|N A T I O N|
PM not scared of
judgements on suspicions: SC
PM writes to Yeltsin over Dagestan
CPM flays PMs remarks on
Action against DGP, Home Secy
Defence officials briefed BJP by
Sonia not fit for PMs job,
Mayawati files papers from
2 robbed of 7.85 lakh
Two shot dead in Delhi
Hefty fine for disrupting poll
Prasar Bharati a distant
Prabhakar may join films
PM not scared of sanctions
JABALPUR, Sept 13 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today accused the Congress of "neglecting" national security saying its governments in the past had prevented scientists from "galvanising" nuclear capabilities under "international pressure".
"After the first nuclear explosion in 1974, congress governments stopped scientists from carrying out further tests to develop our capability bowing to international pressure," he said addressing a largely attended election meeting at the Garrison ground here.
"But we didnt succumb to any external pressure. We conducted Pokhran-II explosions, undeterred by economic sanctions," he said, adding the BJP-led government was not "bothered" about international punitive measures as it enjoyed peoples mandate.
Mr Vajpayee, while asserting that India wanted peace and cordial ties with Pakistan, however, warned Islamabad that he would not allow it to violate Indias borders under any circumstances.
"We are prepared to meet any challenge that Pakistan may pose to us," he said.
Charging the Congress with having compromised on national security on many occasions, the Prime Minister said he had advised Indira Gandhi not to return 90,000 Pakistani prisoners of war (POWs) after the 1971 Bangladesh war unless Pakistan completely vacated Kashmir territory occupied by it.
Mr Vajpayee claimed Indira Gandhi did not heed his advice and returned all POWs and captured land to Pakistan without settling the Kashmir issue once and for all.
Blaming the Congress for the Kargil intrusions, he said Pakistan carried out the misadventure due to political instability caused by the toppling of his government.
Describing the Congress as a "destabilising force", Mr Vajpayee said the party toppled his government through a conspiracy as it was "worried" over its achievements made in just 13 months.
He charged Congress with
double speak on coalitions and said on the one hand, it
was against multi-party government while on the other it
had entered into poll pacts with Laloo Prasad
Yadavs RJD, which is running the
"corrupt" government in Bihar and AIADMK chief
Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu.
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 The BJP today charged the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, with "usurping" the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, (IGNCA) a trust for which the union government had provided Rs 134 crore and 23 acres along what is estimated to be one of the costliest sites in the world.
The BJP claimed that it had all supporting documents on the case, which was clearly a "public fraud", and the government would be presenting the case before the Delhi High Court, which is hearing a public interest litigation on the subject.
The BJP's case was that Mrs Sonia Gandhi in connivance with the then Congress-led Narasimha Rao government installed herself as the President for life of the IGNCA in June, 1995, curtailed the power of the government to fill half of the vacancies of trustees, snuffed the power of the government to appoint the member Secretary of the trust and took away with the power of the President of India to appoint a committee to periodically review the functioning of the trust.
A BJP spokesman, Mr Arun Shourie, told newspersons here that "a government trust, a trust which had received over Rs 134 crore of the taxpayers money, a Trust which had received 23 acres of invaluable land was, by a simple collusive exchange of a letter each between Mrs Sonia Gandhi and one of her gilded attendants, converted into a fief within her total control".
Mr Shourie said the deed of the trust clearly provided that every 10 years two-thirds of the trustees would retire and one half of the vacancies caused would be filled by the government. Also the deed provided that the member secretary would be nominated by the government.
It also provided that the President of India would appoint a committee from time to time to review the working of the trust and no changes would be made in the deed except by prior written sanction of the government.
Mr Shourie said that on May 18, 1995, the IGNCA convened a routine meeting of its trustees and the minutes of the meeting contained mundane matters.
He said two points stood out from the record. That the meeting of May 18 was like any other meeting and there was not even one word in the minutes that the deed of the trust was even mentioned.
However, on May 30, 1995, Mr Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to the Minister of Human Resources, Mr Madhavrao Scindia, who himself was a trustee of the IGNCA, informing him of what she said were alterations in the deed which the trustees had unanimously approved. The minister wrote back on June 2, 1995 that "I have great pleasure in communicating to you the Government of Indias approval to the alterations."
Mr Shourie said the "approval" was in itself wholly without a warrant as such sanctions were governed by Rule 4 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961. This rule prescribed that when a subject concerned more than one department, "no order be issued until all such departments have concurred, or failing such concurrence, a decision thereon has been taken or under the authority of the Cabinet".
He said in this case concurrence from other departments which were manifestly concerned, including the Finance Ministry, were never sought and even the Cabinet was not apprised.
Mr Shourie said newspapers had published details about the "fraud" and questions had been raised in this regard in Parliament.
He alleged that for a two and a half years, three governments made sure that facts would not be disclosed to the MPs and that the file concerned would keep shuttling between the Law Ministry and the Human Resource Development Ministry.
Mr Shourie said the BJP-led government had consulted the Attorney- General on the matter and it had made a foolproof case for presentation before the court.
The BJP demanded that
the annexation in the trust deed, which provided for Mrs
Sonia Gandhi being the President for life of the trust,
be undone and a full-fledged inquiry be instituted to fix
responsibility for the fraud by which public property of
such enormous value and a government trust had been
usurped and placed in the private control of one
individual and her cohorts, he added.
Dont base judgements on suspicions: SC
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 (UNI) The Supreme Court has cautioned all courts against basing their conclusions on mere suspicions, however strong they may be, while recording conviction for the offence of "causing disapperance of evidence" under Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
"It is not necessary that the offender himself should have been found guilty of the main offence for the purpose of convicting him of the offence under Section 201. Nor is it absolutely necessary that somebody else should have been found guilty of the main offence.
"Nonetheless, it is imperative that the prosecution should have established two requirements the first being that an offence has been committed and the second being that the accused knew about it or he had reasons to believe the commission of that offence. Then and then alone the prosecution can succeed, provided the remaining postulates of the offence and also established," the court observed.
The caution was sounded by a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice K T Thomas and Mr Justice M B Shah, while allowing an appeal against a judgement and order of the Patna High Court.
The body of a teenaged woman, Asha Kumari, recovered from a well near her nuptial home, was hastily cremated. For that incident her husband Kalpu Mahto and three others stood convicted of the offence under Section 201 IPC. Though the prosecution did not even venture to establish any other offence in respect of the death of the woman, the trial court passed a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for seven years on one of the convicted, while a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for three years was imposed on the remaining convicted persons. They appealed to the Patna High Court but failed.
"We cannot comprehend how the sessions court have escalated the conviction to the topmost layer of the offence for awarding the maximum sentence of imprisonment for seven years as the said upper limit is fixed only for one category of cases falling under Section 201 IPC.
"The Sessions Judge did not even advert to the possibility of the offence falling within the aforesaid top category though he had chosen to award the maximum sentence only one of the four convicted persons. The high court, while restating the sentence portion in its judgement, seems to have committed an error in as much as it convicted all four accused under Section 201 IPC and sentenced them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years each," the Supreme Court observed in its judgement.
The first portion of Section 201 IPC, the court noted, contains the postulates for constituting the offence while the remaining three portions prescribe, three different tiers of punishments depending upon the degree of offence in each situation.
"The two indispensable ingredients for all three tiers in Section 201 are the accused should have had knowledge that an offence has been committed or at least he should have had reasons to believe it, he should then have caused disappearance of the evidence of the commission of that offence. The prosecution cannot escape from establishing the aforesaid two basic ingredients for conviction of the accused under Section 201 IPC," the court added.
The court said that the gravest degree contemplated in Section 201 IPC was punishable with the maximum sentence of imprisonment for seven years. "The minimum requirement for the offence to reach the said peak degree is that the offender should have caused disappearance of the evidence of another offence which is punishable with death and that should be established in addition to the above mentioned two basic ingredients".
Even if the two basics are established and the prosecution failed to establish the next requirement, the court cannot convict the accused for the highest tier specified in the section.
In the present case, all that the prosecution could establish, the court pointed out, was that dead body of Asha Kumari was recovered from the well situated in the compound of her marital home and that the cremation was hurried through after physically keeping her kith and kin away from the scene.
"No doubt, such a culpable hurry enkindles fumes of suspicion which can be regarded as an incriminating circumstance against those DWHO showed such a haste. But that circumstance stands isolated and unconcatenated with any other circumstance, court observed.
The court therefore held
that the prosecution had not even attempted to show, much
less to prove, that any offence had been committed by any
one in respect of the death of Asha Kumari, which should
have been the foundation for establishing the offence
under Section 201 IPC.
PM writes to Yeltsin over
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 India has expressed serious concern over recent developments in Dagestan saying that the ongoing situation there was "clearly a manifestation of the problem of international terrorism and extremism".
Even as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has offered the countrys condolences in a letter to Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the recent bomb blasts in Moscow and in its outskirts, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh has condemned developments in Dagestan aimed at destabilising the "established order" there.
In a letter to Mr Ivanov, Mr Singh said India cannot but express themselves in full solidarity with the Government and people of the Russian Federation at this moment of grave concern to them.
Strongly condemning any acts which destabilise states and the established order therein, the External Affairs Minister said that the ongoing situation in Dagestan "is clearly a manifestation of international terrorism and extremism".
"There is a growing body of evidence in regard to the roles of these terrorists, their sources of financial and other support and camps in which they have been trained", Mr Singh said in his letter of September 11 to Mr Ivanov.
Stating that such
information would assist the international community in
dealing with this scourge, the External Affairs Minister
said India "fully supports the steps taken by the
Government of the Russian Federation in meeting the
threats it faces in the Republic of Dagestan in the
protection of its constitutional and territorial
CPM flays PMs remarks on Bihar
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 (PTI) The CPM today reacted sharply to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees remarks that Presidents rule would be imposed in Bihar if National Democratic Alliance (NDA) returns to power and said "There can be no greater attack on democracy.....When such an intention is announced in advance, even before a government is formed at the Centre.
"The BJP and its Prime Minister do not seem to have learnt any lessons from the fiasco of their twice-attempted effort to remove the Bihar Government when it was in power, CPM Polit Bureau said in a press note.
"This statement alone is sufficient to expose the BJP leader as unfit to hold the high office of Prime Minister, the release said.
The party also criticised Mr Vajpayee for his observation on the election process in Bihar and said, "The remarks made by the Prime Minister in Patna are a blatant attempt to interfere with the arrangements being made by the Election Commission for elections in the state.
It demanded that the Prime Minister and the BJP should desist from making such harmful statements questioning the credibility of the Election Commission.
Addressing a press
conference yesterday, Mr Vajpayee had voiced concern over
Election Commissions stand on detection of
"fake" ballot boxes in Bihar and suggested
effective steps to check vitiation of the election
Cong campaigning in Bihar
RANCHI, Sept 13 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhis campaign in the BJP stronghold of South Bihar was expected to spark a wave of enthusiasm among her party workers, but rain played spoilsport and she addressed only two election meetings today.
Earlier, at election rallies in Jamshedpur and Ranchi, she spoke of the need for a strong and stable Congress government at the Centre as opposed to the fractious coalitions that have ruled the country since 1996.
A stable government is a prerequisite to development and progress, she said. Mrs Sonia Gandhi left for Delhi in the afternoon. Her campaign meetings at Dumka, Giridih and Aurangabad were cancelled as the helicopter in which she was to travel could not take off due to bad weather.
The only consolation for the Congress was that the weather also dampened the BJPs campaign. Poll meetings, including that of Union Home Minister L K Advani, were also cancelled in the area. The BJP had won 11 of the 13 Lok Sabha seats from the plateau region of South Bihar in the last elections.
The Congress, which had won only two of the 13 seats, has been grappling with dissension after the party decided to enter into an electoral alliance with the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal in the state.
Local Congressmen were opposed to the pact since the RJD had stalled creation of the separate Jharkhand state comprising 18 South Bihar districts.
Party chief Sonia Gandhi today sidestepped the whole issue of alliance with the RJD and asserted that if voted to power, her party would create the new state. She also promised a special national commission for tribal welfare.
Attacking the BJP-led coalition for its apathy towards the minorities, she said if the Congress assumed power at the Centre, it would constitute, on a priority basis, a commission to probe the reasons which had led to the backwardness of the tribals.
She also promised that the long-pending issue of 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state Assemblies would be adopted without delay. Claiming her commitment in this regard, she said the Congress had already introduced the reservation for women in its organisational set-up.
Holding the BJP squarely responsible for Kargil, she claimed that those in power had been informed about the intrusion as early as September 1998, but instead of taking action "they preferred to visit Lahore by bus and celebrate their much-claimed friendship with Pakistan.
When Prime Minister Atal
Behari Vajpayee was busy celebrating the bus ride, the
infiltrators had sneaked into the Kargil sector, and the
government, despite having information, did not initiate
action to foil their designs, she said.
Action against DGP, Home Secy sought
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 (PTI) The National Council of Churches in India today demanded "appropriate action" against Orissa Home Secretary A K Tripathy and Director-General of Police (DGP) Dilip Mohapatra for their reported controversial remarks on the killing of a Christian priest in the state.
"We demand that appropriate action should be taken against the Home Secretary (Tripathy) and the DGP (Mohapatra) for their misleading statements against the minorities," the council leaders said in a joint statement here.
Condemning the recent killings of Father Aruldoss and Muslim trader Sheik Rehman, the council leaders charged that "communal cleansing" was the national agenda of "fundamentalists and their criminal cadres".
While Mr Tripathy was
reported to have said that conversion among tribals was
causing splits in the family, Mr Mohapatra had allegedly
said that the killings of the missionaries might be a
sequel to "forcible conversions" in Mayurbhanj
Defence officials briefed BJP by accident
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Sept 13 (UNI) Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis today said it was by accident and not knowing the political implications that the top defence officials briefed a meeting of the BJP on the activities of the armed forces.
Reacting to the controversial briefing by defence officials at the BJP meeting recently, he told newspersons here that the officials were expected to brief the Cabinet and even the members of Parliament on defence matters.
He pointed out that the officials had gone to the meeting along with Defence Minister George Fernandes without knowing that it was a party forum.
He admitted that any such instance would amount to political interference in the functioning of the forces. However, he denied as baseless, the allegation about politicisation of the defence forces.
Referring to the recent developments in the force, including the premature retirement sought by the Deputy Chief of Air Staff and another top official, he said there was no turmoil in the force and it had not affected the morale of the airmen.
The Air Chief refused to comment on the issue of sensationalising the martyrdom of armed personnel in the Kargil conflict with an eye on the vote banks and said it is up to you to decide.
At one time, the Army was in doubt whether it could evict the intruders, Air Marshal Tipnis said, while explaining the involvement of the Air Force in the attack.
Referring to the low-profile participation by the Air Force in the operations, he said an attack of large magnitude would have further escalated the tension and increased the casualty. Besides, we were directed to contain the attacks within the limits of our borders.
Denying reports that the Air Force was hesitant to launch air attacks during the conflict, he affirmed that the IAF was always prepared to plunge into action, provided a political clearance was given.
Sonia not fit for PMs job, says Shatru
VARANASI, Sept 13 (PTI) Cine-star-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha today said that Congress President Sonia Gandhi was not fit for the job of Prime Minister and described her as an inexperienced person.
Being a bahu (daughter-in-law) of a respectable family and as a woman, Sonia Gandhi should be respected by all of us but it did not mean that she was fit for the job of Prime Minister, Sinha said addressing election meetings at Bhu gate, Ram Nagar area and Chandauli.
Criticising the Congress, Sinha said due to its wrong policies, about 38 per cent people were living below poverty line and 50 per cent of the population was still illiterate even after 50 years of independence.
He said frequent elections were neither in the interest of democracy nor for the countrys development as the huge money meant for the development was being spent on unwanted elections.
Mayawati files papers from Akbarpur
AKBARPUR, (UP), Sept 13 (PTI) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Vice-President Mayawati filed her nomination papers from the Akbarpur Lok Sabha constituency today.
She filed four sets of papers in the presence of senior party leaders.
Later, party supremo Kanshi Ram told newsmen that his party had played a key role in toppling the Vajpayee government to pave the way for mid-term elections.
Instability suits us, he said adding, recurrent elections are to the benefit of the BSP as it has gained after every election.
Mr Kanshi Ram said the BSP was not in favour of a stable government until it got an absolute majority on its own.
2 robbed of 7.85 lakh
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 Three unidentified persons looted Rs 7.85 lakh from employees of a petrol station in the Dilshad Garden area of North-East district this afternoon.
The victims, Shyam Lal and Manik Chand,were going in a car to deposit the money in a bank in Shahadra, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East), Mr Muktesh Chander said.
As they reached near Gur
Teg Bahadur Hospital, a Maruti car in which three persons
were sitting, overtook them. One of them hit the window
panes of the victims car with an iron rod. Then
they opened the door to the vehicle forcibly, snatched
the bag and fled from the spot.
Two shot dead in Delhi
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 Two persons, including a student of Pusa Institute, were shot dead in separate incidents in South-West district of the Capital this morning.
In the first incident, Kuldeep Singh alias Gullu, a student of the Pusa Institute, was shot at by four car-borne persons. He was taken to RML Hospital where he was declared dead, the police said. The suspects were identified by the brother of the deceased as Sunil, Venod, Manjeet and Amarjeet. They were suspected the members of Anup gang.
In the second incident, Yashpal was shot dead by two persons who were on a Hero Honda motor cycle. The deceased was sitting at Krishna Automobile workshop in Najafgarh, West Delhi, when the incident occurred. The accused are suspected to be members of Krishan gang.
Hefty fine for disrupting poll
ETAWAH, Sept 13 (UNI) Those with a track record of creating disturbance in the elections would have to pay a hefty fine if they did so again in the current elections.
District Magistrate Anoop Wadhawan said here today that steps were being taken so that nobody dared create disturbance during the polls. The security in the sensitive and extra-sensitive centres was being beefed up in the constituency.
If any anti-social element, who was guilty of creating disturbance in any of the five previous elections tried to do so again, strict action would be taken against him and a fine of Rs 20,000 to 50,000 imposed, he said.
Prasar Bharati a distant dream
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 (UNI) Nine years to the day after the presidential assent to the Prasar Bharati Act and two years after it was notified, the concept of autonomy for the national broadcaster remains a distant dream, experts feel.
With the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, saying that he would like to wind up the Prasar Bharati since it has no place in the present scenario, this dream has all but vanished, especially since the Congress was in any case never serious about giving Prasar Bharati a free hand.
Speakers at a seminar on the Prasar Bharati here yesterday stated that the fundamental question was that of generating resources as the government wanted the national broadcaster to become self-dependent. But this had only pushed the broadcaster into a vicious circle since public service broadcasting got pushed to the background.
The annual seminar was organised by the Jan Prasar to coincide with the presidential assent to the Act on September 12, 1990, and its notification from September 15, 1997.
It was addressed among others by several Doordarshan officials: Deputy Director-General T.R. Malakkar, Director of Audience Research Unit B.S. Chandrashekhar, Engineer-in-Chief B.K. De and Controller of Programmes Sudhir Tandon. Other speakers included Press Institute of India Director Ajit Bhattacharjea, social activists Suhas Borkar, Arun Ghosh and Rami Chhabra, media experts P.C. Joshi, Romesh Chandra and T.K. Thomas, and senior journalists K.G. Joglekar, Satish Jacob, and B. B. Nagpal, and Latika Padgaonkar from UNESCO.
Mr Malakkar said it was erroneous to say that public service broadcasting had been put on the backseat, but said this had to be seen in the overall context of television today. He said every channel was being forced to succumb to commercial forces, but Doordarshan was trying through a number of channels to give everything that the other channels were giving.
Dr Chandrashekhar said the public service broadcasting was under threat. Both he and Mr Tandon wanted greater encouragement to be given to in-house talent within Doordarshan which was capable of producing excellent programmes. Mr Tandon also wanted adequate recruitment since he said the average age of Doordarshan employees was above 45. Mr De said efforts were on to increase localisation of programming.
Mr Bhattacharjea asked how the government could be allowed to use the tax payers money for its own propaganda, while Mr Chandra said it was the men who manned the Prasar Bharati and not the policies which were to blame. Mr Thomas said the all-India services had taken over broadcasting and the bureaucracy had chopped the wings of the programmers.
Mr Nagpal said it was clear that no government would give up the media, and suggested that the government should be allowed to keep one television channel and give the rest to the Prasar Bharati. Both Mr Nagpal and the Jan Prasar convener, Mr Suhas Borkar, presented a historical perspective to the Prasar Bharati, beginning with its origins in the B.G. Verghese report in the late seventies, its becoming an Act in 1990, its notification in 1997, the various ordinances, and finally Mr Mahajans threat.
Mr Jacob said even the British Broadcasting Corporation was facing problems similar to the Prasar Bharati. He emphasised that the need was to package the programmes in a way that would make them attractive to viewers. He regretted that programmers in Doordarshan were forced to work virtually with one hand tied behind their backs.
Ms Padgaonkar said she was worried about the encouragement to violence in the media, but admitted that commercial forces often were to blame for this. Ms Chhabra said the question of resources was really the heart of the question. Unfortunately, she said Doordarshan had been made prostitute by commercial and vested interests.
Mr Ghosh wanted clear-cut objectives to ensure the media did not become a tool in the hands of vested interests and also wanted greater regional programming. Mr Joglekar wondered why radio was being ignored in all discussions, since it still remained the main source of entertainment for a majority of the people in rural India.
According to a
presentation made on the occasion, Doordarshan covers
72.9 per cent of the area of the country and 87.6 per
cent of its population. Even in the metropolitan cities,
11.9 million homes see only Doordarshan. Doordarshan has
a reach of 69.1 million television homes all over the
country compared to the private satellite TV channels
which reached only 18.4 million homes.
Prabhakar may join films
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 (UNI) At a time when even politicians are depending on Bollywood for support, cinema is fast becoming the last refuge for everyone. One more person to jump on the shimmering bandwagon is former Indian cricketer Manoj Prabhakar.
Manoj, who was unceremoniously dropped from the Indian cricket team, plans to start a television serial on his own life and on the state of the game today. Asked during an informal chat with UNI on the possibility of joining films, the cricketer quipped: Yes and why not? I am smart, handsome and age is on my side. Right now I am giving it a thought and nothing conclusive can be said as yet.
The former Indian bowler, who was speaking over the weekend after he launched the production of the film Rajdhani being made by Delhi-based filmmakers, however said his immediate plan was to open an academy for cricketers in the Capital.
He felt that the Indian team needed a leader who could lead from the front. Quest for personal achievement would not get our team anywhere and a combined effort was needed to take the team to the pinnacle of success, he asserted.
Asked as to who should
be at the helm of the Indian team, he refused to name
anyone but said succinctly: A north Indian.
He added that somebody must be held accountable for the
poor performance of the team in Sri Lanka and Singapore,
and some heads must roll.
|Woman gives birth to
HUBLI: A 36-year-old woman has given birth to triplets, two male and a female, at Kadivala village in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It was a dream come true for Lakshmi Bai, who was yearning for a male child as all 11 children she had delivered so far were females. Only seven of them are alive. Dr Srilata Heranjgal, said the female child, weighing 1.5 kg and male 2.5 kg each, were healthy. UNI
Couple attacked by
11 killed in
7 killed in
6 feared drowned
in boat mishap
5 held for
for custodial death
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