India’s cooperation in this regard. Significantly, the joint statement mentioned that both sides recognised Kuwait’s role as a significant source of energy for India’s rapidly growing economy and a factor in contributing to India’s energy security.

On the economic side, the statement said: “Both sides emphasised the need for increased economic cooperation in four priority areas — trade, investment, industrial cooperation (including SME), and transfer of technology (including IT) — identified at the First India-GCC Industrial Conference.

“Both sides underlined the importance of building institutional linkages and direct investment in each other’s economies. They also recognised India as a major source of technology and technical human resources. Both sides noted the new opportunities offered by Kuwait through their revised foreign investment laws which would facilitate increased direct foreign investment. Both sides acknowledged the need for an early conclusion of negotiations on the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement.”

On the issue of the reform of the United Nations Security Council and expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent membership, the joint statement said the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of reforms within the UN.

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Govt to take Oppn in confidence on Pak
Rajiv Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 27
The Cabinet Committee on Security today decided to take the UPA allies as well as the Opposition into confidence before plunging into the next round of talks between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan on September 5 and 6 even as External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh advised against pitching up expectations.

Mr Natwar Singh told The Tribune tonight that India was committed to taking forward the dialogue process with Pakistan. “This is a process which will continue. We want to carry this process forward. You cannot resolve these issues in one or two meetings.”

Asked whether Pakistan would respond to a slew of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Mr Natwar Singh said: “We have given a number of CBMs to our Pakistani friends. It is upto them. We want to continue with this process (of talks). But we should not pitch expectations too high. We have to be realistic.”

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters as he emerged out of the 90-minute CCS meet that “The whole situation and the negotiating points were discussed”.

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would brief Opposition leaders while External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh would brief leaders of the ruling UPA before the formal talks. Another meeting of the CCS is likely to take place before the Foreign Ministers’ meeting here, sources said.

The CCS meet, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also attended by Centre’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir N N Vohra apart from the regular members like the External Affairs Minister, the Home Minister and the Finance Minister.

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Surjeet to bat for truckers
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 27
After tasting apparent success on EPF and FDI issues, the Left, led by CPM General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet, has decided to press upon the government to compromise on the service tax issue, that has led to a nationwide indefinite strike by a majority of the 40 lakh truck operators across the country for the past six days.

Mr Surjeet got into action today after talks between the Finance Ministry and representatives of the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) failed in the morning. He assured the transporters that the Left would use their influence over the government to resolve the matter that had crippled the economy.

Talks between officials of the Finance Ministry and striking truck operators failed as the government ruled out a rollback of service tax imposed on goods booking agents. Declining to withdraw service tax, the Finance Ministry offered to the striking leaders to discuss only issues relating to procedural difficulties likely to be faced by truck owners or operators.

“We have full faith in Mr Surjeet. He has assured us that he will talk to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today on the vexed issue,” Mr Gurinder Pal Singh of the AIMTC told mediapersons after the meeting.

Truck and lorry assocations in Andhra Pradesh today publicly announced to withdraw from the strike, claimed state Transport Commissioner R.S. Diswal.

The AIMTC claimed that they did not have a confirmed information on this.

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Courts burdened with decade-old pending cases
S.S. Negi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 27
The Law Ministry’s annual report tabled before Parliament has shown that there had been alarming increase in the number of cases in high courts and the lower courts during past few years even as the judiciary remained burdened with decade-old pending cases.

As per the available figures up to June, 2003, the pendency of cases in different high courts had gone up to 35.28 lakh, while the burden of lower judiciary had increased to 2.27 crore, the report said, painting an unfortunate picture of the judicial system loaded with cases which had been waiting decisions for decades.

Only silver lining was perhaps the performance of the Supreme Court, which has brought down its pendency of cases from 52,000 to nearly 25,000 within last four years. So far as the burden of cases in high courts was concerned, Allahabad High Court topped the list with 9.54 lakh pendency, followed by high courts of Madras (3.80 lakh), Bombay (3.08), Punjab and Haryana (2.44) and Calcutta (2.36).

The high courts of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan also had more than one lakh cases pending before them, the report said.

Similarly, the biggest state of Uttar Pradesh had pendency of 49 lakh cases in lower courts, while Gujarat (over 34 lakh), Maharashtra (over 31), West Bengal (over 16), Bihar (over 12), Andhra Pradesh (over 11), Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (over 10), Orissa and Rajasthan (over 7), Kerala and Delhi (over 6), Punjab and Haryna (over 5 lakh each) are the other states having huge burden on its lower judiciary.

To overcome the problem of burgeoning cases in judiciary, the government had decided to raise the strength of high court judges from 655 to 749 in 2003 by creating 94 additional post in 21 high courts. During 2003-04, appointments of 54 high court judges were approved by the government. This had left 62 posts of judges vacant in the high courts as on March 31 because of the retirement and resignation of some judges, the report said.

Keeping in mind various problems faced by the judiciary, the government in May, 2003, had also introduced the 98th Constitution Amendment Bill, providing for setting up of the National Judicial Commission that would deal with the appointment of Supreme Court and high court judges and the transfer of the high court judges, it said.

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NDA prolonging Uma issue with eye on poll, says Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 27
The government-Opposition spat continued today with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad accusing the NDA of prolonging their protests on the Veer Savarkar-Uma Bharti issues with an eye on the October Maharashtra Assembly elections.

He said the government was ready for a discussion on both issues but the Opposition was not interested in a debate. “It is clear they were more interested in raising these matters rather than discussing them in order to keep the issues alive,” Mr Azad said.

The government also distanced itself from Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer’s critical remarks about Veer Savarkar.

The Uma Bharti issue, Mr Azad maintained, had been blown out of proportion. He said the BJP is accusing the Karnataka government of deliberatedly opening the 10-year-old case against the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister. But the BJP, he said, is forgetting that its Jharkhand government had sent a police team to arrest a Union Cabinet Minister and even posted the arrest warrant on his door.

Mr Azad charged the BJP of misinterpreting the facts of this case. He said it was making it out as if Uma Bharti was being charged for attempting to unfurl the national flag. The BJP is overlooking the fact that Uma Bharti had been charged in cases of rioting, attempt to murder and whipping communal passions. 

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Raja Bhaiya cases: DSP being ‘victimised’
SC upholds stay on proceedings
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 27
The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Government, state police and the CBI on a petition by a police officer, accusing the Mulayam Singh government of “victimising” him for probing POTA cases against controversial leader Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya, who was inducted into the ministry last month.

A Bench of Mr Justice B.N. Agrawal and Mr Justice H.K. Sema, while issuing the notices said the order for stay on the proceedings against the officer granted earlier would continue.

Deputy SP R.S. Pandey, who was the chief investigating officer (IO) of a team that had probed the cases against Raja Bhaiya, his father and brother, alleged that after the independent MLA from Kunda was inducted into the ministry on July 16, the Mulayam Singh government had registered a number of “false and frivolous” cases against him apart from initiating 36 departmental inquiries.

Raja Bhaiya was booked under POTA by previous Mayawati government but Mulayam Singh ministry had withdrawn the charges against him and later inducted him into the ministry.

The police officer, who claimed that he had been rewarded with promotions for his good work in the past, was being victimised because Raja Bhaiya “has become a close confidant” of the ruling Samajwadi Party.

Justifying the arrest of Raja Bhaiya, Mr Pandey in his petition, said during investigation “a huge cache of arms and ammunition, unaccounted jewellery, cash and a skeleton were recovered from a family pond. The arms and the ammunition recovered were sufficient enough to equip a small army.”

Mr Pandey said the recovered arms included an AK-56 rifle, and consequently cases were registered under POTA against Raja Bhaiya, his father Udai Pratap Singh and cousin Akshya Pratap Singh, now an MP. The father and son duo faced a total of over 50 criminal cases, which were being probed by a special team of officers, he said.

In view of the constant “harassment and threats to life” at the behest of the gangsters in the state because he was in their hit list among 10 UP police officials, Mr Pandey said he had no option but to approach the apex court to seek relief against the “illegal action” of the UP Government.

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Inquiry against cops in Godhra escape case

Ahmedabad, August 27
A departmental inquiry has been initiated against the two constables who were on duty when Govind Nai, the prime accused in a post-Godhra communal riots case escaped from their custody at a hosital in Kalol town of Panchmahals district yesterday, the police said here today.

“Irrespective of the fact that he was re-arrested in short time, a case of negligence has been registered against a Head-Constable and a constable for their negligence that led to the incident,” Panchmahals district Superintendent of Police B.K. Jha said.

The officials who let Nai to brush his teeth were Head-Constable Gambhirsinh Jerisinh and constable Gansinh Jalu.

A day after he escaped from custody and was caught 10 hours later, Nai told the police during the interrogation that “I just walked away as no one was observing me.”

“He seems mentally upset and keeps murmuring things. When questioned about his escape he said that he just walked away as no one was keeping an eye on him,” Mr Jha said.

“In fact it appears that he did not run away at all and just walked away from the hospital towards a farm in Derol, 5 km from the hospital, and slept in the fields”, Mr Jha said.

Nai is the prime accused in the referal hospital murder case where a mob allegedly burnt a Muslim alive just outside the campus. He was arrested for the offence on August 12.

He was admitted to the same hospital on August 24, for treatement of diarrohea and vomitting, while he also complained of ‘mental illness’ to the jail authorities of the Kalol Sub-jail, where he was under judicial custody.

Nai and other riot accused persons have been taken to the Godhra district court for extension of their judicial custody. — PTI

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Miniature Guru Granth Sahib to be exhibited

Pune, August 27
A rare miniature Guru Granth Sahib of the First World War period was today brought here from Sachkhand Sahib in Nanded for exhibition during the inauguration of one of the biggest Gurudwaras in the region.

The 1.4 square inch Guru Granth Sahib with golden covers had 1,430 pages and was one of the 60,000 such mini-sized holy books made by the British empire specially for Sikh soldiers of the Indian Army, who were fighting the war for them, Bhai Vinod Singh Rehrasiya of Sachkhand Sahib said here.

While nothing was known about the fate of other miniature Guru Granth Sahibs gifted to the Sikh soldiers, who had these tucked in these turbans after daily prayers, the one brought at the renovated gurudwara here was kept with reverence at the Sachkhand Sahib, he said.

Historical weapons of Guru Gobind Singh’s era too would be exhibited for five days at the cantonment gurdwara, which would be inaugurated on Sunday.

The gurdwara, one of the biggest in the region and in size only next to Sachkhand Sahib, would be opened to the public on the day of Parkash Utsav. — PTI

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Congress leaders plead not guilty in ’84 riots case

New Delhi, August 27
Union Ministers Kamal Nath, Jagdish Tytler and senior Congress leader Vasant Sathe today denied before the Nanavati Commission, probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, that they instigated violence in the aftermath of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

“It is a case of conspiracy. Other persons were propping up the witnesses to name the leaders for their involvement in the riots,” advocate Lavkesh Sawhney appearing for the three Congress leaders, told the commission on its concluding hearing.

“In fact, Kamal Nath, as a responsible leader had gone near the gurdwara to pacify the crowd,” he said and added that the testimony of the witness, Mukhtiyar Singh, could not be relied as during the recording of his statement he admitted that the Congress leader was pacifying people, who had gathered around Gurdwara Rakab Ganj. He said Mukhtiyar Singh’s statement was motivated as it came when Lok Sabha elections were near.

Sawhney said even the allegation against Sathe was wrong as he was not around the gurdwara when the mob had assembled. “At that particular time, he was participating in a discusssion in Doordarshan and this could be proved from the video tapes kept in the archives,” he said.

The advocate said the evidence against Tytler could not be relied as it was submitted by way of an affidavit and that it has come on record that the witness could not either write or understand English. — PTI

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SC notice to film producer for links with D-company
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 27
The Maharashtra Government today moved the Supreme Court for cancellation of the bail of Bollywood producer Nazim Hassan Zoha Rizvi and his associate, convicted by a special court for having links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who had financed their film “Chori Chori, Chupke Chupke”.

Taking cognisance of the state’s petition, a Bench consisting of Mr Justice K. G. Balakrishnan and Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat issued notices to Rizvi and his associate Abdul Rahim Allabux Khan, alias Farroq, seeking their replies.

The duo were sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by a Mumbai court on October 1, 2003, under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA).

The trial court had also awarded one-year jail term to film financier Bharat Shah in the case, but he was released because he had remained under judicial custody for about 15 months. The bail was granted to them by the Bombay High Court pending their appeal against conviction.

Maharashtra’s standing counsel Mukesh Giri sought cancellation of the bail of Rizvi and Farooq on the ground that there was likelihood of their fleeing the country to escape from the remaining part of the sentence.

Apart from jail term, the trial court had imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on each of the accused. The high court had granted bail to them after admitting their appeals against conviction by the trial court.

The Maharashtra counsel said the state’s apprehension of the accused of leaving the country was not without basis as they were rendering assistance, financial and otherwise, to the organised crime syndicate of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar’s faction controlled by Chhota Shakeel.

The grant of bail to them and suspension of their sentence by the high court was challenged by the state government on the ground that under MCOCA, there was no provision for suspension of conviction and sentence, unlike the Code of Criminal Procedure.

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2 cops arrested in Jayalakshmi case

Madurai, August 27
Two police constables have been arrested on the charge of “abducting” a multi-level marketing businesswoman, who has levelled various allegations, including that of sexual assault, against several policemen in Tamil Nadu.

The police today informed the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that the two constables were arrested late last night by neighbouring Virudhunagar district police and remanded to 15 days’ judicial custody by a magistrate court.

After the submission of the public prosecutor on the arrests, Justice N.V. Balasubramanian and Justice T.V. Masilamani ordered that both constables be produced before the Bench on Monday.

Jayalakshmi, a native of Virudhunagar district, was produced by the police before the Bench on August 9 following a habeas corpus petition filed by her father, alleging that she had been kidnapped by some policemen.

The police had then told the court that she was not kidnapped but had been absconding and they found her in Vellore.

The case has become sensational, with Jayalakshmi alleging in an affidavit that at least six police officers, including a DSP, had sexually harassed her besides cheating her.

She had also claimed that she had business links with many other senior police officials and demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged ill-treatment meted out to her by police officials.

Three police officials in this city have been suspended in the wake of her charges.

Some cases had also been registered against the woman based on complaints of cheating made by various persons, including a jeweller. — PTI

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Tension in Orissa town following attack on church

Phulbani (Orissa), August 27
Business establishments, schools and colleges were closed and vehicular traffic remained off the roads at Raikia, 72 km from here, today, as tension prevailed in town following the attack on a Catholic church there.

A dispute over a fence outside the 50-year-old church had led to violence as a crowd of over 300 persons allegedly entered the building and destroyed statues of Virgin Mary and angels and set fire to the altar cloth and some other materials yesterday.

“The situation continues to be tense in the town”, Subdivisional Police Officer Bhabani Shankar Patnaik said.

The police was trying to arrange a peace committee meeting there but representatives of both sides were yet to agree to sit together, he said.

The police said while Christians were peeved over the attack on the church, the majority community alleged that members of the minority community had set fire to a truck. Six persons were injured in the incident. The bandh had been called by the local market committee. — PTI

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‘War and Peace’, ‘Kya Pooche...’ best documentary films

New Delhi, August 27
A documentary film searching the roots of violence — manifested in communal riots to nuclear race — and another capturing the myriad faces of humanity around the Howrah station today won the National Awards for best non-feature films.

Both “War and Peace” by noted film-maker Anand Patwardhan and “Kaya Pooche Maya Se” by Arvind Sinha shared the top honours as the 51st National Film Awards in the non-feature section were announced here. Sinha was also adjudged the best director for his film.

Patwardhan’s film was denied clearance by the censor board and it was the Mumbai High Court which gave it the go ahead.

Kerala’s Suja won the award as the best debutant director for Living”. While “Aur Ghumantu Thhahar Gaye” on the nomadic tribe “ghumantu” fetched the best anthropological film for Meenakshi Vinay Rai, “Vaidyaratnam PS Varrier” by T. Krishnan Unni was adjudged the best ‘biographical’ film. — PTI

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Warrants against Rajasthan BJP chief
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, August 27
A Judicial Magistrate has issued bailable warrants of arrest against Rajasthan BJP chief Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi, Mr. Raghuvir Singh Kaushal, MP and Mr Nathulal Gurjar, a former member of the legislative Assembly.

The Judicial Magistrate of Talera in Bundi district has issued these warrants against the three accused as they had not been appearing in the court for a long time.

They are facing charges of obstructing the highway in an agitation connected with the problems of electricity and water in the area.

It may be recalled that three years ago, a taxi driver had lodged a FIR against nearly 40 persons, including these senior politicians, on grounds of jamming traffic and interfering with the public transport system.

Earlier, Mr Laxmi Narain Dave, Minister of Forests and Mr Babulal Verma, Minister of Panchayati Raj, were issued warrants of arrest in connection with sending cases pending in the courts.

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President visits model village

Cuddalore, August 27
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today visited Keerapalayam, a model village, nestled on the National Highway-45 in this district in northern Tamil Nadu.

District Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi and panchayat president K.S. Panneerselvam accorded a warm reception to the President, when he arrived at the hamlet this morning.

Interacting with the members of women self-help groups (SHGs) and locals, Dr Kalam said real beauty still lay in villages. — UNI

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70 militants surrender in Assam

Tezpur (Assam), August 27
Seventy militants, including 47 from ULFA, surrendered in Assam’s Sonitpur district, a day after serial blasts in the state claimed six lives and injured 103 persons, official sources said.

Besides ULFA militants, 11 from NDFB, eight from Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Asom (MULTA) and four from Bengal Tiger Force (BTF) laid down their arms.

The militants surrendered with their arms and ammunitions, including several AK-47 rifles, 9 mm pistols, revolvers and 264 live ammunitions, before the GOC-4 Corps Lt-Gen A.S. Jamwal at Charduar in the district. — PTI

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Acquittal of judge challenged
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 27
The Mumbai police on Monday challenged the acquittal of a judge who was allegedly accused of being linked with gangster Chotta Shakeel.

Sessions Judge J.W. Singh was acquitted by a special court constituted under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) two years ago due to lack of evidence.

According to top police officials here, the Maharashtra Government ordered that the Lower Court judgement should be challenged in the apex court. Under the provisions of the MCOCA, any decision delivered by the special court can be challenged only in the Supreme Court.

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BRIEFLY

‘Asymmetrical people more frustrated’
NEW DELHI: In an interesting development, scientists in the USA have discovered that asymmetrical people are more likely to get frustrated as compared to their “well-shaped” counterparts. During a study conducted by the scientists at Ohio State University in Columbus they discovered that people with uneven faces and bodies were more prone to angry reactions when they were subjected to stressful telephone conversations, a study published in ‘Nature’ said. — PTI

Ex- DCP gets bail in Telgi case
MUMBAI:
The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to former DCP Pradip Sawant who was arrested the police in January this year in connection with the multi-crore fake stamp paper scam. Sawant, the first to get bail among the high-ranking police officers arrested in the scam, had been charged under various sections of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for his alleged dereliction of duty and not exercising supervisory control, besides shielding subordinates who were involved in the countrywide scam. — PTI

Jawan kills friend
NASIK: An Army jawan who allegedly shot his friend dead suspecting illicit relations with his wife has been arrested, the police said. His wife, who attempted suicide, has been admitted to a hospital, sources said. The 19-year-old army jawan posted in the Jammu sector and here on leave, shot dead his friend on Thursday evening after a heated argument. — PTI
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