SPECIAL COVERAGE
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DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Office of profit petition against 13 MPs rejected
EC sends first batch of opinions to Kalam

New Delhi, September 9
The Office of Profit petition against several MPs including Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is understood to have been rejected by the Election Commission as they have become pointless following the assent by President to the Bill exempting more than 50 posts from being considered offices of profit.

Mulayam: Cong should apologise for Emergency
Lucknow, September 9
The Congress party should publicly express regret for the excesses committed by it during the Emergency demanded Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav today.

Satyagraha to figure at CWC meeting today
New Delhi, September 9
The Congress Working Committee will meet here tomorrow morning to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi. Satyagraha was adopted by Mahatma Gandhi as a potent weapon to fight Britishers.

Speculation over Rajnath ends
Dehra Dun, September 9
Speculations about BJP president Rajnath Singh getting a full second term as the party chief ended today with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee giving him a certificate of good work.








EARLIER STORIES




Atal blames UPA for Malegaon blasts
Dehra Dun, September 9
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today held the UPA government responsible for the terrorist attack in Malegaon yesterday. He said the steps that were required to counter terrorism were not being taken.

Dismantle terror camps, Pranab to B’desh
Kolkata, September 9
The Union Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, said here today that the Centre was still persuading Bangladesh for dismantling terrorists camps inside its territory. However, the government could not force the foreign country to dismantle the camps.

India disowns remarks on Brazil
New Delhi, September 9
India is confident of taking its relationship with Brazil from strength to strength despite the reported uncharitable remarks of Union Minister Jairam Ramesh wherein he described Brazil as a ‘rival’, not a partner, and dismissed the IBSA grouping as ‘fictitious’.

Documents seized from Ramani’s residence
New Delhi, September 9
The Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the high-profile Jessica Lall murder today seized certain documents from socialite Bina Ramani’s South Delhi residence.

Jharkhand MLAs herded to Kerala resort
Thiruvananthapuram, September 9
Ahead of the trial strength by Arjun Munda government in the Assembly, a group of MLAs from Jharkhand were today put up at a private resort in Alappuzha in Kerala.




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Office of profit petition against 13 MPs rejected
EC sends first batch of opinions to Kalam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
The Office of Profit petition against several MPs including Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is understood to have been rejected by the Election Commission as they have become pointless following the assent by President to the Bill exempting more than 50 posts from being considered offices of profit.

However, the final word has not been said about the complaints against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on the charge that as Trustees of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, they were holding offices of profit.

The EC’s opinion on the 13 MPs, including three ministers, comes nearly three weeks after President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam gave his assent on a legislation, which exempted more than 50 posts from being considered offices of profit.

The EC sent the “first batch” of opinions concerning these MPs to the President yesterday.

Sources in the EC had earlier indicated that most of the petitions may be rejected in the light of the Parliament passing an amendment to the law exempting some offices from disqualification.

Besides Mr Chatterjee, who is also Chairman of the Santiniketan-Sriniketan Development Board, opinion has been sent with respect to SP leader Amar Singh, who is the Chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Development Council, Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Sharad Pawar and Meira Kumar.

The EC has also sent its opinion with respect to Mr Hannan Mollah, Mr Amitava Nandi, Mr Sudhanshu Sil, Mr Bansagopal Chowdhury, Mr Lakshman Seth, Mr Matilal Sarkar (all CPM) and Ms Anuradha Chowdhury (RLD).

Recently, Dr Kalam gave his assent to the controversial Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2006, a day after Parliament approved setting up of a Joint Committee to define what constitutes such an office. The Presidential assent to the law with retrospective effect is expected to provide relief to these MPs.

Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswamy had said earlier that the EC would abide by the legislation in deciding on the petitions.

The latest addition to the list against whom petitions are pending are the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on the ground that they were holding offices of profit as trustees of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

The EC has not taken any decision in these two petitions and they were “under consideration”.

However, under the latest amendment the office of Chairperson or trustee (by whatever name called) of any Trust, whether public or private, would not attract the punishment of disqualification clause.

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Mulayam: Cong should apologise for Emergency
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, September 9
The Congress party should publicly express regret for the excesses committed by it during the Emergency demanded Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav today.
Recalling the “grave human rights violations” by the Congress government during the Emergency, Mr Yadav today kept his word of honouring the roughly 5642 ‘soldiers of democracy’ who were imprisoned in the state during that period by handing over pension cheques of Rs 2500 at the rate of Rs 500 per month since April.

At a massive function today, the Chief Minister felicitated the state’s political prisoners, mainly RSS old timers and a sprinkling of socialists, who were arrested by the Indira Gandhi regime under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules Act (DRI) during the proclamation of internal Emergency during 1975-77.

Besides the pension, the package for the ‘soldiers of democracy’ includes free travel in the state government’s ordinary and air conditioned buses, free treatment in state government hospitals under all systems of medicine and a certificate and an identity card to help them avail of these facilities.

Speaking on the occasion, the CM said the danger to democracy was far from over. The dismantling of elected governments in the states at the behest of the Centre was as serious a threat to democracy as the Emergency imposed unilaterally by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he said.

According to observers, the winning over of Emergency prisoners was a masterstroke of the Samajwadi party. It has not only managed to cause unease to the Congress by reviving memories of one of its most forgettable periods, but has also made the BJP red in the face as most of those honoured are hardcore RSS members who have accepted the pension and freebies despite protests from the party.

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Satyagraha to figure at CWC meeting today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
The Congress Working Committee will meet here tomorrow morning to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi. Satyagraha was adopted by Mahatma Gandhi as a potent weapon to fight Britishers.

CWC members, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, are expected to attend the meeting.

Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said CWC was meeting to commemorate Satyagraha and there was no other agenda on the cards. Asked if the meeting to mark the Satyagraha anniversary was being held to counter the BJP drawing political mileage from the controversy over the singing of Vande Mataram, Mr Dwivedi said there was no link. He said the decision to observe the Satyagraha anniversary had been taken several weeks ago.

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Speculation over Rajnath ends
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, September 9
Speculations about BJP president Rajnath Singh getting a full second term as the party chief ended today with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee giving him a certificate of good work. The party appeared tense till the Dehra Dun session of the national executive whether Mr Rajnath Singh would get another term from the next year when the organisational elections end with the election of the party president.

Mr Vajpayee praised Mr Rajnath Singh when he gave him a good work certificate in his concluding remarks at the three-day national executive session.

He also said he was ageing and was not able to do much work now but he would continue to do what ever he could.

Later, Uttaranchal BJP president Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said India was not Europe where old or aged people were sent to old age homes.

As if returning the compliment, the BJP president told reporters that Mr Vajpayee and Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani would continue to guide the party as their experience and wisdom was an asset for the party.

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Atal blames UPA for Malegaon blasts
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, September 9
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today held the UPA government responsible for the terrorist attack in Malegaon yesterday. He said the steps that were required to counter terrorism were not being taken.

Talking to mediapersons outside hotel Pacific, where the three-day meeting of the BJP national executive is being held, Mr Vajpayee said the terrorist incidents were continuing and Malegaon was the latest one.

“There is a need to take hard steps for defeating terrorism”, he said and stressed that we had been telling this for a long time.

Asked whether he held Home Minister Shivraj Patil responsible for Malegaon, Mr Vajpayee said the entire government was responsible for it.

Later, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi gave his reaction on Malegaon saying that the UPA government was “directionless” and “confused” in its fight against terrorism.

Expressing grief over the terrorist incident in Malegaon, Mr Modi said the merchants of death continue to kill and the government lacked the resolve to counter them.

After every terrorist incident be it Varanasi, Mumbai or now Malegaon, the government gives its reaction through press statements, reviews the incident and then waits for the next incident to happen.

He asked the government to tell the nation about the steps that were proposed to fight terrorism. 

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Dismantle terror camps, Pranab to B’desh

Kolkata, September 9
The Union Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, said here today that the Centre was still persuading Bangladesh for dismantling terrorists camps inside its territory. However, the government could not force the foreign country to dismantle the camps.

Talking to mediapersons here this evening, Mr Mukherjee said they were deeply concerned at the growing terrorists activities in the country from across the border. The Centre had been taken adequate measures to tackle this problem, he added.

He said, however, the UPA government would not abandon the peace talks with Pakistan It would continue the peace process for easing the tension in the border areas and trying to solve long-standing disputes between the two countries.

The minister hoped that the terror issue would get prominence in the forthcoming NAM meet at Havana where the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, would represent the country. — TNS

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India disowns remarks on Brazil
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 9
India is confident of taking its relationship with Brazil from strength to strength despite the reported uncharitable remarks of Union Minister Jairam Ramesh wherein he described Brazil as a ‘rival’, not a partner, and dismissed the IBSA grouping as ‘fictitious’.

A senior official told this correspondent today that the diplomatic channels had been hyper active between the two countries on the controversy for the past one week after the publication of an interview in which Mr Ramesh’s alleged remarks were carried.

Brasilia has already seen the point that the controversy needed to be buried here and now. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who embarks on a visit to Brazil and Cuba tomorrow, will also tell Brazilian President Lula Da Silva that the Government of India had completely disassociated itself from Mr Ramesh’s remarks.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, in his special media briefing yesterday on the Prime Minister’s visit to Brazil and Cuba, was asked about the Brazilian reaction to Mr Ramesh’s remarks. Mr Saran’s diplomatic response to this was as follows: “Certain interest was expressed in the reports which have appeared as to what these reported remarks imply. We on our part have conveyed the assurance that we attach great value both to our bilateral relationship with Brazil as well as to the prospects for cooperation on a trilateral basis in IBSA.”

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Documents seized from Ramani’s residence

New Delhi, September 9
The Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the high-profile Jessica Lall murder today seized certain documents from socialite Bina Ramani’s South Delhi residence.

SIT officials took Ms Ramani to her Saidulajav residence in the morning and scanned some of the files in her presence before seizing them. She was arrested from Goa on Wednesday night in a case of forgery and cheating.

Stepping up the probe, the police took her to Tamarind Court, where she ran the restaurant in which Lall was shot dead in 1999. Investigators alleged she had procured the licence for running the restaurant on forged documents. — PTI

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Jharkhand MLAs herded to Kerala resort

Thiruvananthapuram, September 9
Ahead of the trial strength by Arjun Munda government in the Assembly, a group of MLAs from Jharkhand were today put up at a private resort in Alappuzha in Kerala.

According to sources, the MLAs included some of the dissidents who had withdrawn support to the NDA government.

The resort authorities, however, refused to disclose the number and the names of the MLAs. They were kept out of bounds for the media and the public.

The group, which included some of the supporters of the MLAs, arrived via Kochi yesterday, the sources added. Two of them had, however, left the place last evening.— PTI

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