SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
D E L H I   A N D   N E I G H B O U R H O O D

Empowering women, courtesy Presidentís Estate
New Delhi, February 27
The famous Mughal Gardens at the backyard of the Rashtrapati Bhawan have brought cheers not only to the thousands of nature lovers, but also to the unemployed and uneducated women who are exhibiting their products in the gardens.
Women at a stall at Mughal Gardens in New Delhi Women at a stall at Mughal Gardens in New Delhi. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Hooda in favour of promoting sports culture
Faridabad, February 27
The ruling Congress in Haryana is in favour of giving a push to pro-sports policy. Sources in the Congress say that the party organisation, including its high command at the Centre, is appreciative of the personal interest taken by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in promoting the sports culture in the state.


EARLIER STORIES



Construction around ammo depot banned
Gurgaon, February 27
In compliance with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Gurgaon district administration has banned new construction in the notified area of 900 metre around the local ammunition depot henceforth.

Jamia students hail minority status
New Delhi, February 27
Despite the vice-chancellor's assurance to the students that the minority status given to Jamia Millia Islamia University would not lose its inherent secular nature, many students fear the long-term impact of the status judgment of the National Commission for Minority Education Institutions (NCMEI) on Jamia.

Sufi fest to bring Amir Khusrauís legacy to Capital
New Delhi, February 27
Lovers of Sufi music have the ultimate treat coming their way, as the 11th edition of the World Sufi Music Festival, Jahan-e-Khusrau, is all set to bring the legacy of 13th century Sufi poet Amir Khusrau to the national Capital.

LIC exam paper leaked; DU graduate held
New Delhi, February 27
The crime branch of Delhi police has arrested a 33-year-old DU graduate for allegedly leaking question papers for the post of assistant administrative officer of LIC, an all-India examination.

Ramdevís trust submits anti-graft memo to Prez
New Delhi, February 27
Protesting against corruption and money stashed in foreign banks, members of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust (BST) headed by Baba Ramdev today submitted a memorandum to the President containing signatures from people and various organisations.


Supporters of yoga guru Baba Ramdev shout slogans during a rally against the balck money and corruption at Ram Lila Grounds in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

Supporters of yoga guru Baba Ramdev shout slogans during a rally against the balck money and corruption at Ram Lila Grounds in New Delhi

Students turn cleanliness ambassadors
Clean Rajghat, AIIMS next on schedule
New Delhi, February 27
As many surprised passersby stopped and looked, hundreds of students and volunteers armed with brooms and shovels today cleaned the area around Mahatma Gandhi's memorial at the Rajghat.

Reservoirs to manage water crisis
New Delhi, February 27
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit dedicated five new Underground Water Reservoirs (UGRs) to the people of Delhi in separate functions organised at five places under the Rajender Nagar Assembly segment.

School student beaten to death
Four students detained, being questioned
New Delhi, February 27
A 14-year-old school student was allegedly beaten to death by his colleagues in the Bindapur area of south west Delhi yesterday. According to the police, the victim Prashant had gone missing yesterday afternoon and was discovered unconscious inside a park in the Vishwas Nagar area later in the evening.

43 cases of thefts solved; two held
New Delhi, February 27
The south district police has arrested two youngsters allegedly involved in over 43 cases of burglaries and thefts in the national Capital. According to the police, Surender (19) and Shyamji were arrested from Pushp Vihar yesterday and stolen property worth Rs 2.50 lakh has been recovered from them.

Man held for bid to sell fake gold bricks
New Delhi, February 27
The Delhi police has arrested a 23-year-old man from Rajasthan for allegedly trying to sell fake gold bricks. According to west district police, accused Sughad Singh was apprehended from near a jewellery shop in Bhagawati Garden yesterday while he was trying to sell a fake gold brick weighing 1.2 kg to one Shiv Mangal.

Liftman killed in mishap
New Delhi, February 27
A 22-year-old man was severed to death inside a lift in RK Puram this morning. According to the police, the victim has been identified as Haider Ali, a liftman at the housing society located in N Block of RK Puram. The incident was reported around 11 am.

Chatterati
Sonia may take part in Varunís nuptials
The much-awaited wedding of the new generation of the Gandhis, Varun Gandhi is next week. Varun is marrying a graphic designer called Yamini Roy. The lucky bride will be dressed in a sari that belongs to Varun's grandmother, Indira Gandhi, who gave it to Maneka when she married Sanjay Gandhi.

Girl jumps from mallís third floor, critical
Gurgaon, February 27
A 20-year-old girl was in a critical condition on Sunday after jumping from the third floor of the crowded Sahara Mall here, the police said. A guard tried to catch hold of Kanika, but failed.

Man commits suicide
New Delhi, February 27
A 20-year-old man committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan at his residence in the Krishna Nagar area of east district today. The deceased identified as Vikas Gupta, aresident of East Krishna Nagar. He was found dead by his family around 7 am. In a suicide note Gupta claimed to have taken responsibility for his action.

Minor fire at CPWD office
New Delhi, February 27
A minor fire broke out today in a godown of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) building here, a fire department official said." A call was received around 3.45 pm at the fire department office here that a fire has broken out in the CPWD building near North Avenue here," the official said.





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Empowering women, courtesy Presidentís Estate
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
The famous Mughal Gardens at the backyard of the Rashtrapati Bhawan have brought cheers not only to the thousands of nature lovers, but also to the unemployed and uneducated women who are exhibiting their products in the gardens.

The self-help groups comprising over 35 women, mostly the wives of Class IV employees working inside the Rashtrapati Bhawan, are manning the stalls of vermin compost, organic compost and spices. The manure has been made by them over a period of three to four months.

This is for the first time that the compost which cultivates the colourful sprawling garden of the royal residence has been put on sale, thereby giving employment to the women. Apart from compost, there are spices that have been put on sale prepared by these women.

The five self-help groups come under the 'Rohini Project' for energy conservation inaugurated by the President, Pratibha Patil, in 2008, which aims at empowering women and children and holistic development of environment.

"It was the idea conceived by the President to engage these women in some productive work so that they can earn some money as well as confidence. The entire arrangement for the preparation of the compost and spices has been done by us. They were also given training and information about the job," said Archana Datta, officer on special duty (communications), Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The income generated from the exhibition of compost and spices will be distributed among the women. "I have studied only till Class VII. It is a very big achievement for a person like me to interact with so many people," said Ameena, one of the women at the stalls. "I am also happy because now I can earn my own money," she said.

"Earlier, we used to sit back at home and do only household things. At first it appeared to be quite difficult but once we started working, everything went on smoothly," said Sheila, another lady at the stall.

The stalls are hitting high among the tourists as around 400 kg of vermin-compost and 300-odd kg of organic compost has already been sold within the first week of the sale, fetching over Rs 24,000 and Rs 7,820, respectively.

"The organic compost is prepared by the kitchen waste of the Rashtrapati Bhawan while vermin compost is produced with the help of dry leaves and earth worms," said Datta.

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Hooda in favour of promoting sports culture
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, February 27
The ruling Congress in Haryana is in favour of giving a push to pro-sports policy. Sources in the Congress say that the party organisation, including its high command at the Centre, is appreciative of the personal interest taken by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in promoting the sports culture in the state.

The wide-ranging view in the Haryana Congress is that the strong dose of pro-sports policies of the government has had beneficial social impact in the state's polity.

The Chief Minister is understood to have recently expressed his inclination in some party quarters to give impetus to sports along with health and education sectors.

Summing up the impact of claimed pro-sports leaning of the Haryana government, Dharam Singh Chokkar, a prominent Gujar leader and MLA of Haryana, said here that it was helping the younger generation and the youths to canalise their energy to healthier practices.

The MLA, who hails from the relatively young batch of elected representatives in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, says that the deepening orientation of the youths of his area towards sporting culture was palpable throughout the state.

The Chief Minister may have based his pro-sports policies on higher principles of life, but the Congress in Haryana hopes to reap political dividends from the issue in future. Senior Congress leaders are credited with the view that it was Hooda's identification with the farming community and his leadership that helped the Congress to wean away the traditional vote bank of the INLD.

The INLD's traditional support base was in the rural areas and among the farmers. Hence, they feel that the expansion of sports in the rural areas would help the Congress expand its base in the state.

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Construction around ammo depot banned
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 27
In compliance with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Gurgaon district administration has banned new construction in the notified area of 900 metre around the local ammunition depot henceforth.

"If any new construction is found to be taking place in the said area, it will be instantly demolished and an FIR will register against the violators," asserted Deputy Commissioner PC Meena, who also directed the police authorities to take a prompt action on the FIRs registered so far.

Addressing a meeting of the officials concerned of different departments at his office, Meena said as of now, the new constructions in the notified area had been prohibited, while the ongoing constructions would be stopped and demolished.

He maintained that the government departments would also not take up development works in such unauthorised habitations. He directed the authorities of power utilities not to issue any electricity connection in the unauthorised areas of the district.

"Similarly, the basic amenities like drinking water, and sewerage will also not be provided in the unauthorised areas," said Meena. The DC pointed out that any official who violates these directions would be held responsible for the same. He directed the hydrologist not to issue licence or permit for digging of bore-wells anywhere in the district.

He today constituted a joint patrolling team to check the illegal constructions in the notified area. The team comprises representatives of local HUDA administrator, DCP (West), SDM, Chief Engineer (Enforcement) of the Municipal Corporation Gurgaon, DTP (Enforcement) and Executive Engineer of PWD B and R and director, Air Force Station.

The DC also directed the officials concerned to abide by the guidelines and take an action against the encroachments around the Air Force Station at Arjungarh.

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Jamia students hail minority status
Charu Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
Despite the vice-chancellor's assurance to the students that the minority status given to Jamia Millia Islamia University would not lose its inherent secular nature, many students fear the long-term impact of the status judgment of the National Commission for Minority Education Institutions (NCMEI) on Jamia.

However, there also remain a section of students at Jamia who has welcomed the judgment. So, reactions from the student community on Jamia becoming a minority institution are largely mixed.

Deepak Kumar, II year student at Jamia, said, "Most of us are not too happy. Jamia from its inception has been a national-level university with a deeply secular character. It does not make sense to convert Jamia into a minority institution. Neither I nor most of my colleagues have welcomed this judgment. And in the long run, this could change the very secular character of Jamia."

Final year student Anwarullah said, "I am not too happy about Jamia becoming a minority institution. This has from the beginning been a very secular institution and in fact many of its students participated in the freedom struggle and in other secular movements that have arisen from time to time. It takes away from the character of the university to suddenly give it the status of a minority institution.

"The vice-chancellor spoke to students trying to convince us that the secular nature of the university would remain unchanged, but I am not convinced of this," he added.

However, some students are in favour of the judgment. Sameer Khan, II year student, said, "Unlike many here, I think this is a good decision, it will give many students the opportunity to study in Jamia who would otherwise have not managed it. Also, the minority status of the university does not have to take away from its secular character. I visualise no problems in Jamia remaining a secular institution despite it acquiring minority status."

Nasreen, III year student, said candidly, "I am in favour of Jamia being a minority institution. The vice-chancellor made special efforts reaching out to students to allay their fears and he assured us that despite Jamia being a minority institution its secular character will stay. I completely agree with him and see no problem in the university being both a minority institution as well as secular in nature. Jamia has always been secular in nature and I, at least, am not worried about this changing and this minority status will help many students get admission in Jamia who would otherwise not have managed it and I don't see what's the problem with this."

The university board is currently studying the judgment by the NCMEI which gave the varsity minority status. Further, the university authorities were currently working out the modalities for the implementation of the NCMEI judgment. The NCMEI, on Tuesday, had given 'minority institution' status to Jamia giving it the right to reserve up to 50 per cent of its seats for Muslims.

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Sufi fest to bring Amir Khusrauís legacy to Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
Lovers of Sufi music have the ultimate treat coming their way, as the 11th edition of the World Sufi Music Festival, Jahan-e-Khusrau, is all set to bring the legacy of 13th century Sufi poet Amir Khusrau to the national Capital.

The three-day festival, to be held from March 11-13, will feature Sufi musicians from India, Pakistan, Iran and Canada.

Artistes will congregate to revisit the music and poetry of Amir Khusrau at the 14th century monument Arab ki Sarai, adjacent to the Humayun's Tomb at Nizamuddin.

The festival will host musicians Azalea Ray from Canada, Masood Habibi from Iran, Hans Raj Hans from Punjab, Malini Awasthi from Delhi, Saami Brothers, Wajahat Hussain Badayuni, Ustaad Shujaat Hussain Khan and Shafqat Ali Khan from Pakistan.

The event, which was first conceptualised by filmmaker, poet, designer and revivalist Muzaffar Ali, began in 2001 and is part of a campaign to promote the poetries and music of Khusrau by the Rumi Foundation.

"Amir Khusrau is one of the most important Sufi poets of India. We are trying to revive his poetic legacy through this festival and introduce the Indian audiences to this sheer genius. He was one of the poets who evolved his own style on the culture and idiom of Sufi poetry. He was the creator of a third dimension in Sufi poetry, which combined Arabic and Indian musical and poetic elements," Ali said.

Ali, known for his seminal movies like Umrao Jan, Gaman and Anjuman, said, "Sufi poetry requires more translations and trans-creation in English to reach today's young generation. The youngsters today are much away from the roots of Sufism. Through such festivals, we aim at giving them a peep into the world of sufism".

"We took the festival to Boston in 2006 and this year we are taking it to London. In the West, many people don't understand the value of Sufi music. They need to understand it and be inspired by it," added Ali.

A Sufi seer, Khusrau was the disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya of the Chisti order who brought Sufi spiritual music and poetry to the capital in the 13th century, marking a shift in the outlook of Islam. Khusrau, who is known as the founder of qawaali, khayal and tarana music, wrote in Persian and Hindavi.

His works include ghazals, masnavi, qata, rubai, do-beti and the tarki bhand.

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LIC exam paper leaked; DU graduate held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
The crime branch of Delhi police has arrested a 33-year-old DU graduate for allegedly leaking question papers for the post of assistant administrative officer of LIC, an all-India examination.

According to the police, the accused Pawan Kumar sold the question papers for Rs 5 lakh each to four persons identified as Inderjit, Rahul Kumar, Praveen and Dharamvir.

According to Ashok Chand, DCP (Crime), the four persons who benefited from the leakage could also face charges.

"The candidates are being interrogated. They are likely to be arrested soon," Chand said, adding that the breakthrough came when the police team got hold of the copies of two sets of question papers for both the morning and afternoon sessions last evening and arrested Kumar from Naraina where a raid was conducted.

Chand said they went to three centres in Delhi and one in Chandigarh to crosscheck whether the question papers were genuine.

"The question papers have been leaked. When we tallied the copies with the original question papers, they were found to be the same," said Chand.

According to him, the benefited candidates in Delhi were to appear for the exam at three different Kendriya Vidyalayas in Andrews Ganj, R K Puram and Jankapuri.

According to information, Pawan had appeared for the Civil Services examination in the past. "He was earlier arrested for impersonation in Delhi Pre-Medical Entrance Test in 2005," the official said.

Investigators are working to locate the man who passed on the question papers to Pawan.

The test is being conducted in two sessions in 160 centres across the country, 16 being in Delhi. More than 1.65 lakh candidates are appearing for the test.

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Ramdevís trust submits anti-graft memo to Prez
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
Protesting against corruption and money stashed in foreign banks, members of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust (BST) headed by Baba Ramdev today submitted a memorandum to the President containing signatures from people and various organisations.

The protestors, which included personalities like Kiran Bedi, Swami Agnevesh, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, marched from Ramlila Maidan to the Sansad Marg police station.

Eminent social activist and Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal said the black money stashed by Indians in Swiss bank should be left there as it would never be used properly if it came back to the country.

"Let the Indian money in Swiss bank remain there, as at least it is safe there. If it comes to India, it would not be used for development, but will go into corrupt hands," Kejriwal said.

The activists were in the national Capital to press for the formulation of a strong Lokpal bill or an anti-graft legislation.

"The money in Swiss bank was meant for development. But if it comes back, it won't be used for development," he said.

The activists demanded stringent laws to punish corrupt officials. All social, religious and voluntary organisations were invited to participate in the protest marches.

"The time has come for everyone to fight against corruption. Our aim to make our country economically strong by eradicating corruption and getting the money back from foreign banks," said Raghu Raj Thakur, who had come from Himachal Pradesh to attend the rally.

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Students turn cleanliness ambassadors
Clean Rajghat, AIIMS next on schedule
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
As many surprised passersby stopped and looked, hundreds of students and volunteers armed with brooms and shovels today cleaned the area around Mahatma Gandhi's memorial at the Rajghat.

The drive marked the launch of a national cleanliness campaign called 'Come, Clean India'. The campaign has been launched by Delhi-based research institute Imagindia to promote cleanliness at public places and is aimed at bringing together students, government officials and volunteers for the cause.

The campaign was launched in morning at the main VIP entrance of the Rajghat where nearly 25 students from the National Cadet Corps and over 100 volunteers and students from Delhi University and Imagindia had assembled.

The next destination of the volunteers, which they will clean on March 13, will be the premises and surroundings of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

"AIIMS has visitors from all over the country. Hundreds of people seeking quality and affordable medical treatment pour in every day. Hence, at ti mes, it becomes hard to keep the surroundings of the hospital very clean. With our campaign, we will be at least able to make people realise the importance of cleanliness at places like hospitals," said Puja Taneja, a volunteer who is a Delhi University student, at Rajghat today.

The campaign, which is designed to run across the country over 20 Sundays, will rely on 100 volunteers at each designated venue.

Rami Renthlei from Imagindia said, "This is a year-long campaign through which we are trying to sensitise people towards the importance of cleanliness at public places. The civic sense of Indians isn't very good. There is a tendency to ignore cleanliness. However, cleanliness is important not just for the citizens, but it also reflects the attitude of the nation as so many tourists visit India every year."

"After Delhi, we would head to other cities, including Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore, followed by smaller towns. Our targets would be railway stations, bus stops, government hospitals, tourist spots and other places which see maximum footfall but no special emphasis on cleanliness" added Renthlei.

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Reservoirs to manage water crisis
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit dedicated five new Underground Water Reservoirs (UGRs) to the people of Delhi in separate functions organised at five places under the Rajender Nagar Assembly segment.

She inaugurated the newly constructed UGRs at DDA Flats Pandav Nagar, C Block Naraina Vihar, Narain village, Inderpuri and Old Rajender Nagar. This will put an end to water woes in various colonies.

During the function, Dikshit said safe drinking water supply was crucial for every body in the city. "The government has been concentrating on commissioning of a large number of UGRs in the city with an aim to provide piped water supply to each and every house in Delhi. There will be no shortage of drinking water in the summer season as the government has taken a number of steps to enhance its water production by putting an end to leakage in pipelines and commissioning water treatment plants with capacity of 80 MGD," she said.

This will ensure equitable distribution of water across the Capital city, particularly in those colonies which have been facing difficulties due to non-availability of drinking water or supply of water with acute low pressure.

She said the DJB would not be dependent on water tankers as laying of water pipelines in unauthorised colonies was being undertaken expeditiously.

Dikshit said five UGRs had been commissioned within possible shortest time with a combined cost of Rs 2.35 crore. The combined capacity of these UGRs was 14 lakh litres. The UGRs would provide relief to lakhs of families in the area.

Dikshit exhorted people to get their water meters installed to avoid billing complaints. "It is essential to have proper billing mechanism which will prove to be satisfactory to the consumers as well as the DJB. There is no substitute of water. We have to conserve it for the future generations," she said.

"The government will take all possible steps to ensure quality water supply. The DJB has also taken up laying of new trunk pipelines to replace age-old pipelines which have been creating obstructions in providing water supply in number of colonies," she said.

Sheila stated that the new UGRs at Pandav Nagar with 2.25 lakh litre capacity had been constructed with Rs 38 lakh, at C Block Naraina Vihar with capacity of 4.50 litre with Rs 41 lakh, at Naraina village with capacity of 4.50 lakh litre with Rs 41 lakh, at Inderpuri with capacity of 1.50 lakh litre with Rs 41 lakh and at Old Rajender Nagar with capacity of 1 lakh litre with Rs 71 lakh.

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School student beaten to death
Four students detained, being questioned
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
A 14-year-old school student was allegedly beaten to death by his colleagues in the Bindapur area of south west Delhi yesterday. According to the police, the victim Prashant had gone missing yesterday afternoon and was discovered unconscious inside a park in the Vishwas Nagar area later in the evening.

"He had several injury marks on the body following which he was taken to Gupta Nursing Home and later to Mata Chanan Devi Hospital in Janakpuri. However, he died in the wee hours of this morning," said a police official, adding that four minors from his school have been detained for questioning in this regard.

According to information, Prashant was student of Senior Secondary Government School in Uttam Nagar. While the police remained tightlipped about the cause of fight between the students, sources revealed that it is related to Prashant's closeness to a girl in the school.

"It seems like some students objected to his talking to one girl in his class. We are questioning several students, including the teachers of the school to reach some conclusion. Nothing can be said for sure. Investigations are on," said a police official from Bindapur police station.

Meanwhile, a case of murder has been registered at the Bindapur police station.

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43 cases of thefts solved; two held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
The south district police has arrested two youngsters allegedly involved in over 43 cases of burglaries and thefts in the national Capital. According to the police, Surender (19) and Shyamji were arrested from Pushp Vihar yesterday and stolen property worth Rs 2.50 lakh has been recovered from them.

According to HGS Dhaliwal, the duo had taken a room on rent in the area of Lal Bagh in Azadpur and committed the crime in and around the area.

"They committed thefts and burglaries almost daily. Shyamji was earlier arrested last year when he stabbed and robbed a factory employee of Rs 5,000, but he could not escape from the spot and was apprehended by the public," Dhaliwal said, adding that he was also arrested in a robbery case of Ashok Vihar and remained in jail for over a year. According to Dhaliwal, the gang would consume liquor in the evening and target those houses in the late evening where lights were found switched off. They carry an iron rod specially made for the purpose and keep it inside their apparel and move around in the residential locality in order to find out locked room.

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Man held for bid to sell fake gold bricks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
The Delhi police has arrested a 23-year-old man from Rajasthan for allegedly trying to sell fake gold bricks. According to west district police, accused Sughad Singh was apprehended from near a jewellery shop in Bhagawati Garden yesterday while he was trying to sell a fake gold brick weighing 1.2 kg to one Shiv Mangal.

According to V Renganathan, DCP (West), Two of Singh's accomplices are on the run. Singh approached Shiv Mangal (50) last night and told him that he wanted to sell two gold bricks which he found while digging in his native village of Rajasthan's Bharatpur.

"Singh told Mangal that he was in dire need of money owing to his father's treatment and wanted to sell the bricks.

While Mangal initially refused, later he agreed, but soon the better sense prevailed and he intimated the police about it," said the officer.

Efforts are on to nab Sughad Singh's accomplice.

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Liftman killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
A 22-year-old man was severed to death inside a lift in RK Puram this morning. According to the police, the victim has been identified as Haider Ali, a liftman at the housing society located in N Block of RK Puram. The incident was reported around 11 am. Ali, an employee of Swastik Company was looking into some problems in the lift when the incident occurred.

"Ali was on top of the lift on the fourth floor, looking into some technical problem. Suddenly the lift came down. He was stuck and his torso was severed during the fall. Fire officials had to cut the lift cabin to reach him," a police official said. Hewas declared brought dead when taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre.

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Chatterati
Sonia may take part in Varunís nuptials
by Devi Cherian

Varun Gandhi The much-awaited wedding of the new generation of the Gandhis, Varun Gandhi is next week. Varun is marrying a graphic designer called Yamini Roy. The lucky bride will be dressed in a sari that belongs to Varun's grandmother, Indira Gandhi, who gave it to Maneka when she married Sanjay Gandhi.

It is a vintage pink and gold brocade Banarasi sari. While Maneka will wear a 71-year-old sari which was woven by Nehru in prison in 1940. For the reception Yamini will wear a 100-year-old sari which belonged to Kamala Nehru. Varun will be dressed in a simple, elegant sherwani made by one of India's best designers Rohit Bal. Varun has lost a lot of weight recently which now makes him look like his father Sanjay Gandhi. The other outfit that Varun will be wearing is a simple cream and gold dhoti-kurta. His wedding is going to be a simple affair with a handful of guests. The wedding ceremony will be held at Kaamkotishwar Temple in Varanasi.

Rahul GandhiThis UP Member of Parliament has always dreamt of a wedding in the holy city amidst the chanting of mantras. Varun has shared warm relations with his cousins Priyanka Vadra and Rahul Gandhi. They are sure to attend the wedding. Varun also personally went to invite his aunt Sonia Gandhi who, it is said, will be attending the wedding. As Varun is younger than Rahul, everyone seems to be curious as to when Rahul will tie the knot. But all the Congressmen who have received the invitation are in a dilemma whether to attend the wedding. What may be the aftereffects to their attending, no one knows as many who were Sanjay Gandhi's friends are cabinet members today.

BJP who's who

Aamir KhanThis was clearly an outing of the BJP who's who on a chilly evening. Right from L.K. Advani to Nitin Gadkari along with the top BJP fellows had to wait patiently for the chief guest of the evening, Aamir Khan, who was only an hour late. This was to release the book of politician Najma Heptullah, Aamir Khan's aunt. Not many are aware of this relationship. Many wondered why Najma had chosen Aamir Khan to do the honours. Aamir's father was Najma's first cousin. Najma's anthology has poems which described various incidents of her life and also of various tours of abroad and India. The pictures in the book have been taken by the politician herself. Dr Farookh Abdullah, Vasundhara Raje, Shatrughan Sinha, Vijay Goel you name it and they were there.

The missing ones who were very noticeable were Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely. Advani stole the show here as he said poetry is a piece of art and words and he read out some poems of his colleague Vajpayee. A gathering who enjoyed its evening discussing the budget session and of course exchanging news on the various scams and interrogations going on by the CBI and tax department.

Clean-up drive at Khan Mkt

The most expensive real estate Khan Market is going through some troubled times. A favorite haunt of the elite, it is losing its charm as the MCD has gone for a clean-up drive, removing the magazine stands, hawkers, small chaatwala and many other tiny yet colourful stalls selling bangles, shoes and attractive titbits.

This market has everything that the celebrities and the elite may want--a bit expensive yet classy. On the whole the clean-up drive was a must as it was also becoming crowded and could have become a dangerous place as electric wires and gas cylinders open in lanes would have been a fire hazard.

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Girl jumps from mallís third floor, critical

Gurgaon, February 27
A 20-year-old girl was in a critical condition on Sunday after jumping from the third floor of the crowded Sahara Mall here, the police said. A guard tried to catch hold of Kanika, but failed.

The Paras Hospital said her condition was critical.

"The girl lives in Palam Vihar with her family and is employed with a call centre," said a police officer.

The reason behind the suicide attempt is not known. ó IANS

Newborn stolen from hospital

Ghaziabad: A newborn baby was allegedly stolen from the maternity ward of a government hospital here, the police said today.

Zeenat, a resident of Sahibabad, was admitted to the MMG hospital yesterday where she gave birth to a baby boy, SP (City) JK Sahi said.

Both the mother and the child were kept under the supervision of a nurse and a family member.

Later in the evening, Zeenat's husband Zamil found that the child was missing while his wife was in an unconscious state, Sahi added. ó PTI

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Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 27
A 20-year-old man committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan at his residence in the Krishna Nagar area of east district today. The deceased identified as Vikas Gupta, aresident of East Krishna Nagar. He was found dead by his family around 7 am. In a suicide note Gupta claimed to have taken responsibility for his action.

Crushed to death

A 26-year-old insurance company employee was crushed to death after a speeding container hit his bike on NH -24 in the Ghazipur area of east Delhi this afternoon.

The victim Ritesh was rushed to nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead.

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Minor fire at CPWD office

New Delhi, February 27
A minor fire broke out today in a godown of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) building here, a fire department official said." A call was received around 3.45 pm at the fire department office here that a fire has broken out in the CPWD building near North Avenue here," the official said.

Four fire engines have been rushed to the spot, he said, adding the loss of life, if any, or property was not known at this point of time. ó PTI

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