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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Khanduri expands Cabinet to 12
Dehra Dun, March 27
After running the state government with his two-men force for more than two weeks, Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri today inducted 10 more ministers in the Cabinet.

Yogi Adityanath leaves BJP
Lucknow, March 27
In a major setback to the BJP, rebel member of Parliament Yogi Adityanath today walked out on the party and declared that his men would contest 75 seats on their own under the banner of the All-India Hindi Mahasabha.

5 MLAs face criminal case
Bangalore, March 27
Five legislators, including former Congress minister D K Shivakumar, will face a criminal case being registered against them by the Karnataka Lokayukta for failing to declared their assets despite repeated reminders.

Party MLAs embarrass Nitish
Patna, March 27
More than the Opposition, it is the ruling party MLAs who embarrass Chief Minister Nitish Kumar more. People here were shocked to note the way the JD (U) MLA from Gopalpur (Naugachia) Narendra Kumar Neeraj, alias Gopal Mondal, was charged in the FIR with beating and kicking a pregnant woman, her husband and in-laws.



EARLIER STORIES


How LTTE operates microlight aircraft bombers
IPKF had destroyed its factory
New Delhi, March 27
The security and strategic establishment here believes that the LTTE has reassembled its microlight aircraft arsenal in a big way which can have huge security implications internationally.

Breakthrough in jailbreak case
Patna, March 27
In a major breakthrough, the police has arrested one of the masterminds and top Maoist leader behind the daring Jehanabad jailbreak, Krishna Sardar, from nawada district in Bihar.

3-day wedding for Abhi, Aish          
Mumbai, March 27
Bollywood's leading actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai will have a three-day wedding celebration from April 18 to 20. Ceremonies ahead of the actual marriage including the ‘haldi’ ceremony will take place on April 18. It will culminate in the 'bidaai' ceremony on April 20.
In video (56k)

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.
— AFP photo

Grounded overweight air-hostesses to get pay
New Delhi, March 27
The Delhi High Court has directed national carrier Indian to pay salary to air-hostesses, who were grounded for being overweight.

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai

Jaya trains guns on Sun TV owners
Chennai, March 27
Tamil Nadu Opposition leader and All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo Jayaram Jayalalithaa, has now trained her gun on Sun TV, owned by Kalanidhi Maran, brother of Union Minister for IT and Telecommunications Dayanidhi Maran and grand nephew of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

IT’S SUMMER TIME

A potter arranges earthen pots outside her workshop at Matigara in the outskirts of Siliguri
A potter arranges earthen pots outside her workshop at Matigara in the outskirts of Siliguri on Tuesday. — PTI

Criminal case against TV channel for incorrect report
Karnal, March 27
The police has registered a criminal case against a Hindi news channel for an incorrect report which claimed that Dalits had been charred at Burthal village near Nilokheri.

State to handle coop banks’ disputes: SC
New Delhi, March 27
Settling an important question on jurisdictional issue relating to cooperative bank employees’ service matters, the Supreme Court has held that the government of a state that has created the bank will be the “appropriate authority” for handling such cases arising in the course of the inter-state operation of these banks.

Panel to tackle housing of jawans
New Delhi, March 27
The government has constituted a committee to look into the housing problems of security personnel posted in high-altitude terrains, home minister Shivraj Patil said here today.

Naxalites threaten to expand base
Mumbai, March 27
The banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), otherwise known as Naxalites, has threatened to expand operations in areas earmarked for the special economic zones (SEZs).

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Khanduri expands Cabinet to 12
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, March 27
After running the state government with his two-men force for more than two weeks, Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri today inducted 10 more ministers in the Cabinet.

Uttarakhand Governor Sudarshan Agarwal administered the oath of office and secrecy to eight Cabinet-rank ministers and two ministers of state at a ceremony here.

In the expansion today, Independent legislator Rajinder Singh Bhandari of Nanadprayag and UKD legislature party chief Diwakar Bhatt of Devprayag were sworn in as Cabinet ministers since the BJP government depends on their support. The UKD and Independents have three MLAs each in the 70-member House.

Veena Mehrana is the only woman inducted as the minister of state along with Ajay Tamta. The BJP legislators who made it to the ministry included Banshi Dhar Bhagat, Matbar Singh Kandari Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Bishan Singh Chufal, Madan Kaushik and Trivendra Singh Rawat.

Even as the CM tried to strike regional balance by inducting five ministers each from Garhwal and Kumaon, the expansion exercise left some senior BJP legislators like former minister Munna Singh Chauhan dissatisfied. Tribal leader Kedar Singh Phonia is believed to be sulking due to lack of representation to the Scheduled Tribes. Former CM and RSS man Bhagat Singh Koshiyari who lost the race for the top post to Khanduri, however, looked a happy man as at least six BJP ministers are his loyalists.

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Yogi Adityanath leaves BJP
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, March 27
In a major setback to the BJP, rebel member of Parliament Yogi Adityanath today walked out on the party and declared that his men would contest 75 seats on their own under the banner of the All-India Hindi Mahasabha.

Addressing a meeting of his Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) cadres at Gorakhpur today, he finally declared that there was no going back to the BJP. His people would contest from at least 75 seats spread over 14 districts in four divisions of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

While the disciple of the Gorakhnath Mandir head Mahant Avaidyanath had been unhappy with the BJP for quite sometime, the immediate provocation was ostensibly the leaking to the press of a list of 32 HYV candidates for whom he had demanded BJP ticket.

Accusing the BJP of “humiliating” him, Yogi said it had thrown his list of candidates in the dustbin.

Adding insult to injury for the Yogi was the refusal of the BJP to take immediate action against those responsible for the leak but promising to do so later after the election. While Yogi would have agreed to negotiate to bring down his list, but both the state and later the national-level leaders told him that the BJP list for the region was out and changes at this stage would intensify dissidence.

The Yogi has been angry with the BJP for not coming to his rescues when he was arrested and lodged in jail during the Gorakhpur riots. He was also upset when the party did not make a huge hue and cry over his publicly breaking down in the Lok Sabha while relating his so-called harassment during the Gorakhpur riots.

Giving credence to the current slogan of the HYV, “Baba nahin bawal hai, Bhajpa ka kaal hai” (He is no Baba, he is trouble and spells doom for the BJP), political analysts agree that today’s development would cause severe damage to the BJP in the Purvanchal region that has around 83 seats.

However, on the flip side it is not a cakewalk for the Yogi either. His sphere of influence is said to be limited to Gorakhpur, Kushi Nagar and Maharganj districts in Gorakhpur division.

A marginal presence has been gained in recent times in Deoria, Siddharth Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar and Basti districts. As such his decision to venture into uncharted districts of Azamgarh and Devipatan divisions speaks of a bad case of overconfidence.

Insiders believe that Yogi had to take such a decision under pressure from his own supporters whom he has nurtured over the past couple of years. These ambitious cadres of aggressive young men spill out on the roads at the slightest provocation putting normal life to a standstill. Now after years of serving him they are now demanding their pound of flesh from their mentor.

The BJP was obviously in no mood to accommodate such a large number of seats to candidates owning allegiance to one person instead of the party. So in spite of the intervention of L.K. Advani and Vinay Katiyar during the past few days, Yogi today made a clean break with the BJP.

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5 MLAs face criminal case
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 27
Five legislators, including former Congress minister D K Shivakumar, will face a criminal case being registered against them by the Karnataka Lokayukta for failing to declared their assets despite repeated reminders.

Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde is determined to register cases against them who may face one month simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 500. The Lokayukta had earlier recommended that the salaries and perks of legislators as well as Legilative Council members, who had failed to declare their assets, should be withheld.

This recommendation had, however, not been complied with by the government which Justice Hegde had termed as "unfortunate".

Talking to TNS here today, Justice Hegde said action would be initiated against the legislators who had failed to declare their assets under Section 176 of the IPC for violating Section 22 of the Lokayukta Act. He said, besides Shivakumar, the other four legislators were Mahadeva, Muniyappa Mahadebva, T H Shivashankarappa, DF Sudhakar and K Venkatesh.

The Lokayukta said the legislators had been given ample time to submit the required details. "There were given a grace period of 60 days and even after that a list of defaulters was released in leading newspapers. However, they have failed to come forward to disclose their assets for nearly nine months now", he added.

Though the reason for non-compliance of four out of the five legislators is not known, D. K. Shivakumar had earlier requested that the details on income furnished by him should be kept confidential. This appeal had, however, been set aside by the Lokayukta who had claimed that information in public domain could not be withheld under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

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Party MLAs embarrass Nitish
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 27
More than the Opposition, it is the ruling party MLAs who embarrass Chief Minister Nitish Kumar more.

People here were shocked to note the way the JD (U) MLA from Gopalpur (Naugachia) Narendra Kumar Neeraj, alias Gopal Mondal, was charged in the FIR with beating and kicking a pregnant woman, her husband and in-laws.

The case was lodged by Sanjay Kumar Mandal, a member of the panchayat education committee.

In the FIR, Sanjay alleged that the MLA and his men came to his village on Saturday evening to extort money from them. When the villagers refused to cooperate Sanjay was singled out and thrashed.

However, the matter did not stop there. When his pregnant wife, mother and sister rushed to his rescue they too were beaten. The MLA kicked Sanjay’s wife till she lost sense.

This was not the first such case against the MLA. An inquiry was going on in another case of extortion.

Besides Gopal Mondal, a non-bailable warrant was today issued against another JD (U) MLA Ram Pravesh Rai. He was wanted in a murder case.

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How LTTE operates microlight aircraft bombers
IPKF had destroyed its factory
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 27
The security and strategic establishment here believes that the LTTE has reassembled its microlight aircraft arsenal in a big way which can have huge security implications internationally.

It was more than two decades ago when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) acquired the capability of using microlight aircraft as flying bombs on enemy targets -- much before the Unitted States experienced 9/11.

The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) had unearthed and destroyed a LTTE factory to manufacture microlight aircraft nearly two decades ago . Key LTTE leader, Shankar, was instrumental in pioneering the technology for his outfit.

Yesterday’s bombing of Sri Lankan army base in Colombo by LTTE cadres using microlight aircraft will inevitably force security establishments in the region to review aerial security of offices and residences of VVIPs and strategic installations.

Here is how the LTTE prepares its cadres for microlight aircraft attacks.

A very thin suicide bomber, who is made to undergo dieting to further shed his weight, is entrusted with the mission. The thinner the pilot, the more explosives the plane can take. The pilot can be asked to put on the minimum possible clothes, preferably just an underwear. He has to die anyway, that is the logic.

A microlight aircraft can be turned into a lethal flying bomb and can carry upto twenty kg of explosives. Considering that a microlight aircraft can easily cover a distance of 500 km, its lethal potential can be well imagined. Once a microlight aircraft takes off, its engine can be switched off to save fuel. It becomes like a glider and floats in the air using favourable wind currents. Its fibreglass body enables it to cover longer distance.

The news of the LTTE acquiring manufacturing knowhow of microlight aircraft first leaked in the early nineties. Sri Lankan as well as Indian governments responded by introducing zero-tolerance, no-fly zones and deploying anti-aircraft guns to beef up aerial security of key installations.

An important point to be noted here is that yesterday’s attack by the LTTE used two light aircraft and it was not a suicide operation. The pilots managed to return after bombarding the Sri Lankan military base near Colombo. A point to be considered is what can happen if the LTTE were to use microlight aircraft on a suicide mission.

Yesterday’s development, the first in two decades in the island nation’s ethnic conflict history, is yet another demonstration of the fact that the peace talks between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government are over. It is also a technology and capability demonstrator from the LTTE to the Lankan government that it can do much worse.

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Breakthrough in jailbreak case
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 27
In a major breakthrough, the police has arrested one of the masterminds and top Maoist leader behind the daring Jehanabad jailbreak, Krishna Sardar, from nawada district in Bihar.

Over 300 prisoners had escaped from Jehanabad jail when armed Naxalites had attacked it in November, 2005, during President’s rule here. Buta Singh was then the Governor of Bihar.

The police acted on a tip-off and raided a hotel in nawada and took Krishna Sardar into custody late last night.

The main accused of the incident, who himself had managed to escape from the jail following the jailbreak, Ajay Kanu, has already been arrested from the West Bengal-Bihar border.

Zonal commander of the Maoists, Ajay is now lodged in Beur jail.

Meanwhile, against the apparent decline of Naxalite activities under the Nitish rule in Bihar -- reportedly 113 cases in 2006 against the 253 in 2004 -- the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has revealed the seriousness of the Centre and the then state government in combating naxalism, terrorism and crime in Bihar during 2001-06.

The CAG report for the year ending March 31, 2006, tabled in the Bihar Assembly pointed out that the Centre provided only Rs 151.29 crore during the period against its share of Rs 272.31 crore. As against the approved plan of Rs 550.19 crore, the expenditure was Rs 251.30 crore.

The CAG also pulled up the then state Home Department for submitting the plans belatedly because of which the Centre had declined to approve Rs 77.23 crore for 2003-04. The RJD was ruling Bihar that time.

The CAG report took a serious note of the way the requirement of arms and high frequency wireless sets was assessed. Out of Rs 38.96 crore allocated, only Rs 15.17 crore was spent on improving the communication systems. Besides, only 225 personnel were available to operate the communication system as against the required 997.

Similarly, of the 386 motor cycles meant for outposts and town outposts, 273 were found to be in use in the residences of the superintendents of police and in the police lines.

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3-day wedding for Abhi, Aish
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 27
Bollywood's leading actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai will have a three-day wedding celebration from April 18 to 20. Ceremonies ahead of the actual marriage including the ‘haldi’ ceremony will take place on April 18. It will culminate in the 'bidaai' ceremony on April 20.

The events will be simple and will be held at the Bachchan residence at Juhu in North Mumbai, family sources informed the media today.

It will be a small family wedding with a guest list of about 30 people, including close family friends like Anil Ambani, Amar Singh and Subroto Roy of Sahara. Much of the A-list people in the film industry will be missing though a reception is likely for them at a later date, reporters were told.

The ill health of Teji Bachchan, mother of Amitabh, has been cited as the reason.

Reports say Amitabh Bachchan may make use of the occasion to mend fences with Sonia Gandhi's family by inviting her for the wedding. However, nobody from the Bachchan household confirmed the news.

The decision on the wedding date was reportedly made at a meeting of both families on Monday. The astrologers of both families were also present to finalise the finer details.

The ‘haldi’ ceremony, will take place on April 18.

The couple has already acquired a bungalow close to the Bachchan household. The building is a gift from Amitabh's brother Ajitabh. Apart from their residences, the bungalow has enough space to accommodate the office staff of both actors.

Similar to the Elizabeth Hurley-Arun Nayar wedding being covered exclusively by Hello magazine, rights to the Abhi-Ash wedding have been sold to an international publication.

There are indications that the couple may go back to work after a short break instead of a honeymoon since both are in the middle of big budget films.

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Grounded overweight air-hostesses to get pay

New Delhi, March 27
The Delhi High Court has directed national carrier Indian to pay salary to air-hostesses, who were grounded for being overweight.

The court gave interim relief to the aggrieved air-hostesses but said the order was subject to the outcome of its final judgement.

The order to this effect was passed by a Bench comprising Chief Justice M K Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Khanna on an appeal by the state-owned airlines against the order of the Single Bench judge asking it to pay the salaries to cabin crew grounded from flight duty.

Air-hostesses, who have been grounded without pay, challenged Indian's circular of May 4, 2006 withdrawing permissible overweight limit of 3 kg over and above the upper limit as laid down for cabin crew.

Arvind Sharma, counsel for Air-hostesses, contended that the circular arbitrarily, unilaterally and illegally without application of mind did away with the 3 kg of grace weight and grounded them without pay.

The petitioners (air-hostesses), who have to undergo medical check up as prescribed under the Indian Airlines Services Employees' Service Regulations, have got all the medical clearance certificates and not a single of them were medically unfit to fly, Sharma said.

It was submitted that air-hostesses and cabin crew cannot be grounded on ground of over and under weight/height once they have obtained medical certificate.

The requisite qualification required under the rules is that air-hostesses were to be medically fit and nowhere is it mentioned that being overweight would attract grounding without pay, the counsel contended. — PTI

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Jaya trains guns on Sun TV owners
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, March 27
Tamil Nadu Opposition leader and All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo Jayaram Jayalalithaa, has now trained her gun on Sun TV, owned by Kalanidhi Maran, brother of Union Minister for IT and Telecommunications Dayanidhi Maran and grand nephew of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

Challenging Karunanidhi to declare the income details of the 12 television channels of the Sun TV network, functioning in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, she alleged that they “have been taking anti-Tamil Nadu stand on vital issues.”

She said that many companies owned by the family members of Karunanidhi had been earning crores of rupees through cable TV networks and TV advertisements in those three south Indian states.

She dared the Chief Minister to publicly furnish a list of his family members who are holding shares in the TV channels and other companies, their annual income, the individual income of the TV channels and that of the cable TV networks.

Jayalalithaa also demanded that Karunanidhi should announce the shares and assets of the Sun TV network and their audited accounts, balance sheets and the taxes paid since its inception.

She even asked whether Karunanidhi had the courage to produce Tamil translation of news bulletins which had “anti-Tamil” contents, and the telecasts of Sun TV channels on the Cauvery water dispute, Mullaiperiyar dam and other issues in the neighbouring states.

She recalled that despite her challenges on these issues, Karunanidhi had never responded and added that Sun TV network might have shown very low income to the Income Tax and other departments.

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Criminal case against TV channel for incorrect report
Tribune News Service

Karnal, March 27
The police has registered a criminal case against a Hindi news channel for an incorrect report which claimed that Dalits had been charred at Burthal village near Nilokheri.

Confirming the registering of the case, DSP SS Bhoria informed The Tribune that Butana SHO Jagpal was the complainant in the case. He said two persons, including the editor and a reporter, had been named as the accused.

The channel is alleged to have repeatedly telecast a ticker on March 26 about the incident.

Sources said two groups had quarrelled over a piece of land in the village. One section reportedly damaged certain household items of a family but no major violence was reported, said the officials.

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State to handle coop banks’ disputes: SC
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 27
Settling an important question on jurisdictional issue relating to cooperative bank employees’ service matters, the Supreme Court has held that the government of a state that has created the bank will be the “appropriate authority” for handling such cases arising in the course of the inter-state operation of these banks.

Rejecting the stand of some union leaders of a cooperative bank that under the Banking Regulation (BR) Act, 1949, and its amended version of 1965, the Central Government would be the authority to handle these bank employee service-related matters, the apex court said: “The appropriate government in relation to a multi-state cooperative bank, carrying on business in more than one state, will be the state government.”

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices Lokeshwar Singh Panta and D. K. Jain said under the Industrial Dispute (ID) Act’s Section 2(a), the definition of the banking company would have to be read as it existed on the date of the insertion of Section 2(bb) in it.

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Panel to tackle housing of jawans
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 27
The government has constituted a committee to look into the housing problems of security personnel posted in high-altitude terrains, home minister Shivraj Patil said here today.

Speaking at the 44th Raising Day celebrations of the Sashastr Seema Bal (SSB) here, Patil said the government was committed to addressing the housing issue effectively and a government committee was looking into it.

Emphasising that a scientific approach needed to be employed while addressing the housing issue, he said the government was contemplating on using pre-fabricated materials for housing in high altitudes.

Pointing out that the issue could not be resolved at one go, he said the ministry was also considering a number of suggestions, including the involvement of co-operative sector for a housing project which would benefit them even after retirement.

Patil said the government would provide more help in the form of funds to the SSB welfare fund, besides extending a new insurance coverage to its personnel.

His comments came after SSB director-general Tilak Kak raised the problems faced by his personnel in finding housing at the place of their postings.

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Naxalites threaten to expand base
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 27
The banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), otherwise known as Naxalites, has threatened to expand operations in areas earmarked for the special economic zones (SEZs).

The decision to target the aggrieved farmers whose lands are to be acquired for SEZs was taken by the party at a meeting of its central committee earlier this month, CPI (Maoist) said in a statement issued here today. The banned group is using several websites and blogs to disseminate its messages.

“The CPI (Maoist) calls upon the oppressed masses.....to transform every SEZ into a battle-zone, to create Kalinga Nagars and Nandigrams everywhere,” the statement said.

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