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Uphaar case: SC wants owners to give assets’ list
New Delhi, August 13
In a twist to the Uphaar case, the Supreme Court today sought details about the total assets of the company which owns the theatre to ascertain its capacity to pay the compensation of Rs 10 core to the victims as fixed by the Delhi High Court. It will be recalled that 59 people were killed in a major fire in the theatre seven years ago.

Councillor in judicial custody
New Delhi, August 13
A Delhi court today remanded the Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee, MCD, Mr Ashok Jain, to 14 days judicial custody. He was nabbed by the CBI yesterday on charges of bribery.
The Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee, MCD, Mr Ashok Jain, being presented in a Delhi court on Friday in the Capital.
The Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee, MCD, Mr Ashok Jain, being presented in a Delhi court on Friday in the Capital. — Tribune Photo


EARLIER STORIES

 

MCD a den of vice: BJP

New Delhi, August 13
The President of the Delhi Pradesh BJP, Dr Harshvardhan, has alleged that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has indulged in wasteful expenditure to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees in the purchase of benches, desks, dust bins and material for sewer system and has sought an appointment with the Union Home Minister so that he could “reveal … the facts related to corruption in the MCD”.

File Photo of Ashok Jain

File Photo of Ashok Jain

DUSU polls: Looking for an alternative to NSUI, ABVP
New Delhi, August 13
It is a coalition that has come together to do what they can’t do alone. To offer “an alternative to the right wing politics of the NSUI and ABVP”.

Pakistan theme of Delhi Book Fair
New Delhi, August 13
Pakistan will be the theme of the 10th Delhi Book Fair that begins next week. Nearly 40 publishers from Pakistan will take part in the nine-day fair that kicks off on August 21 at the Pragati Maidan, the Capital’s permanent exhibition venue.

Trader gunned down in Loni
Ghaziabad, August 13
A trader was shot dead by four criminals near a graveyard while he was coming to his general merchant’s shop at Betwa Hajipur village in Loni on Thursday.

‘Lost’ files hide massive fraud
Noida, August 13
Files pertaining to the payment of various contracts, involving fraud to the tune of crores of rupees, are reportedly missing from the Noida Authority office.

Leprosy patient pays Rs 10,000 for job
New Delhi, August 13
The leprosy patients who have reserved seats in Conservancy and Sanitation Engineering (CSE) department in the MCD for the post of safai karamcharis are allegedly harassed by the officials concerned when they approach them for a job.

Tributes to woman’s new avatar
New Delhi, August 13
A noted classical dancer-choreographer, Geeta Chandran, uses the 58th Independence Day occasion to celebrate the rise of the new woman who has broken free from the societal bondage and emerged as an individual.

Elaborate traffic bandobast for I-Day
New Delhi, August 13
The Delhi Traffic Police has made elaborate arrangements to ensure smooth passage of traffic during the Independence Day celebrations.

Collection of land revenue on hold
Noida, August 13
District Magistrate Santosh Kumar Yadav said that in view of drought in Gautam Budh Nagar district, the collection of land revenue and irrigation cess from the farmers has been postponed by the state government till May 2005.

No room for raggers in hostel till Jan
New Delhi, August 13
Two students of Kirori Mal College, who were accused of ragging a freshman in the hostel, have been expelled from the hostel till the end of the second term.

Minor fire in market near Red Fort
New Delhi, August 13
A minor fire broke out in Lajpat Rai Market near historical Red Fort here this evening. However, there were no casualty. The fire sources said that a medium intensity fire started in the market around 6 pm. Later, 20 fire tenders had been rushed to the spot to extinguish the fire.



Firemen trying to douse the flame at Lajpat Rai Market in the Capital on Friday. — Photo by Rajeev Tyagi
Firemen trying to douse the flame at Lajpat Rai Market in the Capital on Friday.

Raids at ration shops
New Delhi: The Department of Flood Control has conducted random raids at ration shops in the NCT of Delhi to check irregularities.

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Uphaar case: SC wants owners to give assets’ list
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 13
In a twist to the Uphaar case, the Supreme Court today sought details about the total assets of the company which owns the theatre to ascertain its capacity to pay the compensation of Rs 10 core to the victims as fixed by the Delhi High Court. It will be recalled that 59 people were killed in a major fire in the theatre seven years ago.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice R. C. Lahoti, Justice G. P. Mathur and Justice C. K. Thakkar directed Ansal Properties and Clubotels Ltd (APCL) to furnish the list of its properties within two weeks. Earlier, its counsel P. P. Rao said that Ansals did not have any money to pay the damages awarded by the High Court and the same could be realised only from the sale of the cinema house.

However, senior advocate K. T. S. Tulsi, appearing for Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), on whose petition the High Court had awarded the damages, told the court that the issue of the release of the cinema hall was a “company ploy to take its possession.”

The theatre has been sealed on the orders of the Sessions Court, which is holding trial in the criminal case against Ansals and officials of various government agencies for causing death of so many people due to their negligence.

A major fire in the theatre during screening of Hindi blockbuster “Border” on June 13, 1997, had claimed 59 lives and caused injuries to 104 persons.

Tulsi said the cinema house could not be released to the APCL till its final inspection by the prosecution on closure of evidence in the criminal case because it contained various crucial evidence about how the seats in the theatre were increased without permission and gangways and exit gates were changed.

Tulsi said AVUT had assets worth over Rs 200 crore in the Capital and the claim by Ansals that they did not have any money to pay the damages could not be sustained.

While fixing compensation of nearly Rs 16 core for the victims, the High Court had directed that Rs 10 crore be paid by the Ansals and the government agencies - Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB), the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Licencing Wing of Delhi Police — each pay Rs 2.46 crore.

Tulsi said DVB had already disbursed the money among the victims’ families. The MCD and the Delhi Police had challenged the High Court order in the apex court, claiming that they were not liable to pay the damages.

The High Court in April last year had awarded a compensation of Rs 18 lakh to the kin of each adult member killed in the fire tragedy and Rs 15 lakh to those below 20 years of age. Each of the 104 injured persons were directed to be paid Rs 
one lakh.

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Councillor in judicial custody
Tribune News service

New Delhi, August 13
A Delhi court today remanded the Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee, MCD, Mr Ashok Jain, to 14 days judicial custody. He was nabbed by the CBI yesterday on charges of bribery.

The suspect, who was hospitalised in a private nursing home near his office after being caught, was shifted to the AIIMS. He was rushed to the court of Special Judge Pratibha Rani at 4.30 p.m. after the AIIMS doctors gave the nod. The Judge remanded him in judicial custody till August 27. Immediately after being caught while accepting Rs 1 lakh from a contractor in a trap case at his office at Sitaram Bazar in Chandni Chowk yesterday, Mr Ashok Jain had complained of severe chest pain.

Mr Jain had allegedly asked the contractor for the bribe to give him the contract for building shops in various markets. The contractor informed the CBI, as he did not want to pay the bribe.

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MCD a den of vice: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The President of the Delhi Pradesh BJP, Dr Harshvardhan, has alleged that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has indulged in wasteful expenditure to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees in the purchase of benches, desks, dust bins and material for sewer system and has sought an appointment with the Union Home Minister so that he could “reveal … the facts related to corruption in the MCD”.

In a letter to the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, Dr Harshvardhan said that MCD has become a “den of corruption”. “The corruption has reached to an extent that Deputy Chairman of its Standing Committee has been caught red-handed” accepting a bribe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, he writes in the letter. He has requested the Minister to exercise his powers and dissolve the MCD.

The president of the Delhi Pradesh BJP has said that the allegation of corruption against the Deputy Chairman of Standing Committee of MCD is only the tip of iceberg. “So far,” he said, “three municipal councillors of Congress, namely, Hiran Tokas, Khazan Singh and, now, Ashok Jain have been caught red-handed indulging in corrupt practices. The chargesheet against Hiran Tokas has already been filed in the court.”

Meanwhile, the Lieutenant Governor, Mr Banwari Lal Joshi, believes corruption is always done in league, and more than trapping an individual in a corrupt act, setting things right in the system as a whole would give more lasting solution to the problem of corruption.

The Lieutenant Governor acknowledged that the DDA, the Delhi Police and the MCD have been found wanting in properly responding to the grievances of citizens. He has, therefore, asked them to reduce the time gap between the citizen’s call and the administration’s response.

Call to dissolve MCD

The Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the MCD, Mr Subhash Arya, and Mr Ram Kishan Singhal, respectively, today condemned the increasing incidence of corruption in the Congress-led Corporation, which had manifested itself in the arrest of the Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee, Mr Ashok Jain.

He was arrested by the CBI while taking a bribe yesterday. They also demanded that the Corporation should be dissolved, so that a new set of honest corporators could be elected.

Giving details of alleged corruption cases to the Delhi Lt. Governor, the Leader of the Opposition in the Standing Committee, Mr Vijender Gupta, demanded the dissolution of the Corporation so as to save the citizens from the misdeeds of the corrupt corporators. The Lt. Governor is the administrator of the Corporation and has the power to dissolve the House.

They alleged that ever since the Congress assumed power in the Corporation, a number of Congress councillors had been arrested on charges of corruption.

The recent arrests of Ashok Jain, Hiren Tokas and Khazan Singh, the murder of Atma Ram Gupta and the subsequent arrest of Sharda Jain are examples of corruption and criminalisation that has become part of the “Congress culture”.

Last week, a Congress Councillor was involved in an altercation with the Mayor. The Municipal Councillor, Mr Khazan Singh, who is the Deputy Chairman of the Sanitation Committee, was caught red handed by the CBI while accepting a bribe from a municipal employee. Earlier, a chargesheet was filed by the CBI against Mr Hiren Tokas, after he was arrested for accepting a bribe.

Mr Arya alleged that “one Congress councillor drew his salary illegally from the Municipal Treasury while another was in league with a tender mafia. In another case, a Congress councillor did not give the details of the expenditure on his elections.”

Mr Arya alleged that this trend has gone right to the top in the Congress party with tainted ministers occupying important posts in the Union Cabinet.

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DUSU polls: Looking for an alternative to NSUI, ABVP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
It is a coalition that has come together to do what they can’t do alone. To offer “an alternative to the right wing politics of the NSUI and ABVP”.

Keen to offer a strong opposition to the ABVP and the NSUI, the Students Federation of India (SFI), the Chhatra Lok Janshakti (CLJ), the Chhatra Rashtriya Janata Dal (CRJD) and the Samajawadi Chhatra Sabha (SCS) together as the United Student’s Front (USF) will take on the two right wing organisation.

In what is emerging as a trend in the Delhi University, which has thus far seen the DUSU convert into a battle ground for the two predominant factions, the ABVP and the NSUI, alliance is no longer a dirty word.

Announcing the decision to jointly fight for the four seats in the DUSU elections, the Delhi State Secretary, SFI, Mr Prasenjit Bose, castrated the NSUI for “not having taken up any issue related to the students, despite having won all the four seats in the DUSU panel”.

He also ruled out the chances of the NSUI to make a comeback even though the government, both at the State as well as the Centre, lends its support to the NSUI.

Claiming that the NSUI is just a platform for prospective politicians, he said, “issues of relevance to the students like the implementation of the internal assessment, which has affected the results of many students, were not raised by either the ABVP or the ruling NSUI”.

He added, “insurance scheme is not the pressing need of students, issues like buses and hostels are. What has the NSUI done for solving these problems, and this, when they have their government in the state”.

While these parties at the individual level have not much to talk about, together they are determined to rattle the NSUI and the ABVP’s stronghold in the University.

“Though there are some differences in opinion, but we have come together on a common platform to raise issues that are of concern to the students. The saffronisation and communalisation of education that was unleashed by the BJP, needs to be addressed. This is one of the biggest challenges for the UPA government”.

While each of the student organisation gets to contest for a post in the panel, the names of the candidates for the different posts are yet to be announced.

“There will be no conflict on who will fight for which post,” said Asim Khan, National In-charge, CLJ.

The parties are also unanimous on the need for a low budget campaigning. “We cannot spend like the NSUI and even the INSO, nor can we rely on pressure tactics to get more votes. Together we will bring out one poster, which will be printed in limited numbers and we will not cross the limit of Rs 10,000,” said Mr Bose.


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Pakistan theme of Delhi Book Fair
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
Pakistan will be the theme of the 10th Delhi Book Fair that begins next week. Nearly 40 publishers from Pakistan will take part in the nine-day fair that kicks off on August 21 at the Pragati Maidan, the Capital’s permanent exhibition venue.

The participants from Pakistan include the state-run National Book Foundation and Publishers and Booksellers Association of Pakistan, according to Shakti Malik, Director of Federation of India Publishers (FIP), organiser of the fair.

Millions of books will be available in 565 stalls spread over an area of 13,000 square metres in Hall No. 8-12, said Mr Malik.

Book launches, meet-the-author programmes and seminars will be the highlights of the fair. The fair timings will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“The fair aims at propagating book culture among children and the masses,” said Mr Malik. The fair will end on August 29.

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Trader gunned down in Loni
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, August 13
A trader was shot dead by four criminals near a graveyard while he was coming to his general merchant’s shop at Betwa Hajipur village in Loni on Thursday.

It is reportedly the offshoot of a fight between the neighbours two months ago. Manoj Pal, 21, son of Prasadi Lal, had left the shop for Delhi to purchase some goods.

While he was returning to his shop at 7 pm, some people who lay in wait for him near the village graveyard, stopped and beat him up.

When Manoj Pal tried to retaliate, they pumped a hail of bullets into him.

The villagers rushed to the site on hearing the gunshots, but the assailants had fled. Manoj lay in a pool of blood. Nobody tried to remove him.

Later, the police rushed him to SGTB Hospital, but he succumbed to wounds on the way.

According to information, Manoj had clashed with his neighbours about two months ago.

The matter had been resolved later by the village panchayat. But the other party was not happy with the settlement and looking for a chance to settle a score.

Chander Pal, brother of the deceased, has filed a report in Kotwali police in which four persons of the village have been named.

Liquor seized from cop’s house

A team of excise department in a raid on the house of a police inspector in posh Rajinder Nagar Colony of Sahibabad has seized liquor worth Rs 3 lakh stocked illegally.

The liquor had been smuggled from Haryana.

A team comprising inspector Rajinder Prasad, and other officials K.K. Shukla and Rana Vijay Singh raided the police inspector’s premises.

The police nabbed a youth, Vinod, during the raid.

Vinod told the police that he smuggles liquor from Haryana and Rajasthan for sale here. He earns a huge profit this way as the liquor is costlier in the national capital, the youth said.

The excise department team seized 97 crates of foreign liquor, which include 15 crates of Royal Stag, 6 crates of White Hall, 27 crates of Imperial Blue, 33 crates of Bagpiper, 13 crates of McDowell and 3 crates of Director’s Special from the house.

A large-scale smuggling and sale of liquor brought from Rajasthan and Haryana is in progress in various colonies of Ghaziabad and in the areas along the National Highway.

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‘Lost’ files hide massive fraud
Our Correspondent

Noida, August 13
Files pertaining to the payment of various contracts, involving fraud to the tune of crores of rupees, are reportedly missing from the Noida Authority office.

An FIR has been registered by the Noida police after many months, that too under pressure from the Inquiry Commission, it is learnt.

Significantly, the main file relating to a payment of Rs 82 crore is missing from the office. The file is connected with the construction of flyovers in Noida.

This had come to light three months ago when a one-man Mathur Inquiry Commission had called for this file. Neither the Noida Authority nor the police had paid much heed to the matter.

After the Vijay Shankar Mathur Commission had expressed “extreme unhappiness”, the Sector-20 police registered a case. This caused a commotion among the Noida Authority officials.

These payments were released to Hindustan Steelworks Corporation Ltd and National Projects Corporation Ltd from August 25 to August 29, 2003.

Surprisingly, payment for 45 per cent works had been released whereas only 17 per cent work had actually been completed.

During the Mayawati regime, work for three flyovers—opposite Noida Film City, Amity Crossing and opposite Sector-82—got under way. Projects of Film City and Amity Crossing were awarded to Hindustan Steelworks Corporation Ltd for Rs 120 crore.

While the project for flyover opposite Sector-82 was awarded to National Project Corporation Ltd for Rs 60 crore–making a total of Rs 180 crore for all the three flyovers.

The Noida Authority had released a payment of Rs 80 crore, but the original documents are missing.

The Vijay Shankar Mathur Commission inquiring into the scams had asked for the original files from the Noida Authority in February 2004 for having released an excess payment for the works yet to be completed.

The Commission Chairman was shocked when told that the files had been missing and could not be made available.

Mr Mathur told the Authority that a report be filed with the police to nail the guilty officers.

There is considerable commotion in the Authority. Former chief finance and accounts officer and chief project engineer might face the music for the lapse.

According to insiders, the Authority had reportedly approved the tenders for flyovers at double the Delhi rates during the Mayawati regime.

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Leprosy patient pays Rs 10,000 for job
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The leprosy patients who have reserved seats in Conservancy and Sanitation Engineering (CSE) department in the MCD for the post of safai karamcharis are allegedly harassed by the officials concerned when they approach them for a job.

The patients are allegedly asked to shell out Rs 10,000 for getting the temporary job of a safai karamchari. At present, about 600 leprosy patients are working with the CSE department. When they refuse to give the bribe, they are told that the seats in the reserved category are not vacant, a leprosy patient said.

A safai karamchari draws Rs 4,000 a month. Nineteen leprosy patients were given jobs in the corporation in 1989 for the first time without giving any bribe, according to sources.

Ram Kumar, a patient, who lives in a leprosy colony in Tilak Vihar and works as safai karamchari in the corporation, said that in the beginning such patients are appointed as temporary karamcharis. They are regularised after a few years.

He said that all safai karamcharis worked under a supervisor. The temporary karamcharis are asked to do the work of regular employees also who run an errand for the supervisor and then give money to him. If a complaint is made against any supervisor, no action is taken.

The Director of CSE, Mr Ravi Dass, said that the leprosy patients had one per cent reservation for the job of safai karamcharis in the corporation. “I am not aware if bribe is ever given for the post. Action would be taken against any official asking for bribe. The patients should make a complaint against such officials,” Mr Dass said.

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Tributes to woman’s new avatar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
A noted classical dancer-choreographer, Geeta Chandran, uses the 58th Independence Day occasion to celebrate the rise of the new woman who has broken free from the societal bondage and emerged as an individual.

Liberating herself from the gender-biased assault and systematic discrimination and marginalisation, the contemporary woman is able to make her own choices and is willing to face its consequences, she said.

She will perform She-Rahasyam, a dance, tomorrow that will be an attempt to unveil the new woman, who is very different from the stereotypical image associated with the Indian women, she said.

Besides paying tribute to this new avatar, She-Rahasyam is also an appeal to the people to unlearn gender discrimination that stems from cultural, economic, legal and political factors and accept individuality of its womenfolk.

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Elaborate traffic bandobast for I-Day
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The Delhi Traffic Police has made elaborate arrangements to ensure smooth passage of traffic during the Independence Day celebrations.

The police said that due to the traffic restrictions around Red Fort, roads like Netaji Subhash Marg from Delhi Gate to Chhatta Rail, Lothian Road from GPO Delhi to Chhatta Rail, SPM Marg from H C Sen Marg to Yamuna Bazar Chowk, Chandni Chowk from Fountain to Red Fort Chowk, New Darya Ganj Road from Ring Road to Netaji Subhash Marg and Link Road from Esplanade Road to Netaji Subhash Marg would be closed to public from 5 am to 9 am.

The police have advised those motorists who wish to reach South Delhi from North Delhi, to avoid Tilak Marg, Mathura Road, BSZ Marg, Subhash Marg, JLN Marg and Ring Road. Besides, the traffic for all heavy vehicles both commercial and passenger vehicles would be restricted from 4 am to 11 am on August 15 from Wazirabad ‘T’ point to Nizammudin Bridge ‘T’ point. All inter-state buses will not ply between Maharana Pratap ISBT and Sarai Kale Khan ISBT from 4 am to 9 am and these buses may use GT Road and National Highway-24. The local city buses should keep off Ring Road from 5 am to 8.30 am between Hanuman Setu to Bhairon Road ‘T’ point.

The police said that all invitees having triangle parking labels should take Ring Road to reach Ring Road/ Shantivan crossing and turn left/right on New Daryaganj Road to reach Red Fort.

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Collection of land revenue on hold
Our Correspondent

Noida, August 13
District Magistrate Santosh Kumar Yadav said that in view of drought in Gautam Budh Nagar district, the collection of land revenue and irrigation cess from the farmers has been postponed by the state government till May 2005.

He said that the development funds have started pouring in the district, though the allocated budget has not been received in the treasury.

On the issue of security for VIPs, the District Magistrate said that a three-member committee would probe the reports that some VIPs who had been provided with gunmen were guilty of misusing them.

The committee will submit its report next week, the District Magistrate said.

ADM Ajay Veer Singh, SP (rural) M.P. Singh and police inspector S.K. Singh are the three members of the committee.

However, SSP Jai Narain Singh said that no one had been provided with a gunman at a local level.

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No room for raggers in hostel till Jan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
Two students of Kirori Mal College, who were accused of ragging a freshman in the hostel, have been expelled from the hostel till the end of the second term.

However, the two final year students will be allowed to attend classes during this time. A freshman in his complaint to the college authorities had alleged that he had been ragged on the hostel premises and that the seniors subjected him to severe ragging tantamount to harassment.

A proctorial committee had been instituted to look into the complaint and file its report. After a prolonged meeting, which lasted three days, decided that the students will be expelled from the hostel till end of the second term, which will be in early January.

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Minor fire in market near Red Fort
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
A minor fire broke out in Lajpat Rai Market near historical Red Fort here this evening. However, there were no casualty.

The fire sources said that a medium intensity fire started in the market around 6 pm. Later, 20 fire tenders had been rushed to the spot to extinguish the fire. The fire tenders battled for over an hour and declared that the situation was under control at around 7.30 pm.

The police said that the fire incident caused considerable panic in the area as the Independence Day celebrations are near.

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Raids at ration shops

New Delhi: The Department of Flood Control has conducted random raids at ration shops in the NCT of Delhi to check irregularities.

According to sources in the Government of NCT of Delhi, the food and civil supplies minister, Mr Raj Kumar Chauhan, had received complaints that shopkeepers were not following norms. The sources said that the raids were conducted to ensure that the targeted people got their due. —TNS
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