SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

SC asks Bilkis to file fresh plea for case transfer
New Delhi, July 12
The Supreme Court today declined to entertain Gujarat riot victim Bilkis Yakub Rasool’s application for transfer of her case outside the state in its present form, but issued notice to the state government on another application alleging that it had suppressed facts about the grant of bail to accused persons in several cases by the high court.

Patil takes Oppn to task on Governor issue
Tells BJP to look at its own record

Shivraj PatilNew Delhi, July 12
Home Minister Shivraj Patil today claimed that the government was well within its constitutional and legal rights to remove four Governors, launching a counter-attack in the Lok Sabha against the BJP-led Opposition and stated non-Congress regimes at the Centre had not only removed Governors in the past but also dissolved nine elected assemblies in one go.

Apang meets Patil
Submits cassettes of “gherao”
New Delhi, July 12
Amidst political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, State Chief Minister Gegong Apang today met Home Minister Shivraj Patil and submitted cassettes and documents purportedly related to the “gherao” of Governor V.C. Pande, who recommended Central rule on which he backtracked later.


Former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Mukutmithi talks to the media after meeting Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil Former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Mukutmithi talks to the media after meeting Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil (not in the picture) at North Block in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI photo

Cong belittling PM, says BJP
New Delhi, July 12
The BJP today accused the Congress-led UPA government of “belittling” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by clubbing the budgetary allocation for the National Advisory Council on common minimum programme headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi with that of the Prime Minister’s office and not getting the parliamentary party meeting addressed by him.





Monsoon clouds hover over Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday
Monsoon clouds hover over Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI



EARLIER STORIES

 
Dancers perform after the completion of their course
Dancers perform after the completion of their course at Aikatan, Salt Lake, in Kolkata on Sunday. — PTI

Chidambaram misled House on GDP figures, says BJP
New Delhi, July 12
Charging Finance Minister P. Chidambaram with misleading the House on the Gross Domestic Product figures in the Budget, the BJP today urged the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to admit a privilege motion against him.

Joshi interrupted in RS
BJP stages walkout
New Delhi, July 12
Members belonging to the BJP and some of its NDA allies today staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha during question hour as former HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi was repeatedly interrupted by ruling party members as he sought clarifications on the issue of NCERT textbooks.

BJP pat for Badal
New Delhi, July 12
The BJP today congratulated former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Shiromani Akali Dal’s thumping victory in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee elections.

Larger Bench to hear RS poll issue
New Delhi, July 12
The Supreme Court today referred the matter related to the amendment in the Rajya Sabha election procedure to a larger Bench. “The matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India for reference to a larger Bench,” a two-judge Bench of Mr Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Mr Justice A.R. Lakshmanan in its order said.

Two women wade through a waterlogged street
Two women wade through a waterlogged street after a heavy monsoon shower in Kolkata on Monday. — Reuters

A schoolgirl displays a placard while participating in a BJP-led demonstration
A schoolgirl displays a placard while participating in a BJP-led demonstration to protest against the Congress-led UPA government’s policy of rewriting text books in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI
In video (28k, 56k)

Sonia under Marxists’ trap: Venkaiah
Kolkata, July 12
The CPM has been adopting “double standards” towards the “tainted” ministers, BJP President Venkaiah Naidu alleged at a gathering in the city last evening. Mr Naidu said Mrs Sonia Gandhi was under the trap of the Marxists who had been behaving like a big brother, dictating Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at every step in the running of the government.

US strip search of Fernandes an insult: CPM
New Delhi, July 12
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of not lodging a formal protest with the USA even after knowing that former Defence Minister George Fernandes was strip searched twice when he was on a visit to that country in 2002 and 2003.

Fernandes denies meeting with Telgi
New Delhi, July 12
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes today said he had no links with the mastermind of multi-crore fake stamp paper scam Abdul Karim Telgi and had never met him. Making a personal clarification on the charge made against him by RJD members in the House last week, Mr Fernandes said.

Telgi’s ‘HRD head’ held
Mumbai, July 12
The CBI today arrested M. Dastagir, known as master forger Abdul Karim Telgi’s human resources chief. He has been remanded in police custody for a week. According to sources here, Dastagir was an old hand in the forged stamp paper racket.

Rs 212-cr relief for Assam, Bihar
New Delhi, July 12
The Centre today announced a Rs 212-crore package for Assam and Bihar to tackle the situation in drought-affected parts of the states.
The government has released Rs 46 crore and Rs 30 crore as Central share from the Calamity Relief Fund for Assam and Bihar, respectively.

SC blasts Bihar on Pappu Yadav
New Delhi, July 12
The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Bihar Government for allowing “flouting” of jail norms by former MP Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, and sought a report from the CBI on how many days had he actually stayed in the prison since his bail was cancelled in a murder case on March 12.

2 Indians get Pablo Neruda medal
New Delhi, July 12
Two Indians were among 100 scholars worldwide who received the Pablo Neruda Medal of Honour on the Latin American poet’s 100th birth anniversary today. Jawaharlal Nehru University Spanish professor Aparajit Chattopadhyay and Delhi University don Vibha Maurya were conferred the Chilean government’s presidential medal for their contribution to scholarship on the Nobel laureate, said Chilean Ambassador Jorge Heine while announcing the awards today.

RS expresses concern over female foeticide
New Delhi, July 12
The Rajya Sabha today expressed concern over the decline in female birth rate in the country and rise in the cases of female foeticide after sex determination through ultrasound machines.

Videos
Roadshow of wonder car in a Bollywood film is an instant hit.
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Pakistani family detained in India for overstaying.
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SC asks Bilkis to file fresh plea for case transfer
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 12
The Supreme Court today declined to entertain Gujarat riot victim Bilkis Yakub Rasool’s application for transfer of her case outside the state in its present form, but issued notice to the state government on another application alleging that it had suppressed facts about the grant of bail to accused persons in several cases by the high court.

A Bench of Ms Justice Ruma Pal, Mr Justice S. B. Sinha and Mr Justice S. H. Kapadia, however, allowed Bilkis to file a fresh application for transfer of the case by making respondents all 20 accused in her case.

Gang-rape victim Bilkis’ plea was not entertained by the court because she had not named the accused, including six police personnel, as respondents.

“The application deals with the right of independence of some persons and there should be substantive application with reasons why the transfer is required. There was no prayer for transfer in the original writ petition filed in the case.”

“It cannot be done on the basis of an interlocutory application. It should be under specific provisions laid in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC)” the court said.

Solicitor-General G. E. Vahanvatti told the court that the charge sheet in the Bilkis gang rape and murder of some of her family members and neighbours had been filed by the CBI in the trial court.

As per the charge sheet, “bodies of the people killed had disappeared, heads of some of them were chopped off and complicity of at least six police officials in the case had come to light during investigation,” he said.

On the question of alleged suppression of information by the Gujarat Government about enlarging a large number of accused on bail by the Gujarat High Court for purported failure of the state’s lawyers to contest their bail plea properly, the apex court directed Gujarat counsel Mukul Rohtagi to submit a reply within two weeks.

Mr Rohtagi, however, refuted the charge of suppression of facts from the Supreme Court in this regard, saying state counsel had opposed the bail plea in most of the cases both in the trial court and the high court. In the trial court, in 95 per cent cases bails were rejected.

The only problem was that in the Gujarat High Court there was a procedure of not passing any reasoned order while allowing or rejecting the bail plea if the reasons had been cited in the trial court’s judgement, he said, adding that the high court only examined those reasons and gave its verdict. But this was wrongly being portrayed that the state government had not opposed the bail petitions, as there was no reasoned order from the high court, he said.

“We may have different perceptions of a case but no information has been withheld from the apex court,” Mr Rohtagi contended.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, who has been appointed amicus curiae to deal with the Gujarat riot cases in the apex court, contested the claim of Mr Rohtagi and said from the information downloaded from the Internet about bail matters dealt by the high court, the picture was quite different from what was stated by the state government in its reply.

In a related application by amicus for protection of witnesses, the court issued fresh notices to all the states seeking their replies within six weeks.

“It will be open to the states to give suggestions within three weeks after receiving their replies on the issue. Similarly, any NGO that wants to give suggestions can make the same to the amicus curiae,” the court said.

Mr Salve said protection of witnesses had three important aspects, delay in the trial, certain class of cases like communal riots where protection is required and white-collar crimes of corruption.

When the court asked as to what should be the nature of protection, he said there should be a “witness protection board” under a retired judge so that the affected persons could approach it when such protection was required.

The court told the Solicitor-General that the Union Government should formulate a complete proposal on witness protection and circulate it to states for their opinion.
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Patil takes Oppn to task on Governor issue
Tells BJP to look at its own record
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Home Minister Shivraj Patil today claimed that the government was well within its constitutional and legal rights to remove four Governors, launching a counter-attack in the Lok Sabha against the BJP-led Opposition and stated non-Congress regimes at the Centre had not only removed Governors in the past but also dissolved nine elected assemblies in one go.

“A Governor is a nominated person while an elected assembly has a representative character. Isn’t it a fact that assemblies of nine states were dissolved at one stroke? Wasn’t it more dangerous than removing Governors?” the Home Minister asked in reply to a special discussion under 193 on the issue of removal of Governors.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition L. K. Advani had taken the government to task over the removal of Governors of Gujarat, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana by the UPA government on the basis of their ideology.

Mr Advani said it was an “outrageous assault on multi-party democracy” as removal of four Governors” on grounds of “ideology” would weaken the federal structure of the Constitution.

On Mr Advani’s remarks that BJP Chief Ministers were only informed about the Centre’s decision, Mr Patil said: “We did consult them in our own fashion... consultation is not concurrence... some had readily agreed and some had reservations.”

Referring to the “contradictory letters” of Arunachal Pradesh Governor V. C. Pande, whose removal has been demanded by the state Congress, the Home Minister said: “We will not give any assurance and not act in haste... we will carefully consider (what to do), but what do we do about the contradictory letters?”

At this juncture, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee quipped: “Take your own decision.”

Mr Patil attacked the BJP for “politicising” the office of the Governor by issuing a directive not to resign.

“What do we do with people who say I am proud of my ideology and will go by the directives of the high command?” Mr Patil asked, adding if a Gujarat-like situation arose, what would happen “if there are inhibitions in the mind of the person (Governor) when giving his report to the Centre?”

Pointing out that Mr Advani’s party had been either part of the government or supported it when such actions were taken, Mr Patil countered the argument of the Leader of Opposition that the step would weaken the federal structure, asking, “Are they ideal for federalism?”

Recalling that all Governors were asked to resign by the government in 1990, which was being supported by the BJP, he said, “Was it not for ideological reasons? And if we have done it, we should not be told that we are fascists, it’s an invitation to emergency and that we committed a blunder. We may have difference of opinion, but superlative accusations cannot hold water.”

On Mr Advani’s remarks, Mr Patil said the debate in the Constituent Assembly, the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission, reports of the Inter-State Council and that of the Constitution Review Committee were “advisory in nature” and “not binding” on any government.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal (Cong) strongly justified the removal of Governors and blamed the BJP for complicating the matter.

Mr Mohammad Salim (CPM) made a strong defence of the government’s action, asking how could any government tolerate Governors taking advice not from it but from Nagpur?

Mr Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party) said senior BJP leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L. K. Advani should not have raised the issue in the House as they were aware how “the Bihar Governor, with the direction of the NDA regime, tried his best to dismiss the duly elected state government under Article 356.”

He said the other two Governors with RSS background in Bihar and Rajasthan should also be removed.
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Apang meets Patil
Submits cassettes of “gherao”
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Amidst political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, State Chief Minister Gegong Apang today met Home Minister Shivraj Patil and submitted cassettes and documents purportedly related to the “gherao” of Governor V.C. Pande, who recommended Central rule on which he backtracked later.

“I have given all relevant papers to him to assess the situation... also cassettes which contain the gherao incidents and how the Governor was made to write the letter,” Mr Apang, who led a delegation of BJP state members, told mediapersons after the meeting.

Terming PCC chief Mukut Mithi’s claim of BJP members joining the Congress as “ridiculous”, he said: “I don’t have any information on this..... He (Mithi) is still hoping to be the Chief Minister”.

Asked about the Centre being non-committal on imposition of the President’s rule, the Chief Minister said: “Patilji will not go against the constitutional provisions and will also apply his administrative acumen in deciding the matter.”

Asked if his party favoured early elections, he said “The caretaker government will be there till the elections are held.... The elections could be held early”.

Earlier in the day, Mr Apang met BJP President Venkaiah Naidu and CPI (M) leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet.
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Cong belittling PM, says BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
The BJP today accused the Congress-led UPA government of “belittling” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by clubbing the budgetary allocation for the National Advisory Council on common minimum programme headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi with that of the Prime Minister’s office and not getting the parliamentary party meeting addressed by him.

“Of the two CPP meetings held, one was the height of sycophancy with one and all pleading her to become the Prime Minister while the second one was not addressed by the Prime Minister. This amounts to belittling him,” BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman V K Malhotra told mediapersons here.

Pointing that by doing so, the Congress was only “projecting that Dr Manmohan Singh is only a puppet without any identity of his own,” Mr Malhotra said. “This is not good for the country. Certain decorum and courtesy is to be maintained.”

He said the clubbing of the budgetary allocation to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore for “an extra constitutional authority” like the Advisory Council headed by Ms Gandhi along with that of the PMO posed did not augur well for democracy and was “highly reprehensible”.

“Sonia Gandhi has to clarify that if she had indeed sacrificed the Prime Minister’s post by responding to her inner voice, why has she given to herself all powers and a Cabinet Minister’s rank without having any responsibility whatsoever”, he said.

Ridiculing Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav for comparing Ms Gandhi with Mahatma Gandhi and JP, Mr Malhotra said, “Neither of them were part of the PMO.”

Describing as “highly objectionable” the “strip-search” of George Fernandes by US security agencies during his visit to that country as Defence Minister, Mr Malhotra said “this should not have happened. It was improper on part of the US authorities to deal with him like that.”

He was reacting to revelations made by former US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in his book that Mr Fernandes was “strip-searched” by US security agencies twice during his official visits to the US.
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Chidambaram misled House on GDP figures, says BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Charging Finance Minister P. Chidambaram with misleading the House on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures in the Budget, the BJP today urged the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to admit a privilege motion against him.

According to sources, BJP’s Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Vijay Kumar Malhotra has written a letter to the Speaker pointing out discrepencies in the GDP projections in the Budget.

On the one hand, the budget estimates of revenue deficit for 2004-05 have been projected at Rs 76,171 crore, which has been pegged by the minister as 2.5 per cent of the GDP, implying a figure of Rs 30,46,840 crore, Mr Malhotra said this did not match with the fiscal deficit projection and the resultant GDP figure.

The budget estimates for fiscal deficit are reported to be Rs 1,37,407 crore, which is said to be 4.4 per cent of the GDP. This gives a GDP figure of Rs 31,22,886.36 crore.

In the annual financial statement, the two GDP figures arrived at from revenue and fiscal deficit projections should be equal. But Mr Chidambaram’s Budget papers, thus, give two different GDP figures, which are at variance from each other to the tune of Rs 76,046 crore, Mr Malhotra is understood to have argued.

The BJP leader has argued that irrespective of whether this error is “deliberate or inadvertent”, it undermines the sanctity of the entire budgetary exercise and the integrity of all projected figures. At the very least, the entire Budget will have to be rechecked for allied variance and submitted before Parliament and the nation, Mr Malhotra has demanded.

Stating that this error will also have statutory implication, since the deficit figures need to be confined to a specific band as directed by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003, Mr Malhotra has pointed out to the Speaker that this is a clear episode of the government misleading Parliament and constitutes breach of privilege of Parliament.
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Joshi interrupted in RS
BJP stages walkout
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Members belonging to the BJP and some of its NDA allies today staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha during question hour as former HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi was repeatedly interrupted by ruling party members as he sought clarifications on the issue of NCERT textbooks.

The BJP and the NDA allies walked out amidst uproar when HRD Minister Arjun Singh was replying to a starred question on NCERT textbooks.

The commotion started when Mr Arjun Singh in his reply said in view of the controversy regarding social science and history textbooks of the NCERT, a panel of eminent historians was constituted on June 12 to go into the issue of communalisation and inadequacies in history textbooks.

Referring to the report submitted by the panel, he said: “I regret to inform the House that the complaints made about errors and biased nature of the books have been found to be correct by the panel.”

He said since the current academic session had already begun, the government was trying to address the “serious dilemma” and the recommendations of the panel of historians would be considered by the Executive Committee of the NCERT on July 14.

Responding to a number of supplementary questions raised mostly by Opposition members, Mr Arjun Singh said one should not politicise such matters.

When Mr Joshi said that Mr Arjun Singh’s answer concealed more than it revealed, members from the treasury benches asked him to put his question, triggering protests from the Opposition benches.

At one stage Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat observed if the preface to the question was so long, it would spoil the valuable time of other members. A suggestion was made for a discussion on the issue.

As interruptions continued, BJP members staged a walkout followed by some members of its NDA allies.
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BJP pat for Badal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
The BJP today congratulated former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Shiromani Akali Dal’s thumping victory in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

“Despite gross misuse of official machinery by the Congress in favour of the Panthic Morcha, the Akali Dal won 134 of the 167 seats leaving the Congress-supported Panthic Morcha far behind with 23 seats,” BJP Parliamentary Party spokesperson Vijay Kumar Malhotra said.

“It is a victory of democratic forces against separatist elements,” Mr Malhotra said.

He also said the victory of the Akali Dal would further promote Hindu-Sikh unity.
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Larger Bench to hear RS poll issue
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 12
The Supreme Court today referred the matter related to the amendment in the Rajya Sabha election procedure to a larger Bench.

“The matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India for reference to a larger Bench,” a two-judge Bench of Mr Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Mr Justice A.R. Lakshmanan in its order said.

The issue relating to the amendment in the People’s Representative Act (RPA) deleting the clause of mandatory domicile status of a candidate contesting the Rajya Sabha poll from a particular state and introducing “open ballot”, had been brought before the court by noted journalist Kuldip Nayar in a public interest litigation (PIL).

The order was passed after Mr Nayar’s counsel and former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar pleaded that the matter be referred to a Constitution Bench as it “involved” change in the basic structure of the Constitution, (Rajya Sabha is Council of States).

By this amendment the charactor of “Council of States” had been changed as it allowed people from outside the state to contest the Rajya Sabha poll, the PIL said.

Two other petitions on the same issue had also been tagged with Mr Nayar’s PIL by the court.

The court issued fresh notices to the states seeking their replies to the PILs as only eight states had so far been served notices.

The court directed all states, the Union Government and the Election Commission to submit their replies within four weeks to ensure early commencement of the final hearing on the matter.

The court declined to entertain the plea of Mr Sachar for restraining the Election Commission from issuing any notification for the Rajya Sabha poll till the matter was decided by the court.
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Sonia under Marxists’ trap: Venkaiah
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, July 12
The CPM has been adopting “double standards” towards the “tainted” ministers, BJP President Venkaiah Naidu alleged at a gathering in the city last evening.

Mr Naidu said Mrs Sonia Gandhi was under the trap of the Marxists who had been behaving like a big brother, dictating Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at every step in the running of the government.

He advised Mrs Gandhi to come out of the clutches of the Marxists in the interest of the Congress as well as the nation.

Mr Naidu reiterated the agitation against the “tainted ministers” would continue both inside and outside Parliament till they were not dropped from the Union Cabinet.

The BJP President lashed out at the CPM leadership for shielding the “tainted” ministers, including Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, Mr Sibu Soren and Md Taslimuddin etc, for their political interests, knowing full well that these ministers had been facing several criminal charges in the courts, including murder and rape and misappropriations of government fund.

He asked BJP and TMC workers to launch an agitation in Bengal to expose the CPM’s true character.

“It is a shame that the 200-year-old Congress has now been in power at the mercy of the Communists”, Mr Naidu remarked, adding that the CPM would withdraw its support as soon as their interests were hampered.
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US strip search of Fernandes an insult: CPM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of not lodging a formal protest with the USA even after knowing that former Defence Minister George Fernandes was strip searched twice when he was on a visit to that country in 2002 and 2003.

The CPM Politburo in a statement said it only demonstrated the “servile attitude” of the NDA regime.

“It is a sign of the servile attitude of the BJP-led government towards the USA that it did not publicly state that such behaviour was unacceptable, lodge a formal protest and seek an apology from the USA government,” it said. “This was not a personal matter but concerned the dignity and status of India and the government’s high representatives.” the statement added.

Still worse, Mr Fernandes’s admission came only after the revelation in Strobe Talbot’s book, the Left party said, adding that it was amazing the Vajpayee government and Mr Fernandes kept quiet about this serious affront to an Indian Cabinet minister.
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Fernandes denies meeting with Telgi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes today said he had no links with the mastermind of multi-crore fake stamp paper scam Abdul Karim Telgi and had never met him.

Making a personal clarification on the charge made against him by RJD members in the House last week, Mr Fernandes said. “There is no substance whatsoever in this accusation. Since the accusation is born out of the photographs taken on the occasion of a public function in Dhule in Maharashtra (on July 3,1999), let me put facts before you and the House.”

He said he was invited in June 1999 by Mr Anil Ghote, the then MLA on behalf of the organising Committee set up to build a memorial for Param Vir Chakra winner Abdul Hamid, who laid down his life in the war against Pakistan in 1965.

He attended the function on July 3,1999, at which the then Chief Minister Narayan Rane, the then Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani were also present. After the function, he left for Delhi by an Indian Airlines flight.

“I had no clue about the people who were on the dais at the function except Mr and Mrs Ghote. If a photograph shows Abdul Karim Telgi on the dais, a person whom I have never met in my life, to call this as links is, to say the least, unjust,” Mr Fernandes said.

He had known Mr Ghote since the time he and Mr Sharad Joshi had launched the Shetkari Sangathan. “When the Shetkari Sangathan collapsed, I lost touch with both of them,” Mr Fernandes, who is also the JD(U) President, said.

Mr Ghote had invited him along with the then Railway Minister Nitish Kumar and Mr Jethmalani in October 2002 to unveil the statue of Pandurang Suryavanshi, a martyr of Kargil war from Dhule, and the statues of Babasaheb Ambedkar and Lord Buddha. They attended the function on October 26, 2002.

Immediately after Mr Fernandes gave the clarification, BJP Chief Whip Vijay Kumar Malhotra demanded an apology from RJD members. The members had raised the issue last week flaunting copies of a newspaper daily which had carried the report.

The RJD members again tried to raise the matter in the House, but Speaker Somnath Chatterjee did not allow them.
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Telgi’s ‘HRD head’ held
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 12
The CBI today arrested M. Dastagir, known as master forger Abdul Karim Telgi’s human resources chief. He has been remanded in police custody for a week.

According to sources here, Dastagir was an old hand in the forged stamp paper racket. After coming into contact with Telgi, Dastagir recruited several hundred young men and women using a legitimate business as a front to sell fake stamp papers.

Police sources here say Dastagir’s recruits were young MBAs who were mostly unaware of the illegal nature of the ‘business’. The young recruits were tasked to sell fake stamp papers to clerical and middle-management staffers in big corporate houses. “Many buyers chose to buy from Telgi’s agents since stamp papers were delivered at their doorsteps,” a police official said. Moreover, Telgi’s agents even gave the buyers a small commission on the bulk purchase of stamp papers.

Normally buyers have to queue up outside the offices of the Registrar of Stamps located in downtown Mumbai to buy even small-denomination stamp papers.

Since they dealt with well-dressed English speaking executives, many buyers did not even suspect that they were purchasing forged stamp papers.

The papers passed professional scrutiny anyway since they were printed on equipment illegally sourced from the government printing presses.
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Rs 212-cr relief for Assam, Bihar

New Delhi, July 12
The Centre today announced a Rs 212-crore package for Assam and Bihar to tackle the situation in drought-affected parts of the states.

The government has released Rs 46 crore and Rs 30 crore as Central share from the Calamity Relief Fund for Assam and Bihar, respectively.

Besides, Assam will get Rs 55 crore from the National Calamity Contingency Fund and Rs 81 crore as Central share of the River Embankment Scheme.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had yesterday discussed the flood situation with the chief ministers of the two states.

Mr T.K.A. Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, today held meetings of senior government officials here and an assistance and relief package has been put together for the two states.

The Ministries of Home Affairs, Agriculture, Rural Development, Rural Drinking Water Supply, Finance and Environment and Forest will be in contact with the state government to provide all assistance.

Among other measures, seven helicopters have been made available to the Assam Government for relief and rescue operations. The Railways are ready to move 58 goods rakes to Assam to carry various commodities, including foodgrains.

GUWAHATI: Troops of the Red Horns Division have rescued nearly 3,000 persons marooned in the flood in Lower Assam in the past 24 hours.

Rescue operations were conducted at Patgaon in Kokrajhar district, Fatimabad and Barpeta roads in Barpeta district, Kalag, Normati, Dhantola and Balajan in Nalbari district, Noonmati, Narayangaon, Ghargari and Icchapur in Baska district, Rangiya, Baihata Chairali, Changsari, Chapotal and Nagarijuli in Kamrup district, Patharighat and Naogaon in Darrang district and Tezpur in Sonitpur district.

The Army is also assisting the civil administration in distribution of food, giving medical aid to the flood-affected people. — UNI
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SC blasts Bihar on Pappu Yadav
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 12
The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Bihar Government for allowing “flouting” of jail norms by former MP Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, and sought a report from the CBI on how many days had he actually stayed in the prison since his bail was cancelled in a murder case on March 12.

Dismissing a report filed by the Bihar Home Secretary through state counsel B. B. Singh about Yadav’s arrest on March 16 and his subsequent admission to a hospital on the same day, a Bench of Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde, Mr Justice S. B. Sinha and Mr Justice A. K. Mathur said: “We don’t trust the report”.

“We want an inquiry about it,” the Bench said, giving CBI counsel P. P. Malhotra two weeks to submit the agency’s report in the case.

“File a report why he (Yadav) continues to be in the general ward of the hospital since March 16. Why he is not in the prison hospital, if he needs treatment, and how many rooms have been occupied by him in the general ward,” Justice Hegde, heading the Bench, asked.

“He can go to Madepura (the parliamentary constituency from where Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav had contested the election) from hospital while in custody, he can go to file nomination papers, but he has a problem in going to the jail,” the court observed.

Pappu Yadav is a key accused in the trade union leader Ajit Sarkar murder case.

“We will certainly provide facilities for his treatment 24 hours and 365 days if it is actually required, but it should be based on sound reasons,” the court said.

But in this case “we have heard that he had even managed to go to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) from the jail and perhaps the doctors there refused to admit him, stating that his ailment is not serious enough requiring admission... all this requires to be looked into,” the court told the CBI and Bihar Government counsel.
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2 Indians get Pablo Neruda medal

New Delhi, July 12
Two Indians were among 100 scholars worldwide who received the Pablo Neruda Medal of Honour on the Latin American poet’s 100th birth anniversary today.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Spanish professor Aparajit Chattopadhyay and Delhi University don Vibha Maurya were conferred the Chilean government’s presidential medal for their contribution to scholarship on the Nobel laureate, said Chilean Ambassador Jorge Heine while announcing the awards today.

Prof Chattopadhyay, who has published an anthology of Neruda’s poems in English and has written the script for a Ministry of External Affairs documentary film on the poet, and Prof Maurya, who has translated several of his poems into Hindi, are the only awardees from South Asia.

All 100 awards were announced worldwide today to coincide with the 100th birth anniversary of Neruda.

The birth centenary celebrations of Neruda, who first visited India in 1928 as a youth activist to attend the Congress session in Kolkata, began in the country in January this year at the 29th Kolkata Book Fair where Chile was the country in focus.

“The celebrations will continue. Neruda had strong ties with India,” said Ambassador Heine. Films, poetry readings, exhibitions and seminars will be held in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata in the coming months to mark the birth centenary.

Today’s ceremony at the Chilean Ambassador’s residence saw reading of Neruda’s poetry in the original Spanish, English and Hindi. While Prof Chattopadhyay recited ‘One Song of Despair’ in Spanish, Prof Maurya chose ‘Eternity’, a poem from ‘Canto General’ to recite in Hindi. — UNI
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RS expresses concern over female foeticide
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
The Rajya Sabha today expressed concern over the decline in female birth rate in the country and rise in the cases of female foeticide after sex determination through ultrasound machines.

The issue was raised by Ms Prema Cariappa (Congress) and the entire House associated with it. She argued for stringent action against unscrupulous “gang of professionals” who were violating the law of the land.

She said the decline in the number of girl children was basically because of the misuse of ultrasound facility resulting in the killing of unborn female foetus.

The government should take stringent measures against these professionals who were indulging in sex determination tests, confiscate their machines and put the owners behind bars, she demanded.

Mr Anand Sharma, also from the Congress, brought to the notice of the House the death of 32 children, all below two years of age, at the Safdarjung Hospital for want of medicines and incubators.

While Mr Sharma wanted the government to fix responsibility for the “sad state of affairs” in the hospital, Mr Balbir Punj brought to the notice of the House the fact that the hospital had returned Rs 8.01 crore of unutilised money to the government from the allocation made to hospitals.
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Statement on rape case soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Home Minister Shivraj Patil today assured the Lok Sabha that he would soon make a statement regarding the gangrape of three Dalit women in Madhya Pradesh.

Responding to the anguish expressed by members in this regard, he said his ministry was collecting information on the case. The information available with the ministry was not authentic and “I will make a statement after getting full details,” said Mr Patil.

Raising the matter during zero hour, Mr Ramjilal Suman (SP) said incidents of rape were on the rise in Madhya Pradesh and sought a statement from the Home Ministry.
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Action against I&B official
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
The government today placed a senior Information and Broadcasting Ministry official, Mr Sudhir Sharma under “compulsory wait.”

The action against Mr Sharma, a Joint Secretary in charge of Policy and Administration in the ministry, follows removal of the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI) Mr G.D. Beliya, and his deputy. The government’s action is being linked to the controversy over the publication of International Herald Tribune (IHT) from India.
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BRIEFLY

Medha Patkar goes on dharna
MUMBAI:
Noted environmentalist and chief of Narmada Bachao Andolan Medha Patkar on Monday began her indefinite dharna here on the grounds next to Mantralaya, the headquarters of Maharashtra government, to press for proper rehabilitation of the affected families of Sardar Sarovar project. Ms Patkar, along with her supporters, began the dharna near the life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi in south Mumbai. — PTI

Protest against defiling mosque
NASIK:
A mob gheraoed a Chandanpuri Gate’s police chowky in Malegaon, about 90 kms from here, demanding arrest of three policemen for allegedly defiling the Kausar Mosque, the police said on Monday. Three policemen in search of a culprit, had allegedly entered the ‘vaju-khana’ (place for washing hands and foot) area of the mosque without taking off their shoes on Sunday, the residents complained to the police. — PTI

12 held in riot over cricket match
MUMBAI:
Twelve persons have been arrested for alleged rioting following clashes between two groups over a cricket match in Dharavi slums in suburban Mumbai, prompting the police to tighten security in the area. Trouble started when one Balu Jadhav of Dharavi slums was hit by a cricket ball lofted during a cricket match being played in neighbourhood Shehenshah compound on Sunday, the police said. — PTI

CRPF jawan hurt in attack
IMPHAL:
One Central Reserve Police Force jawan was injured in an attack by suspected ultras of United National Liberation Front (UNLF) on an outpost of the 14th battalion of the CRPF at Churachandpur district in Manipur, official sources said today. Suspected UNLF activists fired from sophisticated weapon and lobbed rocket launcher at the post injuring the security man on Sunday night, the sources said. — PTI

BJP leader beheaded
AMBIKAPUR:
Naxals owing allegiance to the Maoist Communist Centre beheaded a local BJP leader on Monday after chopping off his legs at village Sarhari in Sarguja district. The police said, Parameshwar Pathak, a former president of the Pratappur BJP mandal, was beheaded en route to his farm. — UNI

Diarrhoea kills 16 in a week
BHADOHI:
With the death of seven persons due to diarrhoea in the past 24 hours, the toll taken by the disease in the district has gone up to 16, official sources said here. Five persons died due to diarrhoea in Trilokpur village while two others died in Wahidanagar since Sunday, sources said, adding that several persons have been admitted to different hospitals and the condition of some of them was stated to be serious. — PTI

Mother kills kids, self
AKOLA:
A 23-year-old woman, Asha, allegedly committed suicide with her two daughters, Gayatri (3) and Chhoti (2) in the district on Sunday, the police said. The bodies were found in a well. In another incident, one Vishakha Namdeo Khandare (19) allegedly committed suicide by jumping before a running train near Morna bridge on Central Railway near here, the police said. — PTI

Arunachal Cong takes out rally
ITANAGAR:
Braving inclement weather, the Congress on Monday took out a procession from the party headquarters to the Raj Bhavan demanding imposition of President Rule in the state and immediate removal of Governor V.C. Pande for untimely dissolution of the State Assembly. Some BJP ministers of the erstwhile Gegong Apang-led UDF government were also seen in the procession, which was led by Arunachal CLP Deputy Leader Tako Dabi. — PTI
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