|Monday, February 14, 2000,
No mediation on
CBI may constitute special teams
Advani blames Bihar Govt
Bofors case: CBIs letter
rogatory to 10 nations
Novel ways to evade ST
Clinton trip: team to visit India
ISI adopts safe routes to pump in
USA must back India to fight
No mediation on J&K
NEW DELHI, Feb 13 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh today firmly ruled out third party mediation on the Jammu and Kashmir issue and asserted that US President Bill Clintons visit to India next month has "no linkage with non-proliferation issues."
"There is no possibility of mediation, inter-mediation or facilitation when it comes to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir," Mr Jaswant Singh told reporters after addressing a conference on contributions by people of Indian origin (PIO) here.
The Ministers remarks come a day after Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees assertion that India will not brook any interference in its internal affairs or "allow others to meddle in our bilateral relations or problems".
Mr Vajpayee and Mr Jaswant Singhs categorical remarks come close on the heels of statements by US President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defence Secretary William Cohen and senior American officials that Washington was prepared to offer its assistance to resolve the Kashmir issue.
New Delhi has maintained that it will not accept any outside interference in bilateral issues including Kashmir which had to be resolved only by India and Pakistan.
He said a decision on signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) will be taken only after achieving the "widest-possible consensus" and a "full-fledged" debate in Parliament.
Mr Jaswant Singh contended that India had abided by its decision not to go for further tests after announcing a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing following the Pokhran explosions in 1998.
"The country did not decide to resume testing, he said while referring to the US Senates rejection of the CTBT.
"Our policy is not made in the US Senate, he shot back to persistent queries on whether India will agree to signing the CTBT before or during Mr Clintons visit.
Earlier, the Minister urged the PIOs to join the governments endeavours for taking a resurgent India to greater heights."Young India is on the move, he said while asking the PIOs to "join us in this new journey.
Assuring them of governments total support, Mr Jaswant Singh, while conceding that decision-making was not satisfactory, said concerted efforts were being made to radically alter the whole philosophy of governance. For long a regulatory authority, it would discharge the role as a supporter and a facilitator, he said.
India, he said, had emerged in the international scene as a factor of stability and a global power.
Defence deals probe
NEW DELHI, Feb 13 (PTI) The CBI is likely to form "special teams" and seek additional manpower to probe various defence deals signed since 1985-86 as decided by Defence Minister George Fernandes.
The investigating agency has yet to receive the go-ahead for the probe from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). "All I know about it is what I have read in the press. But we are ready if asked to investigate", CBI Director R.K. Raghavan said today.
"If the magnitude of the cases to be investigated turns out to be very high, I may have to think of forming special teams", he said.
In a wide-ranging interview with PTI, Mr Raghavan said if the work load turns out to be huge, the agency could always co-opt personnel temporarily from state police forces which find assignments with the CBI "highly prestigious".
"Similar steps were taken when a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probed Rajiv Gandhis assassination case", he said, adding "our action will depend on the nature of cases and their volume. We will plan our strategy only after hearing from the CVC".
The Government last week ordered a sweeping probe by the CVC through the CBI into allegations of presence of agents in all "identified major defence purchases since 1985-86". Central Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal has said he would accord very high priority to the probe.
Major defence deals likely to come under fresh scrutiny could include acquisition of frontline MiG-29s, Mirage-2000s and the recent induction of multi-role SU-30 fighter planes for the Air Force and purchase of billions of dollars worth of spares mainly for Russian armament in the inventory of the Navy, IAF and Army.
Maintaining that he has an "excellent partnership" with the CVC in the battle against corruption, Mr Raghavan said both the agencies were examining the need for increasing the number of special courts trying CBI cases for speedy disposal.
"There are only about 100 courts in the country which deal with CBI cases despite manifold increase in the volume of pending cases over the years", he said.
On the progress made in some of the sensitive cases, the CBI chief said the results have been mixed for the agency as it received bouquets in some cases and faced brickbats in others. "Our path has been one of ups and downs. We have to learn from every defeat", he said.
While courts passed strictures in Priyadarshini Mattoo and Jain hawala cases, it was a success story in the Purulia armsdrop case, he said, adding the recent unearthing of a multi-crore scam relating to misuse of MTNL lines and case against a top Delhi Police official brought laurels to the CBI.
Asked about the case against the high-profile former Enforcement Deputy Director Ashok Aggarwal, Mr Raghavan said the CBI would have to conduct some investigation abroad in the case, involving alleged disproportionate assets and forgery of a fax message.
Mr Raghavan, however,
declined to share specific information on several
politically sensitive cases but said "we are happy
with the progress in investigation .... the CBI can do
better by improving intelligence collection"
Advani blames Bihar Govt
ARRAH (BIHAR), Feb 13 (UNI) The Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, today held the Bihar Government responsible for large-scale poll violence in which 22 persons, including 13 security personnel, were killed in the state yesterday.
Addressing an election meeting here, Mr Advani said it was difficult to control violence when the criminals were either in the saddle or joined hands with the men in power.
Bihar had earned a bad name in poll violence in the country and it was up to the people now to oust these forces to usher the state in the new millennium, he said.
Citing the example of Maharastra, the Home Minister said there had been no repolling in the post-Independence period in that state, but it was increasing day-by-day in Bihar.
Bofors case: CBIs letter rogatory to 10 nations
NEW DELHI, Feb 13 (PTI) In a bid to trace the identities of those who received payoffs in the Rs 1,437 crore Bofors gun deal, the CBI has sent letters rogatory to 10 countries through which the kickbacks may have passed.
CBI Director R.K. Raghavan told PTI that the Bahamas, which had initially rejected Indias request for assistance, have been sent a fresh communication complying with their requirements.
Declining to go into specifics, the CBI chief said investigation in the case was progressing satisfactorily and more information was still expected from various countries.
Nearly 100 pages of
documents relating to the Bofors case received from the
Swiss authorities were still being scrutinised and the
next step would depend on the conclusions reached by the
investigators, he said.
Novel ways to evade ST
SRIGANGANAGAR, Feb 13 After the setting up of sale tax barriers on various entry points of the Punjab bordering Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh by the State Excise and Taxation authorities last year, the traders have discovered new methods for evading tax.
Though the state excise and taxation authorities have equipped the barriers with computers and other instruments to check the evasion of sale tax, traders seems to have taken an edge by devising new ways to evade tax.
Official sources said the most prominent modus operandi adopted by the traders for indulging in the evasion of tax was that they had floated new business firms in the pockets of Punjab adjoining the tax barriers. At these newly floated business firms, the traders used to bring goods from the neighbouring states on genuine bill. They destroy the bill the moment goods reached in safe place in Punjab.
After the goods landed in safe places, these unscrupulous traders issue new bills of their own newly floated business firms and enjoy unhindered transactions within in Punjab state. And in this way, they used to escape the sale tax liabilities required to be discharged by them at the barriers.
A senior official of the sale tax department told TNS that recently they had detected such cases at the Kallarkhera barrier near here, the Boha barrier and the Devigarh barrier.
He said traders in these cases had taken sale tax numbers from the Punjab Sale Tax Department to run their business establishments in the border areas and was indulging in the evasion of sale tax worth lakhs of rupees. He added that a utensil dealer and a tea leaves dealer of Haryana and a crockery dealer of Rajasthan had been penalised for indulging in tax evasion by using this modus operandi.
The other method, which has caught the fancy of the traders, is that they get the invoice of goods purchased from the neighbouring states in the names of those business firms of Punjab which had been wounded up or had applied for the cancellation of their sale tax licences.
Official sources said these traders after getting invoice in the name of non-functional business firms were cheating the sale tax authorities as the sale tax authorities had no account of such firms with them and detection of sale tax evasion through this method was very rare.
The other method which is not frequently used by the traders is that they evade tax by misusing the transit slips. The traders purchase goods from the neighbouring states in the name of two different firms one registered in the Punjab and other operating in other state.
After purchasing goods, they used to get transit slip for those consignments which were meant for the firm operating from other state from the tax barrier set up by the Punjab Government. They are required to deposit the transit slip at the tax barrier when they leave Punjab after unloading those goods which are meant for the firm located in Punjab.
However, they unload the goods, meant for the firm operating from other state, along with the goods meant for the firm located in Punjab and then they deposit the transit slip of the outside goods at the tax barriers concerned. In this way they used to evade sale tax which they were required to pay if the goods are brought in the name of firm located in Punjab.
Official sources said that the sale tax authorities had detected number of such transactions in Punjab ever since the tax barriers had been set up in the state.
Clinton trip: team to visit India
NEW DELHI, Feb 13 (PTI) A pre-advance team from the USA is expected to visit India soon to finalise arrangements for President Bill Clintons trip here even as the Home Ministry is busy chalking out security steps to be followed during his stay.
The pre-advance team would be visiting Delhi later this month and also other cities which Mr Clinton is likely to visit during his five-day tour of the country in March.
The team would go into the recommendations made by the preliminary team the site survey team which visited several hotels in the capital and in Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai, Panaji and Hyderabad before leaving India on February 9.
The team will also submit its recommendations to White House and finally an advance team, which will come 10 days ahead of Mr Clintons visit, will make final scrutiny of places.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry is making preparations for a fool-proof security arrangement during Mr Clintons visit.
Official sources said the hotel where he would be staying will be properly checked and its staff thoroughly scrutinised.
The background of hotel staff would be checked and anyone having a shady past will be kept away from the venue, they said, adding nothing would be left to chance.
Security personnel from the CRPF and National Security Guards are likely to be pressed in service during his five-day visit. The inner ring of security around Mr Clinton would be his own. A set of Limousines of Mr Clinton are also likely to be flown in to the places he is scheduled to visit.
Special pass will be issued for all functions of the US President and scribes attending his press conferences will have to reach the venue at least two hours in advance.
The vehicles accompanying Mr Clintons entourage also include special communication cars.
ISI adopts safe routes to pump in fake notes
NEW DELHI, Feb 13 (PTI) Despite an increased vigil along the Indo-Pak border, Pakistans ISI has succeeded in achieving a quantum jump in pushing counterfeit Indian currency into the country through certain safer routes as part of its plans to destabilise the Indian economy.
Latest statistics indicate a quantum jump in the circulation of counterfeit currency notes smuggled into the country by ISI operatives through Indias international borders not only with Pakistan, but also Nepal and Myanmar.
The most worrying aspect is that the circulation of fake currency which was limited only to border states like Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab has now become an all-India phenomenon with counterfeit notes finding their way to even rural belts and mofussil town of almost all states and union territories.
From the recent seizures effected by law-enforcing agencies across the country, it is evident that ISI operatives are now using the porous Indo-Nepal border to flush in counterfeit notes.
They are doing so because of increased presence of Army and Border Security Force (BSF) personnel along and Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab borders, which had been a traditional route for ISI-backed militants and operatives.
Statistics available with the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) indicate that there has been a three-fold increase in the seizure of fake currency notes across the country last year as compared to 1998.
As against the seizure of fake currency amounting to Rs 64.97 lakh in 1998, there had been a recovery of over Rs 1.84 crore during 1999.
Three states bordering Nepal UP, Bihar and West Bengal accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the total seizure of fake currency made during 1999 with the recovery of Rs 63.66 lakh. While UP topped the list with seizures worth Rs 39.03 lakh, the recovery stood at Rs 19.14 and Rs 5.49 lakh in West Bengal and Bihar respectively.
Barring five states and union territories, every other part of the country has recorded the recovery of counterfeit currency.
The four southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu accounted for seizures over Rs 41.22 lakh with Tamil Nadu accounting for Rs 16.24 lakh, Karnataka Rs 13.76 lakh, Kerala Rs 7.18 lakh and Andhra Pradesh Rs 4.04 lakh.
While 12 fake currency cases, with the involvement of Pakistani-nationals, were being probed into by the CBI, 11 cases with alleged involvement of ISI operatives are being investigated by various state police agencies.
As the ISI operatives use small-time criminals and unemployed youth to flush into the market fake currency notes, the law-enforcing agencies have no clue to the real operator.
With criminals, greedy businessmen and unemployed youth also indulge in circulating counterfeit currency using the simple technique of photocopying. Hands of the law-enforcing agencies are full with several such cases.
In Delhi 30 persons, including some businessmen, property dealers and hoteliers, were arrested in several such cases and a large quantity of fake notes was seized.
According to Additional Director-General of the National Crimes Recorders Bureau (NCRB) Harish Kumar, there is a need for a three-pronged approach to tackle fake currency circulation, which otherwise would cause an irreparable damage to the economy.
The government should
phase out the present currency notes with high-quality
fluorescent-coloured currency notes, which cant be
easily counterfeited, intensify checking in border areas
and within the country by the police and speed up trial
in fake currency cases, Mr Kumar said.
USA must back India to fight Pak militancy
NEW DELHI, Feb 13 (PTI) The USA and China must support India in its fight against Pakistan-abetted militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and realise that their insistence on applying the doctrine of "self-determination" to an integral part of India could result in dismemberment of Pakistan itself, warns former Foreign Secretary T.N. Kaul
It is time the USA and our neighbour China (which has its own trouble spots in Xin Xiang) support India on this issue.
"It is time China, the USA and the Western world do not apply the doctrine of self-determination to integral parts of a sovereign country, as otherwise, Pakistan itself may have to be broken into separate sovereign states in Sind, Baluchistan and NWFP" he said dwelling on the Kashmir question in his just released book "A diplomats Diary". The book, which Kaul had completed shortly before his death on January 16 this year, was released on his 87 birth anniversary on February 8.
friends and allies have to understand that the
Kashmiri-speaking areas of the valley, as well as
Buddhist Ladakh and Jammu province are, historically
strategically, constitutionally and culturally integral
parts of secular democratic India," he said.
CPI advocates third front
BHUBANESWAR, Feb 13 (PTI) The CPI manifesto for the upcoming Assembly poll in Orissa has advocated a third front to lay the foundation for an alternative against the Congress and the BJP-BJD combine in the state.
With this aim in view, 29 candidates have been put up by the CPI, CPM, JD(S) and Forward Bloc with the help of other Left secular parties, the manifesto released by party General Secretary A.B. Bardhan said today.
It promised reconstruction of Orissa after the devastating super cyclone, total land reforms, more powers to panchayat bodies, health for all policy and waiver of fees for treatment at government hospitals. It also promised cancellation of the 1994 Education Act and 25 per cent concession in buses for senior citizens above the age of 60.
The appointment of a high court judge to look into the allegations against ministers and other senior officials was also promised in the manifesto for the poll scheduled on February 17 and 22.
UNI adds: The CPI today pledged to fight till agriculture sector was accorded the status of an industry and vast natural resources utilised for reconstruction and development of the state.
Meanwhile, state council
secretary Abani Kumar Baral said the third front would
contest elections on more than 100 seats and support
Independents in the remaining 47 constituencies. Mr Baral
said the party would demand the Centre to declare the
super cyclone as a national calamity, waive loans off the
affected farmers and build schools as cyclone shelters.
The party would also demand the government to undertake
the reconstruction of work on all damaged houses, he
Patnaik sure of passing acid
BHUBANESHWAR, Feb 13 The sparkling white kurta-pyjama is the only tell-tale sign of a politician in Mr Navin Patnaik, President of the Biju Janata Dal and a forerunner for the Chief Ministers post in Orissa.
A far cry from the typical politician, the suave, convent- educated Mr Patnaik, could pass for any senior executive of a multinational company. He is not comfortable with Oriya language, the medium of communication with the vast majority of the electorate, and he cannot read or write the language for that matter.
Riding high on his father, late Biju Patnaiks legacy, and the ruling Congress partys alienation with the people, the junior Patnaik is confident of passing his first acid test in the state politics.
Having cornered a majority of 84 Assembly seats of the 147 at stake, and leaving only 63 seats for the partys alliance partner, the BJP, Mr Patnaik has donned the mantle of a star campaigner for the BJD.
He starts his election speeches in Oriya and before the strain starts showing, switches over to Hindi, which again is not his strength. He however,makes sure to sprinkle a heavy dose of his fathers name and policies.
Not particularly popular with the local leaders of the BJP, Mr Patnaik has used his clout as a Union Minister and his partys ally status with the BJP at the Centre to woo the central leadership of the BJP to his side.
Much to the local BJPs chagrin, central leaders of the BJP have for all practical purposes projected Mr Navin Patnaik as the NDAs chief ministerial candidate.
The Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, hinted this during his visit to the state last week and then again the Union Information Technology Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, saying that the BJP had no problems in projecting Mr Navin Patnaik as the next Chief Minister.
As for his fathers legacy, Mr Navin Patnaik got support from none else than the Prime Minister,Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. The Prime Minister during his election rally at Rourkela on Friday talked about Biju Patnaiks dream of putting Orissa on top of the national map.
"Biju Babus unfulfilled dream would be executed by the BJD-BJP government if voted to power in the ensuing Assembly poll" the Prime Minister said, virtually endorsing Mr Patnaiks candidature for the top post.
While the top state leadership of the BJP, including the Union Minister,Mr Juel Oram, arrived on time for the release of the manifesto, Mr Patnaik was late by at least half an hour. The BJP leaders grumbled, but then they had not choice but to wait for the BJD leader.
Mr Patnaik cited the presence of a large number of people at his residence for the cause of delay and with a cursory apology went on to release the common minimum programme, which was in Oriya language. Thereafter, he excused himself saying that he had to continue with his campaigning.
Police pigeon service to be shelved
CUTTACK, Feb 13 (UNI) The unique Orissa police pigeon service will no longer be used for election duty in the state.
The decision to keep this five-decade-old winged courier service away from poll duty was taken in view of the availability of modern VHF and other advanced technology in the field of communication.
These specially trained pigeons, which received acclamation from all over the world by rendering yeomens service during natural calamities, would henceforth be utilised for ceremonial purposes only.
for encashing stolen bank drafts
stumble on pot of gold
Tributes paid to
8 killed in TN
NCP leader dead
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