|Monday, July 31, 2000,
Defence Ministry in tussle
for wheat despite discount
can’t be blamed for passenger’s fall
divided on ceasefire
output rises to 2010 mw
defines Jain worship tenets
west UP, Himachal
Indians ‘lobbied’ for Atal’s address
admits delay in offence registration
exam result tomorrow likely
CVC, Defence Ministry in tussle
NEW DELHI, July 30 (PTI) — Four crucial files relating to hefty defence purchases during the nineties sought by the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) have not yet been traced sparking a tussle between CVC officials and the Defence Ministry.
The CVC, which along with the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) and the CBI had been asked by Defence Minister George Fernandes to go through all major defence deals since 1989, has been asking for these files relating to major purchases for Navy and Air Force spares.
Highly placed defence sources said the four files were still missing. "Efforts are on to trace these files." They said officials had retrieved two other files including one relating to the ban on involvement of agents and middlemen in the purchase of weapons and weapons systems.
The interim report, according to Chief Vigilance Commissioner N.Vittal, would be first of a series on probe into arms purchases and is likely to be handed over early next month.
"The four files could have been misplaced as recently some sections of the Defence Ministry have been declared non-sensitive", the sources said.
However, Mr Fernandes has denied that the Defence Ministry has taken any decision to downgrade some of the sections from "sensitive" to "non-sensitive".
The major thrust of the CVC probe is the subject-matter of a court case filed by top naval official Rear Admiral S.V. Purshottam who has alleged a major scandal in purchases of naval spares from Russia worth over Rs 100 crore.
Meanwhile, in its efforts to weed out corruption, the CVC has launched a "benami black money scheme" to unearth black money or assets from public servants.
The scheme, launched recently,
has asked people to report to the commission if they have information
against a public servant about possession of black money or assets
believed to be disproportionate to his known sources of income.
No takers for wheat despite discount
NEW DELHI, July 30 (PTI) — Subdued market prices have severely impacted the government’s scheme to sell wheat at a heavy discount in the open market as there are no takers for the foodgrain despite the launch of the scheme a fortnight ago.
The government has been unable to sell wheat, at a Rs 200 per tonne cut on the procurement price, from its depots in Punjab under the new scheme, started on July 12, as part of efforts to liquidate excess stocks.
The offtake from the scheme which offers wheat to traders and others at a price lower than the normal issue price under the public distribution system has found no takers and the government has not sold any wheat under this scheme so far, a Public Distribution Ministry official told PTI.
Under the scheme called "Special Punjab Scheme for open sale of wheat", traders could buy any quantity of wheat from Punjab at Rs 700 a quintal in July.
This is likely to force a rethink of strategy as government had proposed to gradually increase the open market sale price to Rs 750 a quintal in August and Rs 800 in September.
The issue price of wheat under the PDS, applicable for people above the poverty line is also Rs 900 a quintal.
The scheme was initiated as one of the measures to dispose of the excess wheat in FCI godowns, as stocks have been mounting in the central pool due to the poor lifting of the grain under the public distribution system (PDS) by state government.
Currently, the government is burdened with a massive foodgrain stock holding of around 37 million tonne, about 13 million tonnes in excess of the minimum buffer stock needed for food security.
The stock of wheat is estimated at around 22 million tonnes, against the minimum buffer requirement of 14 million tonnes at this time of the year, sources said.
The wheat procurement this year was an all-time high of 16.2 million tonnes with Punjab being the largest contributor, the sources said, adding consequently every available space in the state was brimming over with foodgrains.
Civil Supplies and Consumer
Affairs Minister Shanta Kumar had said that the government was hopeful
of selling 50 lakh tonnes of bufferstock wheat in Punjab through the
revised open market sale rates despite low grain prices in the market.
Driver can’t be blamed for passenger’s fall
NEW DELHI, July 30 (PTI) — In a major ruling involving public transport vehicles, the Supreme Court has ruled that a driver of a passenger vehicle could not be held liable if a passenger accidentally falls off the vehicle and dies.
"It is a wrong proposition that for any motor accident negligence of the driver should be presumed," a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice K.T. Thomas and Mr Justice R.P. Sethi said while acquitting a driver who was convicted by the trial court, the sessions court and the high court in Andhra Pradesh.
The facts of the case were that one Agamma boarded a bus of Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation driven by Mohammed Aynuddin on December 17, 1993. When the bus moved forward she fell out of the vehicle and its rear wheel ran over her. She died of the injuries sustained in the accident.
Aynuddin was held guilty of culpable negligence and convicted under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code while being sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.
Allowing the appeal of the driver, Mr Justice Thomas said "Merely because a passenger fell down from the bus while boarding the bus, no presumption of negligence can be drawn against the driver of the bus."
If the circumstances leading to the accident would reasonably lead to the belief that in the absence of negligence the accident would not have occurred and the thing which caused the injury was shown to be under the control of the driver, then the latter could be convicted, he said.
The Bench said it was the imperative duty of the driver of a vehicle to adopt such reasonable and proper care and precaution so as to avoid injury to the public generally or to an individual in particular.
Experts divided on ceasefire
NEW DELHI, July 30 (PTI) —Notwithstanding the Centre’s invitation to Kashmiri militants for talks, expert opinion is sharply divided on what the development portends for the valley.
While some defence experts attribute the Hizbul’s offer to increasing international pressure for initiation of talks on Kashmir, others are apprehensive of a significant change in the ground situation in terms of militancy in Kashmir.
"There’s no reason to dismiss it (ceasefire offer) right away or just go overboard about it," says Mr P.R. Chari, Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, attributing the Hizbul’s offer to tremendous American pressure to initiate a dialogue on Kashmir, considered a nuclear flashpoint by the USA.
"There’s a great deal of American pressure on Pakistan to initiate a dialogue on Kashmir... Several militant leaders (of pro-Pak organisations) have bases in the USA and the UK and they can be influential," says Mr Chari, describing rival outfits’ reaction to the offer as "ritual noises."
"It’s interesting to note that there’s no adverse reaction from the Pakistan Government on this count," says Mr Chari. In similar vein, Maj-Gen (retd) Afsir Karim says the Hizbul offer is "reflective of the pressure from America... Pakistan is under pressure to make gestures towards initiating a dialogue.
output rises to 2010 mw
MUMBAI: Nuclear power available to the country took another jump of 220 mw as a consequence of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Project’s (RAPP) unit-3 commencing commercial operations. India’s atomic power generation capacity synchronised to electricity grids in different regions is now of the order of 2010 mw.
The RAPP reactor of unit-3 with a capacity of 220 mw attained criticality on December 24 last year. It began commercial operations on June 1, 2000, with an initial output of 100 mw. Its output will be gradually increased and finally stabilised at its full capacity of 220 mw by this year-end.
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) had authorised the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) on May 31, 2000, to operate RAPP-3 at full power for a period of 90 days in the first instance. Thereafter, the AERB will subject the reactor to comprehensive tests to ascertain the functioning of its various systems. The AERB is now subjecting the operation of nuclear reactors to more rigorous safety regulations in keeping with its mandate updated according to international standards prescribed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
With unit-3 of the RAPP commencing commercial power generation, Rawatbhata has emerged as the largest atomic power park of the country. Eventually, Karnataka’s Kaiga complex of atomic power projects, now under construction, will join this league of major atomic power locations when the three other projects under construction are completed.
The RAPP-3 reactor, which has
now been synchronised to the northern grid, is the 12th power
generation unit of NPCIL. The electricity generation capacities of the
first and second reactor units at Rawatbhata are 150 and 200 MWe
capacities, respectively. Unit-4 of the RAPP, which is under
construction, is expected to become critical by the end of the year.
Court defines Jain worship tenets
MUMBAI, July 30 (PTI) — In a landmark verdict, the Mumbai High Court has held that observing ‘‘Be Thithi’’ calendar and performing ‘‘Navangi’’ guru worship by devotees was not illegal or contrary to the principles or tenets of Jain religion.
The ruling will have a bearing on the two crore-strong Jain community across the country because it puts at rest the controversy over the manner of ‘‘gurupoojan’’ (worshipping guru) and observance of ‘‘thithis’’ in the absence of any such mention in Jain religious scriptures since time immemorial.
While one section believed in ‘‘Ekang’’ (in reverence to one point of guru’s body) and ‘‘Ek Thithi’’, the other followed ‘‘Navang’’ (in reverence to nine points of the body) and ‘‘Be Thithi’’. However, there was no dispute over the manner in which idol should be worshipped.
The judgement was delivered by Justice Rajan Kochar who recently upheld a lower court’s order which restrained Matunga Jain Shwetamber Murti Pujak Tapagachha Sangh, a trust, from putting up signboards at upashraya (temple) banning Navangi worship and following ‘‘Be Thithi’’ calendar.
Some devotees had challenged in a civil court resolutions passed by the trust in its July 1, 1998 general body meeting banning Navangi worship. The court ruled in their favour and the aggrieved trust filed an appeal before the high court.
The judge observed, ‘‘Guru vandana will totally depend on the devotee and the guru. No trust can permit or allow any member of Jain community to perform guru pooja in a particular way. There is nothing wrong if a devotee or member of the trust performs pooja in accordance with his own bhakti which however, should not be against Jain religion’’.
The judge observed ‘‘if the guru accepts such a form of worship (Navangi), I do not find how the trust can prevent or prohibit gurupoojan by a devotee in this manner’’.
‘‘It may be that Navangi was acceptable to a microscopic minority among Jains and may be it was also not universally accepted. But there is no Jain shastra or scripture to show that Navangi is against the tenets of Jain religion’’.
Navangi might be of recent origin but such a practice was in vogue in a section of the Jain community and if such worship was in accordance with religious tenets, practices and usage, the trust had no powers to restrict devotees from performing it in the upashraya. It also had no right to allow only Ekangi worship, Justice Kochar ruled.
The trust was empowered to frame regulations on the administration of the shrine or place of worship or any other property, but it could not lay down guidelines for mode of worship, the judge remarked.
The judge also went through the scheme framed by the high court many years ago for the administration of the same trust and found that there was no clause to show ban on the Navangi form of worship.
‘‘According to me, the
trust cannot chose to invite only such gurus who follow either Ekangi
guru pooja or Navangi worship. It has to treat all of them equally
without any discrimination. It can, however, fix any day of the week
for Navangi worship to avoid inconvenience to others’’, he opined.
in west UP, Himachal
NEW DELHI, July 30 — Monsoon has been active in the hills of west Uttar Pradesh.
Rainfall: Rain or thundershowers have occurred at most places in the hills of west Uttar Pradesh, at many places in Himachal Pradesh, at a few places in east Rajasthan and the plains of Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places in Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. Weather was mainly dry in west Rajasthan.
The chief amount of rainfall in cm are: Haryana: Naraingarh 1, Himachal Pradesh: Pandoh 2 and Ghamoor, Kangra and Nalagarh 1 each, Jammu and Kashmir: Kathua 4 and Jammu 1, Rajasthan: Bali 3, Agauna and Karauli 2 each and Arwar Dam, Banwargarh, Darra Colony, Gopalpura and Sawan Bhado 1 each and Uttar Pradesh: Dehradun 19, Marora 12, Basti and Hardwar 5 each, Jaunpur 4, Banbasa, Joshimath and Mirzapur 3 each, Ankinghat, Banda and Bareilly 2 each and Ayodhya, Balrampur, Chhatnag, Dabri, Fatehgarh, Gorakhpur, Kalpi, Tehri, Uttarkashi and Varanasi A.P. 1 each.
Forecast valid until the morning of August 1: Rain or thundershowers will occur at many places in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, east Rajasthan and west Uttar Pradesh, at a few places in Haryana, Punjab and east Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places in west Rajasthan.
Heavy rainfall warning: Heavy rain is likely at isolated places in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the hills of west Uttar Pradesh during the next 48 hours.
Forecast for Delhi and neighbourhood valid until the morning of August 1: Generally cloudy sky with possibility of one or two spells of rain or thundershowers.
Farmer weather bulletin for Delhi: Forecast valid until the morning of August 1: Light to moderate rain is likely at many places.
US Indians ‘lobbied’ for Atal’s address to Congress
NEW DELHI, July 30 (UNI) — United States-based Indians lobbied hard to effect Speaker Dennis Hastert’s invitation to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to address the US Congress joint session of September 14, Indian American Friendship Council Convener Adish Aggarwal said today.
The council had met in Washington on July 18 and passed a resolution to this effect in the presence of about 70 Senators and Congressmen and 400 US-based Indians. The Speaker’s invitation (to the Indian Premier) confirms the clout of the US-based Indian community, mostly professionals and pioneers in various fields of life, Mr Aggarwal said in his statement.
He said the Indian chapter of the council also hoped that the US Administration would also implement another resolution which sought withdrawal of all US Sanctions on India before Mr Vajpayee’s visit.
Police admits delay in offence registration
MUMBAI, July 30 (PTI) — In a significant disclosure, a senior police officer has admitted before a TADA court he had not immediately registered an offence pertaining to the recovery of arms under the Arms Act when Sanjay Dutt, film star and accused in serial blast trial, had disclosed this to him during custodial interrogation.
Deposing before the designated judge Pramod Kode, senior police Inspector Suresh Walishetty told defence lawyer Harsad Ponda during cross-examination that he had not registered the crime although he realised that such an offence had been committed under the Arms Act.
To a question, the witness admitted that Sanjay Dutt was not arrested in connection with the offence under the Arms Act until the recording of the FIR although six ‘panchnamas’ were drawn during his custodial interrogation.
(This question was put to the cop because under the Arms Act, the accused has to be arrested the moment he discloses the possession of arms. In the cross-examination, the defence attempted to demolish the evidence against Sanjay Dutt and co-accused related to the alleged crime).
The prosecution’s case is that Sanjay had instructed his friend Yusuf to destroy the AK-56 lying in his bungalow. Yusuf picked up the weapon along with a revolver. The weapon was destroyed in Kersi Adejania’s foundry while the revolver was kept with Rusi Mulla, who in turn handed it to Ajay Marwah.
At every stage a ‘panchnama’
was drawn before the FIR was registered but nowhere these accused,
including Sanjay Dutt, were shown as arrested. Only the fag end of the
last ‘panchnama’ indicted their arrest, the court was told.
exam result tomorrow likely
NEW DELHI, July 30 — The result of the Intermediate Examination of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India held in May, 2000, is likely to be declared on August 1.
According to a press note of the institute the result and details of marks will be available on the website http://www.results.nic.in/cainter.
Apart from the institute’s phone
numbers 3312055, 3320916, 3315446, 3328399, 3315431, 3314210, the
results will be available in some schools in Delhi, including BM Gange
Senior Secondary School, Raj Niwas Marg, DAV Senior Secondary School,
Pusa Road, Vidya Bhawan Mahavidayala Senior Secondary School, Lodi
Estate, and Arwachin Bharti Bhawan Senior Secondary School, Vivek
killed in Batalik
Man dies in
strangled for adultery
launch new diploma
Cong not to
admit BJP deserters
fever being probed
cadet commits suicide
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