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N A T I O N

SC raps Centre for ‘changing’ stand on fodder scam witness
New Delhi, August 13
The Supreme Court today pulled up the Centre for not taking a firm stand on the grant of pardon to fodder scam accused Dipesh Chandak, made an approver and key witness by the CBI, saying the government seemed to have been “changing its colours to protect an important person.”

Children form the Tricolour during a rehearsal for the Independence Day celebrations in front of the Red Fort

Children form the Tricolour during a rehearsal for the Independence Day celebrations in front of the Red Fort in New Delhi on Friday. Security across the country has been increased to prevent any militant attack on Independence Day. — Reuters


EARLIER STORIES

 

HC notice to Bihar Police on Taslimuddin
New Delhi, August 13
Delhi High Court today served notice to the Bihar Police on the issue of granting transit remand to Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food and Civil Supplies Mohammad Taslimuddin against whom a non-bailable arrest warrant was pending in connection with an attempt to murder case in Bihar.

A family from Agara wearing dresses made by the Congress Party flag
A family from Agara wearing dresses made by the Congress Party flag in New Delhi on Friday. — PTI

Union Foreign Minister Natwar Singh shakes hand with Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez
Union Foreign Minister Natwar Singh (L) shakes hand with Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez (R) at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Friday. Derbez is in India for a two-day official visit. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

It’s Gowda vs Krishna in Karnataka
Bangalore: Even as the Congress — JD (S) coalition struggles against a host of issues ranging from the professional colleges admission mess, the grain scam and widespread allegations of ransom payment to free actor Rajkumar from the clutches of Veerappan in 2000, the Deve Gowda — S.M. Krishna spat is taking a turn for the worse.

Settle Jharkhand, Bihar
row: SC

New Delhi, August 13
The Supreme Court today directed the Home Ministry to take a specific decision within four weeks on the issue of division of assets and liabilities between Bihar and Jharkhand in view of employees of various public sector units there being not given salary for years together.

Exempt life insurance premium from tax: BJP
New Delhi, August 13
The Bharatiya Janata Party today urged Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to exempt life insurance premium from the 10 per cent service tax as it amounts to taxing social service contributions.

Chennai court to decide on Vaiko case
New Delhi, August 13
The Supreme Court today allowed a Chennai special court to take independent decision regarding withdrawal of POTA case against MDMK leader Vaiko and others despite its stay on the trial against them.

‘Rapist’ lynched in court
Nagpur, August 13
A mob today lynched a notorious “history sheeter” on the court premises here in broad daylight even as some policemen looked on helplessly. According to the police, Appa Yadav, who had terrorised localites of Pachpawali, Jaripatka and Indora in North Nagpur by allegedly committing heinous crimes like rape, murder and looting, was killed by the mob on the premises of the Sessions and District Court. Yadav was being produced for allegedly raping a girl.

IIMs to rationalise fees
Lucknow, August 13
Learning a lesson from the drumming they received at the hands of the NDA Government, the six premier Indian Institutes of Management have decided to “rationalise” their fees from the next academic session.

Rishikesh ‘doc’ held at Saharanpur
Dehra Dun, August 13
The state police today arrested Dr R.K. Gupta, a Rishikesh-based quack, at Saharanpur. Dr Gupta was on the run after a raid on his Neeraj clinic in Rishikesh by the state Drug Controller a week back.

Soren’s bail plea rejected
Jamtara/Giridih (Jharkhand), August 13 
There is no respite for former Coal Minister Sibu Soren as a court in Giridih rejected his bail plea today while a Jamtara court posted August 18 as his next date for appearance. First Additional Session Judge in Giridih Manoranjan Kavi, who reserved his orders in the morning, rejected the bail application and directed Soren, be kept in the judicial custody till disposal of the 1974 Kudko murder case. Soren had yesterday appeared before the Giridih court and moved the bail petition. Soren’s counsel Prakash Sahai said he would move the High Court for his client’s bail. — PTI


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SC raps Centre for ‘changing’ stand on fodder scam witness
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 13
The Supreme Court today pulled up the Centre for not taking a firm stand on the grant of pardon to fodder scam accused Dipesh Chandak, made an approver and key witness by the CBI, saying the government seemed to have been “changing its colours to protect an important person.”

The court was apparently referring to Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, who faces six cases in the Rs 900 crore fodder scam after Chandak’s counsel M. L. Lahoti alleged that it was being done under pressure from the Railway Minister.

Taking strong exception to conflicting stand being taken by the CBI and the Income Tax (IT) Department regarding the grant of pardon to Chandak, a Bench of Mr Justice S. N. Variava and Mr Justice A. K. Mathur said if this witness went out, then the evidence in the fodder scam cases might be affected adversely.

While the CBI had made Chandak an approver and he was granted pardon by the trial court on August 28, 1998, the IT Department had launched prosecution against him about 16 months later for allegedly making false tax disclosures by him.

Chandak was the main supplier of the Bihar Animal Husbandry department and he had confessed to the CBI that he had been claiming payments on fake bills from the Department.

After being granted pardon by the trial court on becoming approver in the case, he had challenged his prosectuion by the IT Department in the Supreme Court on the ground that on being made a witness by the CBI, he could not be simultaneously put on trial for a related offence by another government agency.

The Bench though reserved its verdict on his petition, yet it said with the change of the Government, the Centre “seems to have been changing its colours” to protect an important person, who is a key accused in the case.

At this Additional Solicitor General (ASG) B. Datta and another ASG, K. Pathak, appearing for the IT Department, sought time from the court to take intructions from the government on the issue.

The strong observations were made by the court after Mr Pathak stated that the IT Department preferred to go ahead with the prosecution of Chandak.

Chandak’s counsel poined out that since the filing of the petition by his client in 2002, government lawyers had been taking several adjournments to sort out the matter between the CBI and the IT Department, but now with the change of guards at the Centre, it had suddenly changed its stand.
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HC notice to Bihar Police on Taslimuddin

New Delhi, August 13
Delhi High Court today served notice to the Bihar Police on the issue of granting transit remand to Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food and Civil Supplies Mohammad Taslimuddin against whom a non-bailable arrest warrant was pending in connection with an attempt to murder case in Bihar.

Mr Justice B N Chaturvedi issued the notice, returnable by August 17, to the Bihar Police on the application of Taslimuddin who sought transit remand of eight weeks to enable him to seek relief from the trial court in Bihar.

Appearing for ‘absconding’ Taslimuddin, counsel A S Chandihoke said the minister might be given the transit remand to appear before the court in Bihar in relation to the case filed in 1996.

Manjar Alam had lodged a complaint at Jokihat police station in October 1996 that Taslimuddin and 12 others had allegedly attempted to kill him with a gun.

First Judicial Magistrate of Araria A L Yadav had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Mohammad Taslimuddin on August 23, 1999.

As Taslimuddin did not surrender in the court and evaded arrest, the court declared him an absconder finally on March 9, 2000. .

The court had then ordered attachment of property of Taslimuddin and 12 other accused in the case.

By misusing his power, Taslimuddin, who was a minister in Rabri Devi Cabinet, suppressed the case and the police did not take any action against him.

The police had registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Arms and Explosives Act for attempt to murder, and other offences. — UNI
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News Analysis by Sridhar K. Chari
It’s Gowda vs Krishna in Karnataka

Bangalore: Even as the Congress — JD (S) coalition struggles against a host of issues ranging from the professional colleges admission mess, the grain scam and widespread allegations of ransom payment to free actor Rajkumar from the clutches of Veerappan in 2000, the Deve Gowda — S.M. Krishna spat is taking a turn for the worse.

It started with a 29-page ‘report’ sent by JD (S) supremo Gowda to Chief Minister Dharam Singh on August 2, where he made several allegations of maladministration and demanded inquiries into land acquisition for infrastructure projects and housing during S.M. Krishna’s regime. Particular references were made to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC), a highway project. Mr Gowda also kept up the attacks at various public fora.

An anguished Krishna responded on August 9 with a letter of his own, where he asked that the BMIC be scrapped and the acquired land returned to farmers. State Congress chief Janardan Poojari too hit back, saying that Mr Gowda was destabilising the coalition and trying to weaken the Congress with a view to coming to power on his own.

Mr S.M. Krishna today has written another letter to Mr Dharam Singh, copies of which were released to the Press, where he has responded in 19 pages to “these wild and baseless allegations, which are nothing but character assassination.”

Many of these allegations were actually responded to by the government on the floor of the Assembly itself, prompting state JD (U) President Somashekar to describe the whole issue as a drama. “Mr Gowda is making allegations on the one hand, and his own JD (S) ministers within the coalition are defending them. What is all this? Mr Gowda himself did not manage land acquisition well, and it was he, during his tenure, who opened the door for reckless acquisition of farmers’ lands.”

Mr Krishna has written that when he assumed office in 1999, “there were enough and more material to order inquiries not only into the BDA but other departments also…but I believed that the mandate was to build and not destroy.”

Mr Krishna provided many details on the various flyover and road projects under question and defended himself both on their necessity and in the manner in which land was acquired and contracts were awarded. The BDA’s budget rose from Rs 131 crore in 1999 to Rs 1,200 crore in the current year. What is more, he pointed out, the BDA is the only government organisation to get an LAA + (SO) rating, and raised Rs 100 crore in debentures without a government guarantee. On its own, it has been able to invest Rs 300 crore in the heavily used outer ring road, various flyover and underpass projects and lake rejuvenation projects, all of it well received and crucially important in alleviating the heavy congestion the city is facing.

Mr Gowda’s “sole purpose is obviously to tarnish the image of the Indian National Congress…I have no predilection for going on the offensive unnecessarily. However, should the circumstances so warrant, I am willing to take this to its logical and inevitable end,” he warned.

There are two important aspects to this spat. One, it increases the worry that crucially important infrastructure projects are under attack. Ongoing ones may be compromised, and new ones are unlikely to be initiated. That will be a major tragedy for a city busting at the seams. In a recent meeting with city IT chiefs, CM Dharam Singh promised to address their infrastructure and other concerns, but no concrete assurances were given. The skepticism is unabated on the part of the industry and the larger public. Second, one wonders what Ms Sonia Gandhi’s role is in the spat. Mr Gowda is considered close to her — so is he trying to leverage that and any possible falling out of favour on the part of Mr Krishna for ‘losing’ the recent election? In any case, the JD (S) has ensured that Mr Krishna is not only kept out of the ministry, but also not given any important posts or appointments or a Rajya Sabha membership.

Or, has Mr Gowda already started work on the eventual goal of creating a larger base in Karnataka for himself and the JD (S)?

In any case, Karnataka is already suffering from this coalition — witness the CET mess where thousands of students from within the state and outside have been affected, and the BDA project to allot 20,000 sites to applicants, (Rs 900 crore has been collected from two lakh applicants) has been stalled. Mr Dharam Singh’s assurances that the sites will be allotted and public money returned to others, many of whom are paying interest on short-term loans obtained in the belief that the BDA will be as efficient as before, has not been very convincing.

Already there are rumblings within the Congress and talk about imposition of President’s rule. Will Ms Gandhi intervene before more damage is done to the state?
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Settle Jharkhand, Bihar row: SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 13
The Supreme Court today directed the Home Ministry to take a specific decision within four weeks on the issue of division of assets and liabilities between Bihar and Jharkhand in view of employees of various public sector units (PSUs) there being not given salary for years together.

The Home Ministry was directed to submit a report within four weeks regarding the steps taken by it in consultation with the Bihar and Jharkhand Governments by a Bench of Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Mr Justice S.B. Sinha.

Employees of 19 PSUs were given partial wages only after the Supreme Court had directed the Bihar Government to release Rs 50 crore for this purpose last year.

The court said in its May 19, 2003, order, it had issued clear direction to the Centre to take a decision about the division of assets and liabilities between the two states.

The two states had been shifting the liabilities regarding the payment of salaries to the employees of the PSUs on each other.
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Exempt life insurance premium from tax: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today urged Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to exempt life insurance premium from the 10 per cent service tax as it amounts to taxing social service contributions.

Citing the previous NDA government’s decision to exempt life insurance from service tax last year, BJP Investors’ Cell convener Kirit Somaiya said, “It is a pity that instead of supporting, contributing and subsidising social service contribution, the Finance Minister wants to collect 10 per cent tax on it.”

The BJP would oppose the provision of the Finance Bill during the debate in Parliament which would resume on Monday, Mr Somaiya said here.

Criticising the UPA government’s move to ask taxpayers to disclose transactions above Rs 50,000, Mr Somaiya said, “This is nothing but bringing back and strengthening Inspector Raj concept.”

The Section 285EA of the Finance Bill provides for the disclosure of transactions above Rs 50,000.

He demanded a full-fledged investigation into the heavy selling in Global Trust Bank (GTB) shares before the announcement of its merger with the Oriental Bank of Commerce.

Mr Somaiya alleged that the information about the closure of the GTB was “leaked” by the Finance Ministry to the tainted big bull Ketan Parekh’s group, which had sold two crore shares between June 14 and July 24 and earned a hefty Rs 36 crore and the party would take up the issue of insider trading in the GTB in Parliament when it would resume on Monday.
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Chennai court to decide on Vaiko case
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 13
The Supreme Court today allowed a Chennai special court to take independent decision regarding withdrawal of POTA case against MDMK leader Vaiko and others despite its stay on the trial against them.

A Bench of Mr Justice S N Variava and Mr Justice A K Mathur said the trial court could consider the Tamil Nadu Government application for withdrawal of POTA cases against the accused persons notwithstanding the stay granted by the apex court on their trial.

Tamil Nadu Government counsel P P Rao informed the court that the special court at Chennai was not taking any decision on the prosecution’s application in this regard due to stay.

The state government had decided to withdraw the cases against Vaiko after the Central POTA Review Committee had given clean chit to him and some other accused.

Vaiko, who remained in jail for over two years, was booked under POTA by the Jayalalithaa government for allegedly making speeches in support of LTTE.
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‘Rapist’ lynched in court

Nagpur, August 13
A mob today lynched a notorious “history sheeter” on the court premises here in broad daylight even as some policemen looked on helplessly. According to the police, Appa Yadav, who had terrorised localites of Pachpawali, Jaripatka and Indora in North Nagpur by allegedly committing heinous crimes like rape, murder and looting, was killed by the mob on the premises of the Sessions and District Court. Yadav was being produced for allegedly raping a girl.

A large group had gathered and on seeing Yadav being escorted to the court No 7 by some policemen, pounced on him. The crowd unleashed a brutal attack on Yadav, kiling him on the spot. The police later seized swords and other sharp-edged weapons from an autorickshaw parked on the court premises. There were about 30 cases registererd against Yadav, the police added. — UNI
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IIMs to rationalise fees
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 13
Learning a lesson from the drumming they received at the hands of the NDA Government, the six premier Indian Institutes of Management have decided to “rationalise” their fees from the next academic session.

The suggestions on the fee structure made during the two-day-long deliberations of the Directors of the six IIMs will be discussed by the respective faculty members and the Boards and a final decision would emerge only after the next meeting of all IIMs slated in December at Indore, the host-Director of the IIM, Lucknow, Dr Devi Singh, told TNS after the conclusion of the two-day meeting today.

The aim of the two-day meet was to “rationalise” the fee structure and ensure that there should not be a vast difference in the fees of different institutes. At present, the IIM fees ranges from Rs 50,000 at the IIM, Lucknow, to Rs 1 lakh at the IIM Ahmedabad

The meeting was ostensibly held to close ranks and project a united face of brand IIM.

The prestigious business schools came under fire over their fee structure. 
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Rishikesh ‘doc’ held at Saharanpur
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 13
The state police today arrested Dr R.K. Gupta, a Rishikesh-based quack, at Saharanpur. Dr Gupta was on the run after a raid on his Neeraj clinic in Rishikesh by the state Drug Controller a week back. 

The high court had quashed his anticipatory bail application directing Dr Gupta to surrender within three days on Wednesday. Though Dr Gupta is not even a registered practitioner, he is known to have duped patients by using high narcotic and psychotropic content in his “miraclous cure” for epilepsy.Top

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