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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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Jessica Lal murder case: All 8 accused acquitted
New Delhi, February 21
Manu Sharma, son of Haryana Minister Vinod Sharma and main accused in the sensational seven-year-old Jessica Lal murder case, was today acquitted along with eight others by a Delhi Court which held that the police had failed to prove its case.

CM promises 40,000 low-cost houses before 2010 Games
New Delhi, February 21
The Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, today assured that 40,000 houses would be built in Delhi before the Commonwealth Games of 2010 to meet the residence requirement of people.

Poultry business strangled by bird flu scare
New Delhi, February 21
Even though no bird flu cases have been reported in Delhi, the poultry business has come down by more than 20 per cent in the national Capital over the last few days.

Govt to push for uplift of girl child
Faridabad, February 21
In an effort to check the declining sex ratio in State, the Haryana Government has announced several new schemes to promote the interest of the girl child.

Plea for case against UP minister admitted
Ghaziabad, February 21
A Ghaziabad court has admitted an application for a criminal case against UP Minister of State for Haj and Minorities, Haji Mohammed Yakub Qureshi, for his statements in Meerut on February 17.





EARLIER STORIES
 
Delhi Police personnel resorting to a lathi charge against protesting potters
Delhi Police personnel resorting to a lathi charge against protesting potters, who were demanding Scheduled Caste status for their community under the banner of the National Prajapati Mahasabha, at Parliament Street in the Capital on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Prada and children hold placards asking for more funds for education during a protest march
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Prada and children hold placards asking for more funds for education during a protest march organised by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan at Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Workers’ front threatens to launch stir
Faridabad, February 21
Demanding an end to the ongoing privatisation process in the government departments, the Sarva Karamchari Sangh, Haryana, has decided to submit memorandums to all the 90 MLA’s in the State regarding the “failure of the government” to solve its grievances.

Pharmaceuticals unit sealed for violating norms
Ghaziabad, February 21
The health department officials have sealed a factory manufacturing life-saving drugs for violating the norms set by the Government of India. Addl. Drug Controller Dr K Jaju said a factory, ‘Health Care’ manufacturing life-saving drugs on Hapur Road, has been sealed.

Lid off fake cement unit in Sahibabad
Ghaziabad, February 21
A fake cement factory on Wazirabad-Delhi Road in Sahibabad has been unearthed. Two truckloads of cement worth lakhs of rupees have been seized after a raid on Monday night. One employee was taken into custody from the premises.

MCD shifts 73 engineers for ignoring illegal construction
New Delhi, February 21
Following a reprimand from Delhi High Court for not taking action against engineers who allegedly allowed illegal constructions to come up, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi today transferred 73 such officials from the Building Department.

DDA finalising Master Plan 2021
New Delhi, February 21
The Union Minister of State for Urban Development today said the Delhi Development Authority was in the process of finalisation of Master Plan 2021 for Delhi and would be instrumental in making the national Capital a world class city by utilising its planning expertise.

Delhi Lt-Governor B. L. Joshi with Dr K. K. Aggarwal, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Gobind Singh University, lighting the lamp to inaugurate a seminar on Human Rights and Police at India International Centre in the Capital
Delhi Lt-Governor B. L. Joshi with Dr K. K. Aggarwal, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Gobind Singh University, lighting the lamp to inaugurate a seminar on Human Rights and Police at India International Centre in the Capital on Tuesday.
— Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Amity group employee commits suicide
Gurgaon, February 21
A Development Manager of Amity Valley School, Dr Harpal Singh, committed suicide by shooting himself last night at his residence in the campus at Manesar, about 20 kms from here.

Sting operation: Two police personnel dismissed
Ghaziabad, February 21
Two Police personnel, including a woman sub inspector, who were shown by a TV channel allegedly taking bribe from two detained persons for their release, were dismissed from service, police said today.

Man gets life for assaulting deaf and dumb girl
Meerut, February 21
A local court here has awarded life sentence to a man for criminally assaulting an 11-year old deaf and dumb girl. Additional district judge Upendra Kumar yesterday sentenced one Sanjiva to life imprisonment for his offence committed about two and half years ago.

Girl testifies against mother in grandmother’s murder case
Ghaziabad, February 21
A 15-year-old girl gave witness against her mother in the murder of her grandmother in a special CBI court here, court sources said. The case related to the murder of the old woman in Pilakhuwa town here on August 25, 2004.
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Jessica Lal murder case: All 8 accused acquitted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
Manu Sharma, son of Haryana Minister Vinod Sharma and main accused in the sensational seven-year-old Jessica Lal murder case, was today acquitted along with eight others by a Delhi Court which held that the police had failed to prove its case.

Those acquitted included Vikas Yadav, son of Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav, and the main accused in another sensational case of murder of Nitish Katara, who was a friend of his sister.

Delivering the verdict, Additional Sessions Judge S L Bhayana said the accused had to be acquitted as three key eye witnesses — model-turned actor Shayan Munshi, Karan Rajput and Shiv Das, the electrician at the restaurant where the model was shot dead — had turned hostile.

The prosecution had alleged that Lal was shot dead by Manu Sharma at the Tamarind Court restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi on the intervening night of April 29-30, 1999.

It was alleged that the victim, who was working as a bartender, was shot by Manu alias Siddharth Vashisht as she had refused to serve him liqour at the party hosted by Ramani for her Canadian husband George Malihote, who was to leave India the next day.

Besides Manu and Vikas, others who faced the trial were Amardeep Singh Gill alias Tony, Aloke Khanna (both senior officials in a leading soft drink company), Shyam Sunder Sharma (relative of former President Shankar Dayal Sharma), Harvinder Chopra, Vikas Gill, Raja Chopra, and former Indian cricketer Yograj Singh.

Two accused, Ravinder Krishan Sudan alias Titu and Dhanraj, were declared as proclaimed offenders by the court in the case.

Several witnesses, including Munshi, who was the complainant in the case, had turned hostile during the recording of evidence.

Rajput had also retracted from his statement saying that he was not at the party when the model was shot dead.

Ramani, who had identified Manu in the court, had given a confusing statement about him, saying that she was not sure that he was the same “fat and chubby person” who ran away from the scene after the security guards tried to catch him.

However, her husband and daughter Malini Ramani, a fashion designer, had supported the prosecution’s case.

While turning down the prosecution theory, the court also noted that the weapon of offence had not been recovered and there were considerable contradictions between prosecution’s case and the forensic evidence.

According to the prosecution, the two cartridges recovered from the crime scene were fired from the same pistol, while the report of the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory showed that they had been fired from two different pistols.

Sharma’s co-accused, Vikas, Tony Gill and Khanna, were acquitted under section 201 (destruction of evidence) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) IPC.

The court also acquitted Shyam Sunder Sharma of charges under section 201 and 212 (harbouring a suspect). Four others were also acquitted of charges of harbouring a suspect — former cricketer Yograj Singh, Vikas Gill, Harvinder Chopra and Raja Chopra.

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CM promises 40,000 low-cost houses before 2010 Games
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
The Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit, today assured that 40,000 houses would be built in Delhi before the Commonwealth Games of 2010 to meet the residence requirement of people. These houses will be in the category of low-cost houses like the ones made at the Industrial Complex of Bawana. The houses will be built under the Rajiv Gandhi Housing Project.

She announced this at a function where allotment letters were handed over to allottees at Bawana. She also handed over the allotment letters to certain successful allottees of the 1000 flats for which the draw was held today.

The Chief Minister said this project was the first such venture to hold a pride of place for the Delhi Government and so it should be for all those who own these apartments. Beautiful, low-cost houses just under Rs 2 lakh had been constructed in an eco-friendly and self-contained complex at Bawana in an area of 23 acres earmarked for the purpose of housing.

She further added that the complex at Bawana had accommodated 3164 dwelling units, which may not be sufficient to meet the requirement of the workers of 16,000 units which were being relocated. She also said that there would be a provision of a small market of around 500 shops for the locals to facilitate them. The shops would also be allocated through inserting an advertisement.

She also added that another lot of 2164 remaining flats would be allotted through a draw of lots on the birthday of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The Chief Minister disclosed that the Delhi Government was approaching the Union Government for allocation of funds under Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Development Scheme. It was proposed to construct a number of 40,000 such flats in different locations of Delhi well before the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Mr Mangat Ram Singhal, Minister for Industries, said the Delhi Government was in the process of constructing more low-cost flats all over Delhi. Twelve acre land had been earmarked in Narela for construction of 1500 low-cost houses. Similar projects were being considered for Bhorgarh, Karala and Kanjhawala where more than 10000 bighas of land had been acquired with a share for this scheme also.

He added that the government was keen on providing the basic facilities for these apartments, which included schools, dispensaries, community halls and a market in the neighborhood, clean drinking water, sewage, a boundary wall for security, parks etc.

The minister said the DSIDC had set up a 760-hectare complex at Bawana to provide an alternative industrial zone fore more than 16,000 industrial units relocated from elsewhere in Delhi in the wake of a Supreme Court order.

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Poultry business strangled by bird flu scare
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
Even though no bird flu cases have been reported in Delhi, the poultry business has come down by more than 20 per cent in the national Capital over the last few days.

Chicken, which was being sold at the rate of Rs 42 per kg in the wholesale market, was available today at the rate of Rs 30 per kg, Salauddin, a wholesale dealer of chicken in the Ghazipur Egg and Poultry Market, said.

He said that birds sold at Ghazipur were checked by the doctors deployed there by the government and so far no cases of avian influenza had been noticed. It was prevalent only in Maharashtra. “We receive poultry supply from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

An agent of Taj Poultry said that the market rates had dropped further since yesterday. On Saturday, the chicken was sold at the rate of Rs 25 per kg while the normal rate of chicken is Rs 42. The businessmen involved in chicken trading have had a loss of Rs 40 to Rs 45 lakh so far. If the situation persisted, the loss would be in crores, he said.

Haji Pappe, president of the Ghazipur Egg and Poultry Market, said the supply of chicken in hotels in Delhi had come down after cases of bird flu were reported from Maharashtra. The chicken, which was sold at the rate of Rs 80 per kg in retail, was available at the rate of Rs 60.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Health Minister, Dr Yoganand Shastri, had a review meeting to deal with the situation arising out of the bird flu (avian influenza) scare in the city. The meeting was attended by senior officers of the Health Department of the Delhi Goverment, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, AIIMS, Safdarjung and Sucheta Kriplani Hospital.

He asked the department concerned that only certified chickens by the doctors at Ghazipur should be sold in the open market. He said that there was no detection of human cases affected from bird flu. Still, the government had made proper arrangements for its treatment.

Hospitals in the national Capital have set up special wards for treatment of any suspected human case of bird flu while eateries in the city have been asked to procure chickens from the authorised Ghazipur poultry market only. A 10-bedded ward has been created in the trauma centre of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and another ward, with 20 beds, has been set up at the Deendayal Upadhyay Hospital to treat any suspected human case of avian flu.

Laboratories of Maulana Azad Hospital and AIIMS have been identified for conducting confirmatory blood tests for suspect human cases.

“We are fully prepared to meet any eventualities in Delhi,” Mr Shastri said, adding that three million doses of the anti-flu medicine Tamiflu were now available in Delhi and there was no need to panic.

He said the government today sent instructions to all the city hotels asking them to procure chickens only from authorised Ghazipur poultry market. Some city hotels and restaurants have already stopped serving chicken since yesterday.

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Govt to push for uplift of girl child
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 21
In an effort to check the declining sex ratio in State, the Haryana Government has announced several new schemes to promote the interest of the girl child. The government authorities have admitted that illegal sex determination tests have been responsible for the decline in sex ratio in the State, which stands at 819 in comparison to 1000 male in the age group of 0-6 years.

The sex ratio in the State recorded in the 2001 census was 861 female for 1000 males.

The Haryana Government has planed to observe 2006 as the ‘year of the girl child’ so as to enhance the status of the girl child and arrest the declining sex ratio in the State. The government has also announced the launch of several schemes to promote their welfare and development.

It has been decided to set up a state-level committee under the chairmanship of the Health Minister to oversee the implementation of the Pre-natal Detection Test Act- 2002 (PNDT). According to independent analysts and NGOs working in the field, there has been gross misuse of the ultrasound facilities to adversely affect the sex ratio in the State. It may be recalled that raids had resulted in the registration of six cases in the district in the past five years. However, the apathy of the officials of the Drug Control and the Health Department has failed to check this menace.

The government has also announced the launch of ‘Ladli’ scheme for girls under which the parents would receive an amount of Rs 5000 on the birth of the second girl child up to a period of five years. Such parents would also be eligible for a pension of Rs 300 per month from 55 years onwards. Besides providing bicycles to girls studying in schools, steps would soon be taken to provide the latest infrastructure in about 222 schools for girls in the State.

Every girl student would be issued a health card under which they could access free health check up and treatment facilities.

The government would also set up a women university in the State and would provide 25 per cent reservation for women in all the ITI’s and vocational training institutes. As many as 33 per cent posts of teachers in the government schools would be reserved for women. It has also been decided to give Rs one lakh to panchayats, which achieves 100 per cent enrollment of girls in schools.

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Plea for case against UP minister admitted
Parmindar Singh

Ghaziabad, February 21
A Ghaziabad court has admitted an application for a criminal case against UP Minister of State for Haj and Minorities, Haji Mohammed Yakub Qureshi, for his statements in Meerut on February 17.

The matter will come up for hearing on February 24.

Senior advocate Chaudhri Ajay Veer had filed a plea for a case against Rs 51-crore reward for the killer of the Danish cartoonist, announced by Mr Qureshi in a vast public rally in Meerut on February 17. He had also promised gold equal to the weight of the killer to be given to the would-be murderer.

The prosecutor has also mentioned that such behaviour of a person holding a high constitutional position in India is against the democratic traditions, and puts such persons among the traitors of the country.

By making an open call from a public platform, advocate Chaudhri said, Qureshi had committed a serious crime.

Mr Chaudhri said when he went to Kavi Nagar police station in Ghaziabad, the police turned him back. Later, he made a prayer before the court saying that Mr Qureshi had violated the international law also. Such a statement comes under the category of terrorism as the minister had incited the public for committing a murder. Mr Chaudhri prayed before the court that Mr Qureshi be tried under Sections 168A, 120B, 115, and 113A for this offence.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Narinder Singh has admitted the case after hearing advocate Choudhri and others.

The provocative statement of the UP Minority Welfare Minister followed by almost tacit endorsement by Chief Minister Mulayam Singh shocked all saner elements and was thus condemned by a cross-section of people.

However, what has surprised most observers is the prompt endorsement issued by the State Home Secretary, Mr Alok Sinha, that the statement contained no offence.

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Workers’ front threatens to launch stir
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 21
Demanding an end to the ongoing privatisation process in the government departments, the Sarva Karamchari Sangh, Haryana (SKS), has decided to submit memorandums to all the 90 MLA’s in the State regarding the “failure of the government” to solve its grievances. It has also warned that if their demands were not accepted soon, the employees of various bodies and federations would be left with no option but to launch an agitation against the government.

“Memorandum would be submitted to all the 90 MLA’s in the state regarding the failure of the government to accept and implement the pending demands of the government staff and the ongoing alleged maltreatment,” said Subhash Lamba, spokesperson of the Sarva Karamchari Sangh, Haryana (SKS). The campaign would start from February 28.

He said the Sangh would also write to the Chief Minister on the issues troubling the workers and the employees. He regretted that despite taking up the matter earlier the authorities had failed to respond positively.

Among the prominent demands of the employees include the end to the ongoing privatisation process and the practice of contractual appointments, filling up of the vacant posts in various government departments and providing employment under the ex-gratia scheme. According to the Sangh, a meeting would be held at Rohtak on March 12 to announce its future plans. The government has failed to live up to the promises made to the employees and was continuing with the policies of the previous government, the spokesperson alleged.

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Pharmaceuticals unit sealed for violating norms
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 21
The health department officials have sealed a factory manufacturing life-saving drugs for violating the norms set by the Government of India.

Addl. Drug Controller Dr K Jaju said a factory, ‘Health Care’ manufacturing life-saving drugs on Hapur Road, has been sealed. Besides, orders for cancelling the licences of 10 other drug-manufacturing companies in Ghaziabad have been received.

He said about six years ago, the Government of India had established a number of norms. Since then, some drug companies had been pleading for more time for implementing these norms.

The last extension in time up to June 2005 was conveyed in January 2005.

The screws were being tightened now on drug manufacturers after the end of the extended time. One of the norms stipulated that drugs be manufactured according to modern techniques. Air filter was also to be used and electric wiring to be hidden inside the walls.

All this entailed additional expenditure of Rs 30 to Rs 40 lakh for each factory which most of the manufacturers just could not afford, Dr Jaju said.

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Lid off fake cement unit in Sahibabad
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, February 21
A fake cement factory on Wazirabad-Delhi Road in Sahibabad has been unearthed. Two truckloads of cement worth lakhs of rupees have been seized after a raid on Monday night. One employee was taken into custody from the premises.

The factory in Rajiv Colony was raided at 9 pm by a special team of the police under CO (Border) Dinesh Yadav.

Mr Yadav said that Satish Kumar, a resident of Nand Nagri, had obtained a licence for the factory from Delhi which is not valid in UP.

The factory management was evading tax and an illegal power connection had also been obtained for running the factory.

CO Dinesh Yadav said the trans-Hindon area, including Rajiv Colony, Bhopura, Chhabra Colony, Janak Puri and Sahid Nagar were full of illegally-run factories, causing a huge revenue loss to the government.

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MCD shifts 73 engineers for ignoring illegal construction

New Delhi, February 21
Following a reprimand from Delhi High Court for not taking action against engineers who allegedly allowed illegal constructions to come up, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) today transferred 73 such officials from the Building Department.

The civic body has transferred 73 engineers from the Building Department of various zones and headquarters, who include six executive engineers, 30 assistant engineers and 37 junior engineers, an MCD spokesman said.

The engineers against whom action has been taken have now been posted in non-sensitive departments and the deputy commissioners have been directed to simultaneously make alternative arrangements so that the demolition activity and removal of unauthorised encroachment on public land remains unaffected. It is being ensured that no engineer facing regular departmental action or a CBI or Anti-corruption Bureau case is assigned to look after the work of junior engineer (building) in the zone. — TNS

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DDA finalising Master Plan 2021
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
The Union Minister of State for Urban Development today said the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was in the process of finalisation of Master Plan 2021 for Delhi and would be instrumental in making the national Capital a world class city by utilising its planning expertise.

He said that during the past four decades, the DDA had played a very important role in the overall development of Delhi but did not get due credit for the good work done. Land matters were being dealt with by many agencies and therefore the responsibility and accountability did not solely rest with the DDA.

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Amity group employee commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 21
A Development Manager of Amity Valley School, Dr Harpal Singh, committed suicide by shooting himself last night at his residence in the campus at Manesar, about 20 kms from here.

Dr Singh, who had joined the Amity group about a decade back, took the extreme step while his wife, a teacher with

Amity International School, and his eight-year-old daughter were away to Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh to attend a marriage ceremony. He was a senior member of the Amity group and was looking after the afforestation and landscaping in the campus.

A neighbour of the deceased heard the gunshot from his licensed revolver and raised an alarm. The door was broken open and Dr Singh was found in a pool of blood. He had shot himself in the head. He was rushed to the hospital where the doctor declared him brought dead.

His body was cremated in Delhi today by his family and staff of the Amity group after postmortem. The police has registered a case and are looking at various angle to it. According to sources, the relationship between Dr Singh and the management had soured, which could have depressed him.

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Sting operation: Two police personnel dismissed

Ghaziabad, February 21
Two Police personnel, including a woman sub inspector, who were shown by a TV channel allegedly taking bribe from two detained persons for their release, were dismissed from service, police said today.

Superintendent of Police (city) Ram Chander Yadav told reporters that Deputy Inspector General of Police (Meerut Range) Raj Kumar Vishwakarma has decided to dismiss SI Simranjeet Kaur and Constable Rajpal as both of them were shown in a sting operation taking a bribe of Rs 30,000 for releasing two detained persons.

Kaur was yesterday placed under suspension by Senior Superintendent of Police Jai Narain Singh for the same charge. — TNS

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Man gets life for assaulting deaf and dumb girl

Meerut, February 21
A local court here has awarded life sentence to a man for criminally assaulting an 11-year old deaf and dumb girl.

Additional district judge Upendra Kumar yesterday sentenced one Sanjiva to life imprisonment for his offence committed about two and half years ago.

According to prosecution on August 9, 2003 Sanjiva had taken the girl to his room on some pretext and criminally assaulted her. He escaped when people gathered after the girl raised an alarm.

Six witnesses were produced by the prosecution in the case. — TNS

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Girl testifies against mother in grandmother’s murder case
Tribune News Service

Ghaziabad, February 21
A 15-year-old girl gave witness against her mother in the murder of her grandmother in a special CBI court here, court sources said.

The case related to the murder of the old woman in Pilakhuwa town here on August 25, 2004.

Appearing as the prime witness in the case, the 15-year-girl told the court yesterday that her grandmother was murdered by her mother, an uncle and a neighbour, the sources said.

While the mother of the girl is in jail, the two other accused were out on bail. Illicit relations was stated to be the reason for the murder.

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