|N A T I O N|
Supreme head to orthodox Christians in India, his holiness Moranmar Baselius Mar Thoma Mathus with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI photo
Extremists of PWG go on
Sena corporators husband
Kalyan to meet Khurana, Verma
Laloo not averse to pact with
ISI plan to carve out new country
AAI begins probe into escalator
SC decries rapists acquittal
Non-bailable warrant against
NEW DELHI, Dec 14 Except for former Defence Secretary S.K. Bhatnagar, none of the accused in the Rs-64 crore Bofors case appeared before the designated court here today.
While granting bail to the former Defence Secretary, the court issued non-bailable warrants against former Bofors agent Win Chadha.
Special Judge Ajit Bharihoke issued fresh summons to former chief of A.B. Bofors, Martin Ardbo, as he sought a Swedish translation of the summons issued to him and the company, which now stands renamed as Celsius.
Kuala Lumpur-based key accused Ottavio Quattrocchi, whom the CBI charged with receiving over $ 7 million kickback in the Rs-1437 crore 155-mm Howitzer field gun deal signed during the prime ministership of Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, also did not appear despite an arrest warrant already issued against him.
Mr Bhatnagar, the lone accused to appear before the court, sought bail on the ground that he had always cooperated during the investigation and that there was no more investigation pending against him as charge sheet had already been filed.
The court granted bail to Mr Bhatnagar on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and surety of the like amount.
However, the court issued a non-bailable warrant against Dubai-based Win Chadha, who has been charged with receiving $ 27 million as kickback in the gun deal, as the CBI accused him of refusing to except the summons served on him through the Indian mission there.
The court directed CBI to get the warrant against Chadha executed in Dubai through diplomatic channels in the UAE.
It granted further time to the agency for execution of arrest warrant against Quattrocchi after CBI counsel N. Natarajan submitted that the procedural formalities with the Malaysian Government regarding his arrest and extradition were yet to be completed.
The court directed the CBI to keep it posted about the progress made in the process for extradition of Quattrocchi.
The CBI had filed the charge sheet on October 22 against the accused for being party to a conspiracy to clinch the deal in favour of Bofors and alleged that Rs 64 crore was paid as kickbacks after the contract was awarded to the Swedish company.
The accused persons had been charged under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), of the Indian Penal Code and with various other provisions under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI had informed the
court earlier that it was also probing the role of
Hinduja brothers G.P. Hinduja, Prakash Hinduja and
Srichand Hinduja and others, and had sent letters
rogatory to Switzerland, Sweden, Panama, Luxembourg,
Bahama, Jordan, Liechtenstein and Austria in this regard.
Set up new panel to probe 84 riots
NEW DELHI, Dec 14 (PTI) A delegation of prominent Sikhs today met Home Minister L.K. Advani and demanded setting up of a new inquiry commission to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which nearly 3,000 persons were killed in Delhi.
The delegation led by Sikh Forum President and Bangladesh war hero Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora comprised former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice R.S. Narula, author Mahip Singh, Wing Commander (retd) R.S. Chhatwal, senior advocate H.S. Phoolka and Punjabi Universitys former Vice-Chancellor Amrik Singh.
Former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana and his former colleague H.S. Balli also accompanied the delegation which told Mr Advani that a multi-member judicial commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge should be appointed to probe the riots, people behind them and fixing responsibility on officials who failed to control violence, Mr Phoolka told PTI.
The delegation impressed upon the Home Minister that the terms and conditions of Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission, appointed by the government earlier, were "very limited" as it was only asked to probe whether the riots were organised.
The delegation brought to the notice of Mr Advani that only two convictions had materialised so far in various cases and no action had been taken against any police official for "failure" to discharge their duty, he said.
Meanwhile, the BJP today supported the demand of non-Congress parties for setting up of an inquiry commission to go into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
"We are happy to
see that other Opposition parties are ready for inquiry
into the carnage of 1984 and it shows that the earlier
investigations were not complete", party spokesman
Mr Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.
Extremists of PWG go on rampage
HYDERABAD, Dec 14 (UNI) The banned Peoples War Group extremists went on the rampage in protest against the recent encounter killing of their top leaders in Andhra Pradesh even as the police made elaborate security arrangements to cope with a two-day state wide bandh called by the PWG from tomorrow.
The extremists blasted government buildings, a telephone exchange and torched the houses of political functionaries and an APSRTC bus in separate incidents since last night.
The police said the callous and inhuman attitude of the extremists claimed the life of an 18-month-old infant, who was a heart patient, as they set fire to the house of a Sarpanch and prevented his family members from administering medicine to the infant.
As many as 30 Naxalites belonging to Tirupathi Dalam torched four houses belonging to Thotta Narayana,a Sarpanch of Adavi Srirampur village in Karimnagar district in the early hours today. They forced all family members to come out, assembled the furniture, including a refrigerator and television, and set them ablaze.
When a woman family member tried to get a blanket and medicine for the infant, the extremists prevented her and as a result the child died later.
In another incident, the Naxals blasted a mandal revenue office which was under construction at Kanaganapally and a telephone exchange at Noothumadugu in Anantapur district early today. In the same district, the extremists set ablaze an Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation bus at Upidipally village when it was proceeding from Hindupur to Mannur.
In yet another incident, the PWG men set fire to furniture and other house hold articles of a zila parishad territorial constituency member belonging to the ruling TDP at Pannari in Adilabad district.
Meanwhile, the state police machinery was geared up to face any eventuality in view of the band call given by the PWG.
A police press note here said elaborate security arrangements had been made on all important roadways to ensure that the RTC buses as well as private vehicles plied as usual. In all, important towns pickets were posted so that the shops and hotels were kept open without any fear.
Authors conversion divides society
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Dec 14 (UNI) No religious conversion in Kerala has raised a storm of the sort generated by the conversion of celebrated writer Madhavikutty.
But the 65-year-old author known as Kamala Das to English readers, is unperturbed.
Winner of a string of awards and honours for her writings in English and Malayalam, the author, who assumed the new name "Surayya" after embracing Islam two days ago, raised a storm in literary, social and religious circles alike.
Her friends in the literary world and her own kin have welcomed the move, as they feel no one has the right to question her freedom to choose a religion of her liking.
But more than her decision to embrace Islamists, her public statements in the wake of her conversion that have generated controversy.
Referring to her own writings, in which she claimed to be the Radha of Krishna, she said even now Krishna was with her. "I am converting Krishna into Allah and making him a prophet after naming him Mohammed. If you go to Guruvayur, you will not see Krishna there. He is with me.
I have renamed him Mohammed", she told a private TV channel.
In a dramatic twist Madhavikutty, widow of RBI Executive Director Madhava Das, revealed in a TV interview yesterday that she was planning to marry, though she did not disclose who the groom was. There are rumours that she is in love with a Muslim youth.
A Malayalam newspaper, came out with a report that she converted to Islam to marry a Muslim League leader and that the date of marriage would be announced after the completion of conversion rites at the Palayam mosque at Thiruvananthapuram on December 23.
Sharply reacting to her remarks on Krishna, Vishwa Hindu Parishad state organising secretary Kummanam Rajeshekharan said her statement "will hurt the feelings of crores of Guruvayrappan devotees. She should not have downsized her peers while stepping out of the home where she grew up for more than 60 years," he said while affirming her individual freedom to join any faith.
While many people are curious to know what inspired her to don the purdah, walls in Malappuram are reportedly filled with posters, allegedly pasted by Hindu extremists, threatening her with death.
An indication of what is in store for her was the last minute cancellation of the scheduled screening of a documentary on her life, "Malayalathinte Madhavikutty", at Punnayurkulam, her native village, following tension between rival sections.
Well-wishers have asked her not to venture out of her home for at least a week, but she has turned down offers of police protection.
On the other hand, her announcement has enthused the Muslim community in the state, with many Imams and other leaders calling on her and Muslim women crowding to extend greetings to Amiyoppa, as Madhavikutty is fondly known.
In a gesture of solidarity, popular cine actor Cochin Haneefa has invited her to dinner.
She made the surprise announcement while inaugurating a literary seminar on Saturday at Kochi. Disbelieving the utterance from a writer known for her rhetorics and controversies, mediamen crowded her home only to see her sitting in purdah.
Daughter of the late V.M. Nair, a former Managing Editor of Mathrubhumi daily, and Nalappat Balamani Amma, celebrated Malayalam poetess, Madhavikutty said she had been thinking of conversion to Islam for over 27 years. "I have no one. I am an orphan. Islam is a religion of love, the religion of forgiveness. It gives protection to women and I need protection," she said.
Mother of three sons, Madhavikutty said she felt that Islam would fetch her much needed solace.
The well-known writer who dared to lay bare the hypocritical social life of Kerala and made sensitive issues of human love and sensuality the topics of her works, is no stranger to controversies.
Her most famous work, "My Story", an autobiography published in more than 15 languages, had set social circles ablaze and left the strait-jacketed Malayali psyche shell-shocked, with many finding her as going against traditional values.
However, the work was made a text book in Japan and Canada. In the seventies she made a brief entry into politics and in the next decade she painted women in the nude.
Apart from being the recipient of a number of awards, she is the only Malayali to be nominated for the Nobel Prize for English literature.
Sena corporators husband shot
MUMBAI, Dec 14 (PTI) Atmaram Thagve, husband of the Shiv Sena corporator Anita Thagve, was shot dead by gangsters allegedly owing allegiance to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim here today.
According to the police, Atmaram was on his way to the Sena party office at Versova in North-West Mumbai when he was fired at the assailants, who arrived at the spot in an autorickshaw.
Thagve, who received three bullet injuries on his right ear and chest, was rushed to the Cooper Hospital where he was declared dead before admission.
Kalyan to meet Khurana, Verma
LUCKNOW, Dec 14 (PTI) A week after his expulsion from the BJP, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh today said he would be meeting senior BJP leaders, including Mr Madan Lal Khurana and Mr Saheb Singh Verma, during his visit to New Delhi tomorrow.
"I am scheduled to meet Mr Khurana and Mr Verma, the two former BJP Chief Ministers of Delhi", Mr Kalyan Singh, who has announced his decision to launch a new "political outfit", told reporters here, adding he spoke with them on telephone today.
Asked what was the agenda of the meeting, he said, "We will meet over a cup of tea and share each others agony", and added that no one was untouchable in politics and "discussions do take place with like-minded people".
He replied with an emphatic no when asked whether he would be meeting leaders of the Third Front as well.
ISI plan to carve out new
CALCUTTA, Dec 14 Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has hatched a plan to separate the border districts of West Bengal, Assam and Bangladesh from their parent nations and set up a new Islamic country.
This "secret information" was detected by the Indian Army intelligence on decoding intercepted transmission messages sent by the Harkat-ul-Ansar, a Pakistani fundamentalist group to its counterpart in the countrys North-East.
Various Pakistani fundamentalist groups have links with groups like ULFA, NSCN, UNLF, NDFB and TTP.
Of late, a new group, KPP (Kamtapuri Peoples Party has surfaced in the Siliguri-Cooch Behar-Duars areas of north Bengal. It demands a separate state for the Rajbangshis.
The Army brigade headquarter at Fort William Calcutta, which intercepted the "secret transmission" has sent a report to North Block and the PMs office.
West Bengal Deputy Chief Minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharyya, who also looks after the Home Department, at a meeting with the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani in the first week of December in Delhi had apprised him of trans-border terrorism in the state with the direct involvement of the ISI.
Mr Bhattacharyya admitted that border terrorism had assumed such serious magnitude that an Army operation was needed in the entire vulnerable stretch.
Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland Chief Ministers also made separate demands for more Army units to tackle insurgency in their respective states.
During the past one month, a series of incidents of abduction, killing of innocent people and various other subversive activities has made the state administrations worried.
In Tripura alone over 50 innocent persons, including women and children were killed in broad daylight in three separate incidents by Tripura Tribal Force Organisation (TTFO).
In the past three months
the police had unearthed huge quantities of explosive
materials, modern sophisticated firearms like AK-47
rifles and several incriminating documents after raiding
five different hideouts in and around Calcutta.
Altogether 15 foreign nationals (Pakistani and
Bangladeshis) were arrested from four different places
along with the explosives.
AAI begins probe into escalator mishap
NEW DELHI, Dec 14 (UNI) The Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials assisted by OTIS elevator company officials and experts today began investigations into the bizarre escalator mishap at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here an eight-year-old girl was killed and two persons were injured.
A two-member committee headed by Mr S.H. Khan, Executive Director (CNS-P), and including Dr Ramalingam, General Manager-Engineering (Electrical), was asked by the Civil Aviation Minister yesterday to submit their report within 48 hours.
They have been asked to investigate the cause of the accident and to study safety norms and standards laid down for the maintenance and operation of the escalators.
Meanwhile, the tragedy which occurred because a portion of the lower level of a crowded escalator came apart swallowing the little girl, evoked widespread condemnation of the state of affairs at the airport.
In the Rajya Sabha, the Chairman of the Upper House, Mr Krishan Kant directed the Civil Aviation Minister to make a statement by tomorrow. Several members said an incident of this nature would cause great damage to Indias image abroad.
A team of OTIS engineers is working on the investigations with AAI officials. The senior management of the company, from Mumbai, has also rushed to Delhi to assist the technical team, expedite the investigation and identify the real cause.
"Based on our knowledge and experience, this should not have occurred. It has never happened before in India to the best of our knowledge. Our records show that the escalator on which the unfortunate accident took place has had no major breakdowns or repair problems, Mr M.K. Panicker, General Manager, OTIS, said.
The tragedy also raised several questions as to the monitoring of the various activities at the airport. None of engineers were at hand to help out and stop the escalator when the incident happened.
Also, had the officials manning the monitors, which give a picture of various parts of the airport, been keeping a vigil it might not have resulted into this kind of a tragedy.
The Delhi Police, which has registered a case of negligence against the AAI, will be questioning why engineers were not present at the airport. The police will also be making investigations with OTIS management regarding their agreement with the AAI on the maintenance of the escalators.
Women MPs stage walkout
NEW DELHI, Dec14 Women members from Left parties and the Tamil Maanila Congress today staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha to protest against the delay in tabling a Bill on reservation for women.
The women members, who raised the issue immediately after Question Hour, termed the governments plea for need of a consensus on the issue as a "lame excuse". They wanted a time frame within which the Bill would be introduced.
Raising the issue Ms Jayaprada (TDP), Mr Pranab Mukherjee (Congress) and Mr Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) wanted to know why there was delay in introducing the bill and said the silence on the part of the government was "ambiguous".
Most women members from the Opposition benches rushed towards the well of the House, demanding that the leader of the House give a clarification on the issue.
Joining the women members, many male Opposition members too rose to their feet and wanted to know the exact time-frame for introducing the Bill. One of the Members was heard saying that the Telegu Desam would withdraw support to the government, if there was any further delay.
Leader of the House and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, intervening in the matter, said that the N.D.A. government was committed to bringing forward the Bill. The Prime Minister had already called a meeting of the leaders of political parties before the session began and said the Bill would be introduced in both the Houses as soon as possible.
Mr Singh said two previous attempts to introduce the Bill had failed, and "we do not want this to be repeated." The political parties should first arrive at a consensus. Then there will be no delay in getting the Bill passed.
When the women members continued to protest, Mr Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) rose to say that if the Bill is passed unanimously, "it will send a good signal in the country."
Ms Jayaprada and Mrs
Jayanti Natrajan pointed out that before the elections
the BJP had promised that the then government would bring
forward a Bill on women. But this has not been done in
the winter session of Parliament either. Ms Jayaprada
said, "let the Bill be introduced and we will come
to know who has supported and who has opposed it,"
adding the question of consensus was never raised before
introducing a Bill. Mr Gurudas Dasgupta echoed the
Laloo not averse to pact with Kalyan
VARANASI, Dec 14 (PTI) The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is not averse to entering into an alliance with expelled BJP leader Kalyan Singh in the coming Bihar Assembly elections, RJD chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav said here.
He could "shake hands" with anyone having the sole aim of defeating BJP, he told PTI last night.
Expulsion of the former UP Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh, who had advocated the cause of social engineering, has "exposed the fascist character" of the BJP, he said.
Claiming that an agreement could still be arrived at between the RJD and CPI in the coming elections, he said the RJD would emerge victorious and form the government again with absolute majority.
He accused Mr Sharad Yadav and Mr Ram Vilas Paswan of surrendering before communal forces for "power".
SC decries rapists acquittal
NEW DELHI, Dec 14 (PTI) The Supreme Court has severely criticised the Bombay High Court for acquitting an accused in a "grisly perpetrated rape and murder of a four-year-old girl" and awarded life imprisonment to him while upholding the conviction passed by the trial court.
Terming the acquittal as "disconcerting", a Bench comprising Mr Justice G.T. Nanavati and Mr Justice K.T. Thomas, said prosecution presented reliable and formidable circumstances forming into a completed chain and pointing "unerringly to the irresistible conclusion" that the little girl Gangu was raped and killed by none other than the accused Suresh.
"Criminal justice unfortunately became a casualty in this case when the high court side-stepped all such circumstances and exonerated the culprit of such a grotesque crime," Mr Justice Thomas said last week while writing the judgement.
Referring to the manner in which the accused first lured the child to a lonely place and then raped and killed her, the Bench said: "We would have concurred with the trial courts view that the extreme penalty of death can be chosen for such a crime...".
The court awarded him
life sentence keeping in mind that the accused was once
acquitted by the high court but observed "this case
is perilously near the region of the rarest of the
rare cases envisaged by the Constitution
Bench" in which death penalty could be imposed.
NHRC to monitor cyclone relief
NEW DELHI, Dec 14 (UNI) In a significant move, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Orissa Government to take immediate steps for proper distribution of relief measures among the people affected by super cyclone and initiate disciplinary action against the officials who failed to discharge their professional duties in the aftermath of natural calamity.
The NHRC sources said that the commission, which had taken suo-motu cognisance of the devastation caused by the super cyclone, has proposed to closely monitor the long term rehabilitation programme and would specifically look into the provision of relief to orphaned children, destitute women and senior citizens, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and other marginalised sections.
Special rapporteur Chaman Lal has been asked to do the monitoring on behalf of the commission and place his report periodically before the NHRC for its consideration and issuance of direction. The state government has been directed to associate Mr Chaman Lal in the state level monitoring committee, if any, constituted for this purpose.
The commission has asked the state government to complete the enumeration of casualties and publish the list in each district to ensure that the dead were correctly identified and the right of compensation and other assistance of the survivors were not in anyway compromised. To secure the right of sustenance to those below the poverty line the Orissa Government should organise a food for work programme and provide wages in terms of grains(rice) under the PDS and, if necessary, through a special dispensation, the NHRC directed and asked for organisation or continuation of special feeding centres for old and those incapable of physical work.
The rehabilitation work undertaken must be based on action plan for each district and a compendium of all these action plans and their financial implication should be published in the form of a white paper to inform and educate affected people of their rights to relief of different kinds, the NHRC recommended. An appropriate machinery for the close monitoring of expenditure relating to relief and rehabilitation both at the district and state level should be set up.
The commission has
recommended that being cyclone prone, the Orissa
Government should consider the proposal of raising a
special armed police battalion trained in restoration of
essential services like power, water, telephone
communications and road links disrupted during such
NOIDA woman alleges rape
NOIDA, Dec,14 A
woman from a JJ cluster in Sector 9 has alleged that she
was being raped for the past three months by a man,
Fauzi, of the same area. The woman filed a complaint with
the SP (city) in this connection. The SP, Mr Piyush
Srivastva, has ordered an investigation.
|WB Govt to start TV
CALCUTTA: The West Bengal Government has decided to start a television channel of its own to air programmes after the repeated demand for ownership of a Doordarshan channel for the purpose was turned down by the Centre, Deputy Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said. The state would form a corporation to run the channel, he said. PTI
Vyas Samman for Shreelal
policemen turning criminals
Delhi CM opens
| Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir | Chandigarh |
| Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |