|Saturday, May 20, 2000,
Probe 100-cr land scandal: Khurana
France keen on defence tie-up
Bihar, Pondy to be penalised
Karunanidhi, PM discuss Lanka
Ramoowalias bid to
Now Gadgils turn to take
Revoke NSA against
$ 500 m WB loan to India
brings relief in Gujarat
Prasar Bharati review panel
Disband Cauvery authority: Jaya
Panel to study Mullaperiyar Dam
Probe 100-cr land scandal: Khurana
NEW DELHI, May 19 (UNI) Former Union Minister Madan Lal Khurana today demanded a CBI inquiry into a Rs 100 crore land scandal in South Delhi.
In a letter written to Urban Development Minister Jagmohan, Mr Khurana pointed out that 40 acre land valued at Rs 100 crore in Lado Sarai, to be acquired by the government under a court order, was fraudulently muted in the name of a builder Madan Lal Mittal and others.
Addressing a press conference, he said part of the land had been illegally sold in the form of plots and on the remaining part commercial activities were in operation.
The former Delhi Chief Minister wanted to know the reasons behind the mutation deed of 40 acre land in the name of Mr Mittal and others despite the court order for its acquisition.
He said about five months ago he had brought the matter to the notice of Mr Jagmohan. Besides, Delhi Vidhan Sabha Member Brahm Singh Tanwer had also written a letter to the Central Vigilance Commission on March 3, 1999, demanding an inquiry into the matter.
Mr Khurana said land in Lado Sarai near Qutab Minar belonging to several persons, was notified for acquisition. It also included 200 bighas (40 acres) of land belonging to Mr Mittal.
The BJP leader said till action was taken against builder and land mafias, things would not improve. Subjecting small violators to punishment would only give an adverse dimension to the move of Mr Jagmohan to rid the capital of all illegal and unauthorised constructions.
He said 200 odd land owners challenged the notification for acquisition in the high court. All petitions were consolidated. A petition was also filed by Mr Mittal in the high court against the acquisition order.
The high court while providing a stay of dispossession till disposal of the writ petititon, ruled that Mr Mittals petition would also be heard along with writ petition No. 9/1981. Therefore Mr Mittals writ petition was clubbed with other 200 petitions.
The high court vide their order dated December 14, 1995 dismissed the petitions and held that acquisition proceedings were legal and in order. This order also dismissed civil writ petition No.9/1981 with which civil petition No.3296/89 of Mr Mittal and others was clubbed.
Inadvertently the list of civil writ petitions released by the court did not include the writ petition No.3296/89 of Mr Mttal who was taking advantage of it and selling off the land to people.
France keen on defence tie-up
NEW DELHI, May 19 India and France today discussed the situation in Sri Lanka specially keeping in view the Indias refusal to help Colombo fight the onslaught by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Disclosing this French Defence Minister Alain Richard said that he did discuss Sri Lanka with Indian leaders and in the common assessment of both countries it was a security matter. The French Defence Minister is on a two-day official visit to India.
Describing India as a strategic partner of France, Mr Richard said that France wanted stability in the Indian Ocean and said that he had heard the Indian explanation for not providing any military help to Sri Lanka. He said that stability in the Indian Ocean was very important for both the countries keeping in mind the trade and other aspects.
He reiterated French support for Indias claim for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council and said that India had all requirements and skills to be part of the Security Council.
Besides wide ranging talks with Indian Defence Minister, George Fernandes, Mr Richard also called upon President, K.R. Narayanan and Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee during his visit. He also met the Minister of State for Defence Production, Mr Harin Pathak and the three Service Chiefs.
Describing his visit more as a political one than merely defence-related, Mr Richard refused to give any suggestions to India, as far as its stand on the NPT and the CTBT was concerned.
He said that India had shown that it was ready to progress on the issue of NPT and France would support and help it on the issue. He pointed out that India was working towards reaching an internal consensus on the signing of the CTBT and France would not like to make any particular suggestion to New Delhi on it.
We have discussed the issue between us, and dont want to influence India on it. However, he said that France would be looking for concrete signals from India to have any cooperation in the nuclear field, specially on the civil side.
The French Defence Minister also indicated that there had been an agreement between the two countries over having joint ventures in the production of defence equipment. He said that these ventures could greatly involve the Indian industry. Given the level of industrial development and technical skills in India, important projects could greatly involve the Indian industry, he said.
Mr Richard also indicated that there had been substantial exchange on the commercials during his two-day visit, but refused to give further details. He thanked President K.R. Narayanan and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for the quality of exchanges and the new avenues of cooperation they had opened.
PTI adds: France today ruled out any fresh military contract with Pakistan.
However, Paris would honour old commitments it has given to Islamabad, a major user of French military hardware, visiting French Defence Minister Alain Richard told "Star News".
There is no proposal to have military contracts with Pakistan, Richard, who held wide-ranging talks with Defence Minister George Fernandes, said.
On the nuclear issue, Richard said France was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and CTBT, and has closed down and dismantled its nuclear testing facilities.
Replying to questions on
military-to-military cooperation, Richard referred to the
recent Indo-French naval exercises in the Arabian Sea and
said the two countries had common interest in checking
piracy and drug trafficking.
Bihar, Pondy to be penalised
NEW DELHI, May 19 (PTI) Standing Committee of State Finance Ministers today unanimously decided to recommend 25 per cent cut in plan allocation to Bihar and Pondicherry if they failed to introduce uniform floor rates of sales tax within seven days, Revenue Minister V. Dhananjay Kumar said today.
Bihar and Pondicherry are the only states which are yet to implement uniform floor rates of sales tax introduced on January 1 this year as a step towards having value added tax (vat) throughout the country by April 1, 2000.
Mr Kumar said the state finance ministers conference convened to monitor progress made by states in this regard, has also decided to convene a meeting of chief ministers on June 22 to work out modalities for introduction of vat.
Indicating that the Centre favoured having uniform single rate vat by April 1, 2001, Mr Kumar said todays conference emphasised that the state governments should bring in necessary legislations to amend their sales tax laws in the next few months.
He said there was hardly 10 months left for introducing vat and the conference felt that the state governments gear up for this purpose.
About allegations of violation of uniform floor rates of sales tax by some states, Mr Kumar said Kerala and Tamil Nadu had complained of Karnataka violating the 4 per cent floor rate on computers.
Such peripheral and minor issues could be resolved by convening regional conference of state chief ministers or through mutual agreement. Efforts were on in this direction, he added.
Karunanidhi, PM discuss Lanka
NEW DELHI, May 19 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi today discussed Sri Lankan developments with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, state government sources said.
Mr Karunanidhi, who arrived here last night to attend a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority, which was abruptly postponed following refusal of participation by the Karnataka Chief Minister, also discussed with Mr Vajpayee some of the pending projects in the state.
It was not immediately known what transpired between them on the Sri Lankan situation during their 30-minute talks.
The meeting on the Cauvery was slated for today by the Prime Minister.
CHENNAI (PTI): CPM Politburo member R. Umanath said on Friday that the Centre should extend all help to the Sri Lankan Government, including the sale of arms, to save civilians caught in the cross fire in the ongoing war between the Lankan army and the LTTE.
"There is nothing wrong in India selling arms to Sri Lanka," he told reporters.
"When Pakistan and Israel can, what is wrong in India selling arms to Sri Lanka?" he asked.
Ramoowalias bid to woo Punjabis
CALCUTTA, May 19 The former Union Minister, Mr B.S. Ramoowalia, MP, and president of the Lok Bhalai Party, has said a third front with all secular forces is bound to be formed at the Centre with Mr Jyoti Basu as its leader.
Mr Ramoowalia is in Calcutta to mobilise support of the Punjabis and the Sikhs of the north-eastern region in support of the proposed anti-BJP third front.
He has set up the state unit of his party with Mr Pal Phallewalla as president and Mr Pasamjit Singh Sidhwan as general secretary. Mr Bachan Singh Saral has been appointed as chief coordinator.
The former Union Minister in the I.K. Gujral government said all anti-BJP and anti-Congress MPs, numbering over 100, would extend their support to the anti-BJP front. He hoped other like-minded MPs, now in the NDA government, would also support the proposed front, Mr Ramoowalia alleged that the Badal government in Punjab had been acting against the interest of the Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular.
Mr Badal has mortgaged
himself totally to the BJP and is destroying the interest
of Punjab. The Lok Bhalai Party MP strongly opposed the
decision to transfer Udham Singh Nagar to Uttarakhand. He
warned that there would be bloodshed in Punjab against
the transfer. He said his party would fight for the
interest of the Punjabis.
Now Gadgils turn to
NEW DELHI, May 19 Now it was the turn of the former Congress spokesman, Mr V.N. Gadgil to make confession about the state of affairs in the party and its Central leadership.
Barely as the dust settled following the controversy of the statements of the AICC Secretary, Mr Jairam Ramesh, and Mr Vasant Sathe on the Congress leadership, a new statement cropped up.
Mr Gadgil said it was not fair on the part of the party members to blame the party President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, after forcing her to enter active politics and expect of her to perform beyond her capacity.
"I wont blame her (Sonia) for the decline of the party. I would blame senior leaders, including myself. We are the people who practically forced her to come to politics. She was very reluctant. At least personally she repeatedly said: I dont understand politics. I have no knowledge of it, Mr Gadgil said in an interview to a private television.
According to a press note issued by Jain TV, Mr Gadgil said the Congressmen thought they could use her to come back to power.
"We expected she would not only be a crowd-puller but also a vote-catcher. Therefore, it is unfair to blame her. The blame is ours he said adding that it was unfair to expect a person to perform beyond his capacity, the note said.
Mr Gadgil said the situation was comparable to what is western management jargon was known as "Peter principle: to expect a person to perform beyond his capacity". We forgot that the Peter principle works in politics also, he said.
However, the senior Congress leader said that Mrs Sonia Gandhis strongest point is TINA (there is no alternative) and said that there was not a single working committee member who has widespread acceptance.
Revoke NSA against Sahyog activists
NEW DELHI, May 19 (UNI) More than 200 social activists today held a demonstration at the UP Bhavan here to demand the release of four Almora-based Sahyog activists detained under the National Security Act (NSA) for publishing a controversial booklet on AIDS.
Joining the demonstrators, comprising large number of non-government organisations, women groups and peoples movements, noted journalists and Rajya Sabha member Kuldip Nayar said he wrote today to the Home Minister saying that the move was unwarranted, unjust and violative of rule of law.
Addressing the protesters, whose march ended with a sit-in, other speakers said that the UP governments move smacked of a deeper conspiracy to scuttle peoples rights, including that of free expression, because the matter should have ended after the unconditional apology tendered by the Sahyog activists and withdrawal of the controversial report.
They said while the issue underscored the matter of NGO accountability and responsibility, it also obligated the state and its administrative arms to protect human rights and civil liberties. In this glaring violations like handcuffing and public parading of Sahyog members and denial of bail to them by the local court had occurred.
The NSA was invoked on
May 11 against Sahyog activists Jasodhra Dassgupta,
Abhijit Das, Sunita Shahi and Surendra Dhapola, the four
staff of Almora-based NGO, on the grounds that the
booklet, "AIDS aur Hum" had offended local
sentiments and was culturally inappropriate.
$ 500 m WB loan to India
NEW DELHI, May 19 (PTI) The World Bank today sanctioned a $ 500-million loan to India for four major projects, including $ 150 million for the power sector restructuring in Uttar Pradesh.
Four agreements were signed here for this purpose by World Bank Country Director Edwin Lim and Economic Affairs Joint Secretary R.S. Sharma.
Rain brings relief in Gujarat
GANDHINAGAR, May 19 (UNI) Rainfall in parts of Gujarat yesterday brought with it respite for the people of the sun-baked state who are reeling under the centurys worst drought.
The rain has kindled the hopes of the farmers of a timely monsoon that had betrayed them last year and the people have now started believing that acute water crisis would soon come to an end.
The unseasonal rain came due to low-pressure belt in the Arabian Sea and lashed Mumbai and other coastal areas yesterday. This has, however, worried government officials here who say it might hamper to ongoing relief works and delay the monsoons.
The rain was widespread in South Gujarat and Saurashtra regions. A report from Bhavnagar said rain and thundershowers were reported from Botad, Palitana and other areas.
Mamata boycotts office
NEW DELHI, May 19 (UNI) Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today cancelled all official engagements and stayed away from office taking exception to the "unilateral and unjustified announcement made by the BJP about contesting election to 45 seats of the Calcutta Corporation.
The Trinamool Congress, the main anti-CPM force in West Bengal, had officially allotted 19 seats to its ally the BJP. The TC had left 12 seats for all parties which would be opposing CPM. The BJP on its own had won just two seats in the 1995 corporation election while the Congress won 68 and the Left Front secured 71 seats.
Prasar Bharati review panel completes task
NEW DELHI, May 19 (UNI) The three-member committee to review the structure of Prasar Bharati and recommend changes to make the functioning of Doordarshan and All India Radio more professional has completed its work.
The committee, which will submit its report tomorrow to Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, had been set up on November 22 last and initially been given a time of three months which was extended on February 23 for another two months.
The members of the
committee are Discovery Channel India chief Kiran Karnik,
marketing consultant Shunu Sen, and Info-sys chief
executive officer N.R. Narayanamurthy. Mr R.C. Mishra,
Joint Secretary (Broadcasting) in the I and B Ministry,
is member secretary and Prasar Bharati CEO R.R. Shah is
President honours 27 Hindi scholars
NEW DELHI, May 19 (UNI) President K.R. Narayanan today honoured 27 scholars for their valuable contribution to the propagation of Hindi.
The awards instituted by the Central Institute of Hindi were for the years 1998 and 1999.
Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi who presided
over the function said all out efforts must be made to
enrich Hindi to make it the national language in the real
sense of the term.
Disband Cauvery authority: Jaya
CHENNAI, May 19 (PTI) AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha today demanded disbanding of the Cauvery River Valley Authority, headed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, contending that it did not have any powers.
In a statement here, she said the authority could be made effective only if it included officials, as envisaged by the original draft scheme prepared by the UF Government.
Stating that the
authority had not met even once since it was set up, she
charged the Prime Minister and other members of the
authority as well as the Chief Ministers of four riparian
states, with not evincing any interest in discussing the
issue at the authority meeting. There was no provision to
compel all members to attend the authoritys
meeting, she said.
Panel to study Mullaperiyar Dam height
NEW DELHI, May 19 (PTI) After a recent deadlock and a knock at the doors of the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu and Kerala today decided to revive the bilateral process to settle the Mullaperiyar Dam height issue by setting up a technical committee to examine whether the dam could sustain additional storage.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Kerala Chief Minister E.K. Nayanar met for an hour today under the auspices of Union Water Resources Minister C.P. Thakur following a Supreme Court directives to the two states to find out an amicable solution to the issue.
Justice case: IA orders probe
11 youths held
Life-term for 9
in Grover murder case
Trinamool supporter dead
for Amartya Sen
5 killed at Army
3 of family dead
Ganguly new CBSE
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