SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Kumaraswamy takes oath as CM
Vote of confidence on Feb 8
Bangalore, February 3
The son rose in Karnataka today but without his parents to see him ascend the throne. Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy was administered the oath of office as Chief Minister of the state by Governor T N Chaturvedi on the portals of the Vidhan Soudha.
New Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy along with his deputy V.S. Yediyurippa after they were sworn in in Bangalore
New Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy (left) along with his deputy V.S. Yediyurippa after they were sworn in in Bangalore on Friday. — AFP photo

Buddha draws red ire
Chaos rules at Kolkata airport
Kolkata, February 3
On the third day of the airport employees' strike, the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport today turned into a virtual dumpyard with heaps of garbage scattered around and filthy water seeping out into the sprawling departure lounge where a few dozen anxious passengers were waiting.



EARLIER STORIES

 

“What poor has to do with airports?” Lalu mocks Left
Patna, February 3
Union Railways Minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, a major ally of the Congress-led UPA government, today supported the move to modernise the Delhi and Mumbai airports through privatisation by describing it as the need of the hour.

Airport services crash, hunger strike begins
Mumbai, February 3
Nearly 200 Airports Authority of India employees have begun a hunger strike in front of the departure terminal of the Mumbai airport, said their union.
The employees would continue to sit on strike till the Centre called off the proposal to privatise Mumbai and Delhi airports, union office-bearers said.

Agni-III ready for launch; awaits govt nod
New Delhi, February 3
India’s top defence scientist today said that country’s most ambitious long-distance missile with a range of about 3500 km was ready for launch. It was up to the political leadership now to take a final decision on it.

Govt to import wheat for South
New Delhi, February 3
With the wheat prices in the domestic market touching new high of Rs 1200 per quintal, the government yesterday decided to import 5 lakh tonnes of wheat in the next two months for the southern states so as to stabilise prices in there.

Govt seeks transfer of expelled MPs cases
New Delhi, February 3
In view of the Supreme Court’s notices issued earlier to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Centre on a petition by a BSP MP expelled for his involvement in “cash-for- query” scam, the Centre yesterday moved a petition in the apex court for transferring the cases of other 10 MPs to it from the Delhi High Court for adjudication jointly.

Finally, Centre wakes up to gay sex
New Delhi, February 3
The Union Government today took a positive stand in the Supreme Court about the need to examine the Constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes sexual activities among gays a criminal offence.

Couple lynched for marrying in same gotra
Patna, February 3
On Basant Panchami, hundreds of people watched as mute spectators when a young couple was beaten to death in broad daylight in Patna for getting married within the same Hindu gotra or lineage.

Anjali Gupta dismissed from service
New Delhi, February 3
Flying Officer Anjali Gupta, who faced Court Martial proceedings for “indiscipline”, was today dismissed from service. However Chief of Air Staff S.P. Tyagi has reduced her punishment from “cashiering from service” to a simple dismissal.

SC reprieve for 2 Patiala docs
New Delhi, February 3
In a pleasant surprise to two women doctors from Punjab, locked in a bitter fight for admission to PG (Anaesthesia) course, the Supreme Court granted relief to both of them despite the two contesting against each other and ensured that they completed their MD degree.

SC no to quashing trial against Lodha
New Delhi, February 3
In a major victory to Birlas who had accused their former manager R S Lodha of fabricating a will making him a sole beneficiary of the assets worth Rs 5,000 crore, inherited by late Priyamvada Birla from her husband M P Birla, the Supreme Court today refused to quash the criminal proceedings against him for the alleged forgery.

SC notices to Centre, states for ban on child labour
New Delhi, February 3
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre, states and Union Territories on a petition seeking complete ban on all forms of child labour and implementation of the policy of compulsory education to children between 6-14 years of age.

SC notice to Centre, Gujarat, Maharashtra
New Delhi, February 3
The Supreme Court today issued notices the Centre and Gujarat and Maharashtra Government on a petition for CBI probe into the distribution of “hate CDs” denouncing Christianity.

Justice Panta sworn in as  SC Judge
New Delhi, February 3
Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta of the Himachal Pradesh High Court was today sworn in as new Judge of the Supreme Court.

Scribes' protest for wage board on Feb 23
New Delhi, February 3
Stepping up agitation for a new wage board, journalist and non-journalist staff of news organisations will march to Parliament and organise demonstrations across the country on February 23.

Defence Expo concludes
New Delhi, February 3
The stalls of American aviation giant Lockheed Martin and Israel were adjudged the best at the Defence Expo 2006 which concluded here today with new Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh hoping that the event would reach greater heights next year.

VRS of BSF chief cleared
New Delhi, February 3
The government has cleared the voluntary retirement of Border Security Force Director-General R.S. Mooshahary from February 27, a day before he retires from the service.

Shashi Kapoor in hospital
Mumbai, February 3
Noted actor-filmmaker Shashi Kapoor has been admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital after he complained of high blood pressure. — UNI


Videos

"Malamaal Weekly" to hit theatres soon.
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Visually impaired teenager scripts a tale of success.
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Lalu, Rabri vacate house.
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Violence erupts following death of a boy.
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A little picture speaks a thousand words, goes the famous proverb. This is more than the truth for the one who witnesses the photographs.
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Kumaraswamy takes oath as CM
Vote of confidence on Feb 8
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 3
The son rose in Karnataka today but without his parents to see him ascend the throne. Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy was administered the oath of office as Chief Minister of the state by Governor T N Chaturvedi on the portals of the Vidhan Soudha.

While Gowda rushed to Delhi this morning to attend a meeting of the Janata Dal (Secular) National Executive, Kumaraswamy’s mother Chennamma chose to respect her husband’s sentiments and stayed put at home. However other family members, including his brother H D Revanna who is siding with his father against him, attended the swearing-in ceremony. Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha, who runs a film production company, along with him, was also present.

Senior BJP leader B S Yediyurappa was sworn-in as Deputy Chief Minister at the ceremony which was witnessed by BJP President Rajnath Singh, besides other senior leaders, including Venkaiah Naidu. Deposed Chief Minister N Dharam Singh, whose government was reduced to a minority after Kumaraswamy withdrew support to it also attended ceremony.

Meanwhile JD (S) spokesman YSV Dutta, while speaking on behalf of party supremo Deve Gowda, said it was a very sad day for the party. He claimed that Gowda had not seen his son’s swearing-in ceremony even on television.

Kumaraswamy, while speaking to newsmen after the ceremony, said he was confident he would get his father’s blessings. He also claimed that the JD (S) —BJP government would be stable and he did not envisage any problem between the two parties as they would work according to a common minimum programme. He said he would be going to Delhi to meet senior BJP leaders.

The newly installed Chief Minister also claimed that the infrastructure problems of Bangalore would be taken care of. “I know Bangalore has potholes, pending flyovers and traffic jams. I will look into these issues”, he added.

The ministry will be expanded only after February 8 when the new Chief Minister will move a vote of confidence in favour of his government. Though the induction from the BJP’s quota is expected to be smooth with the central leadership calling the shots, Kumaraswamy is bound to feel the heat on this issue. The BJP will get 18 ministerial berths while the JD (S) will get 16 in the new set up which will follow the Jammu and Kashmir model of power sharing with the top post changing hands after 20 months.

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Buddha draws red ire
Chaos rules at Kolkata airport
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, February 3
On the third day of the airport employees' strike, the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport today turned into a virtual dumpyard with heaps of garbage scattered around and filthy water seeping out into the sprawling departure lounge where a few dozen anxious passengers were waiting.

While at a little distance, a large number of striking employees, carrying red flags and banners, could be seen sitting in a makeshift tent and shouting slogans.

The Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, did not approve of the strike at the airport and had deeply regretted the inconvenience caused to the passengers at the Kolkata airport yesterday.

He also advised the trade union leaders to immediately call off the strike and settle the issue across table with the Civil Aviation Ministry.

But the CITU general secretary, Mr Chittabrata Majumder, who is also a CPM Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal, today openly attacked the Chief Minister for questioning the strike.

He reiterated that the strike would continue and the passengers were bound to face inconvenience till the decision of privatisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports was not withdrawn.

The CITU's all-India president, Mr M.K.Pande, who also opposed the Chief Minister's stand, said they were not regretting the decision to strike and the inconvenience to passengers since they had been fighting for a genuine cause and in the larger interests of the workers.

The CPM general secretary, Mr Prakash Karat, however, like the Chief Minister, regretted the inconvenience and sufferings caused to the air passengers but reiterated that theirs was a “right decision”.

He added that the UPA government should withdraw the decision of privatisation of the airports.

Today also, several domestic and international flights operated from the Kolkata airport and the passengers had to come across similar hurdles with stinking toilets, no drinking water and power.

The baggage and Customs clearances were also badly hit. The security checks were also done haphazardly causing a security threat at the airport where a red alert had been already sounded against the terrorist attacks and the ISI activities.

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“What poor has to do with airports?” Lalu mocks Left
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, February 3
Union Railways Minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, a major ally of the Congress-led UPA government, today supported the move to modernise the Delhi and Mumbai airports through privatisation by describing it as the need of the hour.

Mr Lalu Prasad, along with his wife Rabri Devi and children, today officially shifted from 1, Anney Marg— their home for the past 15 years — to 10, Circular Road after ‘Basant Panchami puja’ at the new residence.

Talking to the media, Mr Prasad wondered from where the resources would come to modernise the airports to make them world class if private parties were not involved.

“You go to Pakistan and see the international-standard airports there being built by private parties,” he said.

Asked his allies, the Left parties, were opposing the said move, Mr Prasad said it was the need of the hour and no one could prevent it.

“It is mostly rich people who use the airports. What the poor had to do with it,” quipped Lalu taking a dig at the Left, which claimed itself to be the party of the working classes.

On the home front, Mr Prasad accused the BJP of derailing the effort by Mr Nitish Kumar to perform.

“The BJP and the criminal elements within the JD(U) were pressurising Nitishji not to take action against the criminals,” he claimed.

He also expressed concern over the fact that a number of abduction victims, particularly children, in the recent past had returned as body bags after being killed by abductors.

“This is a dangerous trend and speaks volumes about the deterioration,” he remarked.

He refuted the allegation that the RJD was sabotaging the initiative by Mr Nitish Kumar to put the state on path of development.

“We have promised all cooperation to Nitishji and abide by it,” he said adding that with two months already gone, there should be some visible improvements in the NDA rule now.

Showing irritation at being barraged with questions about how he felt after moving out from 1, Anney Marg, Mr Prasad said: “Kaisa lag raha hai. Should I cry? Yes, I am sad and pained.”

In his inimitable style, he compared buildings and houses with railway platforms.

“ I have left the railway platform (read Anney Marg) to reach another platform and Nitishji`s train has entered into my platform,” Lalu smiled.

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Airport services crash, hunger strike begins
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 3
Nearly 200 Airports Authority of India(AAI) employees have begun a hunger strike in front of the departure terminal of the Mumbai airport,
said their union.

The employees would continue to sit on strike till the Centre called off the proposal to privatise Mumbai and Delhi airports, union office-bearers said.

Air services continued to remain unaffected by the strike, according to the AAI.

The airport officials admitted that delays in flights were due to the congestion at the airport.

The strike, however, had its impact with toilets at the airport being left uncleaned as maintenance workers of the AAI were on strike.

The airport Director, Mr Rusti Treasurywala, told reporters here that private contractors had been engaged to clean up the airport.

Old newspapers and litter were scattered all over the airport premises.

Electrical installations also continued to malfunction inside the terminal buildings, passengers arriving into Mumbai said.

More than 2,000 employees of the AAI in Mumbai are on strike since Wednesday.

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Agni-III ready for launch; awaits govt nod
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
India’s top defence scientist today said that country’s most ambitious long-distance missile with a range of about 3500 km was ready for launch. It was up to the political leadership now to take a final decision on it.

M. Natarajan, chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said all preparations had been completed for the first launch of the Agni-III nuclear-capable ballistic missile but a decision on its testing would have to be taken by the government. “We have done all technical tasks for a project of this nature,” he said here while addressing the media on the sidelines of the Defexpo 2006.

Two other versions of the homegrown Agni missile, one with a range of 700 km and the other with a range of 2,500 km, have already entered service with the Indian armed forces.

It is believed the DRDO had completed preparations for firing the Agni-III, which is expected to have a range of about 3,500 km, almost a year ago and has been awaiting a green light from the political establishment to test it.

The Agni-III will be capable of carrying a one-tonne conventional or nuclear warhead and will be propelled by solid fuel thereby facilitating its swift deployment as compared to Agni -II, which is a solid and liquid fuel-propelled missile.

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Govt to import wheat for South
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
With the wheat prices in the domestic market touching new high of Rs 1200 per quintal, the government yesterday decided to import 5 lakh tonnes of wheat in the next two months for the southern states so as to stabilise prices in there.

“Wheat will be imported by the STC only in the southern states. There will be no other imports of wheat except at four southern ports,” Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters here.

He clarified that the government did not want to bring imported consignment of wheat into North India.

Currently, India levies a 70 per cent duty on wheat imports, making it unviable to import the grain.

India is importing wheat after almost a gap of about six years. It was in 1998-99 when about 1.5 million tonnes of wheat was imported to meet the shortage in the country.

Mr Pawar attributed the reason for shortage of wheat in southern parts of the country to changing food habits of people in these states from rice to wheat to some extent.

There would be no imports of wheat to any other port and the situation would be reviewed again in April-May 2006, he said, adding it would take about 60 days for the imported stuff to reach southern ports of Chennai, Tuticorin, Kakinada and Visakhapatnam.

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Govt seeks transfer of expelled MPs cases
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 3
In view of the Supreme Court’s notices issued earlier to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Centre on a petition by a BSP MP expelled for his involvement in “cash-for- query” scam, the Centre yesterday moved a petition in the apex court for transferring the cases of other 10 MPs to it from the Delhi High Court for adjudication jointly.

Attorney-General Milon Banerjee made a special mention about the filing of the transfer petition by the Union Government before a Bench of Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal and Mr Justice C K Thakker, which issued notices on it to the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha secretariats, Election Commission and all 10 MPs who had moved the high court. All respondents were directed to submit their replies by February 13. The apex court, on January 16, had referred Raja Ram Pal’s petition to a Constitution Bench, while issuing notices to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Union Government, Election Commission and Attorney- General, seeking their “assistance” in adjudication of the matter, which according to the court had raised an “important” question of law about the privileges of the House and the MPs.

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Finally, Centre wakes up to gay sex
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 3
The Union Government today took a positive stand in the Supreme Court about the need to examine the Constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes sexual activities among gays a criminal offence.

In view of this, the apex court referred a petition raising the issue back to the Delhi High Court to decide it on merits. "It merits examination. I think the matter needs to be examined at some level either by this court or the High Court," Additional Solicitor- General Gopal Subramaniam told a Bench, headed by Chief Justice Y. K. Sabharwal.

The Delhi High Court had rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) by an NGO, NAZ Foundation, seeking quashing of Section 377 on the ground that it was the biggest impediment in anti-AIDS campaign as the gays, for fear of police action, were not coming forward to discuss their problems pertaining to sexual behaviour.

The NGO, claiming to be working among gays for spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS, had challenged the Delhi High Court order in the apex court.

The Centre's stand was quite contrary to its submission before the Delhi High Court where its counsel had opposed the PIL stating that “social morality”, imbibed in the Indian culture, did not permit gay sex.

Section 377 makes unnatural sexual activities a criminal offence and empowers the police to book offenders and put them on trial.

The Bench said the Delhi High Court should not have rejected the petition merely on the ground that the NGO was not a directly affected party and a PIL could not be filed to test the Constitutional validity of a legislation.

The Bench observed that the ASG, appearing for the Centre, had made a statement that the matter needed to be examined and could not be dismissed on the ground stated by the Delhi High Court.

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Couple lynched for marrying in same gotra
Tribune News Service

Patna, February 3
On Basant Panchami, hundreds of people watched as mute spectators when a young couple was beaten to death in broad daylight in Patna for getting married within the same Hindu gotra or lineage.

Their fault lies in the fact that they dared to violate the socio-religious dictum, particularly prevailing in the cowbelt,which barred love or marriage within same Hindu gotra. Many orthodox Hindus here still believe that marrying within the same gotra amounted to incest.

According to witness, Shailendra Mishra and Pushpanjali were thrashed by bricks, stones and iron rods by their family members and neighbours near Maharajghat in Khajkalan.

Pushpanjali’s father Umesh Mishra was arrested by the police for leading the mob.

Shailendra, who was in his late 30s, and Pushpanjali, who was in her early 20s, eloped and got married a few weeks ago. The news created a furore, particularly in the girl's family,which was reportedly better placed in terms of economic status than the boy's family.

The couple reappeared this morning and went to Shailendra’s home little knowing the fate that awaited them.

Police officials said when the girl's father, residing in the same locality, came to know about their arrival, he led a mob to Shailendra’s house and dragged them out.The mob then beat them mercilessly.Their heads were also smashed.

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Anjali Gupta dismissed from service
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
Flying Officer Anjali Gupta, who faced Court Martial proceedings for “indiscipline”, was today dismissed from service. However Chief of Air Staff S.P. Tyagi has reduced her punishment from “cashiering from service” to a simple dismissal.

Upholding the Court Martial ruling which found Anjali guilty of five of the seven charges slapped against her, the Chief of Air Staff issued an executive order dismissing her from service. The Court Martial had recommended her cashiering.

Anjali had been charged on seven counts ranging from indisicipline, insubordination to financial misappropriation.

On being cashiered an armed forces officer is stripped of his/her rank.

Anjali had made counter charges about sexual harrassment. IAF spokesman Wing Cmdr Mahesh Upasani said the Air Force had appointed a Court of Inquiry headed by the seniormost woman officer in the IAF Air Marshal Padma Bandopadhyay to probe the allegations.

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SC reprieve for 2 Patiala docs
S. S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 3
In a pleasant surprise to two women doctors from Punjab, locked in a bitter fight for admission to PG (Anaesthesia) course, the Supreme Court granted relief to both of them despite the two contesting against each other and ensured that they completed their MD degree.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal directed that Radhika Dhawan who was given admission wrongly by the Government Medical College, Patiala last year by giving her preference over Amandeep Jaiswal, could not be disturbed at this stage as quashing of her admission would not either benefit to the latter.

Jaiswal though far ahead in the merit list, was denied admission and the seat was given to Dhawan, the court said. The college was directed to give admission to Jaiswal in PG (Anaesthesia) course next year without her requiring completing the formality of appearing for the selection exams again, the court said.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had quashed the admission of Dhawan on Jaiswal’s petition for reasons that she stood far behind to her in the selection list but still was given preference by the Selection Committee. The chairman and members of the selection committee were imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 by the High Court for their negligence.

Since Dhawan had pursued her study for about 10 months by the time the High Court order had come, the apex court said if her admission was set aside, Jaiswal could not be accommodated against the seat to be vacated by her in the midstream of the ongoing PG course. As a result the seat would go waste and therefore, there was no harm in letting Dhawan to complete her study, as her name also existed in the selection list though it was far below in the merit, the court said.

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SC no to quashing trial against Lodha
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 3
In a major victory to Birlas who had accused their former manager R S Lodha of fabricating a will making him a sole beneficiary of the assets worth Rs 5,000 crore, inherited by late Priyamvada Birla from her husband M P Birla, the Supreme Court today refused to quash the criminal proceedings against him for the alleged forgery.

The will purportedly executed by Priyamvada Birla before her death in July 2004, had made Lodha, a senior manager with Birla Group companies, the beneficiary of the assets.

But three Birla Group employees, had filed a complaint in a Kolkata court accusing Lodha of fabricating the will and as a result, the court had initiated trial for forgery against him, which was challenged by him in the apex court after the Calcutta High Court had rejected his plea for stay.

His three associates, made co-accused in the alleged forgery, were also facing trial along with him. “The criminal proceedings cannot be quashed at this stage,” a Bench of Mr Justice B P Singh and Mr Justice S H Kapadia said, dismissing an appeal filed by Lodha’s associates Shivnath Prasad and V Gauri Shankar.

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SC notices to Centre, states for ban on child labour
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 3
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre, states and Union Territories on a petition seeking complete ban on all forms of child labour and implementation of the policy of compulsory eduction to children between 6-14 years of age.

A Bench of Mr Justice K G Balakrishnan and Mr G P Mathur asked the Union Government and the states to submit their replies within six weeks.

A public interest litigation (PIL), filed jointly by three social organisations, said that as per the policy of the Union Government all childeren up to the age of 14 years should be in schools. It said all efforts should be made to bring all 10 crore such children engaged in all sorts of labour, to schools.

Agreeing with the issue raised in the PIL, the Bench said after the constitutional Amendment made it a fundamental right chapter to provide education to children up to 14 years under Article 21A, no child labour was allowed and it was the duty of all state governments to ensure education to all children.

It was the duty of the state government to provide schools where they did not exist, the Court said.

Advocate Ashok Agrawal, appearing for petitioners, Social Jurist, HAQ-Centre for Child Rights and Shantha Sinha, Secretary-Trustee of M V Foundation, said child labour should be declared as negation of the fundamental and human rights guaranteed to all children under the Constitution.

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SC notice to Centre, Gujarat, Maharashtra
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 3
The Supreme Court today issued notices the Centre and Gujarat and Maharashtra Government on a petition for CBI probe into the distribution of “hate CDs” denouncing Christianity. A Bench of Ms Justice Ruma Pal, Mr Justice A R Lakshwmanan and Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari issued the notices after viewing the CDs on a PIL, filed by an NGO, Anhad, through its Managing Trustee Ms Shabnam Hashmi. The notices were also issued to Shabri Kumba Samaroh Aayojan Samiti, and District Collector of Ahwa in Dang District of Gujarat where it is to be organised.

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Justice Panta sworn in as SC Judge
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 3
Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta of the Himachal Pradesh High Court was today sworn in as new Judge of the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal administered the oath of office and secrecy to Justice Panta at a simple ceremony on the Supreme Court premises, which was attended by all its judges and senior members of the apex court Bar Association.

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Scribes' protest for wage board on Feb 23
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
Stepping up agitation for a new wage board, journalist and non-journalist staff of news organisations will march to Parliament and organise demonstrations across the country on February 23.

M.S. Yadav of the Confederation of Newspapers and News Agencies Employees said today that the agitation for a new wage board would be intensified and thousands of journalists and non-journalist staff of media organisations march to Parliament.

He said demonstrations would also be organised across the country to demand for a new wage board, adding that representatives of the confederation would meet ministers and leaders of political parties to press for their demand for a new wage board.

Yadav said February 23 would be observed as “Wage Board Demand Day” and Central and state ministers presented a memorandum in this regard.

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Defence Expo concludes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 3
The stalls of American aviation giant Lockheed Martin and Israel were adjudged the best at the Defence Expo 2006 which concluded here today with new Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh hoping that the event would reach greater heights next year.

A press statement issued by the organisers said the runner-up trophy in the international segment was bagged by the French naval company, Armaris.

These awards have been instituted for the first time by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) which is co-hosting the exposition with the Ministry of Defence.

The stall of Defence Research and Development Organisation laid out on a Greek theme was adjudged the best among the Indian pavilions followed by Larsen and Toubro. In the Small-Scale Enterprises category Macmet India was adjudged the best followed by Windlass Steelcraft.

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VRS of BSF chief cleared

New Delhi, February 3
The government has cleared the voluntary retirement of Border Security Force (BSF) Director-General R.S. Mooshahary from February 27, a day before he retires from the service.

President Kalam has given the approval regarding the acceptance of notice of voluntary retirement served by Mr Mooshahary from February 27, 2006.

Mr Mooshahary was to retire on February 28 but he had applied for voluntary retirement earlier. — TNS

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