|N A T I O N|
PM unfolds steps for
|Nadeem files plea against
MUMBAI, Nov 28 Music director Nadeem Akhtar Saifee has filed an appeal in the London High Court against the order of a Bowstreet Magistrate who had held that there was a prima facie case against him for his alleged role in the conspiracy to eliminate audio king Gulshan Kumar in Mumbai two years ago.
India poised to export
Shanta for import duty on apple
Cong wins Rajasthan civic poll
New thrust to Indo-French ties
Rs 90 crore frozen in urea scam:
Contribution of Haksar recalled
51st anniversary of NCC celebrated
PM unfolds steps for growth
NEW DELHI, Nov 28 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today indicated that the government was unlikely to make any moves to delete Rajiv Gandhis name from the Bofors charge sheet and asserted that the law must take its own course.
Asked for his response to the Congress charge describing the filing of the charge sheet as "political vendetta", Mr Vajpayee said "the easiest thing to do is to hurl the charge of political vendetta."
He told PTI "our stand on corruption has been consistent. The law must take its own course. The matter is now in the courts and if anybody has any objections, they can approach the courts for redressal."
Stating that the government had not filed the charge sheet, the Prime Minister said it had been filed by the CBI on the basis of its investigations into the Bofors gun deal case.
The Prime Minister allayed fears that his government would push through a "hidden agenda" and said a moratorium had been put on all contentious issues.
Asked about apprehensions that the BJP could not be separated from its ideological fountainhead the RSS and other organisations like the VHP and the Bajrang Dal despite the party placing the controversial issues on the backburner, he said "our only agenda is the agenda for a proud, prosperous India the common manifesto of the National Democratic Alliance."
On Home Minister L. K. Advanis statement that the BJP had not deviated from or given up its pet issues and that ideology by itself was not relevant to good governance, he said a political organisation lived and grew only when it had ideological moorings.
"A party that is not committed to values and ideals or one that subscribes to dogma, can only suffer political marginalisation.
To a question on the NDA manifesto talking of a review of the Constitution and fears expressed in this regard by some political parties, he said "the fundamental character of our Constitution is inviolable. Therefore, there is no reason for any apprehension."
He said a Constitution ceased to be relevant if it was not a living document and it was precisely for this reason that it had been amended 84 times.
To a question if the government would adopt a pro-active policy against cross-border terrorism encouraged by Pakistan as advocated by the Home Minister early last year, he said governments were fast adopting the concept of "zero tolerance" across the world to combat violent crimes especially terrorism.
"This concept aims at prevention of crime as well as punishment of criminals, especially those who pick up guns, in a concerted, tough manner. For us, the life of every citizen is precious and we are determined to protect it.
On the governments immediate priorities on economic and political fronts, Mr Vajpayee said broadly they were designed to speed up economic reforms, ensure higher growth and generation of employment opportunities and provide primary education, basic health and shelter to those who had no access to these minimum requirements till now.
"Rapid economic growth and social development, we believe are the keys to the creation of a prosperous and powerful nation with a vibrant society. Simultaneously, we will also focus attention on security-related issues both externally and internally," he added.
Mr Vajpayee said the day of populism and sloganeering were over and warned of "hard decisions" that may affect the people in the short term but will benefit the nation in the long term.
"As a nation, we have to collectively understand that the days of populism and sloganeering are over. We have to collectively meet present challenges so that we are able to seize future opportunities," Mr Vajpayee told PTI.
Mr Vajpayee described Indias ongoing dialogue with the USA on non-proliferation issues as "most serious and substantive engagement" since Independence and said Washington now "better understood" New Delhis security concerns.
On resumption of the stalled dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir and other bilateral matters with Pakistan, the Prime Minister made it clear that Islamabad must stop trans-border terrorism and its hostile propaganda against India.
On status of Indo-US relations, he said "we are the two largest democracies in the world and both believe that freedom and democracy provide the best basis of harmonious development of relations between nations, while providing for economic growth."
On the situation in Pakistan, Mr Vajpayee said it had rapidly and dramatically changed since he took the Lahore initiative and undertook the bus trip to Pakistan in February.
"First, there was Pakistans aggression in Kargil. Our defence forces evicted the intruders and Pakistan suffered a crushing military and diplomatic defeat.
Pakistan stepped up trans-border terrorism and its
hostile propaganda against India. More recently, there
has been a military coup in Pakistan. All this is of
great concern and hardly creates the right atmosphere for
meaningful talks," Mr Vajpayee said on resumption of
the dialogue process.
Kargil panel will submit report
NEW DELHI, Nov 28 (PTI) The Subrahmanyam Committee, probing the events that led to the Kargil conflict including any possible intelligence failure, would submit its report to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Defence Minister George Fernandes said today.
"No date has been fixed for the committee to submit its report though it had been given six months time to do so," he told reporters after a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Prime Ministers residence.
Since the Prime Minister had appointed this four-member committee, its report would "first be considered at that level and later further action will be taken," Mr Fernandes said.
Members of the committee had met Mr Vajpayee on November 23, following which Mr K. Subrahmanyam had said "we will submit the report very shortly.... It may be December 15 or even earlier."
India poised to export defence
AHMEDABAD, Nov 28 (PTI) India is poised to become an exporter of defence equipment in the next millennium instead of an importer, Minister of State for Defence Harin Pathak said here today.
Mr Pathak told PTI that an export target of Rs 135 crore of defence equipment for two financial years from 1998 onwards had been fixed, adding that so far Rs 80 crore worth of defence-related items have already been exported.
Asked what kind of items were being exported by India, he said "though technology-wise they were not very significant, nonetheless the exports would help us not only to become self-reliant in defence production but make our presence felt in the global defence market".
Presently, India was exporting aeroplane doors among other things, he said and added that in the coming years the country would gradually decrease import of defence equipment.
"Our aim is to become self-reliant in defence production. So far 70 per cent of our defence and security needs are met from internal sources which included 39 ordnance factories, eight public sector undertakings and the Defence Research and Development Organisation laboratories working under the Ministry of Defence.
Shanta for import duty on apple
NEW DELHI, Nov 28 (PTI) Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs Minister Shanta Kumar today strongly favoured imposing import duty on apple to save the interest of growers in the country.
"We cannot stop import under open general licence (OGL) under the WTO agreement. We will see how the import is discouraged by restructuring the import duty on apple," Mr Shanta Kumar told PTI here.
Indian markets for the first time received apple from foreign countries under OGL this year and domestic growers, particularly from Himachal Pradesh, were agitated over this development.
Referring to the support price being given to the fruit growers by the Himachal Government, he said necessary help needed by the farmers should be available to them but it must not be at the cost of "quality of their product".
"Unfortunately the quality of the apple had not improved much in the state during all these years and the growers are now realising that a better quality fruit imported from other countries is posing a threat to them," Mr Shanta Kumar, who had to face the ire of apple growers for cutting support price to the apple growers during his chief ministership, said.
"The growers and their so-called sympathisers then thought they will have monopoly over the production of apple but today they are feeling that improving the quality is very important in the face of the challenge from import of quality fruit from abroad," he said.
Stating that Himachal Pradesh was in dire need of fruit based industry following its emergence as the "fruit bowl" of the country, Mr Shanta Kumar said he had recently talked to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on this issue.
"Mr Dhumal has conveyed to me that if the need arises, the industrial policy will be reviewed so that the processing industries come up in the state," he said.
Over Rs 3,500 crore of
food subsidies per year were being "diverted"
and the government would soon announce a mechanism
involving panchayats to ensure effective utilisation of
funds, Mr Shanta Kumar said today.
Nadeem files plea against extradition
MUMBAI, Nov 28 (PTI) Music director Nadeem Akhtar Saifee has filed an appeal in the London High Court against the order of a Bowstreet Magistrate who had held that there was a prima facie case against him for his alleged role in the conspiracy to eliminate audio king Gulshan Kumar in Mumbai two years ago.
The appeal would be heard in the next two months, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who had appeared on behalf of the Mumbai police in the extradition proceedings initiated by the Indian government against London-based Nadeem, told PTI here.
The Bowstreet Magistrate, after holding that there was prima facie evidence against Nadeem for his alleged complicity in the crime, had recently sent his proposal to the British Home Secretary, who was empowered to initiate extradition proceedings against the music director.
In view of the appeal preferred by Nadeem, extradition proceedings against him had been automatically stayed, Mr Nikam said.
The government, he said, would strongly oppose the appeal and also refute Nadeems allegations, including the one that the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP Government in Maharashtra was "biased" towards him as he belonged to the minority community.
In the appeal, Nadeem has urged that the evidence of the approver in the Gulshan Kumar murder case had been wrongly relied upon by the Bowstreet Magistrate and that the approver had given statements under "pressure" from the police and had been "tortured".
Nadeem pointed out that the approver had retracted his statement alleging "torture" by the police and had urged the Indian court to withdraw the pardon granted to him earlier. But his plea was rejected as pardon once given could not be withdrawn.
Soon after the
confirmation was received from the Crown Prosecution
Service yesterday about Nadeem filing an appeal in the
London High Court, a high-power committee, comprising
city Police Commissioner, R. H. Mendonca, Joint Police
Commissioner D. Shivanandan and Prosecutor Nikam, held a
discussion to prepare themselves for the legal battle
Cong wins Rajasthan civic poll
JAIPUR, Nov 28 (PTI) The Ruling Congress in Rajasthan has secured the maximum wards in 26 of the 45 municipal bodies in the November 26 polls, the state election commission announced last night.
Independents and other have a clear victory in there bodies of Alwar, Bharatpur and Rajgarh where the Congress did not contest the elections on the party symbol, it said.
As the results of 1450 wards in 45 municipal bodies were out, the BJP won in 544 wards, Congress in 531 and independents and others in 375.
Of the 26 bodies, the Congress will be able to get one mayor and nine chairmen on its own, whereas in five bodies it will form the board with help of one or two independents and in remaining eleven wards, the Congress will have to muster support for the constitution of boards.
The Congress has clear
cut two-third majority in Tonk Barmer, Pushkar,
Nimbahera, Bisau, Bhalodi, Deedwana and Kanor, and is
near a majority in Jodhpur, Mangrole, Jalore, Sangod and
Kaithun where independents are likely to support the
New thrust to Indo-French
NEW DELHI, Nov 28 Away from media focus and public attention, India and France are currently working to impart new contents to mutual ties with a long-term objective of recasting bilateral relationship for the challenges and opportunities of the next century.
While the political leadership of the two countries agree on the need to promote a multi-polar world, New Delhi and Paris are undertaking a path-breaking exercise to generate a momentum for laying foundations for the future.
The recent visit of French Minister of National Education, Research and Technology, Claude Allegre, was a small step in that direction with the two sides fine-tuning their respective strategy for providing a new thrust.
Mr Allegres admission that there was a general awakening regarding India in France has set a process in motion which would take the bilateral relations to a qualitative new phase in the next century.
Water, space, higher education and creation of Indo-French research laboratories are some of the areas in which two countries would work in coming years.
Apart from it, France has decided to translate Indian book on Indian science into French for creating a better appreciation of India.
In concrete terms, a
French Water Week was held from November 19 to 26 in the
form of three two-day seminars in New Delhi, Mumbai and
Calcutta which brought together 300 scientists,
industrialists and decision-makers in the water sector.
Rs 90 crore frozen in urea scam: CBI
NEW DELHI, Nov 28 (PTI) The CBI has succeeded in freezing about Rs 90 crore in the Rs 133 crore urea scam deposited in various foreign banks, the investigating agency sources said.
The sources said that following letters rogatory sent by a special court here to various countries, the agency was able to "confiscate" the money deposited in various foreign banks by Turkish firm Karsans two executives, presently lodged in judicial custody here.
Contribution of Haksar recalled
NEW DELHI, Nov 28 Contributions of the noted diplomat P N Haksar were recalled at a function organised here today.
The function organised by Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) was attended among others by the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan.
The Chairman of CRRID, Dr Manmohan Singh, in his address said Mr Haksar emphasised the growth of scientific temper and the need for technological progress.
"We dont have to go to Silicon Valley to prove that Indians are second to none, we can create one here itself and make the world realise our potential," the former Union Finance Minister said.
Mr Haksar was a much acclaimed bureaucrat whose quest for social justice and ability to undertake measures for social equity were worth noting, Dr Manmohan Singh said.
The former Union Minister said Mr Haksar always laid emphasis on greater concentration in science and technology if India wanted to find a place in the community of nations.
The Chairman, Editorial Board, Man and Development, T.N. Kaul, in his address, recalled the valuable contributions made by Mr Haksar during the Indo Pakistan conflict in 1971 and the Simla agreement.
Stating that Mr Haksar was a great statesman and a noted bureaucrat, Mr Kaul said he always emphasised on bureaucrats serving the people and not to agree to the whims and fancies of their masters.
"The bureaucrats should be accessible to the people and should serve in their best interest. And, not give in to the needs of the political masters," Mr Kaul said, adding Mr Haksar would had strong views on the role of the bureaucracy would have agreed with him.
Mr Haksar was the Chairman of the Chandigarh-based CRRID, which was founded in the late 1970s. During his tenure the centre made immense stride. Following his death, Dr Manmohan Singh has succeeded as its Chairman.
PTI adds: The President, who was to deliver a speech in his memory, however, could not speak a word because of sore throat.
Stating that for last two-decades the bureaucracy of the country had been "succumbing to the whims and fancies of the politicians", Mr Kaul said "this is not a healthy trend and it leads only to rampant corruption and mismanagement."
51st anniversary of NCC
NEW DELHI, Nov 28 - The National Cadets Core (NCC) celebrated its 51st anniversary today with the Director-General of NCC, Lt-Gen A.S. Rao, and other senior officers and cadets paying homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, here.
Two cadets from each directorate of the NCC, representing all 18 directorates of the country, laid wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.
Ties with Tokyo back on track
NEW DELHI, Nov 28 External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singhs four-day trip to Tokyo ending this week on Friday has not only helped in breaking the post-Pokhran frost in the mutual ties, but has also set a process in motion to restore "constructive adaptability" in bilateral relations.
Economic determinism and vital national interest has forced both New Delhi and Tokyo to adopt a more realistic and flexible approach which would finally restore pre-Pokhran dynamism in their relations.
However, it would still take some time, say till February next year for lifting of economic sanctions. The former Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Ryutaro Hashimotos proposed visit to New Delhi early next year for talks on managing the bilateral ties is likely to lead to the restoration of economic aid to India.
But before this, the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, would be in Tokyo early next year for initiating a security dialogue. The State Secretary and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Ichita Yamamoto, who visited New Delhi ahead of the External Affairs Ministers just concluded trip to Japan, would again be in New Delhi for further discussions.
While it is intriguing as to why the Japanese leadership was taking so much time to restore bilateral ties to the pre-Pokhran days, Tokyo is, indeed, waiting for the outcome of the US President, Mr Bill Clintons official trip to India early next year.
While Mr Jaswant Singh left no opportunity to allay Japanese domestic apprehensions on Indias newly acquired nuclear status by emphasising that New Delhis voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing was a "de-facto acceptance of the CTBT", Japan has also contributed to the process by signalling its readiness to enter into a dialogue for defreezing bilateral ties.
Mr Jaswant Singhs persuasive skills to convince the Japanese decision making elite and the domestic opinion about Indias peaceful intentions despite its nuclear tests in 1998 helped in creating a positive environment which would go a long way to put its ties back on track.
Mr Yamamotos words that "India is too big and great, and too important a country to be pressured into doing a thing it does not want to do" is the first public admission of geopolitical reality.
India may have its philosophy different from Japan in this regard, Mr Yamamoto said, stressing that Indo-Japanese relations should not hinge on the single issue of New Delhis signing of the CTBT.
killed in mishap
SOLAPUR: Two persons, including the son of state Industries Minister Patangrao Kadam, were killed on the spot and another injured when their car hit against a tree on the Pune-Solapur highway on Saturday. The body of Abhijeet Kadam (22) was shifted to Pune early on Sunday for the last rites, the police said. The injured, Kuldeep Gaikawad, was hospitalised, it said, adding that the other deceased was identified as the car driver, Fakruddin Babu Amaredi. PTI
Noted tabla player dead
gets jury award
book on Mewar
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