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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Casanovas at workplace, beware!
Draft Bill on sexual harassment ready
New Delhi, March 21
Casanovas at workplace, beware! After the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, the ministry of women and child development is now getting ready to arm women with some more ammunition, this time with a Bill on sexual harassment at workplace.

Buddha wanted to quit, says Prakash Karat
Kolkata, March 21
Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharee wanted to step down owning moral responsibility for the Nandigram incident but he had been persuaded to withdraw the decision by veteran Jyoti Basu, Prakash Karat and Biman Bose said today.

Nandigram: Caveat filed in SC
New Delhi, March 21
Anticipating the West Bengal government moving the Supreme Court to challenge the Calcutta High Court order of a CBI inquiry into the Nandigram police firing on farmers protesting against acquiring of their land for SEZ projects, a caveat was today filed in the apex court with a plea that the affected parties should be heard before any decision.

UPA-Left meeting shuns Nandigram issue
New Delhi, March 21
The police firing in Nandigram, which paralysed proceedings in Parliament for five days and has pushed the CPM on the backfoot, did not come up in the discussions at the UPA-Left dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight.

Talks on anti-SP front fail
New Delhi, March 21
Efforts to forge an anti-Mulayam Singh Yadav front in Uttar Pradesh came a cropper with Jan Morcha finally announcing today that talks on seat sharing with both the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal have failed.


CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat with children and women of Nandigram, who are on a dharna at Rani Rashmoni Avenue, in Kolkata on Wednesday.
CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat with children and women of Nandigram, who are on a dharna at Rani Rashmoni Avenue, in Kolkata on Wednesday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES


Cars taking part in the SAARC rally cross the Brahmaputra in Guwahati on Wednesday.
Cars taking part in the SAARC rally cross the Brahmaputra in Guwahati on Wednesday. — PTI

RS takes a break
New Delhi, March 21
Uproar in the Rajya Sabha by the BJP-led opposition over Nandigram police firing forced the Upper House to go in for a recess till April 26 today without conducting any business.

EC rejects objections on mulayam’s nomination
Lucknow, March 21
Returning Officer of the Bharthana Assembly segment in Etawah today rejected the objection raised by Congress nominee Ajay Yadav pointing out discrepancies in the affidavit filed by chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav about his properties at the time of filing of nomination on Tuesday.

CBI influenced by Lalu: Nitish
Patna, March 21
The Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar today charged the CBI with being influenced by RJD supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad to dilute the DA case against him.

Kashmir report cleared by EU panel
New Delhi, March 21
The European Union's Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) today cleared "with minor changes" the much-talked report on Kashmir authored by parliamentarian Baronness Nicholson, who had highlighted Pakistan's "failure" to check cross-border infiltration.

Karunanidhi: No talks on Cauvery
Chennai, March 21
Despite Karnataka’s offer to hold talks to resolve the Cauvery water dispute issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi today ruled out any talks on the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and denied having discussed the issue with his counterpart H.D. Kumaraswamy at all.

BPL list: Nitish sets May 15 deadline
Patna, March 21
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has set May 15 as the deadline to rectify the alleged irregularities in the new BPL list.

Nithari Case
CBI arrests sacked UP police official

New Delhi, March 21
The CBI today arrested dismissed sub-inspector of Uttar Pradesh Simranjeet Kaur in connection with the serial killings of women and children in Nithari.

Tipsy Mexican threatens to blow up plane
Kolkata, March 21
An Indian flight from Bangkok to Delhi with 87 persons on board today made an emergency landing at the N S C Bose Airport here after a drunken Mexican passenger allegedly threatened to blow it up.

Bank unions defer plan to strike work
New Delhi, March 21
Bank unions today deferred the proposed three-day strike from March 28, called earlier to press for their demands relating to pension, compassionate employment and outsourcing.

CPM supporters attacked, tension builds up
Nandigram, March 21
Trouble erupted here again today when CPM supporters came under attack from people opposed to the acquisition of land for industries .

Attack on editor rocks AP House
Hyderabad, March 21
The attack on the editor of a local Urdu daily, Zahid Ali Khan, allegedly by supporters of the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), rocked the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today.

Miss India pageant on April 8
Mumbai, March 21
The 46th edition of the Miss India pageant will be held in Mumbai on April 8.

N-reactor miniaturised for submarine
Mumbai, March 21
Indian nuclear scientists from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre have successfully miniaturised a reactor for fitting on board the Indian nuclear submarine.


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Casanovas at workplace, beware!
Draft Bill on sexual harassment ready
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
Casanovas at workplace, beware! After the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, the ministry of women and child development is now getting ready to arm women with some more ammunition, this time with a Bill on sexual harassment at workplace.

The draft Bill, christened the Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2007, is ready and has now been posted at the ministry’s website for comments and suggestions. With this, for the first time the government also attempts to bring the unorganised sector under the purview of the Bill.

While the number of women stepping out of their homes for work has increased, so have the incidents of sexual harassment. But, the majority of such cases do not even get reported, especially in the private sector. To provide for prevention and redressal of sexual harassment of women at workplace has been a long-pending demand of women groups.

However, organisations working with victims of sexual harassment at workplace say that the Bill needs some changes to make it effective. Otherwise, it will become yet another Act, with hardly any teeth. “The Bill is not acceptable in its present form. There are several gray areas which need to be addressed,” says Center for Social Research director Ranjana Kumari.

The Bill aims to make it mandatory for all organisations, including the private sector, to have a committee headed by a woman to look into complaints of sexual harassment. It says that any unwelcome sexual behaviour, advances - verbal, physical, graphic or electronic, including SMS - and humiliating conduct or a hostile work environment, will be termed as sexual harassment.

Besides, sexual remarks in the form of jokes or display of pornographic material or any implied or overt promise of either preferential or detrimental treatment in employment will also come under the purview of the Act.

Ranjana hopes that the amended Bill will be presented in Parliament in its next session, “but to make it successful and effective, it requires changes”.

She says: “The terms sexual harassment and workplace require a clarity in definition. For example, will sexual harassment on transport being used to ferry workers to the place of work be classified as sexual harassment at workplace? Moreover, the draft Bill needs to be more clear on punishment. Who will be the enforcing agency and who will be empowered to give the punishment?”

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Buddha wanted to quit, says Prakash Karat
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, March 21
Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharee wanted to step down owning moral responsibility for the Nandigram incident but he had been persuaded to withdraw the decision by veteran Jyoti Basu, Prakash Karat and Biman Bose said today.

The unprecedented crisis, which the party had been facing since the incident of the killings at Nandigram on March 14, was now forcing the CPI leadership to go for fresh stock-taking on the government’s functioning vis-à-vis the party’s role.

Both Basu and Karat had advised the chief minister to get the party and the front partners more involved in the government’s functioning and decision making.

While a section in the party favoured that Bhattacharjee should step down, which would resolve the situation, others were opposed to the idea.

But the leadership and party’s rank and file were critical about the style of functioning of the chief minister.

On Monday Bhattacharjee had gone to Raj Bhavan and held talks with Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi. He had appraised him about the Nandigram situation.

Meanwhile, home secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy said that Burdwan’s divisional commissioner Balbir Ram, who would be conducting the inquiry, has been asked to submit his report within 45 days.

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Nandigram: Caveat filed in SC
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 21
Anticipating the West Bengal government moving the Supreme Court to challenge the Calcutta High Court order of a CBI inquiry into the Nandigram police firing on farmers protesting against acquiring of their land for SEZ projects, a caveat was today filed in the apex court with a plea that the affected parties should be heard before any decision.

In another case pertaining to a CBI inquiry against CPM activists ordered by the High Court in 2001 in a mob violence in Garbeta in Midnapore district, the apex court referred to a five-judge constitution Bench an issue whether the high courts’ inherent powers to order CBI inquiry would prevail upon the law that regulated the functioning of the agency.

As per Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act governing the CBI, the probe by it could be ordered only with the prior consent of the state concerned.

The caveat filed in the Nandigram case on behalf of Kalayan Bandhyiopadhayay by his counsel Bijan Ghosh said “let nothing be done in the matter without the notice to him... as the caveator is a party to the case before the High Court.”

On the face of Section 6 of the Act, the West Bengal government in the 2001 Garbeta violence, which claimed 11 lives, challenged the High Court order for CBI probe on the grounds that it was not legally tenable. The court could have not used its inherent power so long as Section 6 was there in the Act, which makes it mandatory for seeking prior permission of the state government for handing over the case to the CBI, its counsel said.

After considering the issues raised by the West Bengal government, a Bench of Justices B.N. Agrawal, P.P. Naolekar and H.S. Bedi came to the conclusion that an important question of law was involved in the matter, which needed to be answered by a five-judge constitution Bench.

The West Bengal government also took a stand that another important question involved was as to what would be the effect if the state concerned withdrew the sanction granted by it earlier for the probe by the agency midway of the inquiry, particularly after change of government.

While the CBI probe in the Nandigram case was ordered by the High Court after taking suo motu notice of the large scale violence that claimed the lives of 16 persons and caused injuries to scores of others in police firing on farmers supported by the opposition Trinmool Congress, interestingly the inquiry in the Garbeta violence was also initiated against CPM activists on a complaint of opposition party’s functionaries.

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UPA-Left meeting shuns Nandigram issue
Anita Katyal

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
The police firing in Nandigram, which paralysed proceedings in Parliament for five days and has pushed the CPM on the backfoot, did not come up in the discussions at the UPA-Left dinner meeting hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight.

The Congress has condemned the use of force in Nandigram and its West Bengal unit has even demanded the imposition of central rule in the state but the first informal meeting of the ruling coalition partners today studiously avoided any mention of this embarrassing subject. Since the UPA is dependent on the outside support of the Left parties, the Congress-led government cannot go too far on this issue.

Consequently, the PM’s first public response to the police killings today was quite low-key and at variance with the tough stand taken by his own party. Breaking his silence on this issue, Manmohan Singh described the loss of life in police firing in Nandigram as sad.

“It is an event which should not have happened,” he told presspersons after the defence investiture at Rashtrapati Bhavan, a few hours before the dinner meeting.

The BJP’s attack against the Left on the Nandigram to have cemented the ruling coalition as all UPA leaders agreed that they must fight the BJP unitedly. However, rail minister Lalu Prasad Yadav pointed to the spiralling rise in prices of essential commodities and felt urgent steps were required to check inflation.

Yadav and PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who were supported by others, made a strong pitch for the implementation of the Sachar committee report.

In response to these two issues, the Prime Minister informed them about the steps taken by the Centre to contain prices and also pointed to the UPA’s 15-point special programme for minorities. However, it was agreed that a separate meeting will be convened to discuss the Sachar committee report and price rise.

The meeting came down heavily on the BJP for the manner in which it disrupted Parliament with Lok Sabha leader and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee pointing out that the main opposition party had adopted the strategy of preventing others from having their say.

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Talks on anti-SP front fail
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
Efforts to forge an anti-Mulayam Singh Yadav front in Uttar Pradesh came a cropper with Jan Morcha finally announcing today that talks on seat sharing with both the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal have failed.

Former Prime Minister and the mentor of Jan Morcha, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, told newspersons at his residence that a common front to take on the UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav led Samajwadi Party in the Assembly elections next month has failed to take shape and now "there was neither a possibility nor any further talks" with either the Congress or the RLD on the issue.

However, the Jan Morcha along with the Communist Party of India (CPI), Loktantrik Janshakti Party (LJP), Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) and United Democratic Front consisting of 18 minority political set-up will contest all the seats, Singh said and expressed confidence that anti-farmer and anti-people regime of Mulayam Singh would be defeated in the elections.

Asked to give reasons for the failure of talks for the common front against the SP, Singh said, "We had offered the Congress 200 seats" but it preferred to go alone.

The Jan Morcha has already declared candidates for the 259 Assembly seats and a few more were likely to be announced soon. The electoral contest in majority of seats is likely to be multi-cornered and no single party was expected to get a clear majority.

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RS takes a break
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
Uproar in the Rajya Sabha by the BJP-led opposition over Nandigram police firing forced the Upper House to go in for a recess till April 26 today without conducting any business.

At the end of the first phase of the budget session of Parliament, there was no end to the impasse over the killings in West Bengal. The week-long standoff between the BJP-led opposition and the government marred the last day of the session also with demands for the dismissal of the government in West Bengal.

The last day of the first leg of the current session in the Rajya Sabha was no different from the preceding days when an unrelenting opposition stalled the proceedings of the House by storming the well and shouting slogans against the Left Front government in West Bengal. The Lok Sabha, which adjourned on Tuesday for the recess, a day ahead of the schedule, had witnessed similar protests.

While the Nandigram issue dominated over the past one week, the demand for extradition of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the Bofors case, derailed parliamentary proceedings when the Union and Railway Budgets for 2007-08 were introduced. As a result, vote-on-accounts for both the budgets and some bills were passed amidst uproar.

When the Rajya Sabha convened for the day at 11 am, question hour was stalled with the opposition members protesting against the March 14 police firing in Nandigram, which claimed 14 lives.

Amidst the uproar, chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat adjourned the Rajya Sabha till noon within minutes. When some BJP members tried to move to the well of the House, Shekhawat warned, “don't come to the well or you will regret". The scene was no different when the House reconvened at noon. Though some papers were laid and a Bill on the National Institute of Technology was passed without any discussion, but the din continued leading to the House finally being adjourned for the break.

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EC rejects objections on mulayam’s nomination
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, March 21
Returning Officer of the Bharthana Assembly segment in Etawah today rejected the objection raised by Congress nominee Ajay Yadav pointing out discrepancies in the affidavit filed by chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav about his properties at the time of filing of nomination on Tuesday.

According to the RO S.N Yadav, the complaint by the Congress candidate came before him at 11.55 a.m. while the CM’s nomination had already been approved at 11.30 a.m.

In his complaint, Ajay had pointed out that while filing his nomination papers, the chief minister had declared his properties worth Rs 3 crore plus which includes the property of his second wife, Sadhna.

However, the affidavits filed before the Supreme Court on February 23 in the disproportionate assets case properties worth Rs 30 crore plus had been mentioned.

Only one of these affidavits can be correct. That means the CM is either misleading the Supreme Court or the EC, charged Ajay.

“Refusing to give up, he is trying to put up his case before the EC observer at Etawah Malay Srivastava. “I have faxed all the details to him and am awaiting an appointment”, he informed.

Refusing to comment on the case chief election officer A.K. Bishnoi said the matter was within the “RO’s jurisdiction” in which he was guided by “certain legal provisions”.

Speaking in general terms Bishnoi said that no RO could reject any nomination on the basis of an affidavit. “The RO has no means to examine the authenticity of the information filed before him. It is a matter of enquiry”.

It may be recalled that the SP Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan is facing a similar charge of concealing information during the time of her filing of nomination in June, 2006 during her re-election to the Upper House.

On the complaint of Congress leader Amir Haider from Barabanki, the Election Commission has sought an explanation from the once disqualified yesteryear film actor Jaya Bachchan. In his complaint, Mr Haider had alleged that some agriculture property was bought by her husband Amitabh Bachchan in 2006 in Barabanki district, but Jaya did not mention that in her affidavit before the returning officer at the time of her election to the Rajya Sabha in June last year.

The commission had earlier directed the returning officer and Vidhan Sabha principal secretary R.P. Pandey to investigate the matter. He had sought relevant documents from Mr Haider that were submitted accordingly.

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CBI influenced by Lalu: Nitish
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 21
The Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar today charged the CBI with being influenced by RJD supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad to dilute the DA case against him.

The development came in the wake of the CBI’s decision today to question the maintainability of the Bihar government’s appeal in the Patna High Court challenging the acquittal of Lalu and his wife Rabri Devi in the Rs 46 lakh disproportionate assets case by the special CBI judge (now retired) Munnilal Paswan on December 18.

Addressing the mediapersons here today, the state advocate general P.K. Shahi said the CBI`s decision to question the maintainability of the appeal by the Bihar government raised serious doubts whether the central investigating agency was working hand-in-glove with Lalu.

Shahi wondered saying the same CBI two months ago had argued that there were enough evidence to challenge the acquittal of Lalu and Rabri in the DA case.

Incidentally, the CBI’s decision to question the maintainability of the DA case was in the aftermath of the recent disapproval by the Union Law Ministry allowing this investigating agency to file a petition challenging the acquittal.

The CBI counsel Gopal Subhramanium today deposed before the Patna High court expressing the investigating agency’s decision to question the stand of Bihar government challenging the acquittal.

After the DA case came up for hearing today in the court, Mr Justice R.K. Dutta adjourned it till tomorrow at the request of Special Public Prosecutor Akhileshwar Prasad Singh, who was recently appointed by the Nitish Government to handle the case.

Singh sought time till tomorrow saying that senior advocate of the Supreme Court Harish Salve would place his arguments before the court on behalf of the Bihar government.

Bihar’s NDA government on February 19 had challenged the December 18 acquittal of Lalu and Rabri in the case registered by the CBI seven years ago.

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Kashmir report cleared by EU panel

New Delhi, March 21
The European Union's Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) today cleared "with minor changes" the much-talked report on Kashmir authored by parliamentarian Baronness Nicholson, who had highlighted Pakistan's "failure" to check cross-border infiltration.

"The report with 28 compromised amendments was cleared by the FAC with an overwhelming majority of 60 votes in favour of it and a lone vote against it. There were 11 abstentions," Nicholson told PTI on phone from Brussels.

She said a total of 450 amendments were proposed to her report "Kashmir: Present Situation and Future Prospects", and 200 of these were shortlisted. "Out of these, 28 compromised amendments were agreed on during the voting today," she said.

The new report will be available after a week.

Asked whether there was any dilution of her report, which was critical of Pakistan's failure to check infiltration and did not favour de-militarisation of Kashmir till the security situation in the state improved, she said: "The report is excellent and the changes or amendments are minor.

"I am very very happy," was the 66-year-old MP's reply to a question on whether she was satisfied with the final copy of the report, which will be tabled in the preliminary session of the European Parliament.

Nicholson brushed aside criticism of her report, saying, "Most of the people from all parts of Jammu and Kashmir, within and outside India and Pakistan, have welcomed my draft report...The points that I have made focus on democracy, the needs of earthquake victims and human rights." — PTI

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Karunanidhi: No talks on Cauvery
Arup Chanda

Tribune News Service

Chennai, March 21
Despite Karnataka’s offer to hold talks to resolve the Cauvery water dispute issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi today ruled out any talks on the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and denied having discussed the issue with his counterpart H.D. Kumaraswamy at all.

Practically charging the Karnataka Chief Minister with indulging in falsehood, Karunanidhi said, “Kumaraswamy and his father Deve Gowda are my long time friends. They telephoned me on Monday to convey Ugadi greetings. We did not discuss Cauvery issue at all.”

Kumaraswamy had said yesterday that when he telephoned Karunanidhi to wish him for “Ugadi”, the latter agreed to his suggestion and that talks on resolving the issue would be initiated between the two states soon.

Kumaraswamy had even went to the extent of saying that the talks would, however, be held independent of any appeal made by the state before the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal or any other body and it would be held within a period of eight to 10 days. But then Karunanidhi dashed his hopes and said, “There is no scope for any dialogue.”

Commenting on AIADMK general secretary Jayaram Jayalalithaa’s remarks that the DMK had in 1991 wanted the interim award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal to be gazetted immediately, he said the interim award then was favourable to the state and that was why he had wanted the award to be notified in the gazette.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu PWD Minister Durai Murugan today led a delegation of all Tamil Nadu MPs to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi and accused Karnataka of having “obstructionist attitude” towards the final verdict of the Tribunal.

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BPL list: Nitish sets May 15 deadline
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 21
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has set May 15 as the deadline to rectify the alleged irregularities in the new BPL list.

The decision reportedly came in the wake of a flurry of complaints regarding the irregularities in preparing the list of the families living below the poverty line from both the opposition and the ruling MLAs.

Nitish inherited the faulty BPL list from the previous RJD regime.

Sources say that once the deadline was over, the government would not spare the guilty officials if any more irregularities were found again in the said list after rectification.

Besides, the ruling NDA was also considering to convene gram sabhas in respective areas, to cross check the rectified BPL list by the elected panchayat members in order to punish the guilty officials for any further faults.

Going by the 13 point yardstick set up by the centre to identify the BPL beneficiaries, more than 63 lakh families were entitled to BPL benefits in Bihar. Nitish already differed with the 13 point yardstick by proposing to raise the same to 16 points in order to cover another 27 lakh families by taking the total number of beneficiaries to 1 crore in Bihar.

The BPL list of Bihar this year was linked to the “innovative” coupon scheme which was a brainchild of Nitish to streamline the public distribution system (PDS) for the poorest of the poor and plug leakage.

While the coupon scheme of Bihar has already earned kudos from the planning commission, under the said scheme, every BPL family was handed coupons to obtain subsidised grains and kerosene oil from the local PDS shop.

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Nithari Case
CBI arrests sacked UP police official

New Delhi, March 21
The CBI today arrested dismissed sub-inspector of Uttar Pradesh Simranjeet Kaur in connection with the serial killings of women and children in Nithari.

Kaur, whose house was raided by the CBI in Meerut in January, was summoned to the headquarters of the investigating agency and placed under arrest after being questioned at length over her alleged proximity with Moninder Singh Pandher, one of the main accused in the serial killings, official sources said.

CBI had claimed to have recovered from her house some files pertaining to the disappearance of some of the children and her questioning revolved around those aspects only, the sources said.

She was also questioned over her alleged attempt to scuttle the probe in the murder of a woman, Payal, who was allegedly sexually exploited by Moninder, they said. — PTI

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Tipsy Mexican threatens to blow up plane

Kolkata, March 21
An Indian flight from Bangkok to Delhi with 87 persons on board today made an emergency landing at the N S C Bose Airport here after a drunken Mexican passenger allegedly threatened to blow it up.

The passenger, Eduardo Antonio, who allegedly made the threat after punching a fellow traveller and misbehaving with others, was arrested after the plane landed at the N S C Bose Airport, a spokesmen of the Airports Authority of India said, adding that no bomb or explosives were recovered from his possession.

The pilot, alerted by the crew members, contacted the Air Traffic Control at the Kolkata airport and sought the permission for an emergency landing of the flight IC-854, with 82 passengers and five crew members, which was immediately granted, he said.

The passenger, who was in an inebriated condition, had an altercation with others and threatened that he had a bomb and would blow up the plane, when the crew overpowered him. “The passenger did not have any bomb or explosives on him,” the spokesman said.

The flight landed at 3:20 pm with commandos, security personnel and the bomb squad standing by. The aircraft was taken to the isolation bay and the passengers disembarked. — PTI

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Bank unions defer plan to strike work

New Delhi, March 21
Bank unions today deferred the proposed three-day strike from March 28, called earlier to press for their demands relating to pension, compassionate employment and outsourcing.

“We have decided to defer the agitational programme including a three-day strike,” All India Bank Employees’ Association general secretary CH Venkatachalam told reporters after a meeting between union leaders and the Indian Banks’ Association.

Venkatachalam said unions had agreed to work out in detail their proposal on pension so that common groundwork could be prepared. — PTI

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CPM supporters attacked, tension builds up

Nandigram, March 21
Trouble erupted here again today when CPM supporters came under attack from people opposed to the acquisition of land for industries.

Supporters of the Trinamool Congress-backed Bhumi Ucched Protirodh (Land Acquisition Resistance) Committee, who were taking out a procession, attacked CPM supporters at Tekhali village in Nandigram block. Home secretary P.R. Roy, said in Kolkata that armed supporters of an opposition party had attacked the CPM office in Tekhali.

The processionists, who ransacked and torched the CPM office, forcibly took away some people who were later rescued by the police. — PTI

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Attack on editor rocks AP House
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, March 21
The attack on the editor of a local Urdu daily, Zahid Ali Khan, allegedly by supporters of the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), rocked the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today.

Members belonging to various parties demanded stringent action against the culprits even as the government ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Khan, the editor of mainstream Urdu daily, “Siasat”, was attacked by miscreants late last night at Mehdipatnam when he was returning home. In his complaint to the police, the editor alleged that local MIM legislator Muqtada Afsar Khan was behind the attack as his newspaper exposed the MLA’s ‘misdeeds’.

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Miss India pageant on April 8

Mumbai, March 21
The 46th edition of the Miss India pageant will be held in Mumbai on April 8.

The event hosted by ‘Femina’, will be held on the MMRDA grounds in Bandra here, where the new beauty queens will be chosen to represent India in international beauty pageants like Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific.

Yesterday, ‘Femina’ unveiled this year’s contestants and the crowns, designed by Tanishq, to be worn by the winners.

The finalists from different parts of the country walked the ramp attired in black cocktail dresses designed by Pantaloons, the title sponsors of the event. The show was choreographed by fashion designer Hemant Trivedi. — UNI

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N-reactor miniaturised for submarine
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 21
Indian nuclear scientists from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre have successfully miniaturised a reactor for fitting on board the Indian nuclear submarine.

The prototype nuclear reactor for the nuclear submarine was constructed at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu nearly a decade ago, but delays in miniaturising it slowed down India’s nuclear submarine project. The miniature nuclear reactor which powers the submarine is encased in its containment vessel and mounted on its hull. The advanced technology vessel (ATV) project, as it is called, is set to be launched by this year-end and the country’s first indigenously built nuclear submarine would officially be commissioned in 2012.

India sought and received assistance from a number of countries like Russia and Israel in building the reactor for the ATV.

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