|Tuesday, March 7, 2000,
in RS over Bihar
RJD to contest Speakers post
4.9 kg RDX, currency seized; 5
Reports about Padmanabhan
Police raids Sena offices in Delhi
Home Secretary: ISI aiding
|Left-out BJD MLAs unhappy
BHUBANESWAR, March 6 Discontentment is brewing among senior BJD leaders aspiring for ministerial berths in the newly-constituted BJD-BJP coalition government in Orissa led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
pulls up ITDC
Top Naga rebel held
LS adjourned in memory of Geeta
Sarkaria suggestions to be
SC ruling on alimony
Disabled rally on census today
Pandemonium in RS over Bihar
NEW DELHI, March 6 The Opposition continued to stall the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, forcing it to be adjourned for the day and demanding an immediate discussion on the Bihar issue and the recall of Governor V.C. Pande.
Pandemonium prevailed in the House as it met for the post-lunch session after an earlier adjournment over the issue in the morning. Angry RJD, CPM and Congress members rushed to the front benches protesting vociferously against the installation of the NDA government in Bihar.
Mr Sanatan Bisi, who was in the chair, pleaded with the members to maintain calm so that the listed business could be taken up. The House was to have a discussion on a motion of thanks to the Presidents address.
The initiator of the discussion, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP), was on his feet but was not allowed to speak by the determined Opposition members led by the RJD. The members were not ready to listen to the Chair and shouted slogans like "recall the Governor and dismiss the Bihar government".
As Mr Bisis repeated pleas fell on deaf ears and there was utter confusion in the House for almost 10 minutes. Then the Deputy Chairperson, Ms Najma Heptullah, took the chair and tried to bring order.
"If you behave like this, I will name you," she repeatedly warned the members who had trooped to the front benches. Ms Heptullah told the members that the issue could be discussed only after the Chairman had allotted time for it.
As the Opposition members did not relent, she adjourned the House till tomorrow barely 12 minutes into the post-lunch session.
Earlier, when the House assembled at 11 a.m., leader of the Opposition Manmohan Singh gave notice under rule 267 to move the motion for suspension of question hour to "facilitate immediate discussion on the failure of the Bihar Governor to discharge his constitutional responsibility by inviting the NDA to form the government in violation of democratic norms".
Mr Manmohan Singh contended that the RJD as the single largest party and as a pre-poll alliance group in Bihar Assembly had larger number of members than the NDA and, therefore, it should have been called to form the government.
He described the decision to call the NDA to form the government in Bihar as a "mockery of democracy".
RJD to contest Speakers post
PATNA, March 6 (PTI, UNI) In a bid to put Chief Minister Nitish Kumars claim to majority to test, the RJD today announced that it would field its candidate for the Speakers election in the state Assembly on March 9, a day before the trial of strength.
Claiming that Mr Nitish Kumar would not survive the crucial vote of confidence on March 10, RJD National Spokesman Shivanand Tiwari told reporters here that if the Chief Minister wanted to remain in the post for even one more day he would have to accept the RJDs choice for speakership.
Meanwhile, senior most legislator and CPI leader Vishseshwar Khan has been made the pro-tem Speaker of the newly-constituted Bihar Assembly.
Mr Khan, who was elected to the Assembly for a record nine times, will administer the oath to the newly-elected members of the twelfth Assembly in the next two days.
Governor Vinod Chandra Pande would administer the oath to Mr Khan tomorrow morning at Raj Bhavan, official sources said.
The NDA, however, will convene an all-party meeting here by Wednesday to find a consensus candidate for the post of Assembly Speaker.
A meeting of the NDA partners held here today authorised Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take any decision for the Speakers election and to discuss the issue with other parties.
Stating this to reporters here, State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said, "we would try to find a consensus candidate who is acceptable to most parties".
He said according to precedence, the Speakers post goes to the ruling party and the main opposition party gets the Deputy Speakers post.
Meanwhile, Mr Sushil Kumar Modi, who was sworn in as a minister in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet yesterday, was today allocated Parliamentary Affairs Department.
The other two ministers Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras of the JD(U) and Prof Stephen Marandi of JMM(S) who had taken oath yesterday, would be allocated portfolios after the confidence vote was taken on March 10, sources said.
Bihar Government today replaced IGP (Administration) Neyaz Ahmed, and District Magistrate, Patna, Gautam Goswami.
Official sources said IG (Training) Abhayanand replaced Mr Ahmed and Director Education Amit Khare would be the new DM of Patna.
4.9 kg RDX, currency seized; 5 held
NEW DELHI, March 6 (PTI) In a major haul, Delhi Police seized 4.9 kg of RDX from Srinagar, recovered here Rs 40.35 lakh, sent by an ISI agent from Saudi Arabia through hawala channel for financing militant activities in the country, and arrested five persons in this connection, the police said today.
Acting on an intelligence input that a travel agent at Punchkuian Road here was acting as a channel for hawala transactions, the sleuths of special cell of Delhi Police arrested four persons while transacting the amount on February 24, City Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma told reporters here today.
He said following receipt of the information, the cops laid a trap and arrested a Kashmiri Farooq Ahmed Kanoon, who was receiving money from three Delhiites, Manish Thakur, Shyam Lal and Jagdeep Kumar.
Kanoon revealed during interrogation that he had been directed by two militants of Lashker-e-Toiba in Kashmir to collect the money, sent by an ISI agent in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), from the trio, Mr Sharma said.
He confessed that part of the hawala money had to be kept in Delhi, while some of it had to be handed over to Ashiq Hussain, a Pak-trained militant released on bail last year, the Police Commissioner said.
Following this revelation, a team of Delhi Police, along with the state police, arrested Hussain in Srinagar and seized 4.9 kg of RDX, 2 timer pencils and 500 gm of rivets on February 27, Mr Sharma said.
Hussain had travelled to London in mid-January to co-ordinate future plans with Pakistani officials for stepping up militancy in India, Mr Sharma said.
The explosive consignment was received in Srinagar by Hussains wife, Ayesha Indrabi (chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat), from Toibas so-called commander in Srinagar Abu Tallah, the Police Commissioner said.
While Indrabi is
absconding since the arrest of her husband, Tallah, who
was responsible for attack on Srinagar cantonment on
November 3 last year in which eight Army men including
Major P. Purshottam, was killed in an encounter with the
BSF last month.
Reports about Padmanabhan malicious
NEW DELHI, March 6 (PTI) The Army Headquarters has described as "incorrect and malicious reports that southern Army Commander, Lt Gen S. Padmanabhan, a top contender to succeed Gen V.P. Malik as Army chief, had recently undergone a heart bypass surgery.
"General Padmanabhan has had no surgery, an official statement clarified.
The statement mentioned that the decision regarding the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff was with the government and claimed "there is no so-called race for the appointment as reported".
The statement maintained that normally the senior-most officer succeeded as the new Army chief and claimed that at present the seniormost officer after General Malik was the Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Chandra Shekhar.
However, General Shekhar is unlikely to succeed General Malik as he retires the same day as the present chief, but there have been very rare instances of the retirement rule being overlooked in selection of Army chief.
Police raids Sena offices in Delhi
NEW DELHI, March 6 (PTI) The Delhi Police today raided Shiv Sena offices across the Capital, including the partys city unit headquarters at Shahdara in north-east Delhi, and seized weapons, including swords, police sources said tonight.
The day-long raids, coming in the wake of the attack by Shiv Sena activists on the Lahore-bound Pakistan Tourism bus in Punjab on Saturday, were conducted following "some specific information", police sources told PTI.
However, the police has not detained any sena activist or registered any case so far, they said.
Meanwhile, Delhi Shiv
Sena chief Jai Bhagwan Goyal, who alongwith senior party
functionaries went underground following the raids, told
PTI that his house and factory were raided and party
activists were being "harassed" by the police.
Home Secretary: ISI aiding
NEW DELHI, March 6 The creation of some special inter-state operation groups and aerial surveillance were among the steps that were discussed at an emergency meeting of the Coordination Centre which reviewed measures to counter the Left-wing extremism in the country.
The meeting, which was convened by the Union Home Secretary, Mr Kamal Pande, in the light of the recent killing of 23 policemen in a landmine blast in Madhya Pradesh, also decided to examine and recommend the desirability of giving an India Reserve battalion each to the five affected states.
Briefing reporters after the deliberations, Mr Pande said the Centre had reports that Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence was extending support to Naxalite groups active in Bihar, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The Centre, he said, had information that the ISI was involved but there was no evidence to back it. He said while it was known that Nepal was being used as a base by the ISI, it was not difficult to create a corridor through Bihar to the affected areas in Andhra Pradesh.
He said the assistance could be in the form of money, arms and training, and identified the Peoples War Group, the Maoist Communist Centre and CPI (ML-Liberation Front) as groups having links with the ISI.
Some of the states, affected by the Left-wing extremism had asked for modern equipment, wireless sets and device for aerial surveillance, including unmanned aerial reconnaissance. The Centre, he said, would decide which one would be cost-effective and useful after having a relook at aerial photography.
He said joint groups, at the Inspectors-General level, were constituted for coordination between the police of various states and inter-state operations.
On the demand of states, it was agreed that suitable monitoring equipment will be made available to them in order to keep a check on communication between extremist groups who had wireless equipment.
Keeping in view the thrust of all states that socio-economic development would go a long way in neutralising the extremist activities, the meeting decided that all States should come up with a suitable plan to address it.
Apart from special training facilities with the help of the Centre for police personnel of the affected states, the meeting also decided to open a dialogue to work out an effective operational strategy for inter-state operation groups.
Protest against Taslimas visit
MUMBAI, March 6 (UNI) About 100 activists of Raza Academy who were protesting against the visit of noted Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen in Mumbai were today arrested by the city police at Minara masjid in South Mumbai.
The activists had organised a protest march from the masjid to the venue of the writers public meeting at Dadar in Central Mumbai.
Left-out BJD MLAs unhappy
BHUBANESWAR, March 6 (UNI, PTI) Discontentment is brewing among senior BJD leaders aspiring for ministerial berths in the newly-constituted BJD-BJP coalition government in Orissa led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
A 25-member ministry, comprising 16 from the BJD and nine from the BJP, was sworn in yesterday leading to resentment among several senior party MLAs.
Senior member and BJD Vice-President Prafulla Ghadhei, who was excluded, said he was shocked and astonished.
Considering his closeness to Mr Patnaik and his efforts for a merger of the Janata Dal with the BJD, Mr Ghadhei said he did not expect that he would be kept out of the ministry.
Another senior member of the party, Mr Surya Narayan Patra, who hails from the tension-ridden Gajapati district, said he did not know why he was not accommodated in the ministry.
Mr Patra said Gajapati district had no representation in the ministry for the first time since its inception.
Discontentment was also brewing in as many as 11 of the total 30 districts in the state as these also went unrepresented. BJD MLA Bishnu Das, from cyclone affected Jagatsinghpur, regretted that though his party won 15 of the 22 Scheduled Caste seats, not a single member from this category was inducted.
Senior members like Damodar Rout, Kalindi Behera and Sarat Kar, who were in the Biju Patnaik Cabinet, were also unhappy as they were not given berths in the Naveen Patnaik ministry.
HC pulls up ITDC
NEW DELHI, March 6 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today pulled up the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) for failing to take adequate steps regarding recovery of long standing dues of Rs 43.36 crore from politicians, parties, ministries and government departments on account of entertainment bills.
The court also expressed dissatisfaction over the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) for not taking sufficient measures to recover about Rs 9 crore from various politicians for pending telephone, water and electricity bills.
A Division Bench of
Justice Arun Kumar and Justice D.K. Jain directed senior
officials of the ITDC, the MTNL and the NDMC, present in
the court, to furnish detailed affidavits by April 26
with names of those against whom recoveries were pending
Top Naga rebel held
AIZAWL, March 6 (UNI) A top Naga rebel and associate of NSCN (IM) leader Th Muivah, has been arrested at the Netaji Subhas Chandera Bose International Airport in Calcutta for allegedly plotting to hijack a plane.
Sarkaria suggestions to be considered
KOCHI, March 6 (PTI) The recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission on the Centre-state relations would certainly be considered by the Constitution Review Committee during its deliberations, former Lok Sabha Speaker and a member of the committee P.A. Sangma said today.
Speaking at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Ernakulam press club here, Mr Sangma said fortunately, Justice Sarkaria himself was a member of the committee which had been entrusted with the job of only reviewing the working of the Constitution for the past 50 years and not changing its basic structure.
He said he would like the panel to focus on expanding the list of fundamental rights by including right to information and right to education to achieve the objectives enshrined in the Directive Principles of state policy.
SC ruling on alimony
NEW DELHI, March 6 (UNI) A wife, even though legally divorced on the ground of "desertion", will be entitled to maintenance, in case she has not remarried and is unable to maintain herself, the Supreme Court has ruled.
"A woman after divorce becomes a destitute. If she cannot maintain herself or remain unmarried, the man, who was once her husband continue to be under a statutory duty and obligation to provide maintenance to her" the court said.
The significant ruling was given by a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice S Saghir Ahmed and Mr Justice D.P.Wadhwa, while dismissing a special leave petition filed by a husband against a judgement of the Allahabad High Court dismissing his revision.
The only question to be
settled by the apex court was whether a wife against whom
a decree for divorce had been passed on account of her
deserting the husband could claim maintenance allowance
under Section 125 Cr PC and how far could the plea of
desertion be treated to be an effective plea in support
of the husbands refusal to pay her the maintenance
allowance. The court answered the question in favour of
LS adjourned in memory of Geeta Mukherjee
NEW DELHI, March 6 (PTI) The Lok Sabha today adjourned for the day as a mark of respect in memory of veteran CPI leader Geeta Mukherjee (Geetadi) with members saying that the best tribute to her would be the passage of the womens reservation Bill through consensus.
Recalling her crusading role for the empowerment of women, Speaker G. M. C. Balayogi said she devoted her long and dedicated public life to the cause of the weak and the downtrodden.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said Ms Mukherjee stuck to her principles and struggled for the rights of the common man undeterred by ups and downs in her political career.
"I cant believe she is no more," Mr Vajpayee said, adding that the void left by her sudden death would be difficult to fill. Ms Mukherjee, (76) died of a massive heart attack here on Saturday morning.
Describing her as one of
the most respected figures in Parliament, leader of the
Opposition, Sonia Gandhi, said her indomitable courage
and spirit would continue to be a source of inspiration
for coming generations.
Geeta Mukherjee cremated
CALCUTTA, March 6 (UNI) The mortal remains of veteran Communist leader and parliamentarian Geeta Mukherjee were consigned to flames at the Keoratala Crematorium here this afternoon.
Disabled rally on census today
NEW DELHI, March 6 The Disabled Rights Group, an advocacy group for disabled persons and non-governmental organisations plan to hold a rally here tomorrow to senisitise the government on the need to include disability as a category for data collection for the census.
In a statement issued
here, the DRG convener, Mr Javed Abidi said that the
Census Commissions decision of not including
disability as a category for data collection in the
census for 2001 has come as a big blow to the disability
to undertake moon mission
Sahitya award for 5
Four drowned in
Mob sets two
buses on fire
Five of family
die in blast
Four arrested on
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