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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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N A T I O N

Trust funds: CEC to hear Chawla
BJP steps up campaign seeking his removal

Thiruvananthapuram, February 8
Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon said today that he would hear his colleague Navin Chawla’s version if he received any petition on reports that a trust run by his family had received donations from Congress leaders.

Husain’s effigy burnt

BJP demands artist’s arrest
Kanpur, February 8
Protesting against the “objectionable” depiction of gods and goddesses by M.F. Husain, Bajrang Dal activists today burnt his effigy here.

VHP leaders Praveen Togadia and Giriraj Kishore address a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.
VHP leaders Praveen Togadia and Giriraj Kishore address a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

CAT admits Gujarat cop’s petition
Ahmedabad, February 8
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today admitted the petition of senior Gujarat police officer R B Sreekumar in which he has challenged his supercession in February last year and the adoption of the sealed cover procedure by the Departmental Promotion Committee in his case.



EARLIER STORIES

 

Naxal-hit states fail to use funds: Patil
New Delhi, February 8
The Centre today expressed concern over the “non-utilisation” of Central developmental funds by Naxal-hit states and pointed out that the root cause of Left wing terrorism could be checked only if the Centre and the state governments work in tandem in implementing the policies at the ground level.

France prepared to take back toxic wastes
Dismantling of Clemenceau
Alang (Gujarat), February 8
France said today that it was prepared to take back the toxic wastes of its decommissioned aircraft carrier le Clemenceau after dismantling at the shipyard here.
Protesting workers beat a burning effigy symbolising Greenpeace during a protest outside the Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat on Wednesday. — AFP photo

Protesting workers beat a burning effigy symbolising Greenpeace during a protest outside the Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat on Wednesday.

Tarlochan: parties lack will to protect minorities’ interests
New Delhi, February 8
The outgoing chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), Mr Tarlochan Singh, today said that one of his major achievements during his tenure was to convincingly stop the Hindu community from publicly carrying the ashes of those killed in the Gujarat riots.

Phone tapping: UP moves SC
New Delhi, February 8
The Uttar Pradesh Government today moved the Supreme Court challenging Delhi High Court’s orders in Amar Singh phone tapping case, including the one restraining the state’s Special Task Force from interfering in the probe conducted by the Delhi Police in the matter.

Guidelines on phone tapping
New Delhi, February 8
The government today issued guidelines with regard to the contentious issue of phone tapping, under which all service providers have been asked to appoint round-the-clock nodal officers, who will acknowledge requests within two hours of intimation from security and law enforcement agencies. — PTI

Bird flu task force
Moradabad, February 8
The Uttar Pradesh Government has constituted a task force on bird flu to deal with any prospective outbreak of the avian influenza in the state. — UNI


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Trust funds: CEC to hear Chawla
BJP steps up campaign seeking his removal

Thiruvananthapuram, February 8
Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon said today that he would hear his colleague Navin Chawla’s version if he received any petition on reports that a trust run by his family had received donations from Congress leaders.

“Let the petition come before me. I will certainly look into it. I will see the petition and also hear his (Chawla’s) side on the issue,” Mr Tandon told reporters when asked about the BJP’s demand for removal of Mr Chawla as Eelection Commissioner.

He said “no” when asked if he had already issued any direction to the Commission in the matter.

“The issue came up only after I came here,” Mr Tandon said.

When his reaction was sought to former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee’s suggestion that it was better for Mr Chawla to resign, the Chief Election Commissioner said: “It is for Chawla to reply to that suggestion.”

New Delhi: The BJP today stepped up its campaigning for the removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawala by alleging that the defence put out by the former bureaucrat clearly indicates his leaning towards a particular party while accepting funds from the MPLADS for the two trusts run by his family.

“The defence put forth by Navin Chawla has further weakened his case. We will petition to the Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon next week, couple of days ahead of the crucial Budget session of Parliament, for his removal from the constitutional post,” said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.

Election Commissioner Navin Chawla in his defence claimed that there had been “no conflict of interests” in the discharge of his constitutional responsibilities since he assumed the present assignment, while admitting that he had received money from parliamentarians for the two trusts run by him and his wife.

Mr Chawla is under criticism from political parties, particularly the BJP, over reports that the two trusts run by his family — Lala Chaman Lal Educational Trust for Boys and Smt Bhagwan Devi Educational Trust for Girls and Lepra India Trust — had received funds to the tune of Rs 85 lakh from various MPs under the controversial the MPLADS.

He claimed that the contributions to the two trusts were offered by various MPs, including those from the BJP, before he became the Election Commissioner on May 16, 2005, and after that date no political functionary or any other individual had contributed to these institutions.

Mr Chawla in a statement said “Sahib Singh Verma, then Union Labour Minister, in his letter dated February 13, 2003, also offered Rs 5 lakh from his MPLADS fund and wrote accordingly to the Commissioner, MCD. However, as he was not the area MP, his generous contribution could not be accepted.”

Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, however, claimed that Sahib Singh Verma certainly was the area MP as far as Chawla’s registered trust happened to fall the under Jasola area, which was very much part of outer Delhi.

He said the party probe had revealed that no such request was received by other Delhi MPs seeking money for both trusts from the MPLADS funds.

He said Mr Chawla’s other claim that he could not accept Sahib Singh’s “generous contribution” because he was not the area MP would also recoil on him because if he had declined to accept the offer, it would only confirm the belief that he was out to form a Congress-centric trust.

“If Mr Chawla was seeking funds for his Jaipur activities of the trust, than the letter would not have been addressed to the MCD,” he noted.

While denying that any rules were flouted in getting funds for the trusts, he maintained that the bodies were set up only to serve the disabled and the leprosy-afflicted and pointed out that he had offered the buildings to the Missionaries of Charity and other organisations working for such causes.

Mr Chawla maintained that none of the trustees had derived any financial benefit, neither salary nor any allowances from the trust at any time.

With regard to the Lepra India Trust, chaired by his wife Rupika, he said he was “not a trustee or office bearer” of the trust.

He said the land for the trust was purchased from the Delhi Development Authority at prevailing institutional rates funded entirely out of book royalties on his books on Mother Teresa.

He said from his book’s royalties, a sum of Rs 34.23 lakh was paid to the DDA on February 22, 2000, and construction of the building was supported by the funds from three then MPs, Mr A.R. Kidwai, Mr Karan Singh and Ms Ambika Soni. — PTI, TNS

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Husain’s effigy burnt
BJP demands artist’s arrest

Kanpur, February 8
Protesting against the “objectionable” depiction of gods and goddesses by M.F. Husain, Bajrang Dal activists today burnt his effigy here.

They took out a march, shouting slogans against Husain and set afire his effigy, the police said.

Under attack from Hindu organisations over his painting allegedly depicting Bharat Mata in an obscene manner, Husain had apologised yesterday and the controversial picture, to go into auction in an exhibition in the national Capital today, was withdrawn.

The BJP in New Delhi termed the depiction of Hindu deities in the nude as an “insult to the nation”, and demanded that the painter should be arrested and prosecuted for creating “disaffection” among communities.

“Being a good Muslim, Husain should know the worldwide reaction over caricatures of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper. He, too, should refrain from repeatedly hurting the sentiments of Hindus,” BJP general secretary Vinay Katiyar said over the phone from Ayodhya.

“He has created disaffection among religious communities and, therefore, should be put behind bars and prosecuted,” the former Bajrang Dal chief said.

As per a report from Mumbai, the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti today said that it would continue with its protest in various places in the country.

“Husain has drawn several objectionable paintings of Hindu deities about which he has not said a word,” the spokesman for the samiti said. — PTI

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CAT admits Gujarat cop’s petition

Ahmedabad, February 8
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today admitted the petition of senior Gujarat police officer R B Sreekumar in which he has challenged his supercession in February last year and the adoption of the sealed cover procedure by the Departmental Promotion Committee in his case.

The final hearing in the case is slated to begin on April 18.

Mr Sreekumar has alleged that he was denied the promotion for not “toeing” the government line while deposing before the Nanavati-Shah Commission which is probing the Godhra incident and the consequent riots.

In a 13-page order, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice A S Sanghvi and Mr Justice Shanker Prasad, rejected the government’s miscellaneous application, questioning the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear Mr Sreekumar’s petition. The government counsel had said the ADGP should seek alternative remedies before approaching the CAT.

However, Mr Sreekumar’s counsel submitted that there could be no appeal as “sealed cover” procedure had been adopted by the Departmental Promotion Committee in the case.

As there had not been any order by the government about supercession, there was no room for challenging it. — UNI

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Naxal-hit states fail to use funds: Patil
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 8
The Centre today expressed concern over the “non-utilisation” of Central developmental funds by Naxal-hit states and pointed out that the root cause of Left wing terrorism could be checked only if the Centre and the state governments work in tandem in implementing the policies at the ground level.

During a two-hour meeting here between Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and 11 Rajya Sabha MPs from four Naxal-hit states, the former pointed out that some of the states had not picked up even a single penny from the sanctioned Central grant meant for development of tribal areas, where the menace of Left wing extremism is rampant.

The Parliamentarians, cutting across partyline, wanted effective implementation of land reforms in Naxal-hit states, speedy modernisation of police forces, enhancement of police and intelligence network.

The meeting was called after the MPs had sought an urgent meeting with Mr Patil after spate of Naxal attacks in Chhattisgarh. Home Secretary V.K. Duggal, CRPF Director-General J.K. Sinha and IB Director E.S.L. Narashimhan were present at the meeting.

The MPs were informed that since the root cause of Naxalism is lack of socio-economic development, Ministries of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs have been roped in for implementation of developmental projects. In this context some of the MPs, including J.D. Seelam from Andhra Pradesh, suggested involving the Social Justice Ministry too as some of the SCs/ST’s dominated areas were coming under the grip of Naxalism.

The delegation comprised seven MPs from Bihar and one each from Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

Another MP from Bihar, Ram Dev Bhandari, said the Centre had been asked for strengthening of intelligence apparatus in the Naxal-affected states.

“There is a need to have a pointed intelligence about the movement of the Naxal and Maoists from one state of another,” he said.

He aid also highlighted the smuggling of arms and ammunition into the country from Nepal and said, “I have raised this issue forcefully and I want that government should take immediate steps in preventing it.”

Moitur Rehman, a Rajya Sabha MP, said the delegation also suggested for modernising of the police force in the Naxal-affected states on a war footing.

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France prepared to take back toxic wastes
Dismantling of Clemenceau

Alang (Gujarat), February 8
France said today that it was prepared to take back the toxic wastes of its decommissioned aircraft carrier le Clemenceau after dismantling at the shipyard here.

“If it (is) deemed better by the (Supreme) court or the (Indian) government then we are prepared to take back the toxic wastes (asbetoes) to France”, said French Ambassador to India Dominique Gerard, who arrived here to get first hand information about the condition of workers and facilities available at the yard.

“We are committed on this,” he added, shortly before proceeding to inspect the yard in Bhavnagar district.

“We are taking this as an economic issue and this is a great chance for technology transfer and for bringing better equipment here”, the envoy said observing that if the Clemenceau was dismantled in Alang then it would be a first for the workers here and a standard would be set. — PTI

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Tarlochan: parties lack will to
protect minorities’ interests

Pankaj Yadav

New Delhi, February 8
The outgoing chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), Mr Tarlochan Singh, today said that one of his major achievements during his tenure was to convincingly stop the Hindu community from publicly carrying the ashes of those killed in the Gujarat riots.

"That move might have triggered communal tension in the areas through which the procession of the ashes would have passed," Singh, also a Rajya Sabha MP, said in an exclusive interview to ANI.

He said that if the political parties resolved to function in the manner the NCM functioned under his chairmanship, then there would be absolutely no problems for the minority communities in the country.

The first Sikh chairman of the NCM since it came into being in 1978, said that the majority communities in the country were not at all oppressive, and they only need to be convincingly persuaded towards a particular direction.

He further said that during the past three years as chairman, he used his office for bringing about bonhomie among the different minority and majority communities.

"I successfully held parleys between Hindus and Muslims, Hindus and Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, Muslims and Christians, and Christians and Muslims. These meetings proved very meaningful and brought different communities closer than ever," he added.

Today, Singh completed his three years in office as NCM chairman. As per a parliamentary enactment, Singh headed the fourth Statutory Commission set up for safeguarding the interests of the minority communities in the country.

With the completion of the Commission's term, the tenure of all the other six members also came to an end.

Singh, however, refused to comment on the setting up of new Ministry for Minorities in the Union Cabinet. "In my opinion, the Commission did, and was doing, a good job as far as looking after the interests of the minorities was concerned," he said. — ANI

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Phone tapping: UP moves SC

New Delhi, February 8
The Uttar Pradesh Government today moved the Supreme Court challenging Delhi High Court’s orders in Amar Singh phone tapping case, including the one restraining the state’s Special Task Force from interfering in the probe conducted by the Delhi Police in the matter.

In an SLP filed in the court, UP Chief Secretary and STF DSP Ram Badan Singh contended that the Delhi High Court had no jurisdiction to deal with Delhi Police petition for quashing of the FIR lodged by the STF on a complaint by a Noida resident.

The UP Government challenged three orders of the High Court, including the February 7 contempt notice to the STF. — PTI

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