|Saturday, April 8, 2000,
Laloo case: PM
PM for steps to fight terrorism
Probe against Brig complete
APHC leaders advised not to reject
No hike in Central plan
aid to states
National policy on blood
Sinha denies rift between BJP, RSS
HC directive on Kochhar
Bihar Cong men meet Kidwai
Laloo case: PM influenced CBI
PATNA, April 7 (PTI) Former Premier H.D. Deve Gowda today accused Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee of "influencing" the CBI to charge-sheet RJD President Laloo Prasad Yadav and his wife, Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, in the disproportionate assets case.
Mr Vajpayee had "influenced" the CBI on pressure from his Cabinet colleagues from Bihar "to settle political scores" with the duo, Mr Gowda told reporters here.
There was no room for any doubt that both Mr Yadav and Ms Rabri Devi had been "victimised", he said and described the CBI charge-sheet against them as a "political vendetta".
Mr Gowda demanded the setting up of an independent agency directly under the President to probe corruption charges against politicians and bureaucrats."We cant blame the CBI officers. There are political high ups who remote control the agencys functioning to take political revenge."
Mr Gowda, who met the
RJD President at Beur Jail for nearly an hour and later
visited the Chief Ministers residence, said the
"submission of such a politically-motivated
charge-sheet is aimed at demolishing the duly-elected
government under a sinister design."
PM for steps to fight terrorism
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) The Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today said "state-sponsored terrorism" had been posing a serious challenge to democratic societies, and the international community must urgently devise effective measures to combat it.
Without naming Pakistan, Mr Vajpayee on the occasion of the 15th raising day of the SPG said "We have been subjected to cross-border terrorism for a number of years and are facing serious challenges both in the field of internal security as well as guarding our border".
Commending professional skills of the SPG, he stressed the need for making VIP security system "unobtrusive" so that it interfered the least with the normal activities of the people.
The Prime Minister said the Home Ministry and the security forces had already taken certain positive measures in this direction but the list of protected persons needed to be reviewed.
He said extensive deployment of forces could be avoided by stressing on the "quality of security personnel rather than on their quantity".
Probe against Brig complete
NEW DELHI, April 7 The inquiry initiated by the Army against Brig Surinder Singh, ex-commander of the 121(I) Infantry Brigade, to investigate his conduct at the time of intrusion in Kargil and also leaking of letters to the media, has been completed.
According to sources the inquiry committee was now busy preparing the "summary of evidence" against Brig Singh, who had come into limelight in the post Kargil era, specially after he made "revelations" in which he claimed that he had warned the Army establishment of intrusion by Pakistan in Kargil. The Brigadier had claimed that he had written letters to the Chief of Army Staff detailing the situation prevailing in Kargil and pointed out the possible points from where the intrusion could take place.
Brig Singh had later also written to the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, seeking an audience from him and saying that he was being discriminated against. He had claimed that the Army brass was singling him out. He had also claimed that his appreciation of the situation was not agreed to and that he was termed as an "alarmist".
Reports said the inquiry being conducted by a serving Lt. General and independent of the inquiry which was conducted by the Subrahmanyam Committee, was initiated as the Army establishment felt that there were many a lapses leading to the intrusion in Kargil. The inquiry was also to establish and suggest further action which should be taken against Brig Singh for the "offences" which the Army considers were capable of attracting a "court marshal".
The inquiry committee was piecing together the evidence against Brig Singh and also verifying it with its own inquiry report. The "summary of evidence" with the suggestions for action would be forwarded to Army Headquarters later for its approval for further action.
Although senior Army officers were not ready to comment on the findings of the inquiry committee but gave indications that like in the Subrahmanyam Committee report, there was enough evidence in this report also to indict the Brigadier. However they were also not ready to comment on what action would be taken, if taken, against Brig Surinder Singh.
The inquiry committee visited many places, including Leh where Brig Singh was at presently stationed, as part of the investigations. The inquiry committee was trying to fix the responsibility of the units which had failed in their duty to not only detect, but to also act in time, to stop the intrusion.
Brig Singh was the Brigade Commander based in Kargil and had sent a patrol party led by Lt. Saurabh Kalia of just seven men when the news of intrusion first came in. Lt Kalia and his men were captured by the intruders and later killed.
Besides verifying the actions which Brig Singh took after the intrusions came to light, the inquiry committee also went into the circumstances in which the letter written by Brig Singh on June 28, 1999, to the Army Chief was leaked to the political parties. The inquiry was also to establish whether he played a direct role in leaking this letter and the other "demi official (DO)" notes, which as such became "secret documents", to the members of the media.
It was to also verify whether Brig Singh had written any letter in November 1998, as he was claiming and why it did not reach the higher authorities. The Army had denied that he had written any such letter detailing the situation prevailing in Kargil.
The Subrahmanyam Committee in its report submitted in February last had said that Brig Singh was not prepared to take the slightest risk by mounting winter patrols and that his actions on the ground, particularly patrolling, which were entirely within his own resources, did not match his expressed concerns. The committee was of the view that many of his statements reflected an attempt at ex-postfacto rational.
The committee had also
pointed out that the Brigade Commander had not read the
threat as that being serious enough to warrant high-risk
snow patrolling. The committee had also come to a
conclusion that Brig Singhs briefing notes were
based on information for which he was unable to provide a
basis how he came by it at the time of his briefing, the
Chief of Army staff.
APHC leaders advised not to
reject talks offer
NEW DELHI, April 7 The All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leadership is increasingly coming under pressure from friends and common Kashmiris not to reject the offer of talks from the Centre outrightly.
While APHC leadership, which was released from the Jodhpur jail this week, has thrown a spanner in the works by asking that Pakistan has to be involved in the negotiations, influential expatriate friends from the UK and the USA have asked the Hurriyat leaders not to reject the offer of talks from the Centre.
Mr Ayub Thukur, in a communication with Hurriyat leaders, has urged that the offer of talks must be considered and studied before taking a stand on it, the sources said.
The Hurriyat leaders, including the APHC Chairman, Mr Syed Ali Shah Geelani, are leaving for Srinagar tomorrow morning and are going to assess ground realities in the valley after interacting with followers before making up their mind on the offer finally, the Kashmir Awareness Bureau (KAB) incharge in the capital, Mr Abdul Majid Bandey told The Tribune here today.
Mr Bandey further said that New Delhi had still to release some of our leaders including Mr Yasin Malik and only after their release, it would be possible for us to complete the consultation process for applying our mind on the whole issue.
On the issue of Islamabad being a party to the talks, Mr Bandey said that a part of Kashmir was with Pakistan and "we want resolution of the problem and not to keep the issue open".
Meanwhile, even Pakistan is keenly watching the situation. The Pakistan High Commissioner, Mr Jehangir Ashraf Qazi and the Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Akbar Zeb had a meeting with the released Hurriyat leaders at the KAB on April 5. The Pakistani diplomats, carrying gifts for the released leaders, enquired after the welfare and the well being of the Hurriyat leaders, the KAB sources said.
In any case, an average Kashmiri is seeing a ray of hope in the developments and is hoping that dialogue would begin soon which would end long years of bloodshed and militancy.
A leader, on condition of anonymity, said that the people in the State are keeping their fingers crossed that the USA inspired offer of talks would be accepted and a process would be initiated which would restore peace.
This is the opportunity for the Hurriyat leaders to emerge as arbiter of peace, another leader said. A section of Kashmiri people are wary that Pakistan might not again spoil the chances of peace. Since Islamabad started controlling the militancy in the Jammu and Kashmir and in the process the APHC became mute spectators to the phase of foreign mercenaries calling the shots, the situation became worse.
No hike in Central plan aid to states
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) Central plan assistance to states for the current financial year will remain unchanged at the 1999-2000 level, the Planning Commission has written to the states thereby indicating they will have to raise resources on their own.
"The states have been informed that there will be no increase in Central assistance to the state plans and if the states want a higher plan size they will have to mobilise more resources on their own," Secretary to the Planning Commission N.C. Saxena told PTI.
Nearly Rs 35,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore was given by way of Central assistance to the state plans, he said adding that it was not possible for the Centre to continue funding even the non-plan expenditure of the states.
The states should raise additional resources by improving tax collections, imposing user charges and curtailing their non-plan expenditure, he said.
Mr Saxena said the commission would deviate from the common practice of holding plan discussions in the Capital and would be sending principal state plan advisers to the states as a precursor to the finalisation of annual plans at the deputy chairman level.
According to sources, the advisers at these state-level meetings will encourage the states to adopt a more realistic approach in determination of plan outlays and better utilisation of the available funds.
Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission K.C. Pant had in a letter warned the states that they could face prospects of reduced annual plan outlays for 2000-01 as it was considering finalising plan size based on actual resource mobilisation by the states instead of linking it to the previous years outlays.
"We need to face facts and fix the plan size according to realistic estimates of resource availability," Mr Pant had said in a letter to all Chief Ministers.
Determination of overall plan size would be made primarily taking into consideration the trend of aggregate actual resource mobilisation for the plan of the state over the first three years of the Ninth Plan.
Sources said while states were expecting an increase in devolutions due to the Eleventh Finance Commission, Central devolutions and grants will be assumed conservatively at last years level in this exercise.
CVC justifies use of website
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) The Central Vigilance Commissioner, Mr N. Vittal, has said "corruption-free service" to every citizen should be included as a fundamental right in the Constitution.
In an interview to Star TVs "Janata Ki Adalat", Mr Vittal said he wanted to suggest to justice M. Venkatachaliah, who is heading the Constitution Review Commission, that a new fundamental right on corruption free service should be included.
Justifying the use of website for highlighting the names of the officials, he said "the CVC website is the first in the world where information technology is being used to control corruption."
Denying that website listing names of corrupt officers will bring down the moral of bureaucracy, Mr Vittal said "Moral will not come down, in fact there have been five benefits. Public now knows senior officers are being brought to book, and departmental action is being taken."
"Suppose an officer is innocent and there is delay in departmental action, his career is being affected, but a corrupt officer benefits from delay in department action, as he can continue in service," he added.
"Listing names on the website has a deterrent effect. There is an inertia in the system. The CVC has been in existence for 35 years, but nobody knew of it. Today by making waves, peoples attention has been focussed. This will bring action and improvement," he said.
National policy on blood transfusion soon
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is spearheading efforts to formulate a national blood transfusion policy that will be shortly placed before the Cabinet for approval, NACO Programme Director J.V.R. Prasada Rao said today.
The policy would come into force within six to eight months, he said at a seminar on "Rational Use of Blood" here on World Health Day. The theme of the day this year is "Safe Blood Begins With Me".
The government will also make screening of blood for Hepatitis-C mandatory in the country by August this year as "lack of Hepatitis-C screening is a serious shortcoming", he said. Currently doctors and technicians are being trained and availability of adequate testing kits was being attended to.
Single unit blood transfusion (SUBT), which forms about 70 per cent of all transfusions in the country, had to be prevented as it results in wastage of precious blood. SUBT, in which a patient is given only one unit of blood while only a few blood components are needed, had no rationale as medication can take care of the problem, he said.
Transfusion of individual blood components like plasma and haemoglobin was yet to pick up in a major way in India as most doctors are unaware of the trend. Only multiple blood units should be given to patients to avoid loss, he said.
To give a thrust to blood components transfusion, government will set up 40 new blood components separation laboratories in the country in the next three years, Mr Rao said. India currently has 40 such labs.
SUBT, which constitutes 10-15 per cent of all transfusions in India, is out of practice in many countries, Mr Rao said.
Sinha denies rift between BJP, RSS
MUMBAI, April 7 (UNI) The Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch have no "serious differences with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the government over economic issues, according to Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.
"There is no serious differences among the RSS, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch or the BJP over economic and financial matters pertaining to development of the country, Mr Sinha said while addressing gathering here yesterday to mark 20th foundation day on Thursday.
"Leave aside, economic issues there is no differences with the RSS as regards to the foreign policy or Defence matters as it is reported in the media time and again, the Finance Minister clarified. He said that even before the BJP-led government came to power "we used to agree or disagree over issues.
"But this does not mean that there are differences among them, he said.
The Indian economy was all set to make leaps and bounds and the country will emerge as an economic superpower, he said and added that this was evident from the visit of United States President Bill Clinton as the talks were held on equal terms.
Mr Sinha said that since
the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre the
economic development has got a boost and this was proved
by the steady march of the country. He said that all eyes
were set on India as it will be the economic superpower
of the future.
HC directive on Kochhar panels work
NEW DELHI, April 7 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today said the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice N.C. Kochhar should start functioning by April 25 to probe the February 24 police crackdown on lawyers demonstration.
"We do not find any reason or justification for the delay," said a Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Devendra Gupta and Mr Justice Cyriac Joseph. "Immediate effective steps must be taken to ensure that the commission is made functional in all respects to enable it to hold its first sitting as early as possible but not later than April 25."
The courts interim order came following a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction for the suspension of police officials responsible for ordering baton charge on lawyers and calling off the strike.
Satellite launch vehicle soon
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) An indigenous vehicle for launching Indias communication satellites will be ready by next year, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government Dr APJ Abdul Kalam said here yesterday.
"By 2001, we will have our own vehicle for launching heavier INSAT satellites used for communication," Dr Kalam said. Currently vehicles made by the French company Ariane are used to launch INSAT satellites.
Bihar Cong men meet Kidwai
NEW DELHI, April 7 (PTI) A delegation of Congress ministers from Bihar, who are sore over allocation of unimportant portfolios, met AICC General Secretary Mohsina Kidwai here today and are understood to have conveyed displeasure over treatment meted out to them.
The delegation, comprising five Cabinet ministers, has sought an appointment with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is likely to return from Amethi tomorrow, to air their grievances.
The ministers are
Chandrashekhar Dubey (Tourism), Ashok Kumar
(Institutional Finance and Programme Implementation),
Shakeel Ahmed (Medical Education), Vijay Shankar Dubey
(Registration) and Vishwamohan Sharma (Industry).
for litter-free Corbett Park
4 sisters commit
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