|Saturday, February 12, 2000,
Pressure on CM to take action
Accused cant probe approver
Bus burning: police identifies 3
Shah-drug cartel links come to
Police outposts set afire in
No comment by PM on RSS issue
Diesel price hike likely
Govt for scrutiny of Article 356
NE ultra groups invited for talks
Frontline aircraft for major
Start talks with Kashmiris: Mufti
Pressure on CM to take action
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Feb 11 (PTI) Pressure is mounting on Kerala Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar to take action on the complaint against Forest and Transport Minister Neelalohithadasan Nadar for his alleged misbehaviour with a woman IAS officer with the civil servants complaint becoming public and the state IAS Officers Association pressing for action on the issue.
Various political parties, their allied outfits and women organisations have come out in the open since yesterday demanding the resignation of the minister and the ordering of an inquiry into the issue.
The issue has assumed serious dimensions with the local media carrying the details of the complaint said to be given to the Chief Minister by the aggrieved civil servant, Ms Nalini Netto, in which she had alleged "sexual and official harassment" by the minister.
In her complaint on February 1, 2000, Mr Netto copiously narrated the details regarding the alleged misbehaviour of the minister with her on December 21, 1999, at the ministers office in the assembly complex where she was called for discussing official matters.
A delegation of the state IAS officers Association submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister last evening urging him to order an inquiry into the issue.
The political fallout of the issue is not merely confined to the opposition parties demanding the ministers resignation but his detractors in the Janata Dal(S), to which Dr Nadar belongs have come out openly demanding that he should step down.
Senior Janata Dal(S) leader P.R. Kurup, who about an year ago vacated the lone Cabinet berth allotted to the JD(S) in the LDF Ministry in favour of Dr Nadar after an intense inner-party strife, yesterday demanded the ministers resignation in the context of the allegation.
Though the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), the main opposition in the state, has so far refrained from making any official comment on the issue, the Congress Student outfit, KSU, took out a protest march yesterday and burnt an effigy of Dr Nadar in front of the government secretariat.
The state BJP and its ally, the Janata Dal(U) have demanded the resignation of the minister and an impartial probe into the incident.
Ms Nalini Netto told reporters here that she expected the authorities to whom she had given the complaint would take a decision.
"The complaint is there. Everybody knows that the complaint is there. I am sure that they will take appropriate action in all fairness," she said.
Asked what action she expected, Ms Netto said: "It is sufficient to say that I am aggrieved. I dont have to say what should be done."
"They (the authorities) were very sympathetic, taken it very seriously. They gave me a patient hearing," she said.
Asked why she took more than a month to lodge a formal complaint on the matter, she said she was in "a state of shock" after it happened.
"It was a decision taken after much thought. I had to weigh the pros and cons. I know that whatever one does there will be two versions," she said.
KOCHI (UNI): Kerala Transport and Forest Minister A. Neelalohithadasan Nadar on Friday denied having misbehaved with former Transport Secretary Nalini Netto.
Talking to newspersons here, he said it was for his party, the Janata Dal (Secular), and the ruling Left Democratic Front to decide whether he should resign on the issue.
Mr Nadar said his
personal staff members were present when Ms Netto met him
in his chamber on December 21 where he discussed official
matters with her.
Accused cant probe approver twice: SC
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 (PTI) In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has held that an accused has no right to cross-examine an approver during investigation of a criminal case.
The ruling, denying a chance to the accused to examine an approver twice once during the investigation and then at the time of trial, came in a recent judgement pronounced by a Division Bench of Justice K.T. Thomas and Justice M.B. Shah.
Allowing an appeal against a Himachal Pradesh High Court order, the Bench said at the time of investigation into an offence, the accused "cannot claim any right" to cross-examine the approver as the "right to cross-examination would arise only at the time of trial".
The Himachal Pradesh High Court had in January 1998, while acquitting four accused in a double murder case said granting of pardon to an approver by the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) without giving the co-accused a chance to cross-examine him before filing of the charge sheet had vitiated committal proceedings and consequently the trial by the Sessions Judge.
The Sessions Judge had in May 1990, acquitted the four accused on the ground that granting pardon to an accused by the CJM was not in accordance with the law as the accused were not summoned and the charge sheet was not filed till then.
The Bench said "the person to whom pardon is granted is examined but is not offered for cross-examination and thereafter during trial if he is examined and cross-examined then there is no question of any prejudice caused to the accused."
Defence counsel had argued that the approver should have been cross-examined by the accused as per the Section 306 (4) (A) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) providing that every person accepting a tender of pardon shall be examined as a witness in the court of the magistrate taking cognizance of the offence and in the subsequent trial if any.
The Bench made it clear "at the stage of investigation, inquiry or trial of the offence, the person to whom the pardon is to be granted, is to be examined for collecting the evidence of a person who is directly or indirectly concerned in or privy to an offence."
In the present case, the
accused Surinder Mohan, a compounder, and other
co-accused Biru Ram, Sashi Paul and Sandeep Kumar were
facing trial for killing a doctor, Kewal Krishan and one
Vijay Kumar, near Dharamsala on the night of March 24,
Bus burning: police identifies 3 suspects
CHENNAI, Feb 11 (UNI) In a major breakthrough, the police has established the identity of the three motor-borne culprits who torched a bus of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) at Dharmapuri on February 2, which claimed the lives of three girl students.
Mr Paramvir Singh, IGP (SIT) CB-CID, Chennai, probing the incident said in a release here yesterday that one of the culprits, Munniappan, (45) who was arrested by the SIT party at the mofussil bus stand at Salem on Wednesday, had confessed to his involvement. The motorcycle used for committing the outrageous act had also been identified.
Of the 22 accused identified/suspected, 18 persons have been arrested or have surrendered in the court. Four of the accused are in SIT custody.
The role of each of the
accused was being investigated with a view to expose the
overall conspiracy involving the three culprits riding on
the motorcycle who had set the bus on fire and those who
resorted to road blockade, a little distance away and
damaged three buses with stones and attempted to set fire
to a bus.
Shah-drug cartel links come
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 The police has gained knowledge of the alleged nexus between the international drugs syndicates and former Wing Commander Satnam Shah and his daughter, who were recently arrested in the Capital with over 150 kg of narcotics.
Senior police officials interrogated Shah and his daughter Priya, for several hours today.
However, they refused to name the drug syndicates with whom the former Indian Air Force personnel had links.
Apart from Delhi police officers, personnel of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing and Narcotics Control Board conducted the investigations, police sources said.
As the accused had links with international drug cartels, number of investigative agencies were involved in the interrogation, the sources added.
The former IAF officer was arrested after the police received a tip off about the consignment.
The accused were running the drug racket under the garb of property consultancy business, the police said.
Korean literature and documents pertaining to sophisticated weaponry and evidence of a Swiss account of Shah were among the items seized from the accused during raids at several places in the Capital.
The police said the Gurgaon house of Shah was used as a store house for his documents. The police suspect that the drug had come from Korea. Besides, he reportedly had real estate in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and a few other states in South India.
The police recovered seven suitcases one with neatly packed pouches of "hashish" inside them.
It was not the usual quality of charas that comes from various seizures in the Capital. It was rock hard and appeared to be of fine quality.
The former Wing Commander has reportedly has two flats in Vasant Kunj area. One of them has been rented out. He himself lived with his sister at Maharani Bagh in South Delhi. He also had a flat in Gurgaon.
Police outposts set afire in protest
BALLIA (Uttar Pradesh), Feb 11 (PTI) The killing of a local student leader allegedly by the police here has sparked off violent protests by people, who set ablaze three police outposts and attacked government vehicles here today.
The police opened fire to control the violent mob injuring five protestors.
Student leader Naveen Pandey was allegedly shot in his chest yesterday by a police Sub-Inspector during the course of an interrogation on the police station premises.
A DGP office spokesman told PTI at Lucknow that Pandey, who had "criminal antecedent", was summoned by the Sub-Inspector for questioning.
Ballia Superintendent of Police P.V.Raashastry told newspersons here that the Sub-Inspector had been arrested and a case of murder registered against him.
He said the mob set
ablaze Japlinganj, Satni-Sarai and Beechla Ghat police
outposts protesting against Pandeys killing.
No comment by PM on RSS issue
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 (PTI) As government came under pressure on the RSS issue both from within and outside, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today chose not to comment on ally and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhis letter to him even as the BJP said it could be discussed among the NDA partners.
Mr Vajpayee participated in a function organised by RSS journal, "Panchjanya", here but declined to offer any comments to reporters who sought his reaction to Mr Karunanidhis letter cautioning him against permission to government employees to take part in RSS activities.
RSS chief Rajendra
Singh, however, told reporters that such a permission
should be given to all employees except those in the
police and judiciary.
Diesel price hike likely
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 (UNI) The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Ram Naik, made it clear today that the hike in diesel price in the near future would be unavoidable, unless the central and state governments reduced duties and taxes on it.
Speaking to members of
Parliament attached to the consultative committee of his
ministry, Mr Naik said as the domestic selling prices of
diesel were fixed on the import parity basis, the same
would have to be moved up to balance the increase in the
parity price paid for sourcing diesel.
Govt for scrutiny of Article 356
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 (PTI) The government will ask the Constitutional Review Commission headed by Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah to scrutinise and curtail the "much abused" powers under Article 356 to impose Central rule in the states, Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani said today.
Asked whether Article 370 giving the present special status to Jammu and Kashmir would also be reviewed, the Law Minister said, "So far as our government is concerned, review of Article 370 is not on the agenda."
However, sources in the
ministry said the constitution of the commission would be
known by Monday.
NE ultra groups invited for talks
GUWAHATI, Feb 11 (PTI) The Centre has extended an open invitation to all insurgent outfits of the North-East who abjure violence, for talks.
The Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, Dr P.D. Shenoy, today told reporters that the Centre was always "open for negotiations with all militants" to find a solution to their problems on an agreed path and agreed conditions.
Stating the Bodo
Liberation Tiger was no longer banned now unlike the ULFA
and NDFB, he said, in view of the BLTs unilateral
ceasefire and suspension of its underground activities,
besides its offer for talks, the Centre, too, was
actively considering suspension of its anti-insurgency
operations against the outfit.
Frontline aircraft for major
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 Frontline IAF aircraft like Mirage-2000s, MiG 29s and Jaguars will be in action in two major tri-service exercises being undertaken off the Arabian Sea and in Thar Desert, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis said today.
He said the Springex-2000 exercise was already underway off the coast of Goa to revalidate and revise the concept of maritime strikes, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and combat air patrol over high seas.
Air Chief Marshal Tipnis said beginning tomorrow, IAF fighters, transport aircraft and helicopter gunships would be in action in Operation Vijay Chakra, a joint exercise with the Armys strike corps in the Suratgarh area on Punjab-Haryana border, about 100 km from the international border with Pakistan.
He said the Thar Desert exercise would involve high-level airborne troop dropping from IL-76 and An-32 and their subsequent linking up with the strike corps comprising high-mobile armoured and mechanised vehicle formations.
Answering questions later, the Air Chief said the probe ordered by the Ministry of Defence into all defence deal since 1985 would not come in way of the acquisition of the advanced jet trainer (AJTs). "For the IAF, it is certainly a very urgent requirement and we will be seeking a very early decision and go ahead with it," he said.
He said the induction of the AJTs was the top priority of the IAF. "We have made our recommendations and the project is in the evaluation stage by the ministry." He, however, ruled out any fresh change in the short-list of the aircraft for the project.
The air chief also ruled out any scaling down of the projections for the AJTs. He said the number to be acquired could in fact be higher than what had been projected as that could take care of the naval requirements too.
The Air Chief, who just returned from a three-day official visit to Bangladesh said: "We need to look more towards Bangladesh, especially in inter-services cooperation and linkages."
The highlight of the Air
Chief Marshals visit to Bangladesh was his
presentation of MiG-21F/2, a Gnat and a Hunter aircraft,
which had taken part in the liberation of Bangladesh in
1971 to the Bangladesh Air Chief, Air Vice Marshal
Start talks with Kashmiris:
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 A Former Union Home Minister and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President, Mr Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, today said that the Prime Minister should initiate a dialogue with the people of Kashmir as the situation in the valley was very grim.
"If we can go to Kandahar to negotiate, these are our own people. I dont think anybody has a monopoly on finding a solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir. There will be no harm in initiating a dialogue with the people of Kashmir including militants. This problem can only be solved politically and a breakthrough is needed to end this stalemate, he said
Talking to newspersons at his residence here today, the PDP leader said his party would support any such initiative for a dialogue. "If we can hold talks with the NSCN in Nagaland and Mr Laldenga in Mizoram, then why cant we start a process of dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir, he asked."
Mr Sayeed also criticised Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, saying that he was playing for the gallery and that he had failed to give a healing touch.
He recalled that when the elections were held during the Governors rule in 1996, people were disgusted with insurgency and wanted normalcy. "That vote was positive for normalcy. They hoped for reconstruction, good administration, some healing touch. Unlike present times, the situation then was very much under control, he said.
The PDP leader said in
the past 11 years, Kashmir had witnessed destruction and
bloodshed. "We need to restore this image. We want
an atmosphere of reconciliation," he emphasised.
Vananchal still a dominant issue
RANCHI, Feb 11 For over a decade, the denizens of the minerally-rich Jharkhand/Vananchal region in Bihar have been hearing it formation of a separate state, and they are doing so, yet again.
Call it by any name, "Jharkhand or Vananchal", was a dream, the tribals of the area had nearly a century ago, and as the new millennium ushered, it appears round the corner.
What began as a tribal movement during the turn of 20th century has now gradually grown into a major movement which the political parties have adopted with ease. And now almost all major political parties in Bihar are talking about it, including the staunch opponent, the RJD.
For the second successive time in the southern part of the Bihar Assembly elections, formation of a separate state is the dominant issue.
"One vote and two governments", a slogan the BJP gave in relation to formation of Chhatisgarh during Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections in 1998 is being repeated, this time in the context of "Vananchal/Jharkhand".
The BJP, in Bihar, is contesting the Assembly elections as a partner of National Democratic Alliance with the Samata Party, the Janata Dal (United) and Bihars People Party. The NDA won 41 of 54 seats in 1999 Lok Sabha polls, including 11 of 14 in Jharkhand.
And to underline the NDAs seriousness, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, declared here two days ago, that Vananchal would be a reality in a few months. The BJP, too, is confident that it has already clinched the issue.
"We have already sent the Bihar reorganisation Bill to the President. The same would be referred to the newly constituted Bihar Assembly. The government hopes to introduce the Bill in Parliament during the second half of Budget session" the BJP General Secretary, Mr K.N. Govindacharya, told The Tribune here yesterday.
The Congress has been calling the BJPs claim as one intended to cheat the people of Bihar, citing similar promise made during the 1995 Assembly polls.
Yet, the Congress realises that it was losing ground to its opponents and is campaigning that it was Rajiv Gandhis initiative which resulted in the formation of Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council in 1995, for allround development of 18 districts comprising Santhal Parganas and the Chota Nagpur areas.
Interestingly, the Rashtriya Janata Dal which is facing a fierce contest from the NDA-combine changed tracks on the formation of a separate state.
The RJD chief, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, has now reversed his party stand and stated support for creation of Greater Jharkhand comprising 36 districts, half of which fall in neighbouring states of West Bengal, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh.
While the major players are in the fray. The original party, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), has lost its thrust mainly on account of split in the movement and differences among its leaders.
Now its leaders are accusing the BJP and others of hijacking their agenda. The prominent leaders of rival factions led by Mr Shibu Soren and Mr Suraj Mandal have their pockets of influence but not the sway they once had.
Somewhere down the line, the movements leadership seems to have slipped out of the hands of tribals. No wonder that the RJD chief was quick to demand that the chief ministership of the proposed state be reserved for a tribal.
Another factor considered crucial in most of the 81 Assembly constituencies that comprise the Jharkhand area in 324-strong Bihar Legislature is the presence of threat by extremists. A poll boycott call has already been given.
By February 12, it will
be known which way the Jharkhand wind blows since 69 of
81 Assembly constituencies would have voted.
CMs to campaign in Haryana
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Chandrababu Naidu will campaign for the Indian National Lok Dal candidates in Haryana next week.
The J&K National Conference leader, Dr Abdullah will campaign along with the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala at Hodal (Hassanpur), Hathin, Firozpur and Jhirka and Nuh assembly segments on February 14.
The Telugu Desam chief,
Mr Chandrababu Naidu will campaign with Mr Chautala in
Bahadurgarh, Meham, Hansi, Uklana, Kaithal and
Kurukshetra on February 17.
leader joins BJP
RJD general secy
Mumbai Dy CM
member killed in encounter
sets up legal cell
for Rajasthan staff
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