SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

India, Singapore to share intelligence
New Delhi, July 10
India and Singapore today decided to close ranks on a host of security, strategic and economic issues and took a number of decisions which will bring New Delhi closer to not just Singapore but also ASEAN, the economic powerhouse of the region.
Mr Goh Chok Tong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, meets former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his residence in the Capital In video
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Mr Goh Chok Tong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, meets former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his residence in the Capital on Saturday.
— Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Mudslides on Badrinath road, pilgrims stranded
Dehra Dun, July 10
With more mudslides on the Badrinath-Rishikesh road, the evacuation of pilgrims suffered a major setback, today. Hill slides at Helang and Baldaura left almost 900 pilgrims stuck up at Peepalkothi. The pilgrims were being taken to Rishikesh after being rescued from Badrinath where they were stranded earlier. In video (28k, 56k)

PM says no to wife on Nanded visit
New Delhi, July 10
This is one time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said no to his “home minister”. The Prime Minister recently declined an invitation for a programme in Nanded, Maharashtra, even though his wife Mrs Gursharan Kaur evinced an interest in it.

Cops under scanner in Telgi case
Chennai, July 10
Many more Tamil Nadu police officers, including two Inspectors-General of Police, are being scrutinised by the Central bureau of Investigation for their role in the alleged multi-crore fake stamp paper scam by Abdul Karim Telgi.



Mr M. M. Khajuria, former Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, releases the book Kashmir Documentation--Pandits in Exile
Mr M. M. Khajuria, former Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, releases the book Kashmir Documentation—Pandits in Exile at a function in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 

Telgi scam: one more held
Madurai, July 10
CBI sleuths arrested Mahaboob John, a printing press owner at Sivakasi in Virdhunagar district last night in connection with Telgi scam, the police said today.
Mahaboob was suspected to have printed the fake stamp papers at his press, which was circulated by Telgi. He was arrested on the information provided by one of the accused in the case, Nizamudin. — PTI

No decision yet on CDS: Pranab
New Delhi, July 10
A change of government at the Centre has had no effect on the status of the appointment of the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff which has been hanging fire for years. An indication that it would remain on the backburner was given again by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today. In video (28k, 56k)

A man carries his five daughters on a moped
A man carries his five daughters on a moped on the eve of World Population Day, in Bhopal on Saturday. — PTI

BITS out of entrance test ambit for now
New Delhi, July 10
The Supreme Court has held that the Pilani-based Birla Institute of Technology and Science would for the time being stay away from the ambit of the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination for admitting students and continue to take them on the basis of merit.

Sonia to attend AIDS meeting
New Delhi, July 10
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been inundated with international invitations ever since she hit the headlines worldwide on declining the Prime Minister’s post. She has, however, chosen next week’s International AIDS Conference, organised by UNAIDS in Bangkok, to make her presence in the international arena.

Debate on Arunachal tomorrow
New Delhi, July 10
Maintaining a non-committal attitude on the issue of imposing President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh and the Congress demand of the removal of state Governor V. C. Pande, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said today that the issue would be debated in Parliament on Monday.

Ransom was paid to Veerappan, says ex-ACP
Bangalore, July 10
A former Assistant Commissioner of Police , arrested by the CBI in connection with the fake stamp paper scam, has created a stir by declaring that he paid Rs 20 crore to Veerappan to release actor Rajkumar in 2000 at the behest of then Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, Minister D.K. Shivakumar, ADGP Ramanujam and IGP Jayaprakash.


Videos

Advani says he will continue to work for the progress of the nation.
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Non-stop bhajans since 37 years!
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India, Singapore to share intelligence
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
India and Singapore today decided to close ranks on a host of security, strategic and economic issues and took a number of decisions which will bring New Delhi closer to not just Singapore but also ASEAN, the economic powerhouse of the region.

The two sides issued a Joint Statement today at the conclusion of Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s three-day visit in which they called for an effective international cooperation to combat terrorism and deny sanctuaries to terrorist outfits.

The two sides agreed to share intelligence, combat terrorism and transnational organised crime together and emphasised the need for more vigorous defence-to-defence ties.

On the economic side, the two countries decided to conclude a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which would bolster the already vibrant economic ties between them. CECA is a notch above the Free Trade Area (FTA) regime and, once in place, would pave the way for further bolstering bilateral trade between India and Singapore.

Singapore is the largest trading partner of India from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India-Singapore bilateral trade is currently pegged at an impressive $ 5billion.

Sources told The Tribune that in their official talks in the past two days the Singapore side was very keen on putting the CECA regime in place with India, particularly in trade and aviation sectors. It is understood that some “minor hitches” cropped up during the CECA negotiations but sources said these would be overcome shortly.

Singapore, sources said, favoured more liberalisation in the aviation sector whereas the UPA government, given its political compulsions, is of the view that it needs some more time to study the proposals.

In that context, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Singapore counterpart reviewed the progress of negotiations.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the institutionalisation of the bilateral Joint Working Group on Intelligence Cooperation on Combating Terrorism and Transnational Organised Crime and the finalisation of the bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on Criminal Matters.

The two sides noted the signing of the Defence Cooperation Agreement in October 2003 and the establishment of the Defence Policy Dialogue under its auspices. They saw the consolidation of defence ties as a natural evolution of their excellent political understanding and stressed that these ties would be a factor for peace and stability in the region.

Both sides welcomed the initiative of the Prime Minister of Singapore, with the support of the Singapore Business Federation and the Confederation of Indian Industry to set up the Singapore-India Partnership Foundation to promote exchanges between the two countries. During this visit, Prime Minister Goh called on President APJ Abdul Kalam and Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. He also had a restricted meeting as well as delegation-level talks with the Prime Minister, who hosted a banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary. Ms Sonia Gandhi, President of Congress party and Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance Coordination Committee, External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani called on Prime Minister Goh. Mr Goh also had a meeting with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
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Mudslides on Badrinath road, pilgrims stranded
Swati Vashishtha
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 10
With more mudslides on the Badrinath-Rishikesh road, the evacuation of pilgrims suffered a major setback, today. Hill slides at Helang and Baldaura left almost 900 pilgrims stuck up at Peepalkothi. The pilgrims were being taken to Rishikesh after being rescued from Badrinath where they were stranded earlier. Though the fresh mudslides have disrupted rescue operations, no casualties or loss of property have been reported.

The administration has no news of the nine missing persons feared dead, after the Vishnuprayag accident. The bus washed away by the Alaknanda could not be traced either, Disaster Management Department officials said.

Heavy showers in the region hindered the road clearance efforts. Due to bad weather the MI 17 defence helicopters pressed into service could not be put to use. The helicopters were earlier used to supply kerosene and rice for the villages, road links which were cut off after the landslides. Bad weather has also damaged the phone lines in the region. While the incoming calls are on, outgoing facility remains blocked.

Divisional Commissioner, Garhwal Division, Subhash Kumar said commuting of light vehicles through the tunnel would resume within a week. This would help the pilgrims who have their own cars and jeeps to leave Badrinath.

Meanwhile, a four member committee from the BJP found the situation at Badrinath as grossly unsatisfactory. Speaking to newspersons, BJP MLA Trivendra Singh said little help had reached the people in the affected region. He alleged that the government aid of Rs 50 lakh has not yet reached the DM of Chamoli.
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PM says no to wife on Nanded visit
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
This is one time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said no to his “home minister”. The Prime Minister recently declined an invitation for a programme in Nanded, Maharashtra, even though his wife Mrs Gursharan Kaur evinced an interest in it. The reason for Mrs.Gursharan Kaur’s interest was not far to seek: Hazur Sahib Takht, a special gurdwara and an important pilgrimage spot for Sikhs, is located near Nanded.

Dr Manmohan Singh, however, turned down the invitation. It is not that the Prime Minister did not wish to visit Nanded but, as his officials explained, he did not want to attend any and every programme for which he was invited.

It is precisely for this reason that after a month of intense meetings with top government officials, he made his first trip outside Delhi to Andhra Pradesh. He spent a day there meeting families of farmers who were driven to suicide because of indebtedness.

The visit had a potent political message: having repeatedly maintained that the Congress-led UPA government will accord top priority to the neglected agriculture and farm sector, Dr Manmohan Singh followed these words with action.

“There is a growing feeling among the farmers, landless peasants and other underprivileged sections that there is finally a government in place which cares for them,” remarked a senior government official. Dr Manmohan Singh’s first public appearance at the chief ministers’ conference on rural development followed by a conference on minorities’ education were also meant to send out the same message.
Next on the Prime Minister’s agenda is a “thank you” visit to Assam though no date has been fixed for this tour. Dr Manmohan Singh has been a Rajya Sabha member from this north-eastern state for the last three terms and Assam considers him as much its “son” as Punjab does.

In fact, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has offered that Dr Manmohan Singh contest the Lok Sabha election from this state, also his “second home”. When Dr Manmohan Singh visited Andhra Pradesh recently, it had triggered speculation that he might contest the Lok Sabha poll from Nandayal. These reports were subsequently denied.

Besides his long overdue visit to Assam, the Prime Minister is slated to go to Maharashtra, which is headed for assembly elections in two months. Punjab, it is learnt, also figures in his “must visit” states but, here again, the dates are yet to be fixed. But one thing is very clear that whenever Dr Manmohan Singh visits Punjab, a stop at the Golden Temple will be on top of his itinerary.
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Cops under scanner in Telgi case
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 10
Many more Tamil Nadu police officers, including two Inspectors-General of Police, are being scrutinised by the Central bureau of Investigation (CBI) for their role in the alleged multi-crore fake stamp paper scam by Abdul Karim Telgi.

The CBI claimed it had tapes of telephonic conversations indicating the involvement of several other Tamil Nadu police officers in the scam.

The crucial tapes allegedly contain details of pay-offs made to Tamil Nadu police officers in the case.

Following the arrest of Deputy Inspector-General of Police Mohammad Ali last week here, the sleuths have come across more information about the involvement of the other officers.

The main charge against them is aiding and abetting Telgi’s business of selling fake stamp papers in the state and letting off one his lieutenants, Nizamuddin, who was arrested here.

An IG with a connection in the CBI in New Delhi has reportedly given a clean chit to Ali during a departmental inquiry.

According to CBI sources on January 4, 2002, the Superintendent of Police of the ‘Q’ Branch had written to Ali about the sale of fake stamp papers in the state.

Subsequently, an establishment owned by Nizamuddin in the city was raided and Balaji arrested and Rs 3,750 worth of stamp papers seized from him. But he was let off without any charges.

Nizamuddin was arrested on January 10 and he too was let off.

The sources said most of the fake papers sold to LIC had been through Sara Enterprises, a firm set up by Nizamuddin.

Within 45 days of Nizamuddin being let off, Rs 2 crore worth of fake stamp papers had been sold to LIC and Balaji had been in charge of the transactions, they alleged. The sources said this made it clear that he had been let off only to facilitate the sale.

Along with Ali, an officer of the LIC, Sadhu Ramaswamy was arrested by the CBI last week. Nizamuddin was again arrested on April 18, 2002 and after interrogation, he was let out on bail 10 days later.

However, when CBI officials from Bangalore raided his premises again a few days later, they had seized Rs 170 crore worth of fake stamp papers.

They said all this exposed the complicity of some senior Tamil Nadu police officers in the scam.

One of the IGs with a connection in the CBI in New Delhi had reportedly given a clean chit to Ali during a departmental inquiry.

Another IG had organised Nizamuddin’s surrender before the CB CID on April 18, 2002.

He helped him to get off as only minor cases were registered against him and the CBI sleuths alleged he had bribed with Rs 3.5 lakh by Nizamuddin’s family.

The CBI has incriminating documents about the two IGs and their men in the police and one such document is a report by a former DSP in the Crime Branch (CID) Selvaraj on Telgi’s links in Tamil Nadu.

The report mentioned that the Nasik printing press had confirmed that the stamp papers seized from Nizamuddin in Chennai in April 2002 were fake.

Even then he managed to obtain bail.
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No decision yet on CDS: Pranab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
A change of government at the Centre has had no effect on the status of the appointment of the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) which has been hanging fire for years. An indication that it would remain on the backburner was given again by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today.

Addressing the media, Mr Mukherjee said the government was still to take a decision whether or not have a CDS. He pointed out that the Congress had never given any commitment on the issue.

In a pointer to the differences prevailing within the political parties over the issue, which was also the reason for the previous NDA government holding back the decision, the minister said, “We have our views and are working on it.”

He said efforts were being made to strengthen the newly-created Strategic Forces Command and that the modernisation drive in the armed forces would be accelerated.

The new government’s thrust would be to fully utilise the stepped-up defence budget allocation to ensure that the forces were armed with cutting edge weaponry.

Mr Mukherjee said the almost Rs 17,000 crore hike in the capital outlay in this year’s Budget was to cater to acquisitions and contracts already entered into and for the modernisation scheme already taken up for implementation.
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BITS out of entrance test ambit for now
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 10
The Supreme Court has held that the Pilani-based Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) would for the time being stay away from the ambit of the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) for admitting students and continue to take them on the basis of merit.

The direction was issued by a Bench of Mr Justice Y. K. Sabharwal and Mr Justice D. M. Dharmadhikari earlier this week in an interim order. It was hearing an appeal by over a 100 top-ranking students selected by BITS for admission this year from various education boards across the country under its normalisation process for 11 engineering courses offered by it.

The appeal was filed by the students against the Rajasthan High Court’s order, bringing BITS under the AIEEE scheme. The high court had held admissions by BITS without AIEEE test as illegal.

“Without prejudice and subject to further order that may be passed, the seats in engineering disciplines in BITS would be excused during counselling (under AIEEE) for the time being. If ultimately the petitions fail, fresh counselling can be ordered to give another opportunity to the students for opting for engineering courses in BITS,” the apex court said.

Under the normalisation procedure, BITS had been admitting certain number of top ranking students from every education board in the country without entrance test to fill all available seats for the engineering courses offered by the institute.

This was challenged in the high court by some students on the ground that admission without AIEEE or any other entrance examination, was illegal and contrary to the Supreme Court guidelines, laid down in the TMA Pai case.

However, the students selected by BITS in their appeal said that at the time of issuing of the notification for the AIEEE examination, BITS was not brought under its ambit by the Union Government.

Being assured of admission to one of the top engineering institute of the country, top students had not appeared for AIEEE test.
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Sonia to attend AIDS meeting
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been inundated with international invitations ever since she hit the headlines worldwide on declining the Prime Minister’s post.

She has, however, chosen next week’s International AIDS Conference, organised by UNAIDS in Bangkok, to make her presence in the international arena. It is, however,not clear whether she will address the opening session on July 11 or the concluding one on July 16.

This is because a meeting of the UPA MPs has been slated for July 12 to discuss the Budget. Mrs Gandhi is the UPA Chairperson. The Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, monitoring the implementation of the CMP, is to hold its first meeting on July 17.
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Debate on Arunachal tomorrow

New Delhi, July 10
Maintaining a non-committal attitude on the issue of imposing President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh and the Congress demand of the removal of state Governor V. C. Pande, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said today that the issue would be debated in Parliament on Monday.

“The Governor changed his stand three times....You can draw your own conclusion. If we have to impose President’s rule, we will not inform you first,” he said. — TNS
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Ransom was paid to Veerappan, says ex-ACP
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 10
A former Assistant Commissioner of Police , arrested by the CBI in connection with the fake stamp paper scam, has created a stir by declaring that he paid Rs 20 crore to Veerappan to release actor Rajkumar in 2000 at the behest of then Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, Minister D.K. Shivakumar, ADGP Ramanujam and IGP Jayaprakash.

Former ACP Sangram Singh did not specify where the money came from, but said he visited Chennai twice and paid Rs 20 crore to Tamil film actor Rajanikant’s manager.

Chief Minister Dharam Singh said yesterday that the ACP’s charge was baseless, saying that the statements made by accused persons will be prejudiced. “I do not wish to say anything more about this.”

Opposition leader B.S. Yediyurppa demanded an inquiry into the matter, following Singh’s statements.
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