SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Nehru-Gandhi family to be focus of AICC meeting
New Delhi, August 19
The Nehru-Gandhi family will be centrestatge when the AICC meets this Saturday for the first time after the formation of the Congress-led UPA government.

PM determined to give the babu a makeover
Proposal to recruit for civil services after Class XII
New Delhi, August 19
In an attempt to evolve a code of best practices in various tiers of the government encompassing the unwieldy bureaucracy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is taking several initiatives to move away from generalists to specialists.

PM asks Oppn for suggestions on
hostage crisis
New Delhi, August 19
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today invited suggestions from the Opposition on securing the release of the three Indian hostages in Iraq, stating that every effort was being for their early and safe return.

PM to unveil Rajiv’s statue
New Delhi, August 19
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will unveil a statue of Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi here tomorrow to mark his 60th birth anniversary.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi attend a prayer meeting

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi attend a prayer meeting at the samadhi of former President late Shankar Dayal Sharma on his 86th birth anniversary, in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo


Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee poses after receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Award in Mumbai
Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee poses after receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Award in Mumbai on Thursday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
Fresh violence rocks Manipur
Imphal, August 19 
Fresh violence rocked Manipur today as agitators, charged up by the forcible cremation of the body of a self-immolator, burnt a bridge, damaged an important road and blocked several streets since last night, while the administration re-imposed indefinite curfew in parts of Bishenpur district. The authorities rejected the agitators’ demand for taking out a funeral procession with the body of student leader Pebam Chitaranjan and cremated it last night. — UNI

LS, RS adjourn over Savarkar issue
New Delhi, August 19
For the third consecutive day today, the Veer Savarkar issue rocked Parliament with both Houses adjourning for the day as an angry Opposition demanded an apology from Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar for showing “disrespect” to the freedom fighter.

Noted Writer Khushwant Singh poses with Mrs Gurucharan Kaur, wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Noted Writer Khushwant Singh poses with Mrs Gurucharan Kaur, wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during the launch of his book Paradise and other Story, in New Delhi on Wednesday.  — A Tribune photograph

Bollywood actress and Rajya Sabha MP Hema Malini pose with the students of 'UK Hindi Samiti' at Parliament House in New Delhi on Thursday
Bollywood actress and Rajya Sabha MP Hema Malini pose with the students of 'UK Hindi Samiti' at Parliament House in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo

BJP for common yardstick for all riot cases
New Delhi, August 19
Stating that the recent direction of the Supreme Court regarding riot cases in Gujarat was “not a comment on the state government but an indictment against its own judicial arm”, the BJP today demanded that there should be a “common yardstick” for all riot cases.

Jolt to BJP in Bihar as another leader quits
New Delhi, August 19
Bihar is about to witness a fresh realignment of non-BJP political forces with the “saffron party” receiving yet another jolt today as Dr Sanjay Paswan, a minister in the Vajpayee government, quit the party on the issue of Gujarat riots.

Patil non-committal on President’s rule in Manipur
New Delhi, August 19
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today remained non-committal on the imposition of President’s rule in Manipur, even as he conceded that the situation in the hill state was “not very comfortable”.

Delhi court issues warrant to Soren
New Delhi, August 19
A Delhi court today sought the presence of former Union Coal and Mines Minister Shibu Soren in his secretary Shahi Nath Jha’s murder case and issued production warrant to him.

Panel seeks new wage board for scribes
New Delhi, August 19
A Parliamentary panel has said the Centre should consider demands by newspaper and news agency employees for setting up a new wage board.

EC notices to CPI, SAD (Mann)
New Delhi, August 19
The country’s oldest Left party - the Communist Party of India - has been served notice by the Election Commission for withdrawal of its national party status while nine other parties, including SAD (Mann), have been served notices for the cancellation of their state party status.

Employees march to Parliament today
New Delhi, August 19
To protest against the cut in the EPF interest rate and other economic issues, central trade unions will stage a ‘march to Parliament’ tomorrow and hold demonstrations and rallies across the country.

Hukamnama on payment condemned
New Delhi, August 19
The Akal Takht hukamnama relating to a financial transaction in the Capital has come under sharp attack from an Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member, who has said that such acts denigrate the authority of the highest religious body of the Sikhs.

Man gets life term for raping minor
New Delhi, August 19
In another case of brutal rape and murder of a minor girl, the Supreme Court today sentenced to life an accused from Maharashtra, who was let off by the Bombay High Court after being awarded death sentence by a Sessions Judge.

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Nehru-Gandhi family to be focus of AICC meeting
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service


A repeat of 1976

After a gap of 28 years, the AICC meeting will again witness the unusual sight of two different persons holding the posts of Congress president and Prime Minister.

The last time this happened was way back in 1976 when Mrs Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister and Mr. Devkant Baruah the party president. The difference this time is that it is not the Prime Minister but the Congress president who is the central and more powerful figure in the party. Mr Baruah is best remembered for his famous line, “India is Indira and Indira is India.”

Despite his low-profile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also be heard with rapt attention at the Saturday’s AICC meeting where he is expected to focus on the implementation of the Common Minimum Programme and give the government’s perspective to the political discourse.

The meeting will open with Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s presidential address which will set the tone for the day-long deliberations. The four resolutions will be moved subsequently. This will be followed by Dr Singh’s speech.

New Delhi, August 19
The Nehru-Gandhi family will be centrestatge when the AICC meets this Saturday for the first time after the formation of the Congress-led UPA government.

To begin with, the meeting is dedicated to the memory of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, being held a day after his 60th birth anniversary. Congress president Sonia Gandhi will be the focus of all attention as party delegates line up to thank her for the election results and appreciate her supreme sacrifice in declining the Prime Minister’s post.

Her son Rahul Gandhi will also be the cynosure of all eyes. He is attending the AICC meeting for the first time as an associate member along with all party MPs. Although he is yet to make his maiden speech in the Lok Sabha, there is considerable speculation in party circles over his possible participation in the day-long deliberations.

Although not an AICC delegate, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has also been issued a special invitation for the meeting.”She has been invited in her capacity of being a prominent Congress member and as somebody who the youth look to for inspiration,” explained Mrs Ambika Soni, AICC general secretary, at her special press briefing today.

That is not all. Besides the single omnibus resolution, which will include the political, economic and international affairs resolutions, three other resolutions will also be adopted at the meeting. One recalls the contributions made by Mr Rajiv Gandhi while another focuses on his dream scheme of empowering panchayati raj institutions.

The fourth resolution meant to thank the “aam aadmi” who proved instrumental in the victory of secular forces, will essentially hail Mrs Gandhi’s leadership, her tireless country-wide campaign and her role in forging pre-poll alliances which all resulted in the installation of the Congress-led UPA government. Mrs Gandhi’s grand renunciation of the top post will find a special mention in the deliberations.

As the AICC is meeting for the first time after the election results, the political resolution is expected to reflect this new development, Describing the electoral verdict as a defeat for communal forces and a verdict for change, the resolution will also include a measured attack against the RSS.

Although the party has been wary of the strident anti-RSS stance adopted by Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, who heads the committee responsible for drafting the political resolution, it can hardly afford to differ with him publicly. “There is no dilution in our stand on taking communal forces head-on. We have reiterated it at all our previous sessions and our resolution will not be found wanting on this count,” remarked Mrs Soni.

Since the Congress is heading a coalition government, the resolution will take note of this reality. There will be general acknowledgement that coalitions are now a reality and the Congress will have to be open to alliances with regional players. At the same time, it will stress the need for strengthening and reviving the party, particularly in states where the Congress base has been badly eroded. The meeting will reinforce the party’s pro-poor image and set the tone for the coming assembly elections in Maharashtra, Bihar Jharkhand and Haryana.Top

 

PM determined to give the babu a makeover
Proposal to recruit for civil services after Class XII
T. R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
In an attempt to evolve a code of best practices in various tiers of the government encompassing the unwieldy bureaucracy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is taking several initiatives to move away from generalists to specialists.

It is in this context that Dr Manmohan Singh’s endeavour of reforming the civil services assumes significance. The effort is to look at the existing system critically and make it professional as well as service oriented with accountability.

Authoritative sources say the Prime Minister’s Office has sought several voluminous reports gathering dust on administrative reforms authored by two former Chairpersons of the Union Public Service Commission.

Simultaneously, another committee headed by Cabinet Secretary B. K. Chaturvedi has begun examining recommendations of a group headed by former UPSC Chairman P. C. Hota on the progression of a civil servant’s career. This report was submitted to the government last month.

Then the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, Mr T. K. A. Nair, Mr Chaturvedi and Central Vigilance Commissioner P. Shankar are examining issues pertaining to enforcing probity and transparency in the bureaucracy.

With the liberalisation of the economy being speeded up, the bureaucracy has been at the receiving end for inordinate delays, inaction and alleged corruption, particularly at the level of local governments.

The Congress-led UPA government’s proposal yesterday of recruiting directly for the civil services after the Class XII examination has evoked both surprise and awe. While some experts believe this has far-reaching implications, others insist it is only at an embryonic stage. The proposal is no doubt stunning, but one will have to wait and see how it evolves.

As a first step, the government has proposed directly recruiting Class XII students through an entrance examination akin to that of the prestigious IITs, defence services and law colleges. The proposal has been put on the website of the Department of Personnel and Training to elicit suggestions.

There has also been a clamour from various institutions for a detailed debate in undertaking such reforms in the gigantic administrative machinery. A large of number of issues connected with the efficacy of the bureaucracy and the kind of people manning it will come up for discussion.

On his part, the Prime Minister has underlined the need for a responsive and responsible political and administrative set-up. He has also expressed concern about the decline in values in public life and desired ways and means of reforming public institutions, political parties and the government at various levels.

Dr Manmohan Singh has through various directives from time to time started implementing measures for transparency and adhering strictly to policy and rules in taking forward the civil service reform.

According to the proposal unveiled yesterday, students after clearing Class XII and on being selected after an all-India test would join a national academy for a five-year course.

The best candidates would be absorbed on the basis of merit and choice at the completion of three years while others could go out to the market with their graduation degrees.

The candidates given their service allotments could then go in for a two-year service-specific course equivalent to an MBA. If they were not found good enough thereafter, then they could enter the market at that stage for jobs.Top

 

PM asks Oppn for suggestions on hostage crisis
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today invited suggestions from the Opposition on securing the release of the three Indian hostages in Iraq, stating that every effort was being for their early and safe return. Intervening during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, the Prime Minister said: “We share the concern of the House and the country.”

But, he asserted, “No purpose will be served if we are to disclose with whom we are talking and I cannot say that they will be released tomorrow.” Agreeing that there was considerable uncertainty on the crisis, he said “any suggestion from the Opposition is welcome. We are willing to consider it.”

Earlier, Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, replying to Opposition criticism, ruled out any direct talks with the abductors and made it clear that no ransom would be paid. He said the government was depending on KGL, the employer of the Indian truckers, for negotiations with the militants.Top

 

PM to unveil Rajiv’s statue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will unveil a statue of Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi here tomorrow to mark his 60th birth anniversary.

The 12-foot-high imposing statue has been erected near the Sansad Marg-Talkatora Road junction by the Central Public Works Department.

The Prime Minister will also release a postage stamp to mark Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary, which is now observed as Rajiv Gandhi Renewable Energy Day by the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources.

The commemorative stamp is being issued by the Department of Posts in association with the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources. It depicts the four most common applications of renewable energy - solar lantern, domestic solar water heating system, biogas unit and hydropower plant. The Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources has declared August 20 as Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas and has launched a campaign to educate schoolchildren about renewable energy.Top

 

LS, RS adjourn over Savarkar issue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
For the third consecutive day today, the Veer Savarkar issue rocked Parliament with both Houses adjourning for the day as an angry Opposition demanded an apology from Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar for showing “disrespect” to the freedom fighter.

In the Rajya Sabha, Shiv Sena member Sanjay Nirupam raised the issue, which was supported by the BJP members. However, in the Lok Sabha, derogatory remarks made by JD (U) member Prabhunath Singh against RJD member R.K. Rana for interrupting him while voicing his protest against the ‘humiliation’ meted out to Savarkar resulted in pandemonium.

The Lok Sabha earlier saw Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee clarifying that the Government was in no way directly involved in the removal of the plaque as the decision was taken by the Board of Trustees of the Indian Oil Corporation Foundation, the Chairman of which is the Petroleum Minister.

Taking strong exception to his statement, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani insisted the Centre could not wash its hands off in the matter given the fact that the government permission was a must for setting up a memorial in the Cellular Jail.

Mr Advani said a decision was taken to set up the memorial and now it needed to be seen who had changed it.

After one adjournment in the morning, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourned the House suddenly apparently apprehending ugly scenes over the derogatory remark made by JD (U) member Prabhunath Singh against RJD member R.K. Rana.

In the Rajya Sabha, trouble broke out soon after question hour as Shiv Sena member Sanjay Nirupam, instead of raising a calling attention on increasing cases of frauds in private sector banks, raised the Savarkar issue and demanded an apology from Mr Aiyar.

As Mr K. Rehman Khan, who was in the Chair, did not allow the matter to be raised. Shiv Sena members Ekanath K. Thakur and Sanjay Rajaram Raut along with a few BJP members stormed the well.Top

 

BJP for common yardstick for all riot cases
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
Stating that the recent direction of the Supreme Court regarding riot cases in Gujarat was “not a comment on the state government but an indictment against its own judicial arm”, the BJP today demanded that there should be a “common yardstick” for all riot cases.

“Let the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases be transferred to Chandigarh,” BJP spokesperson Sushma Swaraj told mediapersons here.

She also said the Supreme Court transferring Gujarat riot cases to Maharashtra was “not a good and healthy trend”.

“It was not a trend based on sound premise. Merely by changing the judge, the situation will be not improve because the evidence against the accused has to come from the authorities from the same administration,” Ms Swaraj said.

On the Veer Savarkar issue, Ms Swaraj said nothing short of immediate restoration of Veer Savarkar’s plaque at the Cellular Jail memorial and an apology by Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer would end the current stalemate in Parliament over the issue.

“If we have raised an issue. It has to be taken to its logical conclusion.

The plaque, which was removed at the instance of the Petroleum Minister, should be restored without delay and he should tender his apology for doing so”, BJP Deputy leader in Rajya Sabha said.

She said the government cannot wash its hands off on the pretext that it was not a Cabinet decision as ministers themselves take 90 per cent of the decisions.

Ms Swaraj said Mr Aiyer cannot give an explanation in his personal capacity in Rajya Sabha where he was not a member and he would have to do so as a minister. “You cannot give statements in both the Houses in different capacities”.

The BJP leader said the issue had also been raised by party leader in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh when he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the day.

The party has also submitted an affidavit by the sculptor of ‘Swatantra Jot’ memorial wherein he had stated that he had handed over the pillar to Indian Oil on May 6, 2004 and that Savarkar’s quote was removed by some other sculptor, she said.

“We are awaiting the government’s response and will articulate our response accordingly”, she added.Top

 

Jolt to BJP in Bihar as another leader quits
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
Bihar is about to witness a fresh realignment of non-BJP political forces with the “saffron party” receiving yet another jolt today as Dr Sanjay Paswan, a minister in the Vajpayee government, quit the party on the issue of Gujarat riots. With two ministers of the previous NDA government leaving the BJP, a non-BJP political alternative is in the process of being formed, which can possibly emerge as a “credible alternative” to the Rabri Devi-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government in Bihar in the Assembly elections due early next year.

Yesterday, Mr Nagmani, a minister in the Vajpayee government, had quit the BJP.

Dr Paswan resigned from the BJP citing Gujarat riots as the reason and accused the party leadership of “insulting” minorities and Dalits.

In a letter to BJP President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Dr Paswan said the immediate provocation for his step was the Supreme Court’s order to reopen Gujarat riots cases.

In the letter to Mr Naidu, claiming that he had demanded Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s removal on several occasions, he said: “You ignored my pleas and insulted Dalits and minorities.”

Although he has not disclosed his plans, he is likely to ally with the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who is opening a new front against the Laloo Prasad-led RJD in Bihar ahead of the Assembly poll.

Meanwhile, 20 senior leaders belonging to different political parties have decided to join the LJP to strive for the ouster of the RJD.Top

 

Patil non-committal on President’s rule in Manipur
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today remained non-committal on the imposition of President’s rule in Manipur, even as he conceded that the situation in the hill state was “not very comfortable”.

“ The situation there (Manipur) is not very comfortable. Disturbances are continuing. After the incident (alleged rape and murder of Manorama Devi by Assam Rifles personnel) the situation has become more complicated,” he told newspersons here.

Asked whether the government was planning to impose President’s rule in the state, Mr Patil said, “I am not in a position to say anything before any decision is taken. The imposition of President’s rule depends on various issues.”

“We do not take any decisions in anger. We will assess the situation properly. Whether President rule can be imposed or not, I would not like to say anything on this,” he said.

Mr Patil, who had been under fire from the Opposition in Parliament for not initiating political dialogue, said the government was willing to hold negotiations with any group which was interested in bringing peace and prosperity to the state.

“There are several senior people in the state who have rightly stated that dialogue can be started. We have asked them to take steps to see how it can be worked out,” he said.

The minister said officials of Assam Rifles had expressed willingness to appear before the judicial inquiry set up in the Manorama case, but added that the personnel wanted the entire proceedings to be recorded in camera.Top

 

Delhi court issues warrant to Soren
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 19
A Delhi court today sought the presence of former Union Coal and Mines Minister Shibu Soren in his secretary Shahi Nath Jha’s murder case and issued production warrant to him. Additional Sessions Judge Indermeet Kaur Kochchar, while issuing the warrant to Soren, presently lodged in Jamtara jail in the 30-year-old Chirudih massacre case, directed the Jail Superintendent to produce him before the court on September 13.

Soren is the key accused in the abduction and murder case of his secretary Shahi Nath Jha, who had gone missing from his residence here on May 22, 1994.

The CBI had accused Soren of masterminding the abduction and murder of Jha because he was questioned by it extensively in connection with the JMM MPs bribery case. In the bribery case, Soren and his three accomplices were accused of receiving Rs 40 lakh each for supporting the P.V. Narasimha Rao government during the July 1993 no-confidence motion.Top

 

Panel seeks new wage board for scribes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
A Parliamentary panel has said the Centre should consider demands by newspaper and news agency employees for setting up a new wage board.

The Standing Committee on Labour, in its 63-page report submitted to Parliament, also asked the Centre to persuade the state governments to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the wage boards by all newspaper establishments.

Referring to the demands by newspaper and news agency employees for setting up a new wage board, the committee said before taking any final decision on the recommendations of the second National Commission on Labour, the Union Government should consider the demands of the employee unions.

The committee, headed by Mr P.K. Vasudevan Nair, said it had taken note of recommendations of the Labour panel that there was no need for any wage board, statutory or otherwise, for fixing the wages of workers in any industry.Top

 

EC notices to CPI, SAD (Mann)
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
The country’s oldest Left party - the Communist Party of India - has been served notice by the Election Commission for withdrawal of its national party status while nine other parties, including SAD (Mann), have been served notices for the cancellation of their state party status.

However, the poll panel is likely to bestow state party status to the Haryana Vikas Party and the JMM in Orissa, besides Jharkhand.

The move followed a review of the performance of various parties in the Lok Sabha elections held in April-May this year, EC sources said.

Sources said the poll panel in the notice has asked the CPI to explain why its national status should not be withdrawn on the basis of its performance in the recent general elections.

The notice said the party has not been able to fulfil either of the two criteria of having 11 members in the Lok Sabha or securing 6 per cent votes in four or more states in the House of People.

The party has 10 MPs in the Lok Sabha and has 6 per cent votes in two states - Kerala and Manipur. The commission has issued notices to the SAD (Mann) in Punjab, the Trinamoool Congress in Tripura, the CPI (ML-Liberation) and the Meghalaya Hill State Peoples Democratic Party for their failure to fulfil the criteria to be recognised as a state party.

While the MDMK of Vaiko and the PMK of Dr Ramadoss will retain their state party status in Tamil Nadu, they stand to lose the status in Pondicherry.

The Haryana Vikas Party and the JMM, both recognised parties, were likely to be upgraded as state party based on their performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

For getting state party status, a party should win 3 per cent of the seats in the Assembly, subject to a minimum of three seats, or 6 per cent of votes in the state plus two MLAs. While the CPI has been given time till August 31 to reply to the notice, the poll panel has asked the state parties to reply by September 3.Top

 

Employees march to Parliament today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
To protest against the cut in the EPF interest rate and other economic issues, central trade unions will stage a ‘march to Parliament’ tomorrow and hold demonstrations and rallies across the country. The unions and all-India federations and associations of employees in government departments, banks, insurance, railways, telecom, postal, petroleum and other sectors will observe tomorrow as the All-India Demands Day.

Rallies would be held throughout the country to press for the demands of the workers, CITU secretary Tapan Sen said today.Top

 

Hukamnama on payment condemned
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
The Akal Takht hukamnama relating to a financial transaction in the Capital has come under sharp attack from an Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member, who has said that such acts denigrate the authority of the highest religious body of the Sikhs.

SGPC member Harinder Pal Singh today said Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti in a directive had asked Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Prehlad Singh Chandok to pay Rs 1.10 crore before August 20 to one of his predecessors, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, over a school-ownership dispute. In a communication to Akal Takht, he said the takht should “not interfere in disputes of financial or personal nature.”Top

 

Man gets life term for raping minor
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 19
In another case of brutal rape and murder of a minor girl, the Supreme Court today sentenced to life an accused from Maharashtra, who was let off by the Bombay High Court after being awarded death sentence by a Sessions Judge.

Accepting the appeal of the Maharashtra Government against the High Court’s order, acquitting Man Singh Rathore of Ambezri village for the rape and murder of a Class V student Ranjana on December 13, 1994, a Bench of Mr Justice B. N. Agrawal and Mr Justice H. K. Sema said there was enough evidence to show his involvement in the crime.

But the apex court did not agree with the trial court’s verdict awarding death penalty to him and converted it into life imprisonment.

Maharastra’s standing counsel Mukesh Giri had assailed the High Court order alleging that it had “erred” in marshalling the evidence and “drawing wrong inferences of the facts and the findings of the trial judge.”

The Sessions Judge had held that there were sufficient evidence against the convict that he had taken the “innocent and helpless” girl with him outside the village after she had left for school in the morning on December 13 and then “subjecting her to merciless rape and murder.”

Her body was later found in a nearby drain covered with branches of trees. The investigation had established that she was first raped and then strangulated with the belt of her school uniform by Rathore.Top

 
BRIEFLY

8 killed in jeep mishap
Dehra dun:
Eight persons were killed and six injured in a jeep accident on the Pauri-Kotdwar road, 22 km from Pauri, on Wednesday. The jeep carrying 14 persons fell into a deep gorge near Dangidhar on the Jakheti-Nansudhar road. While seven persons, including four women died on the spot, one woman succumbed to her injuries on the way to hospital, district officials said. All fourteen passengers were returning to Thapli after attending a function. Three seriously injured persons had been admitted to hospital, the officials said. — TNS
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