SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Centre ready to pull out Assam Rifles
Forces Act in Manipur to stay
New Delhi, August 9
The Centre is ready to withdraw the Assam Rifles from Manipur but not the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act partly conceding the demands of the people of the state who have been on the warpath against the government for the past month.
In video: Protests continue in northeastern state over draconian law. (28k, 56k)

Staff defy warning, keep away from work
Imphal, August 9
Thousands of government employees did not report for duty in response to a call from agitating organisations for the closure of offices from today until the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was removed from Manipur, official sources said.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi with a freedom fighter on the occasion of ‘August Kranti Diwas’ in Delhi on Monday. Congress President Sonia Gandhi with a freedom fighter on the occasion of ‘August Kranti Diwas’ in Delhi on Monday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Atal for all-party consensus on river waters
New Delhi, August 9
National Democratic Alliance Chairman and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today took a strong exception to the recent Punjab decision to annul accords on river water sharing with the neighbouring states saying that “ democracy only functions by mutual consent, not by arbitrary action”.

Centre assures all help to Punjab: CM
Chandigarh, August 9
After the meeting called to review the flood situation, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said here today that the Prime Minister’s office was in touch with the state government to have a first hand report with regard to the floods in the state. He said that the Centre had assured full financial help to the state to mitigate the sufferings of flood affected people.


Bollywood icon and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai smiles during a promotional event
Bollywood icon and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai smiles during a promotional event for her new film "Kyon? Ho Gaya Na!" in Lucknow on Monday. The movie, a romantic comedy, will be released countrywide on August 14. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

76 pc seats for Christians in CMC
SC restores old formula
New Delhi, August 9
In a major relief to Ludhiana-based Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), the Supreme Court, in an interim order, today allowed it to admit students for 2004-05 academic session on the basis of the same formula it had been adopting for the past 25 years, rejecting Punjab Government’s plea for fixing the college and government quota at 50:50 ratio.

Additional power to cost more, warns ministry
New Delhi, August 9
The Power ministry has warned the states in the Northern Grid not to draw additional power as against their share otherwise they would have to pay at the rate of Rs 6 per unit.

SC warns Gujarat over delay in Best Bakery trial
New Delhi, August 9
The Supreme Court today took a serious view of the delay being caused in commencement of the retrial in the Best Bakery case due to the wrangling between Gujarat and Maharashtra governments over the appointment of the public prosecutor after the case was shifted to Mumbai.

HC rejects Shahabuddin’s bail plea
Patna, August 9
The Patna High Court today rejected the bail petition of RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a CPI-ML (Liberation) worker Munna Chaudhary three years ago.

Soren fails to appear in court
Giridih, August 9
JMM supremo and former Union Minister Shibu Soren today failed to appear in a sessions court in connection with a 1974 murder case owing to sickness. The court asked him to appear on September 9.

Expedite probe in Telgi scam, says SC
New Delhi, August 9
The Supreme Court today directed the CBI to expedite the investigation in the Rs 33,000 crore fake stamp paper scam, in which Abdul Karim Telgi and some top officials of Mumbai Police are the main accused.

Mauni Baba dies fasting
Dehra Dun, August 9 
The Mauni Baba of Pauri who was on a fast unto death near Bainital in Chamoli district demanding the shifting of the state capital from Dehra Dun to Gairsen, died on Monday morning. The octogenarian Baba died in hospital on the 37th day of his fast. — UNI

Notice to DDA on Akshardham temple
New Delhi, August 9
The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department and the Delhi Development Authority on a petition alleging that the new Akshardham Temple on the Yamuna bank here was an illegal construction and was obstructing the flow of the river. — PTI

BJP finds faults in WTO deal
New Delhi, August 9
A high-level BJP committee today concluded that the UPA government had sacrificed farmers’ interest conceding heavily in the WTO Framework Agreement, which not only had “legitimised” the expansion of agricultural subsidy in developed countries, but also provided little protection to Indian ryots from dumping of cheap imports by the rich nations.

Indo-Pak talks agenda gets CCS nod
New Delhi, August 9
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met here today and finalised the agenda for the two-day Home Secretary-level Indo-Pak talks on terrorism and narcotics control beginning tomorrow in Islamabad, giving a top priority to expressing New Delhi’s concern over cross-border terrorism (CBT).

Dulaimi out, new negotiators in
New Delhi, August 9
The release of the Indian hostages in Iraq has got stuck and new mediators have come in as per reports received here by the Ministry of External Affairs.

BJP President Venkaiah Naidu during the Rashtriya Suraksha Sankalp DiwasVenkaiah condemns Arjun remarks
New Delhi, August 9
BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu today condemned Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh for his reported remarks linking the RSS and the BJP with Mahatma Gandhi’s murder and accused that the minister had “heaped insult” on the memory of the heroes of the Quit India movement by sharing the dais with the Communists in the commemorative programme yesterday.
In video (28k, 56k)

BJP President Venkaiah Naidu during the Rashtriya Suraksha Sankalp Diwas organised by the BJP Yuva Morcha in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI photo

Hardwar flummoxes Tiwari govt, gives BJP a high
Dehradun, August 9
Upbeat over a fresh issue against the government in its kitty, the state BJP is all set to cash in on the Congress “double-speak” on the Hardwar, Udham Singh Nagar resolution issue.

Cong takes cue from BJP, plans revival
New Delhi, August 9
The Congress is never short of ideas when it comes to planning the party’s revival in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

Habibullah’s remarks embarrass Congress
New Delhi, August 9
The Congress was today put to embarrassment over a senior bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah’s controversial remark that the USA could play the role of a facilitator in resolving the Jammu and Kashmir issue. It was quick to dismiss these as his “personal views.”

Mamata, Sangma hurt as dais gives way
Kolkata, August 9
Ms Mamata Banerjee and former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma were among 13 injured today when the dais of a meeting at Gopivallavpore, Midnapore, about 230 kms from here, broke down. The incident occurred when Ms Banerjee was delivering her speech.

Fire in Defence Minister’s room
New Delhi, August 9
A minor fire broke out in a room next to Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s chamber in South Block this morning. The South Block houses the Prime Minister’s office and Ministries of Defence and External Affairs.

Hemkund pilgrim dies in landslide
Dehradun, August 9
A pilgrim to Hemkund Sahib was killed in a mudslide at Patalganga yesterday. The pilgrim, Balwinder Singh from Gurdaspur in Punjab, died after being buried under a boulder due to mudslides in the region.

BSF men attack passengers
West Bengal, August 9
A woman sustained bullet injury when some BSF men fired on bus passengers and clashed with them following an “inebriated” BSF jawan’s alleged misbehaviour at Baranberia of Nadia district today.

Swatantra Jyot dedicated to nation
Port Blair, August 9
In memory of the supreme sacrifice made by freedom fighters, especially those who endured the torture at Cellular Jail, an eternal flame of freedom, Swatantra Jyot, was dedicated to the nation today by Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mani Shanker Aiyar here.

Declare Bhangra martyr, demand Thane residents
Thane, August 9
On the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the Quit India Movement, hundreds of tribesmen from the district staged a dharna outside the Thane Central Jail here today demanding that Raghiji Bhangra, who had participated in the freedom struggle and was hung to death by the British, be declared a martyr.

Dawood’s money in Nepal under scanner
New Delhi, August 9
The Ministry of External Affairs today said India was in touch with Nepal on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s money being involved in a Nepal-based company.

UP presents Rs 2 cr to IIT, Kanpur
Lucknow, August 9
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav handed over a cheque of Rs 2 crore to the Director of IIT, Kanpur, Prof Sanjay Dhande, for the development of an incubation centre and said the fruits of information technology should reach the common man and students and the industry.

Janardhan, Sayeed elected to Rajya Sabha
New Delhi, August 9
Union Power Minister P.M. Sayeed and AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi were declared elected unopposed for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi today.

Assets show SEBI chief crorepati
New Delhi, August 9
The CBI today said the agency sleuths found more than Rs 1 crore worth of assets, including documents of four flats in upmarket Andheri and Juhu with SEBI Chief General Manager (Derivatives) Nagendra Parakh.

FIR against C.P. Thakur
New Delhi, August 9
The CBI has registered an FIR against former Union Minister C P Thakur over charges of favouritism in the allotment of a shop in the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

he President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Minister for Culture S. Jaipal Reddy, artists MF Hussain and Satish Gujral at the Ratna Ceremony The President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Minister for Culture S. Jaipal Reddy, artists MF Hussain and Satish Gujral at the Ratna Ceremony during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Lalit Kala Akademi at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on Monday. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Videos
Flower show attracts hundreds in Bangalore.
(28k, 56k)


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Centre ready to pull out Assam Rifles
Forces Act in Manipur to stay

New Delhi, August 9
The Centre is ready to withdraw the Assam Rifles from Manipur but not the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act partly conceding the demands of the people of the state who have been on the warpath against the government for the past month.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil told NDTV that if withdrawing the Assam Rifles from the state was necessary to restore peace in the area and if it was seen as a pressing demand ‘’then we are ready to respect the feelings of the people of Manipur and withdraw the Assam Rifles from the state.’’

He did not rule out the possibility of imposing President’s rule in the state, saying that ‘’President’s rule is the last option and if we have to use it, we will.’’ He hoped that things would not reach that stage.

Ruling out scrapping the Act, the Home Minister said the Act was necessary to deal with a particular situation not just in Manipur but in any part of the country. “How can we set a precedent in one state by scrapping the law which is specifically meant to deal with terrorism,” he asked.

He, however, made it clear that “if tomorrow there is normalcy in the state, then we can consider removing the Act from the state.”

Describing the situation in the state as ‘’very serious,’’ he hoped that Chief Minister Ibobi Singh would bring it under control.

Promising action against those responsible for the alleged rape and death of 32-year-old Manorama Devi on July 11, which sparked off violent protests, Mr Patil sought to assure the people that the government would not spare those responsible for it. — UNI
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Staff defy warning, keep away from work

Imphal, August 9
Thousands of government employees did not report for duty in response to a call from agitating organisations for the closure of offices from today until the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was removed from Manipur, official sources said.

They said except for some district-level officers, a majority of employees did not report for duty despite the state government warning to initiate action if they did not attend office today.

Except for the secretariat, functioning at all Central and state government offices was affected, the sources said, adding that markets, shops and business establishments also remained closed in most parts of the valley.

The call for the closure of offices had been given by leaders of 32 organisations spearheading the current agitation for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Meanwhile, the Manipur People’s Party president and MLA, Mr O. Joy Singh, said the reported statements of the Union Ministers would add fuel to the fire. — PTI
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Atal for all-party consensus on river waters
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
National Democratic Alliance Chairman and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today took a strong exception to the recent Punjab decision to annul accords on river water sharing with the neighbouring states saying that “ democracy only functions by mutual consent, not by arbitrary action”.

In his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr Vajpayee suggested for convening of an all-party meeting to evolve a consensus on the river water issue.

Mr Vajpayee, who took note of the recent Punjab decision to annul the accords on river waters sharing with the neighbouring states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, said though everyone had a viewpoint in the sharing of river waters but since passions were building up, that needed to be calmed immediately.

“Every state, every political party has a right to take a stand in the democracy. That is not the issue. However, democracy only functions by mutual consent, not by arbitrary action”, he said.

“ I urge all of us to treat this as a national problem that could degenerate into a crisis, and seek amicable answers to the dangerous questions”, Mr Vajpayee stressed.

He said it was unfortunate that though the sharing of river waters was a national issue, yet it was leading to rivalry between the states.

“Water is an essential commodity which arouses deepest emotions among people, particularly the farmers. It is our duty to use our vision to make water into a factor that unites our country”, Mr Vajpayee said in his letter.

“It was this concern that had made the former NDA government to dream of a system by which the water basins of our country could be coordinated for the mutual benefits to everyone, the NDA leader pointed out.

Referring to the task force set up by his government to initiate the interlinking of rivers, he said the force, headed by Mr Suresh Prabhu, had done some useful work but regretted that the UPA government had wound it up “at a time when emotions on the issue of water have risen alarmingly”.

He said the task force had created a widespread awareness on the need of the water resource management in the country and the importance of interlinking of rivers as a means of a comprehensive approach to solve this problem.
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Centre assures all help to Punjab: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
After the meeting called to review the flood situation, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said here today that the Prime Minister’s office was in touch with the state government to have a first hand report with regard to the floods in the state. He said that the Centre had assured full financial help to the state to mitigate the sufferings of flood affected people.

The CM said that officials concerned had been told to start the special “girdawari” from August 20 to assess the damage caused to standing crops, houses and live stock because of floods in the state. After the completion of assessment, the Centre would be asked to pay compensation to affected people in urban and rural areas.

Giving details regarding loss of life and property because of floods, he said that as many as 8 deaths had been reported and six persons had been missing. Hundreds of houses had been damaged. He praised certain organisations especially certain saints, who had started community kitchens people displaced by floods.

Teams of doctors had been sent to flood affected areas for taking all necessary preventive measures. Officers had been made in charge of cluster of villages. The Mandi Board had been asked to start the repair of damaged roads. The PSEB had been told to restore power supply in affected areas.

Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Principal Secretary, Irrigation, said that floods had caused 55 breaches on Ghaggar, three on the SYL canal, several others on tributaries of Ghaggar etc.

Water supply to Rajpura, which was disrupted because of floods, would be restored by tomorrow. At present, there was 26 villages, which were submerged in water. Water level at Chandpur was seven feet, three feet below the danger level. However, Moonak-Tohana road was closed to traffic as water from Khanuri side was overflowing, he said.
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Additional power to cost more, warns ministry
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The Power ministry has warned the states in the Northern Grid not to draw additional power as against their share otherwise they would have to pay at the rate of Rs 6 per unit.

With the closure of all units of 1500 MW Nathpa-Jhakri Hydro Electric Project in Himachal Pradesh and tripping of a 500 MW unit of the Rihand super thermal power unit in UP, the power generation has come down in the northern region, but the government is making arrangements for additional supply from other regions.

Though with the heavy rains in the region, the power demand has substantially come down, but the region is facing power shortage due to fall in power supply and withdrawal of additional power by some states especially UP.

Enquires with the Power Grid of India officials revealed that while the there was a fall in over 2200 MW power generation in the North Grid as on today, but the states were drawing over 700 MW power as against power quota allocated to them.

Among other states, Punjab was withdrawing 2003 MW against 1921 MW, Haryana drawing 1602 MW against 1430 MW, UP drawing 2645 MW against 1862 MW, J&K drawing 745 MW against 588 MW and Chandigarh drawing 150 MW as against 135 MW power share in the grid.

Mr R.P. Singh, CMD, Power Grid Corporation of India, said,” As of now there appears to be no mismatch in demand and supply of power in the region. This can be gauged from the fact that the grid is operating at a frequency of more than 50 hertz. This implies that no inter-regional load shedding has taken place.”

Mr Singh said the grid was drawing additional 500 MWs of power from the Sataram line of HVDC, which connects the Eastern and Western region.

Besides, Northern grid was also receiving power to the extent of 500 MW from Vindhyachal and another 200 MWs from the UP-Bihar radial line.

“Effectively, the grid is getting about 1200 MWs of additional power,” he said.

However, the officials in the Power Ministry claimed that besides other states, UP was facing acute shortage of power. Though it was reeling under severe power crisis for the past two months, but now politicians in some districts were putting pressure on officials of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation to supply 24-hour electricity in their areas.

The total generation in the state was around 2400 MW while the import stood at around 2375 MW, which included 475 MW excess power. The total demand in non-peak hours was 6390 MW in the state.
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76 pc seats for Christians in CMC
SC restores old formula
S S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 9
In a major relief to Ludhiana-based Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), the Supreme Court, in an interim order, today allowed it to admit students for 2004-05 academic session on the basis of the same formula it had been adopting for the past 25 years, rejecting Punjab Government’s plea for fixing the college and government quota at 50:50 ratio.

Referring the matter to a larger Bench to decide whether last year’s 11-Judge Constitution Bench order relating to admissions, was applicable to the CMC, a minority institute of more than 25 years standing, a Bench of Ms Justice Ruma Pal and Mr Justice Arun Kumar said till then the college would be “entitled to admit students on the basis of same formula it had been admitting for the last 25 years.”

The interim direction came on a petition by the CMCH, challenging the Punjab Government notification of June 17 laying down the guidelines for admission to MBBS and BDS courses. The notification provided that in CMCH only 50 per cent seats would be reserved for students from Christian community, to be filled through its own entrance test and the remaining 50 per cent would go to government quota.

Senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for the CMC said as per the practice prevailing for the past 25 years, out of a total 50 available seats, 38 are reserved for students from Christian community and the remaining 12 are to be filled from the government quota.

To a specific query about the basis for reducing the Christian quota in the CMCH, essentially a minority institution, Punjab’s Senior Additional Advocate General Swaroop Singh and Additional Advocate General Harvinder Kaur, submitted that this had been done as per the apex court’s 11-judge Bench judgment in the Islamic Academy case and its verdict in the TMA Pai case.

But this was opposed by Parasaran contending that the two judgments did not apply to an unaided institution of more than 25 years’ standing.

Parasaran said that the CMCH had already conducted its entrance test and the result had been submitted to the government in a sealed cover.

Accepting the arguments of Parasaran, the court said, “Where an institution is set up for minority community, its purpose and their need will have to be given effect to.”

Since various petitions had been filed relating to the admission under different quotas in different states, and the same having been referred to a larger Bench, the CMCH matter was also ordered to be placed before it.

Similarly, the issue, relating to the fixation of 15 per cent quota for NRI and foreign students within the 50 per cent management quota by some colleges in Karnataka, was also referred to the larger Bench by the court, while allowing the colleges there to grant admission to NRI and foreign students this year as an interim measure.

Meanwhile, in another case related to the admissions in various government medical colleges across the country, another Bench comprising Mr Justice Y K Sabharwal and Mr Justice D M Dharmadhikari directed all states to complete the first counselling by August 20 to ensure that the 15 per cent all India quota is not reverted to the states without the court’s permission.

All states were directed to inform the Director-General of Health Services (DGHS) by August 21 about the availability of the Central quota seats in each college. The Chief Secretaries of each state were further directed to file affidavits by August 23 giving suggestions about streamlining admissions in future to avoid any controversy.

The court said that the Chief Secretaries would be held responsible for compliance of its order.

In this case several students aspiring to get admission under all-India quota in the colleges run by states, in a petition, had alleged that the counselling was deliberately being delayed by the state authorities to deprive Central quota students of admission and accommodate their own quota students under this category.
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SC warns Gujarat over delay in Best Bakery trial
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 9
The Supreme Court today took a serious view of the delay being caused in commencement of the retrial in the Best Bakery case due to the wrangling between Gujarat and Maharashtra governments over the appointment of the public prosecutor after the case was shifted to Mumbai.

Directing the Director General of Police, Gujarat, to submit a status report by August 16 regarding the steps taken to commence an early trial and ensure the presence of all the accused in the trial court, a Bench of Mr Justice Arijit Passayat and Mr Justice C K Thakkar warned that there should not be further delay in the trial proceedings.

“We don’t want a prosecutor who had opposed the issuance of non-bailable warrants to the accused on the first day of the trial itself. We want an early start of the prosecution to ensure a fair trial in the case,” the Bench observed.

The Court told Gujarat Government counsel Mukul Rohtagi that the state should consider the name of one of the four lawyers, suggested by the Maharashtra for appointing the prosecutor. “Why don’t you agree for the four names and appoint any of them,” the court asked him.

The court said while transferring the case it had made clear that the views of the victim about the appointment of the prosecutor be considered, but it was not done.

The issue was brought before the court in an application by an NGO called the Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP), which had been taking the cause of the Gujarat riot victims.

Its counsel Ram Jethmalani said Gujarat Government wanted to appoint its own prosecutor, ignoring the suggestions of the victims and had stated that they could appoint their own lawyer to assist the public prosecutor.
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HC rejects Shahabuddin’s bail plea

Patna, August 9
The Patna High Court today rejected the bail petition of RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a CPI-ML (Liberation) worker Munna Chaudhary three years ago.

Mr Justice Bal Krishna Jha took serious exception to Shahabuddin acquiring a provisional bail from a Siwan fast-track court in June this year with a permission to attend monsoon session of Parliament when his bail plea was pending in the High Court and rejected his petition.

Mr Justice Jha also issued a show-cause notice to dismissed Siwan fast-track court judge Anant Prasad Shrivastava for granting bail to Shahabuddin despite the fact that the MP’s bail petition was pending in the HC and ordered him to reply to the show cause by September 15.

The HC Judge had on August 3 had reserved his order on Shahabuddin’s bail prayer after completion of hearing in the matter.

Shahabuddin, MP from Siwan, is at present lodged in Siwan jail in connection with kidnapping and murder of CPI-ML worker Munna Chaudhary in 2001. He had been granted bail by the HC in three other cases.

The Siwan fast-track court Judge had in an earlier order in May allowed Shahabuddin to go to Delhi to take oath as a Lok Sabha member.

Shahabuddin’s counsel Y V Giri had during the August 3 hearing argued before the court that there was no evidence against his client in the case and even witnesses, including parents of Munna Chaudhary, had not spoken about the MP’s involvement.

He also contended that except for his client, five other accused in the case, filed with moffusil police station of Siwan in 2001, had been enlarged on bail but Shahabuddin was lodged in the jail for the past one year.

State counsel Chaubey Jawahar had also said none of the 16 witnesses in the case had spoken about the involvement of the MP. This was one of the four cases in which the former Director-General of Police D P Ojha had ordered to file charge sheet against Shahabuddin and other accused. — PTI 
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Soren fails to appear in court

Giridih, August 9
JMM supremo and former Union Minister Shibu Soren today failed to appear in a sessions court in connection with a 1974 murder case owing to sickness. The court asked him to appear on September 9.

Appearing in the court, officer in charge of Pirtand police station Niranjan Prasad informed that Mr Soren was sick and undergoing treatment. So he could not be produced in the court, following which the court ordered that he should reappear on September 9.

The Coal and Mines Minister, who had been remanded in the judicial custody in connection with the 1975 Chirudih massacre case, was currently lodged in a makeshift jail at Jamtara.

He was suffering from urinary problem.

A team of doctors, led by Jamtara civil surgeon S.N. Mishra, examined him last evening and advised him bed rest for the next three days. — UNI
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Expedite probe in Telgi scam, says SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 9
The Supreme Court today directed the CBI to expedite the investigation in the Rs 33,000 crore fake stamp paper scam, in which Abdul Karim Telgi and some top officials of Mumbai Police are the main accused.

A Bench comprising Mr Justice N Santosh Hegde issued the direction and Mr Justice S B Sinha after the CBI submitted a status report in a sealed cover on the progress of the investigation in the case.

The court had handed over 48 major cases of the Telgi scam for probe to the agency on March 10.

The court, which needed some time to peruse the report, directed that the matter be listed for further hearing after three months, giving the CBI enough time to complete the investigation.
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BJP finds faults in WTO deal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
A high-level BJP committee today concluded that the UPA government had sacrificed farmers’ interest conceding heavily in the WTO Framework Agreement, which not only had “legitimised” the expansion of agricultural subsidy in developed countries, but also provided little protection to Indian ryots from dumping of cheap imports by the rich nations.

“The UPA government has conceded a lot of ground at Geneva, which we were able to protect at Cancun. The Geneva draft has conceded the principle for the first time that “de minimis” subsidies given by even developing countries can be reduced, unless almost all subsidies are given to subsistence and resource-poor farmers,” BJP General Secretary and former union minister Arun Jaitley told newspersons here.

Releasing the gist of the report of the three-member committee, Mr Jaitley said “this can greatly impair India’s ability to provide the much-needed support to a large section of our farming community.”

The committee comprising Mr Jaitley, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha and former Telecommunication and IT Minister Arun Shourie, had earlier in the day submitted its report and deliberated on the issue with the party high-command, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani.

Mr Jaitley said the party leaders expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the Geneva Framework contending that the tough stand taken by India during the NDA government regime had been undone by Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath giving away the country’s interest to the developed countries on the platter.

He said India’s negotiating strategy badly failed in bargaining a good deal to protect the interest on agricultural protectionism.

“He (Mr Kamal Nath) has agreed for retention of the trade facilitation (one of the Singapore issues), expansion of blue box, non-discipline of the green box and acceptance of cut in “de minimis” subsidies, he has not got anything in return in terms of special products,” Mr Jaitley said.

Mr Jaitley cautioned Mr Kamal Nath about clever move by the rich nations in restricting the developing countries’ maneuverability in the area of “de minimis” subsidies. The agreement stated that the “de minimis” can be given only to “subsistence and resource-poor farmers”.
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Dulaimi out, new negotiators in
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The release of the Indian hostages in Iraq has got stuck and new mediators have come in as per reports received here by the Ministry of External Affairs.

MEA sources said they had reports of the hostages doing fine, though they also had information that negotiations were still continuing.

Asked if the negotiations were continuing without the controversial Sheikh Hisham al-Dulaimi, the sources admitted that new negotiators had been put forth by the captors.

However, the sources said the results of the negotiations would come to be known in a couple of days. The Ministry of External Affairs has said nothing on this issue and there is no statement despite the fact that the Crisis Management Group, headed by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed, held several meetings through the day.

Mr Ahamed said efforts were continuing in securing the release of the Indian hostages. “You should get in touch with us tomorrow,” he said.
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Indo-Pak talks agenda gets CCS nod
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met here today and finalised the agenda for the two-day Home Secretary-level Indo-Pak talks on terrorism and narcotics control beginning tomorrow in Islamabad, giving a top priority to expressing New Delhi’s concern over cross-border terrorism (CBT).

The meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also deliberated on the explosive situation prevailing in Manipur and vetted various reports filtering from the North-Eastern state.

It also took into account various Intelligence reports on the demand for withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
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Venkaiah condemns Arjun remarks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu today condemned Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh for his reported remarks linking the RSS and the BJP with Mahatma Gandhi’s murder and accused that the minister had “heaped insult” on the memory of the heroes of the Quit India movement by sharing the dais with the Communists in the commemorative programme yesterday.

“These pseudo-secular parties think that a lie becomes truth if repeated a thousand times....They want people to forget that a Commission of Inquiry instituted by the Nehru government had absolved the RSS of any association with Gandhiji’s murder,” Mr Naidu said, addressing a function organised by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) here. Condemning Mr Arjun Singh for sharing dais with the Communists, Mr Naidu said “not many people in the present generation know that the Communists had opposed the Quit India Movement in 1942 — which undoubtedly was the point of climax in the Freedom Struggle.”

“It was the time when the Communists made the vilest of allegations against our national leaders... Gandhiji was called “the puppet of the bourgeoisie” and Subhas Chandra Bose was branded as a “Nazi agent”, he said.
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Hardwar flummoxes Tiwari govt, gives BJP a high
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 9
Upbeat over a fresh issue against the government in its kitty, the state BJP is all set to cash in on the Congress “double-speak” on the Hardwar, Udham Singh Nagar resolution issue. The resolution passed in the UP Assembly by the Mulayam Singh Government with the support of the Congress and the BSP sought to merge these two districts in the plains back into UP from Uttaranchal.

In an internal party meeting with the newly appointed state in charge Sheshadrichari, the party launched a ‘Satta chodo’ drive against the government over the issue.

The government has shown no clear stand on the issue which goes to prove the government has little concern for the hill state, BJP state President Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said speaking to newspersons today. The government is indulging in double-speak by issuing statements against the resolution after the Congress’ support to the Bill in the UP Assembly, Mr Koshiyari said.

Even as a flummoxed Congress Government has been issuing statements calling the Bill unconstitutional and a political stunt, the party finds itself in a Catch 22 situation. Such a resolution does not hold water; the issue would be taken up with the high command, said state Congress President Harish Rawat.

Even Chief Minister N.D. Tiwari has kept a mild stance over the issue. There have been similar demands from the districts of Saharanpur, Bareilly and Muzzaffarnagar to be merged with Uttaranchal, but that did not make us pass a resolution in the State Assembly, Chief Minister N.D. Tiwari said.

On the one hand, the support of UP Congress legislators to the resolution has taken the state Congress by surprise and on the other hand the uncomfortable silence from the high command has left the party trapped. 
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Cong takes cue from BJP, plans revival
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The Congress is never short of ideas when it comes to planning the party’s revival in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

Now that a new AICC general secretary, Mr Satyavrat Chaturvedi has taken charge of UP affairs, the Congress is once again in the throes of drawing up action plans and blueprints for reviving the grand old party’s glory in Uttar Pradesh.

This time round, it has taken a leaf from its political rivals, the BJP and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Like its arch foes, the Congress too wants to establish an institute in the state to impart training and lessons to its cadres on the Congress’ ideological moorings.

Having fared poorly in successive elections and faced with an erosion in its traditional vote base, the Congress is now depending on the classroom to help it get votes and seats.“We have immediate short-term and long-term plans for the party’s revival in Uttar Pradesh,” says Mr Chaturvedi as he unveils these ideas. The establishment of this ambitious institute is part of the long-term strategies now being given final touches by the party leadership.

The party will concentrate all its energies on the two Lok Sabha and 12 Assembly byelections. “We wish to make our presence felt in these elections,” he says, but hastens to add that he has no illusion about sweeping the poll.

Then there are plans to strengthen the party’s organisation at the booth, block and district levels. “Nearly half of these units do not exist...we will begin by constituting them. Then we will assess the functioning of the existing units and make necessary changes to activate them,” he says. Finally, the party will prepare for the Assembly poll through area specific state-wide protests, he adds.

Mr Chaturvedi is not the first Congressman to make such an attempt to rebuild the party in Uttar Pradesh. His predecessors both in the AICC and the state had made similar attempts but with disastrous results.
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Habibullah’s remarks embarrass Congress
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The Congress was today put to embarrassment over a senior bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah’s controversial remark that the USA could play the role of a facilitator in resolving the Jammu and Kashmir issue. It was quick to dismiss these as his “personal views.”

Mr Habibullah, known for his proximity to the Nehru-Gandhi family, is on a sabbatical and is in Washington on a fellowship with the United States Institute of Peace. A special report, written by Mr Habibullah, says that the USA could play a crucial role as “facilitator” in solving the J&K issue “keeping the deep mistrust that Kashmiris have of India and their growing mistrust of Pakistan.”

The senior official’s views are at variance with the stated government position on this issue. The Congress today maintained these were the official’s personal views but as far as the party was concerned, it had always maintained that the Kashmir issue could and should be resolved bilaterally.

“For six decades, the stand of the government and the Congress is that the issue be resolved only bilaterally. This often repeated stand cannot be affected by one simple statement of an individual,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said today.
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Mamata, Sangma hurt as dais gives way
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, August 9
Ms Mamata Banerjee and former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma were among 13 injured today when the dais of a meeting at Gopivallavpore, Midnapore, about 230 kms from here, broke down. The incident occurred when Ms Banerjee was delivering her speech.

The bamboo roof of the structure fell down on the heads of some leaders sitting on the dais. While Ms Banerjee and Mr Sangma got minor injuries, Three local TMC leaders sustained severe injuries on their heads and were admitted to local hospital.

According to a report received at Writers Buildings, the meeting was organised by the Trinamool Congress on the occasion of the celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Quit India” movement launched 63 years ago.

The meeting was also held to mobilise support for the TMC’s agitation against the introduction of the Salishi Bill (Conciliation Bill).
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Fire in Defence Minister’s room
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
A minor fire broke out in a room next to Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s chamber in South Block this morning. The South Block houses the Prime Minister’s office and Ministries of Defence and External Affairs.

The fire, sources said, that broke out due to a short-circuit in the ante-chamber next to Mr Mukherjee’s room at 10.15 a.m.

Immediately four fire tenders controlled the fire within minutes. Mr Mukherjee was not in the office.
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Hemkund pilgrim dies in landslide
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 9
A pilgrim to Hemkund Sahib was killed in a mudslide at Patalganga yesterday. The pilgrim, Balwinder Singh from Gurdaspur in Punjab, died after being buried under a boulder due to mudslides in the region. The pilgrim’s body was recovered by ITBP jawans deputed at the site to carry out rescue operations for stranded pilgrims.

Incessant rain in the area has been causing mudslides at various places on the Joshimath-Badrinath and Joshimath-Hemkund roads. The roads in the region are still blocked, leaving a few hundred pilgrims stranded.

While the road to Kedarnath was opened today, the road to Hemkund Sahib is still blocked, Disaster Management Department officials said. 
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BSF men attack passengers

West Bengal, August 9
A woman sustained bullet injury when some BSF men fired on bus passengers and clashed with them following an “inebriated” BSF jawan’s alleged misbehaviour at Baranberia of Nadia district today.

The police said a drunken BSF jawan in the name of frisking passengers, beat them up and even misbehaved with a woman, leading to a clash at around 8 a.m.

When the passengers protested, more BSF men joined in. The BSF men also opened fire in which Shova Biswas was injured in her hand.

Later, the police came and controlled the situation.

BSF sources said an inquiry would be held into the incident. — UNI 
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Swatantra Jyot dedicated to nation

Port Blair, August 9
In memory of the supreme sacrifice made by freedom fighters, especially those who endured the torture at Cellular Jail, an eternal flame of freedom, Swatantra Jyot, was dedicated to the nation today by Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mani Shanker Aiyar here.

Lighting the flame, he said the lamp would imbibe the hero’s spirit lying dormant in every Indian and remembered the sacrifices of the martyrs.

He said the flame, a homage of the Indian Oil Corporation, “must remain eternal as freedom of the country must remain eternal”.

Remembering Mahatma Gandhi who gave the “do or die” call against the British, the minister said the non-violent struggle based on truth was nurtured by blood, sweat and tears to secure independence.

“We have completed only about one-sixth the time we remained under foreign rule and there is no doubt the country would march ahead in attaining the glory it had attained in the glorious past of 5,000 years before losing our independence,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Governor Ram Kapse said the union territory enjoyed unique position in the history of the freedom struggle and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had declared a part of the archipelago as the first “independent” portion during the British rule. — PTI
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Declare Bhangra martyr, demand Thane residents

Thane, August 9
On the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the Quit India Movement, hundreds of tribesmen from the district staged a dharna outside the Thane Central Jail here today demanding that Raghiji Bhangra, who had participated in the freedom struggle and was hung to death by the British, be declared a martyr.

The tribesmen, under the banner of the “Shramajivi Sangathana” and led by their leaders Vivek Pandit, Viddulata Pandit, Janu Meghwale and Balaram Bhoir, had trekked from various parts of the district to take part in the dharna.

A delegation of the tribe later met the Thane Central Jail Superintendent and submitted a memorandum reiterating their demand.

Bhangra from Thane district had participated in the freedom struggle and was hung to death in the Thane Central Jail on May 2, 1848. He was sentenced to death for his anti-British activities.

Mr Vivek Pandit, who had taken up the issue of the freedom fighter, said they had been following up with the state government to include the name of Bhangra in the list of martyrs and to inscribe his name among the freedom fighters who were sent to the gallows in the Thane Central Jail. But the demand has remained unheeded so far, he added.

Mr Pandit expressed anguish that Bhangra, who had sacrificed his life for the sake of the country, does not find mention in the pages of history. Immediate steps should be taken to remedy the anomaly, he said.

He said they would resort to a “satyagraha” and court arrests if the government failed to concede to their demand by May 2, 2005.

Meanwhile, all through their three-hour “dharna”, the tribe men, women, youngsters and elders, dressed in their traditional costumes, sang patriotic songs unmindful of the rains.

A portrait of Bhangra was brought and every one paid homage to the freedom fighter by garlanding the portrait. — UNI
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Dawood’s money in Nepal under scanner
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The Ministry of External Affairs today said India was in touch with Nepal on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s money being involved in a Nepal-based company.

Asked to comment on the reports that the Indian government had drawn the Nepalese government’s attention in this regard, a ministry spokesman said the matter was “under discussion”.

He said India had Nepal’s cooperation on issues related to terrorism and both countries shared information about individuals or organisations engaged in the act of terrorism. 
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UP presents Rs 2 cr to IIT, Kanpur

Lucknow, August 9
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav handed over a cheque of Rs 2 crore to the Director of IIT, Kanpur, Prof Sanjay Dhande, for the development of an incubation centre and said the fruits of information technology should reach the common man and students and the industry.

Mr Yadav underlined the need of new researches and ideas yesterday, while handing the cheque, for deriving ways and means so that rural areas and the common man should get the advantages of information technology and this need would be fulfilled by this incubation centre.

In the first phase a total of 16 entrepreneurs would be imparted training at the centre which would then be used by the entrepreneurs for setting up industrial units and contribute in the development of the state and the country.

The Chairman, Uttar Pradesh Development Council, and MP, Mr Amar Singh, on the occasion said the council was doing its best in IT and electronics. — UNI
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Janardhan, Sayeed elected to Rajya Sabha

New Delhi, August 9
Union Power Minister P.M. Sayeed and AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi were declared elected unopposed for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi today.

The winning of Mr Sayeed and Mr Dwivedi was a mere formality as no one else had filed their papers for the two seats. The results were declared today. The two vacancies were caused following resignation of AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni and appointment of her party colleague Dr A.R. Kidwai as the Governor of Haryana. — UNI
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Assets show SEBI chief crorepati

New Delhi, August 9
The CBI today said the agency sleuths found more than Rs 1 crore worth of assets, including documents of four flats in upmarket Andheri and Juhu with SEBI Chief General Manager (Derivatives) Nagendra Parakh. The CBI spokesman said, while conducting raids at four places in Mumbai and at his ancestral house at Jodhpur, the agency found documents of four flats worth at least Rs 50 lakh and a shop at Gala Andheri worth Rs 15 lakh.

He also possessed a Hyundai Accent car, jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh, Rs 60,000 in a bank locker and investment in the name of his wife Sangeeta Parakh. — UNI
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FIR against C.P. Thakur

New Delhi, August 9
The CBI has registered an FIR against former Union Minister C P Thakur over charges of favouritism in the allotment of a shop in the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

Mr Thakur, the then Union Minsiter for Health and Family Welfare, in his capacity as Ex-officio President of PGIMER, had misused his official position to get the shop allotted to Capt Parminder Singh, the agency alleged in the FIR registered in a Special Court here. — PTI
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BRIEFLY

Fight over cycle claims life
Sibsagar (Assam):
A 12-year-old boy was killed by his friend following a fight over a bicycle in Sibsagar district, the police said on Monday. The boy, Sonu Bawri, was killed by Puran Bhuyan when he asked the latter to get off his bicycle on August 3. An enraged Bhuyan picked up a betel-nut cracker from a nearby shop and hit Bawri on his head and neck several times killing him on the spot. — PTI

Idol installation: tension in MP
BADWANI (MP):
Tension gripped Sendhwa city, 70 km from here, on Monday after a group of persons allegedly tried to install an idol at a tomb, the police said. The idol, which was allegedly being installed at an ancient tomb, was seized by the police, it said. The tomb, located inside a factory premises, was believed to be 250-year-old and was repaired last year, it said. — PTI

Hearing on fake killings
JODHPUR:
An Army officer, accused in the Siachen fake killings case, has alleged that defence witnesses are being influenced and pressured by senior officers for giving statements in military court, recording summary of evidence here. Major Surinder Singh made these allegations while questioning Lance Nayak Sandeep Guleria who used to type situation reports of encounters. — PTI
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