|Tuesday, June 13, 2000,
Charge sheet against suspended judge
Pak increasing forces along
HP ask for 5,200 cr
Samadhi sought at Kisan Ghat
Literary genius Deshpande dead
Code of conduct row
NEW DELHI, June 12 The Election Commission and the Central Government are at loggerheads over whether the model code of conduct should be implemented from the announcement of the poll schedule or the notification date, with the latter taking the matter to the Supreme Court.
The Chief Election Commissioner, (CEC) Dr M S Gill has asked the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee to settle the conflict.
Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Gill said he wondered as to what public interest was being served by appealing against the enforcement of the model code of conduct from the date of annoucement and maintaining it.
The appeal was filed by the Centre against an order of the Punjab High Court in May, 1997 upholding the ECs decision to enforce the model code from the date of announcement of elections and not from the date of notification as contended by an appellant who was a political party worker.
In a three-page letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the CEC said the issue of the imposition of the model code of conduct from the date of announcement was agreed to by all parties since 1968 and endorsed subsequently at the all-party meetings on the even of general elections between 1997 and 1999.
However, the EC found out that the Centre had gone in appeal against this order on the code of conduct to the Supreme Court and kept the commission in the dark, for nearly two years about the above appeal.
The Government of India has continued to maintain this appeal, against an eminently reasonable order, upholding the code of conduct agreed to by all parties, and re-affirmed unanimously at many meetings with the Election Commission of India Dr Gill said in his letter.
Dr Gill said it was on record that at the first hearing in this case, the Honble Judges of the Supreme Court advised the Government of India to settle this mater with the commission rather than pursue litigation.
Sadly this did not happen. It is even more surprising that this case should be allowed to continue by successive Prime Ministers and Law Ministers, against the Election Commission of India. While the parties, which the Government of India represents from time to time, continue to agree with the commission at the meetings, a parallel litigation has continued, without abatement, he said.
Dr Gills missive to the Prime Minister comes shortly after another one on whether the EC or the government had the power to discipline erring officials deployed on poll duty. While the law clearly vests the authority with the EC, the executive was blocking its implementation, the CEC had said in his earlier letter to Mr Vajpayee.
commissions control over the poll staff and the
code of conduct as the two wheels to take forward
the cart of democracy, Dr Gill said it was a matter
of concern that on both fronts, the government was trying
to roll back the commission.
Charge sheet against suspended judge filed
MUMBAI, June 12 (PTI) Seventyfour days after the arrest of suspended judge Jaysingh Wadhu Singh in a case of alleged extortion in nexus with underworld, the police today filed a 575-page charge sheet against him and absconding gangsters Chota Shakeel and Pydhonie.
Directing the prosecution to file documents by June 20, Designated Judge A.P. Bhangale further remanded Jaysingh Wadhu Singh to judicial custody till then.
The accused have been charged with offences under Section 3(2) of the Maharashtra Control of organised Crime Act (commit or abet organised crime), Section 387 of the IPC (extortion) and Section 120 (b) of the IPC (conspiracy).
The prosecution alleged that the suspended Judge spoke to Shakeel on the telephone through a conduit late Liyakat Ali Shaikh to recover his Rs 40 lakh chit fund amount from Sardarsingh Abrol, alias Dara, in return for judicial favours. Three such calls were intercepted in April last year. Pydhonie threatened Dara on the telephone to repay the amount or face closure of his shop.
The charge sheet contains the statements of 102 witnesses examined by the prosecution. They include court staff and handwriting experts who were examined to recognise Jaysingh Wadhu Singhs voice and writing, respectively.
Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam submitted a report of the Central Forensic Laboratory which claimed that Singhs voice probably matched with the one who spoke to Shakeel on the telephone.
To a query by the court,
the Nikam replied that there was no need to obtain
sanction from competent authority under the law to file
charge sheet against the suspended Judge because the
alleged offence fell outside the scope of his official
Pak increasing forces
NEW DELHI, June 12 Contrary to the claims being made by the military regime in Pakistan about reducing the troop strength along the Line of Control (LoC), the reports here say that the Pakistan army had actually increased its daployment along the border.
Sources in the Army Headquarters here said the claims being made by the Pakistani CEO, Gen Pervez Musharraf, that he had ordered a cut in the troops deployment along the LoC were not correct. Intelligence reports reaching New Delhi said there had been no withdrawal of troops and that it was more of a propoganda by Pakistan.
Sources quoting Military Intelligence reports said not only was there an increase in the troop strength but also the number of militants waiting along the LoC to cross over into India had also swelled over the past few weeks. There was no let-up in attempts being made to push in militants and the concentration had now shifted to the International Border (IB) also.
Pakistan had now apparently changed its strategy of pushing through militants from along the LoC and was trying to do the same from the IB now. The successes achieved by the Indian security forces in apprehending a large number of mercenaries along with a large quantity of arms and ammunition had brought about this change in strategy.
Pakistan had shifted its concentration to the area south of Pir Panjal and there was a strong presence of militants all along the region opposite Rajouri, Doda and Poonch. However, the vigil kept by the Indian forces was not letting the mercenaries to make their way through.
This was also the primary reason behind shelling from across the border having increased in the past few weeks, sources pointed out.
India was also closely watching the progress of the special liberation force mooted by Pakistan for carrying out subversive operations in the valley. This special force, reports said, was being mooted with the inclusion, mostly of retired soldiers with a sprinkling of army regulars. Besides it would comprise of mercenaries also in an attempt to give it a more lethal look.
NEW DELHI, June 12 The Haryana Government today urged the Centre to increase the annual plan allocation for the current fiscal from Rs 58 crore to Rs 200 crore for the improvement of national highways in the state.
The speech of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, who could not attend the second PWD Ministers conference due to a minor toe-surgery, was read in his absence by the states Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Ram Pal Majra, at the meeting.
Mr Chautala said only 153 km of the national highway passing through the state had been transferred to the National Highway Authority of India. The remaining 1,187 km of the highway was being looked after by the state.
He said the Centre recently declared 690 km of the state highway as national highway. The conditions of the newly-declared national highway were not satisfactory and needed substantial improvement and upgradation, he said and urged the Centre to place adequate budget allocation at the disposal of the state government for the road sector.
The Chief Minister said all villages in the state had been connected with metalled roads and even for normal maintenance, the state government would require Rs 205 crore each year. Development of roads to reasonable levels would require an investment of about Rs 1,000 crore in three years, he added.
The Himachal Pradesh Government has requested a grant of Rs 5,000 crore from the Centre to connect all 16,997 villages with an all-weather road network.
The Centre should raise Rs 300 crore plan allocation in the road sector for improvement of roads in the apple belt of the state to facilitate the apple growers during the apple marketing season, which coincides with the rainy season, the state Public Works Department Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh, said here today at the conference.
The minister requested immediate revision of maintenance norms and funds under non-plan keeping in view the stupendous maintenance cost due to vagaries of weather.
Mr Mohinder Singh expressed his reservation about the policy decision of the Union Government to open the entire national highway network for four-laning with private sector participating in it. He said such a move would raise problems of environmental degradation and loss of forest cover in hilly states.
The minister mentioned several road networks in the state and asked the Centre to declare these to be national highway.
The roads were Kirtpur-Nangal-Una-Amb-Mubarikpur-Jassur Dhar; Chaura Kotli-Langera road- Jammu and Kashmir boundary; Hoshiarpur-Una- Bhota road; Pandoh-Gohar-Karaog- Tatapani- Dhalli- Theog-Kothkhai-Jubbal- Hatkoti-Tiuni-Attahal-Meenus- Dakpathar-Dehradun road; Karnal to Narkanda via Yamunanagar-Paonta Sahib; Shimla-Rohroo; Hamirpur-Sujanpur-Palampur road linking NH88 with NH20; Mubarikpur-Dehra-Ranital-Kotla road linking NH70 with NH20; Baijnath-Ladhbharol-Kanda Pattan-Sarkaghat-Gumarwin road linking NH22 with NH21; Pathankot-Dalhousie-Bharmaur road; Barotiwala-Kunihar-Shimla road.
UNI adds: Expressing
concern over the deteriorating safety conditions on
roads, the state PWD Ministers conference today
decided to set up a unified authority comprising
officials from the police, the Transport Department and
the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to check
crime and violation of various laws.
Samadhi sought at Kisan Ghat
NEW DELHI, June 12 (PTI) Special protection group (SPG) personnel guarding Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee faced some anxious moments this morning when scores of supporters of Rajesh Pilot gheraoed him demanding a samadhi for the deceased Congress leader at Kisan Ghat.
The supporters, shouting slogans such as Rajesh Pilot amar rahe (Pilot is immortal) and hame chahiye Kisan Ghat (we want kisan ghat), surrounded Mr Vajpayees car when he visited the senior Congress leaders residence at Akbar Road to pay his last respects.
Congress workers did not allow the Prime Ministers car to move out of the premises ignoring the requests of the SPG personnel. They vociferously demanded that Mr Pilot be cremated at a separate site at Kisan Ghat, the samadhi of late Prime Minister Chaudhury Charan Singh.
A posse of security personnel was summoned to clear the route and they along with Congress Sewa Dal workers paved the way for Mr Vajpayee to leave the place.
According to some supporters, Mr Vajpayee assured them that their demand would be considered.
Meanwhile, a large number of VVIPs continued to pour in at Pilots residence to pay homage. Among them were former Prime Ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao in whose Council of Ministers Mr Pilot was a prominent member, and Mr Chandrashekhar.
Literary genius Deshpande dead
PUNE, June 12 (PTI) Literary genius and master raconteur P.L. Deshpande, affectionately known as Pu La in Maharashtra, died at a private hospital here today.
Deshpande, (81), was admitted to Prayag Hospital on Thursday following a bout of pneumonia. He slipped into a coma late last night and the end came at 1.22 pm, according to Dr Shirish Prayag.
He was a multi-faceted personality a humourist, story-teller, playwright, writer, translator, musician, orator, film director and actor.
Deshpande, who was associated with AIR since 1937, made a foray into television when he was sent for TV training with BBC in 1958 and has the distinction of producing the first TV programme telecast by Delhi Doordarshan in 1959.
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