|Saturday, May 27, 2000,
strike again on train
Central team to visit Tripura
Badal takes up border issues
Nitish, Sethi likely to join
Free transportation of water till
Urea scam: HC upholds order
CM takes up farmers cause
Woman, paramour held on murder
Award for Rail Coach Factory
Robbers strike again on train
SAHARANPUR, May 26 A gang of robbers struck for the third consecutive day on the Amritsar-Barauni Express today.
Police sources told Tribune News Service here that nearly 24 passengers, mostly Bihari labourers were found unconscious in various compartments of the train as it came to a halt at Saharanpur railway station early today.
Cash and goods worth Rs 1.5 lakh were robbed from them. The robbers had adopted the earlier modus operandi. The labourers were given biscuits to eat which were laced with some poisonous substance.
During the past three days, the gang has robbed over 50 Bihari labourers in the same train. So far, it has looted cash and goods woken about Rs 5 lakh from the labourers.
Armed guards accompany the train from Amritsar to Barauni. However, the looting incidents have not woken up the G.R.P.
Another interesting aspect is that on all three occasions, the G.R.P. came to know about the incidents only at Saharanpur though the Amritsar-Barauni Express halts at all major stations including Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Khanna, Sirhind, Rajpura, Ambala cantonment and Saharanpur.
The police at Saharanpur railway station found that the labourers had been thoroughly searched. Some of them did not have proper clothes. Only their identification marks indicated that they were from either Bihar or UP.
The impact of the
poisonous substance was so strong that the labourers did
not regain consciousness for a long time. The police said
some of them remained lying on the platform in an
Central team to visit Tripura
AGARTALA, May 26 (UNI) A high-level central team, led by Union Home Secretary Kamal Pandey, will visit Tripura for an on-the-spot assessment of the prevailing situation following escalated militancy and ethnic violence since last one month.
Official sources said today that the team would arrive here on May 31 for a two-day state visit to review whether the central forces were effectively deployed in counter insurgency operations by the state government.
Other members of the team are BSF Director-General E.M. Ram Mohan, CRPF Director-General M.N. Sabarwal and Home Ministrys Joint Secretary for North Eastern Affairs G.K. Pillai.
Sources said the Union Home Ministry was unhappy over the existing deployment and use of central forces in the state for anti-insurgency operations. The ministry would also extend the Disturb Areas Act to the entire state to flush out militants if the state wanted.
At present, the Disturb Areas Act has been promulgated in the states 27 police station areas (in the 22 police station areas the act is invoked fully and in the five others partially). The state has 45 police station areas.
The Centre had recently sanctioned 10 additional companies of the central para military forces (CPMF) for the state, of which six companies were of the CRPF and four companies of the counter insurgency-trained Assam Rifles. The state had been demanding for an additional five battalions of the army to intensify the anti-insurgency operations in the state.
Badal takes up border issues
NEW DELHI, May 26 The Centre today decided to call a meeting of various ministries to address the problems being faced by people living in border areas in Punjab early next week.
This decision was conveyed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who led a delegation of 20 MPs and MLAs from the state to meet the Union Home Minister, Mr L K Advani.
Briefing correspondents after the meeting, the Union Home Secretary, Mr Kamal Pande, said since the issues raised by the state including providing compensation to farmers of the border and border area development programmes pertain to other ministries, a meeting will be held by Tuesday.
Apart from the Home Minister, the meeting will be attended by the Defence Minister, the Rural Development Minister, the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, the Director General of Border Security Force and the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Pande said.
Earlier, when the Deputy Chairman of the Planning
Commission, Mr K C Pant assured the Punjab delegation that the ad hoc grant of compensation to farmers cultivating land beyond the border fence at the rate of Rs 3000 per acre would be granted this year too.
The adhoc grant was given last year after the Union Home Minister, Mr Advani, visited the border areas to understand the problems being faced by the farmers in the area. The Planning Commission had recently released nearly Rs 8 crore for paying compensation.
The Punjab delegation emphasised that the grant should be an annual feature for farmers who were suffering losses in terms of agricultural productivity because of restrictions imposed on them.
In a 11-point memorandum to the Home Minister, the delegation demanded that apart from compensation to farmers on the border, give 50 per cent weightage while allocating funds to border areas, sanction of special grant for river training, flood protection and border bridges, setting up of employment generating units in the areas, special central grant for upgradation and repair of roads. Identity cards for families cultivating across the border fencing, reduction in night curfew hours, reduction in distance between fence gates, toilet facilities in floodlit areas etc.
In order to mitigate problems of those residing in border areas, the delegation said, identity cards should be given to all members of families and that the BSF should deploy lady staff at gates for frisking women engaged in agriculture and related vocations across the border.
They also urged for reduction in curfew hours and said the security personnel manning the gates allow the entry of farmers into their lands only at about 9 a.m. This results in reduced cultivation hours and thus loss in agricultural productivity, They also stressed reduction in distance of gates along barbed wires and construction of toilet for villages next to border fence specially since flood lighting interferes with the privacy of women.
The delegation said river training works executed by Pakistan must be countered to prevent flooding on Indian side and reminded that a proposal to release Rs 298.40 lakhs for the purpose was pending with the Home Ministry.
They said Rs 521.33 lakh project for flood protection identified in consultation with the BSF should be released immediately while Rs 525.55 lakh fund for bridges which have been approved was awaited.
The state also said road infrastructure in border belt suffers intensive damage because of heavy movement of armed forces. They said Rs 86.51 crores were required for construction and repairs of links roads and bridges on it while Rs 94.47 crore was needed for construction and upgradation, repair of plan roads and bridges on roads falling in the border tract.
The delegation including MPs, Mr Vinod Khanna, Mr Zora Singh Mann, Mr Raj Mohinder Singh and Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, eight Ministers of Punjab and several MLAs of border districts of Ferozepur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur.
The Punjab ministers
included Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, (Forest), Dr Rattan Singh
Ajnala (Animal Husbandry), Mr Ranjit Singh Brahampura
(Cooperation), Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike (Agriculture), Mr
Sucha Singh Langah (PWD), and Mr Mohan Lal (Higher
Nitish, Sethi likely to join
NEW DELHI, May 26 The expansion of the Union Council of Ministers scheduled for tomorrow may see a limited induction primarily aimed at filling of vacancies that exist at present.
According to informed sources, while the expansion may be a limited one there could be some significant reshuffle in the portfolios of ministers.
According to informed sources Mr Arjun Sethi, leader of the Biju Janata Dal Parliamentary Party is expected to be sworn-in against the vacancy caused by the resignation of the BJD chief, Mr Naveen Patnaik.
Reports of induction of Dr A. K. Patel, possibly as the Health Minister is also doing rounds. The Prime Minister is reportedly not satisfied with the performance of the incumbent Mr N. T. Shanmugham during the recent Budget session. Mr Shanmugham who belongs to the PMK may be given another portfolio.
The possible re-induction of Mr Nitish Kumar who resigned for a short-lived tenure as Chief Minister of Bihar is also on the cards.
Free transportation of water
till June 30
NEW DELHI, May 26 The Minister of State for Railways, Mr Bangaru Laxman, today said the Railways would continue free transportation of water and fodder for drought-affected areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh till June 30.
Addressing newspersons here today, Mr Laxman said the Railways had met all demands made by the state governments for the free transportation of water and fodder to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. He said no request made by any state government in this regard was pending with the Railways.
Replying to a question, the minister said if the monsoon was delayed in the affected areas and requests were made by the state governments, the Railways would consider free transportation of water and fodder even beyond June.
Mr Laxman said 61 out of the 80 districts in the three states were badly affected by drought.
He said the Railways had incurred an expenditure of over Rs 13 crore in transporting water and fodder. He said if the Railways had not transported free water and fodder, these wagons would have been utilised for carrying other goods as cement and fertilisers. "If we transport cement in the same rakes, we would transport 2,200 metric tonnes in one rake. In case of fodder, it is 800 metric tonnes in one rake. We are giving priority to transportation of water and fodder to the drought-affected areas and have undertaken this job at the cost of losing revenue earning business," he said.
Mr Laxman said the Railways was providing free transportation of water which was approximately 33 lakh kilo litre per day. He said during this period, 748 lakh tonnes of water had been transported free of cost to the affected areas.
South-west monsoon advances
PUNE, May 26 (PTI) Rain or thundershowers are likely at many places in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep, at a few places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gangetic West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu, Interior Karnataka, and at isolated places in Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, South Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat region, Konkan and Goa, South Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, Vidarbha and coastal Andhra Pradesh. Mainly dry weather will prevail over the rest of the country, according to forecast issued by central observatory here today.
Heavy rainfall warning: Heavy rain is likely at isolated places in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Kerala and Lakshadweep during the next 48 hours.
The temperatures in four metropolitan centres were: Mumbai max 34°C and min 28°C, Chennai max 37°C and min 29°C, Calcutta max 36°C and min 26°C and New Delhi 42°C and min 32°C.
The south-west monsoon further advanced into southern parts of Comorin area, some more parts of south-west bay, east-central bay and north-east bay. Conditions are favourable for further advance of the south-west monsoon in rest of the Comorin area, the Maldives area, some more parts of the Bay of Bengal and into parts of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura during the next 48 hours.
The trough on sea-level chart from the north Gujarat coast to the Kerala coast persists. The cyclonic circulation over the neighbourhood persists and now extends up to 1.5 km A trough on the sea-level chart runs from Punjab to north-east bay across north Uttar Pradesh and the Bihar plains. The cyclonic circulation over the south-east Arabian Sea off the Karnataka-Goa coast now lies off the Karnataka coast between 3.1 and 5.8 kms asl. The other cyclonic circulation over the west-central bay off the south Andhra coast persists between 3.1 and 5.8 km asl.
Rain or thundershowers have occurred at many places in Assam and Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, at a few places in Gangetic West Bengal, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalaseema, coastal Karantaka, Kerala and Lakshadweep and at isolated places in Orissa, Bihar plateau, East Uttar Pradesh, hills of West Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and North Karnataka. Very light rain has also occurred at isolated places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Konkan and Goa and south interior Karnataka.
Amount of rainfall in cm: Jalpaiguri (7.9), Agartala (6.6), Baghdogra (6.1), Ahmednagar (4.0), Cochi (3.7), Guwahati (3.5), Sholapur (2.9), Uthagamandalam (2.8), Shillong (2.4), Imphal (2.2), Sundernagar (1.6), Dehra Dun (1.4), Bahraich, Panambur, Gadag, and Minicoy (1.3 each), Amritsar and Valparai (1.1 each), Calcutta and Kurnool (0.9 each), Ambala (0.8), Shimla (0.6) and Gopalpur, Jamshedpur and Medak (0.5 each).
The day temperatures
were appreciably above normal in some parts of north-west
Rajasthan and were above normal in Himachal Pradesh,
Jammu and Kashmir, Saurashtra, coastal Andhra Pradesh and
South Tamil Nadu and in some parts of Assam, Haryana and
Kerala. They were appreciably below normal in the Bihar
plains and East Uttar Pradesh and in some parts of North
Madhya Maharashtra and Telangana and were below normal in
south-west Rajasthan, West Madhya Pradesh and Marathwada
and in some parts of the Bihar plateau, hills of West
Uttar Pradesh, South Madhya Maharashtra and or North
Urea scam: HC upholds order
NEW DELHI, May 26 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today upheld the trial court order framing charges against eight accused including two top executives of Turkish firm Karsan Ltd in the Rs 133 crore urea scam case and said evidence also showed involvement of former Union Minister Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav.
"Circumstantial evidence indicates that Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav was also involved to ensure that Karsan-National Fertilisers Limited (NFL) deal went through without trouble," Mr Justice M.S.A. Siddique said in his 46-page judgement, while dismissing appeals of the six accused against the trial court added.
Although Ram Lakhan Singh Yadavs name does not figure in the CBI chargesheet, his son Prakash Chandra Yadav is one of the accused.
Also dismissing bail applications of Karsan executive Tunkay Alankus and Cihan Karanci, lodged in Tihar jail since their extradition in 1998, Mr Justice Siddique said there was no "infirmity" in special Judge V.B. Guptas order framing charges of cheating, fraud and criminal conspiracy against the accused.
Gupta had on November 7, 1998 framed charges against Alankus, Karanci, Prakash Yadav, Karsans Indian agent M. Sambasiva Rao, his employee D. Mallesham Gaud, former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Raos relative Sanjeeva Rao, former NFL Managing Director C.K. Ramakrishnan and its former Executive Director D.S. Kanwar.
The high court made it clear that any of the observations made in the judgement would not "influence" the Special Judge in conducting the trial in the case.
The court said the CBI had furnished a list of telephone calls made from the residence of Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav to Ramakrishnan, Kanwar, Samabsiva Rao and Sanjeeva Rao.
The NFL had signed a revised contract with Karsan in October 1995 for the supply of 2 lakh tonnes of urea and had advanced $ 38 million (Rs 133 crore) in advance to the Turkish firm, which failed to fulfil the deal.
Accepting the arguments of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) R.N. Trivedi that D.S. Kanwar had signed the revised contract unauthorisedly, the court said "the earlier contract was not deliberately acted upon as its total value was not favourable to the common design of the conspirators."
The court said that State Bank of India officials at the South Extension branch here were pressurised by the NFL executives to pay in advance the entire $ 38 million to Karsan.
"Alankus" failure to furnish insurance cover as per the contract indicates his guilty intention.... though he kept on telling NFL that the deal will be fulfilled," the court said.
Marshalling the evidence on money transactions by Alankus and Karanci, the court said initially $ 37.62 million were deposited in three Swiss banks by them and a part of it was later disbursed to many parties.
Mallesham Gaud had even confessed to receiving Rs 40 lakhs kickbacks, the court said.
The CBI is yet to get Brazilian national A.E. Pinto, one of the accused, extradited from the UK. Pinto had acted as a middleman to clinch the deal for Karsan.
According to the CBI chargesheet, Karsan executives in a "pre-planned" conspiracy had "surreptiously and swiftly" got the $ 37.62 million transferred to their accounts.
The money was initially credited in Karsans Pictet Bank account in Geneva on November 30, 1995 of which $ 1.10 million was transferred to Karancis personal account and $ 4.10 million to Dubai-based firm Edible Food Stuff, of Rajender Babani, who allegedly had acted as the main conduit to transfer the kickbacks to some persons in India, the CBI said.
The investigating agency said $ 2 million was transferred to Malyn Holdings in the USA, while $ 3.42 lakh was sent to a Greece-based company, $ 2 lakh dollars to Sambasiva Rao and $ 3.42 lakh to an Insurance Company in London.
The NFL executives had failed to protect the interests of the country and hurriedly advanced the payment to Karsan, which had no international standing in producing and supplying the fertilisers, the CBI said.
On the Karsan
executives plea that they could not fulfil the deal
due to bad weather conditions in Russia from where they
had arranged the urea, the court said these were the
issues to be dealt by the trial court while examining the
CM takes up farmers
NEW DELHI, May 26 Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today apprised Agriculture Minister Sunderlal Patwa of the problems of small farmers on account of decision to allow import of milk powder and chicken legs.
Mr Badal, who led a delegation of MPs and MLAs from the state, said following the decision of the Centre to reduce duties on import of milk powder the small and marginal farmers of Punjab were experiencing a fall in demand.
He said the small and marginal farmers were facing problems and the shortfall in demand of milk had accentuated it.
Mr Patwa assured the delegation that the Centre was seized of the issue and despite the WTO commitment the matter could be discussed and negotiated in the forum soon.
On the issue of import of chicken legs which too had been permitted recently with reduced duties, Mr Patwa said the matter would be considered.
Woman, paramour held on murder
NEW DELHI, May 26 A 26-year-old woman Babita and her paramour, Dharmender Singh (25), were arrested on the charge of the murder of the Babitas husband, who was a constable in the Delhi Police. One of their accomplice is absconding.
Virender Singhs body was recovered in decomposed condition in Model Town on May 19. He was posted at the Majnu Ka Tila police post in North-West Delhi, the police said.
The police said on the fateful night the deceased came at 10.30 p.m. from the police post and went to the bed after taking dinner. Her wife reportedly mixed six pills in the food. At 1.30 a.m. her paramour along with one of his accomplices came to the deceased house and killed him.
Award for Rail Coach Factory
NEW DELHI, May 26 Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, has been selected for commendation certificate of Golden Peacock Environment Management Award-2000 by the World Environment Foundation.
Sources in the Railway Ministry said the coach factory had been selected for developing, managing and creating awareness among its staff members to maintain ecological balance. Environmental management systems have been designed to minimise adverse environmental impact during manufacturing of coaches.
killed in Tripura
2 arrested in
dowry death case
Two Shakeel gang
members shot dead
Portal on Indian
Lamas plea to Vajpayee
HC pulls up zila
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |