|N A T I O N|
SC stays Harshad Mehta's
Amitabh Bachchan's bungalow, Mansa, which Canara Bank seeks to attach for recovery of loans from the actor, in Mumbai on Sunday. PTI
Vajpayee talks to Sheikh
Sonia sets up panels for assembly
Air Marshal Krishnaswamy takes
Cong-ruled states announce relief
USA hopeful of early Indo-Pak
rejects bulletproof screen for Pope
Electronic governance in Andhra
Proposal for 50 more CRPF
Congress warning to government
SPs son, 2 others arrested
Salve appointed Solicitor-General
SC stays Harshad Mehta's
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 The Supreme Court today admitted a criminal appeal by Harshad Mehta and three others against the verdict of the Special Court trying the security scam cases in Mumbai awarding them five years rigorous imprisonment and penalty for misappropriating funds of Maruti Udyog Ltd. (MUL) to the tune of Rs 38.97 crore between April 19, 1989, and May 19, 1991.
A Bench comprising Mr Justice B.N. Kirpal and Mr Justice S. Rajendra Babu admitted the appeal. The court directed that the suspension of sentence as ordered by the Special Court would continue. The accused would not leave India without prior permission of the court and those accused who had not surrendered their passport to the CBI would do the same now, the court directed.
The court further directed that the matters be heard expeditiously. The Special Judge S.S. Rane in his judgement and order had implicated all accused under various provisions of the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Harshad Mehta was awarded five years' RI for misappropriation of funds along with Deputy Finance Manager of the MUL, Pramod Kumar Manocha, former Assistant Manager of UCO Bank, Vinayak Narayan Deosthali and former officer, ANZ Grindlays Bank, Ram Narain Popli.
The Special Court had exonerated Ambuj Jain, a former MUL executive, of all charges framed against him as he was given the benefit of doubt.
In other case Harshad Mehta was charged with misappropriating four cheques aggregating Rs 38.97 crore drawn by MUL, was sentenced under Section 403 IPC to one year RI and ordered to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 or in default undergo RI for six months.
Mr Manocha, a former Deputy Finance Manager of MUL, charged with abusing his position as public servant to allow use of MUL funds by Harshad Mehta, was sentenced to one year RI under Section 13 (1) (C) read with Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. He was also asked to pay Rs 10,000 fine or in default undergo six months RI.
Besides, he was sentenced to five years' RI and asked to pay a fine of Rs 15,000 for offence under Section 409 of the IPC as he delivered on January 23, 1991, 35 lakh units of Unit Trust of India (UTI) valued at Rs 4.99 crore belonging to MUL to Harshad Mehta in total violation of orders laid down by directors.
Manocha was awarded a similar sentence for offence under Section 409 of the IPC for delivering to Harshad Mehta's employee a cheque drawn by MUL on Canara Bank favouring Grindlays Bank on March 13, 1991, amounting to Rs 10.11 crore.
He was also awarded a
similar punishment for offence under Section 409, IPC,
for falsely representing to MUL that it was UCO bank
which wanted to invest Rs 10 crore for a period of five
days at 21 per cent interest, thereby inducing the
company to issue a cheque on May 2, 1991 for Rs 10.39
crore which was ultimately delivered to Harshad Mehta's
man, Anuj Kalia.
Mansa is not mine: Bachchan
MUMBAI, Nov 1 (PTI) Filmstar Amitabh Bachchan today submitted before the Debt Recovery Tribunal that the "Mansa" bungalow here did not belong to him or his wife Jaya, guarantors of a loan taken by ABCL from Canara Bank, and was an exclusive property of Ramola Bachchan, wife of his elder brother Ajitabh.
This was stated in an affidavit sworn by Stanly Saldhana, the constituted attorney of Amitabh Bachchan, before the Tribunal for Maharashtra and Goa in connection with the banks move to attach the bungalow in Juhu, where the superstar stays with his family, to recover the Rs 10 crore loan amount from the Bachchans.
The affidavit says ABCL was declared a sick company by the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) under the Sick Industries Companies Act (SICA), 1985 on July 9.
"By virtue of Section 22 of SICA, no legal proceedings against ABCL can be conducted without the permission of BIFR," the affidavit said.
The affidavit also referred to a Mumbai High Court verdict in ICICI vs Dhanesh Ruparalia and others of 26 July, 1999. In this case all proceedings against guarantors of loan transaction are liable to be stayed.
The affidavit also said an appeal by Canara Bank before the Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (AAIFR) has not stayed the BIFR order declaring ABCL a sick company.
Centre asks Tamil Nadu to stay executions
CHENNAI, Nov 1 (PTI, UNI) The Union Home Ministry has asked the Tamil Nadu Government to stay the execution of the four convicts sentenced to death for plotting to kill Rajiv Gandhi till their mercy petitions are disposed of by the President.
In a communication to the State Home Secretary and the Inspector-General of Prisons, the Union Ministry said various individuals, sections of society and organisations had appealed to the President for clemency to the four condemned prisoners Nalini, Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan.
"The date of execution of the death sentence fixed by the trial judge, if any, may be stayed till the disposal of the petition already received by the President of India on behalf of these prisoners," the Director (Judicial), Home, said in his communication.
The communication, a copy of which was made available to the media here today, said the prisoners might be allowed seven days time for submitting mercy petitions to the President under Article 72 of the Constitution.
The period may be counted from the day of which they were informed of the Tamil Nadu Governor rejecting their petitions, it said.
Their mercy petitions may be forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs along with the state governments comments and relevant documents without delay, the communication added.
The date of execution was originally fixed for November 5 but it was indefinitely stayed by the jail authorities to enable the convicts to seek Presidential reprieve.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas E. Ponnusamy today said a letter sent by the two minor sons of Perarivalan, one of the four awarded capital punishment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, pleading for mercy, had been forwarded to President k. r. Narayanan.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr Ponnusamy, who is a "pattali makkal katchi" (PMK) nominee in the Union Cabinet, said his party also favoured clemency to the four condemned prisoners.
"I have no comments", Mr Ponnusamy said when asked for his reaction to TNCC president Tindivanam Ramamurthys statement that the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi did not deserve clemency. "That is their view", he replied when pointed out that DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister m. Karunanidhi, had also stated that capital punishment should be done away with. The PMK is an ally of the DMK.
Vajpayee talks to Sheikh Hasina
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has talked to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for evolving a consensus on the issue of postponement of the scheduled summit meeting of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) due to take place this month in Kathmandu.
While the spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs declined to either confirm or deny media reports that India was working for getting the SAARC summit postponed saying that "consultations with relevant SAARC members were going on aspects of SAARC relations", sources said New Delhi was in touch with many members of the South Asian organisation for getting their consent for a postponement.
In response to a question, the spokesman said that Mr Vajpayee had a telephonic talk with Sheikh Hasina during which SAARC also figured. The spokesman said the two leaders also discussed bilateral issues.
There was a possibility of Mr Vajpayee meeting the Pakistan military ruler General Pervez Musharraf in Kathmandu during the SAARC summit which the latter was going to attend.
The sources said New
Delhi was not prepared to have talks with the Pakistani
military establishment at the moment. India would like to
wait and watch the development of the internal situation
in the neighbouring country before making any move for
resumption of bilateral dialogue with Pakistan, the
Sonia sets up panels for
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 Having suffered a setback at the hustings, the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, has begun in earnest the task of preparing for the next round of elections to be held to different state assemblies early next year.
Assembly elections are due in Orissa, Bihar and Manipur by March-April while political parties are anticipating that there could be a snap poll in Haryana and UP as well.
As the first step, the Congress President has appointed five committees consisting of Congress Working Committee members which have to prepare a report at the earliest on the partys strength and weaknesses, strong constituencies and entire gamut of related issues.
"The Congress, President is keen that grassroots workers wishes and aspirations are manifested. The Committee will coordinate with the general secretaries in the task," AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni said today.
Mrs Soni along with Mr Jitendra Prasada will be studying the situation in Haryana. The other Committees include Mr Motilal Vora, Mrs Mohsina Kidwai, Mr Santosh Mohan Deb for Bihar, Mr Rajesh Pilot, Mrs Santosh Chaudhary for UP, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mr Vylar Ravi for Orissa and Mr K A Sangtam and Mr Bhubneswar Kalita for Manipur.
Mrs Soni said apart from inputs from these committees the Congress President will have those from regular channels like the pradesh committees in addition to the A.K. Antony Committee which is introspecting the causes for the worst-ever performance by the party in the recent elections.
Meanwhile, the Congress
President is expected to visit Amethi later this week on
a thanksgiving mission. Mrs Priyanka Vadra is expected to
accompany her on a two-day trip starting on Wednesday,
party sources said.
Air Marshal Krishnaswamy
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 Air Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, one of the most decorated IAF officers, today took over as new Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Air Command (WAC).
Air Marshal Krishnaswamy, who was the AOC-in-Chief of the South Western Air Command, at Gandhinagar, took over from Air Marshal Vinod Patney, who has been posted as the AOC-in-C Central Air Command. Air Marshal Patney had performed creditably while marshalling the IAF during the Kargil conflict.
Air Marshal Krishnaswamy, has the distinction of having commanded Central Air Command and the South Western Air Command prior to his being appointed at the AOC-in-C WAC, has also been elected Fellow, Aeronautical Society of India for his contribution in the field of aeronautics. Earlier this year he was awarded the DRDO sponsored prestigious Agni award for self-reliance in the field of flight testing. He has recorded over 4000 hours of flying time and flown more than 30 types of aircraft and helicopters.
An alumnus of the
Defence Services Staff College and National Defence
College, his staff appointments include Director, Air
Requirements, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Plans),
Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and Senior Air Staff
Officer of an operational Command.
Cong-ruled states announce relief
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI) Congress-ruled state governments today announced relief assistance to cyclone-hit Orissa even as party President Sonia Gandhi appealed to party workers across the country to contribute to the "AICC relief fund" in aid of the state.
Mrs Gandhi, accompanied by AICC General Secretary in charge of Orissa Madhavrao Scindia, rushed to the state for an on-the-spot study of the devastation and express solidarity with the affected people.
A four-member party delegation comprising Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Balram Jakhar and Vyalar Ravi is also visiting the state to coordinate relief operations with party organisations, party spokesman Anil Shastri said here.
The Congress-ruled states which have announced their relief assistance are: Karnataka (Rs 1 crore), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 50 lakh), Delhi (Rs 30 lakh), Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh (Rs 10 lakh each), Mr Shastri said.
Besides the monetary assistance, they have also announced other relief measures, including food items, polythene tents, clothes and medicines.
USA hopeful of early Indo-Pak talks
BANGALORE, Nov 1 (PTI) The USA said today that it hoped that a dialogue between India and Pakistan at the highest level would begin as soon as possible.
"We strongly encourage a dialogue between India and Pakistan at the highest level", US Ambassador to India Richard Celeste told PTI here.
Celeste made the comment when asked if the USA subscribed to the view of Defence Minister George Fernandes who said in Ahmedabad yesterday that talks with Pakistan could be resumed only if it refrained from cross-border terrorism and shelling along the Line of Control.
"We have strongly condemned cross-border terrorism wherever and whenever it occurred... so we would hope that we will see terrorism reduced and ceased ... and we would hope to see the dialogue between India and Pakistan begin as soon as possible", he said.
Celeste said the visit of US President Bill Clinton to India had not yet been finalised. "I hope that will happen soon", he said.
Asked if the USA was
seeking "some kind of concession" from India to
make the visit "successful", Mr Celeste denied
it saying Mr Clinton's "visit will happen in any
event. I believe that it will be a successful
Church rejects bulletproof screen for Pope
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI) The Catholic Church yesterday rejected the move of Delhi Police to provide a bulletproof screen in the podium specially designed for the public appearance of Pope John Paul II here on November 7.
Spokesman of the Catholic Church Dominiq Emmanuel said there could not be any barrier between the Pope and the people as it had never happened before.
He said keeping in view the poor health of the Holy Father certain special provisions had been made for his public appearance at 9 a.m. in the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium here.
To enable him to ascend the podium, an elevator would be introduced and a canopy would be put on top of the chair to protect him from the sun, he said.
He said since the stadium was primarily intended for sports, various steps were taken to ensure that no damage was caused to the track and field areas.
SPs son, 2 others arrested
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 Sanjay alias Bunty, step son of a Rajasthan SP and a member of the Madan Bhaiyya gang, was arrested along with his two associates from Sarita Vihar in South Delhi after exchange of fire. His two accomplices were identified as Maharaj Singh of Meerut and Shiv Kumar, alias Babloo of Faridabad, the police said.
The police seized two revolvers and fired cartridges from their possession.
They were arrested on way to Noida where they were reportedly going to loot the Daewoo Motors factory where about Rs 1 crore was to be disbursed among the employees, the police said.
Electronic governance in Andhra Pradesh
HYDERABAD, Nov 1 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh today became the first state in India to usher in electronic governance, with launch of state wide area network and video conference facility here on the anniversary of the states formation.
Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the Andhra Pradesh Wide Area Network (APSWAN) which links all 23 district headquarters with secretariat and a video conference facility enabling two-way audio video communication facility.
Mr Naidu said the facility was a major step towards a knowledge society and added that the entire state was being networked with fibre optic line and the same might be extended to other major cities of the country.
APSWAN was developed jointly by the Andhra Pradesh Telecom Services and Bangalore-based United Telecom Limited, which would be paid Rs 22 crore over a period of five years for providing services for data, voice and video communication, he said.
Proposal for 50 more CRPF battalions
ALIGARH (UP), Nov 1 (UNI) Home Minister L.K. Advani today announced here that there was a proposal to raise 50 more battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The Home Minister was speaking after decorating 49 CRPF and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel here with the Presidents Police Medal for meritorious service. He lauded the RAF, which is under the CRPF, for providing security and maintaining social harmony in the country.
On the occasion of the RAFs seventh anniversary, the Home Minister also inspected and took salute of an impressive parade at the 104 BN headquarters here.
Mr Advani said the RAF, which had the role of maintaining communal harmony, had proved its worth during tensions in various parts of the country, and also during national calamities.
CRPF Director General M.N. Sabharwal said that in the short period of its existence, the RAF had proved its credibility and exhibited a high degree of professionalism during riot situations.
During the past seven years, the RAF had contributed a lot in keeping together law and order in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Congress warning to government
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI) The Congress today warned the government that it would be difficult to extend cooperation to it on the economic agenda if the coalition adopted a "confrontationist attitude" and demanded an apology from Law Minister Ram Jethmalani for his reported "unparliamentary" remarks against party President Sonia Gandhi.
At the daily AICC briefing, party spokesman Anil Shastri flayed the reported remarks of Mr Jethmalani in Pune yesterday criticising Sonia in the light of controversy over naming Rajiv Gandhi as an accused in the Bofors charge sheet.
"On the one hand the government expects us to offer constructive cooperation, on the other they go on making statements against our leadership. No right thinking people will accept this", he said.
Indian elements in Holy Mass
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (UNI) When Pope John Paul II offers the Holy Mass at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium next Sunday, he and those gathered around him will also join the rest of the country in celebrating the festival of lights - Divali.
According to Dr Ayres Fernandes, who conceptualised the service and went to Rome to secure Papal approval for several "Indian elements incorporated in the liturgy, various symbols of the festival of lights would illuminate the stadium.
"God is light for all of us. And Divali means to remove darkness. For us, it is a happy coincidence that the Mass is on the same day as Divali. We thought it appropriate to dedicate the Holy Mass to the theme Christ is the Light of the World, Dr Fernandes told UNI.
The Podium, its backdrop and the entire stadium would have the symbol of "diya" (earthen lamp) painted all over. Besides, the Bible would be garlanded and six alter servers would hold up lamps after the gospel, reflecting the need to remove the darkness which surrounds humanity.
When the solemn part of the Mass would be coming to an end, seven nuns would perform "arati with incence, fire and flowers with a Tamil hymn playing in the background, Dr Fernandes said.
"All these are Indian elements which we have incorporated in the Mass. We also wanted to put a tilak on those present in the stadium but this may not be possible because of security constraints," he added.
In another special gesture, the vestments and stoles worn by the Bishops and priests respectively, would also carry the "diya" symbol besides the "Jubilee 2000" emblem.
But, perhaps the most path-breaking measure would be the presence of tribal dancers from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh who would lead the priests and Bishops to the alter. There would also be a prayer dance before the Pope begins the Euchrist.
As the Pope is coming to India to promulgate the document of the Asian synod, prayers would be offered in several Asian languages, including Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The synod document would be personally handed to 30 Asians by the Pope. This would include 19 Indians and 11 other Asians.
The Holy Communion the breaking of bread and sipping of wine and termed the "param prasadam" would be given to 30 Indians by the Pope. These would be the disabled, the orphaned and the sick, Dr Fernandes said.
Salve appointed Solicitor-General
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI)Mr Harish Salve was today appointed the Solicitor-General of India, official sources said.
Mr Salve replaces Mr Santosh Hegde who has been appointed a Supreme Court Judge.
The government has decided to retain three of the four Additional Solicitors-General, Mr Altaf Ahmad, Mr Kirit N. Rawal and Mr R.N.Trivedi, The fourth Additional SG, Mr C.S.Vaidyanathan, has been replaced by Mr Mukul Rohtagi.
GUPTKASHI (Garhwal), Nov 1 (UNI) The Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee has suspended the dharmacharya of Kedarnath temple on charges of absenting himself from duty and recorded grave displeasure over the Rawal (chief priest) of Badrinath Vishnu Nambudiri going to the press on a "trivial issue".
The decision was taken at its meeting held here during the week-end. The dharmacharya, Umadutt Samwal, had reportedly absented himself from duty for more than two and a half months. He had also failed to submit documents supporting his eligibility for the post.
The committee expressed its displeasure over the fact that the dharmacharya had approached the press instead of responding to the explanation sought by it. An administrative inquiry has also been ordered into the matter.
President of the committee Vinod Nautiyal warned here that indiscipline, negligence or dereliction of duty by the staff would not be tolerated.
In order to ensure
regular puja at Badrinath, the committee resolved to stay
the payment of the seven and half per cent share in
special poojas to the Rawal till further orders. The
Rawal would, however, continue to draw his monthly
bandh in Assam
GUWAHATI: All diesel-run commercial vehicles were off the roads in Assam as the All-Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) began an indefinite chakka bandh from 5 a.m. on Monday, demanding 35 per cent hike in fares. The AAMTA said it resorted to agitation because of the "apathy" of the state government. Several other transport associations, including the Greater Guwahati United Motor Transport Association, supported the strike. UNI
UP Govt doctors to go on
Staff to file
electoral rolls in Manipur
under way in UP
MLA bribery case
Sikkim to have
16 injured in
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