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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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N A T I O N

Charges framed against Kanchi seer
Chennai, March 28
The Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Mutt today suffered a setback as the Pondicherry sessions court today framed murder and conspiracy charges against the two acharyas of the Mutt and 22 others, setting the stage for their trial in the sensational Shankararaman murder case.

RS poll: Sonia to Lalu’s rescue
Patna, March 28
In no less sensational comeback by Indian cricket team at the one-day match against England in Delhi today to score the victory, there was an interesting turn of events for the Rajya Sabha polls in Bihar with the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, reportedly stepped in to rescue the beleaguered Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Bihar boys sold in Punjab?
New Delhi, March 28
“All I want is to get back my 12-year-old son Anil Sada,” says Lalo Devi while sitting in the office of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan here.

Kalam outlines roadmap for growth of Bihar
Patna, March 28
Bihar will soon play a decisive role in the development of India, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said here today. Addressing a joint session of Bihar legislature, first time by any Indian President, Dr Kalam unveiled a roadmap of development for Bihar and outlined his 10 missions to transform the state into a developed state by 2015.





EARLIER STORIES
 
Hollywood actress Liz Hurley and Arun Nair arrive at the opening party of Lakme Fashion Week 2006 in Mumbai on Tuesday
Hollywood actress Liz Hurley and Arun Nair arrive at the opening party of Lakme Fashion Week 2006 in Mumbai on Tuesday. — PTI

Sharad Yadav may take over as JD (U) chief
Patna, March 28
The forthcoming two-day national executive meeting of the JD (U) beginning in Patna on April 11 is likely to pave the way for a change of guard of the party at the national level.

Scientists reproduce spotted deer
Hyderabad, March 28
For the first time in India, scientists have reproduced a spotted deer using artificial insemination procedure. This technique is expected to boost efforts to conserve endangered wild animals.

Bhai Mohan Singh cremated
New Delhi, March 28
The mortal remains of Bhai Mohan Singh, founder of Ranbaxy laboratories, were consigned to flames at the Lodhi cremation ground this morning. A large number of employees of Ranbaxy Laboratories, Max India and Fortis attended the cremation.

Bird flu now in MP
New Delhi, March 28
As the bird flu is slowly but steadily spreading outside Maharashtra, the first positive case of avian influenza outside Maharashtra has been detected in Madhya Pradesh. The culling operations begin from tomorrow. The government and the RBI have come out with a relief package to the crisis-hit poultry industry.

Vehicle runs over sleeping migrants
Mumbai, March 28
Two persons were killed and three seriously injured when a speeding Tata Sumo ran them over while they were sleeping on a pavement at Lower Parel in Central Mumbai early this morning here.

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Charges framed against Kanchi seer
Tribune News Service

Chennai, March 28
The Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Mutt today suffered a setback as the Pondicherry sessions court today framed murder and conspiracy charges against the two acharyas of the Mutt and 22 others, setting the stage for their trial in the sensational Shankararaman murder case.

Sri Jayendra Saraswati, the senior acharya, and Sri Vijayendra Saraswati, pleaded ‘not guilty’ and told the judge that the charges were false and concocted by the police.

Principal Sessions Judge M. Chinnapandi proceeded to frame charges of murder, criminal conspiracy, and seeking to screen offenders by giving false information, among other offences, under various provisions of the IPC against the 24 suspects in the case.

The case was posted for further hearing on April 17. The case is now ready for trial.

A. Shankararaman, a manager at the Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kanchipuram, about 80 km from here, was murdered in September 2004 by the criminals allegedly hired by the seer.

The police arrested Sri Jayendra in November 2004 and Sri Vijayendra in January 2005. Both were subsequently released on conditional bail.

The case was transferred to Pondicherry by the Supreme Court in October last year, agreeing with the senior acharya’s contention that there was a likelihood that he would not get justice if the trial took place in Tamil Nadu.

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RS poll: Sonia to Lalu’s rescue
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 28
In no less sensational comeback by Indian cricket team at the one-day match against England in Delhi today to score the victory, there was an interesting turn of events for the Rajya Sabha polls in Bihar with the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, reportedly stepped in to rescue the beleaguered Lalu Prasad Yadav.

The prospect of future alliance with the Congress in the UP Assembly polls reportedly prompted the BSP supremo, Ms Mayawati, to reconsider her party`s decision to support the LJP candidate, Mr Ranjan Yadav, in the sixth seat against the second candidate of the RJD, Mr Rajniti Prasad.

The elections to six Rajya Sabha seats from Bihar are slated for tomorrow where the two UPA partners, the RJD and the LJP, are locked in a cliff-hanger contest for the sixth seat.

Sources in the RJD disclosed that following Mr Lalu Prasad`s interaction with Mayawati over phone, after the reported active intervention by Congress poll managers at the behest of 10 Janpath, four BSP MLAs in Bihar have now decided to support the RJD.

The BSP legislature party leader, Mr Ram Chandra Yadav, today said his party decided not to support the LJP because of its hobnobbing with the BJP. "We cannot support the LJP which is being backed by the BJP", Mr Yadav said.

It may be noted that Mr Lalu Prasad yesterday appealed to the BSP, the CPI and the CPI (ML) to reconsider their support to the LJP candidate, Mr Ranjan Yadav, was allegedly being promoted by the NDA.

Following the somersault by the BSP, the second candidate of the RJD, Mr Rajniti Prasad, is now expected to secure 34 first preference votes, one short of the required 35, first preference votes to win the sixth seat.

The votes include 19 surplus votes of the RJD, 9 by the Congress, the CPI (M) and the NCP one each, and four by the BSP.

Out of the 54 RJD MLAs, 35 will cast their first preference votes for the party`s first candidate, Mr Jabir Hussain.

For the LJP candidate, Mr Ranjan Yadav, he is now left with 26 first preference votes after the BSP`s turnaround.

The votes include 10 by LJP, five by the CPI(ML), three by CPI, two by NDA , four independents attached to it and two by the SP.

Sources in the NDA disclosed that soon after the BSP spelt out its decision, Mr Nitish Kumar was active to garner the support of the rest seven independent MLAs for Mr Ranjan Yadav.

This, if clinched, will help the LJP to secure 33 first preference votes, two short of the required 35 first preference votes to get elected.

And once both the LJP and the RJD fail to secure 35 first preference votes, the NDA has greater number of second preference votes (142) against the UPA`s (64).

It was also learnt that the poll managers of the NDA were working hard to split the RJD`s vote bank by capitalsing on the reported dissension in the party and rank file which was reflected following Mr Shivanad Tiwari`s decision to withdraw from the race. There were reportedly few disgruntled souls in the RJD who were not happy with Mr Rajniti Prasad`s selection.

The NDA also did not rule out the possibility of a split in the BSP to defy the whip to vote for the RJD as the BSP MLAs were not in good terms with the RJD at the local-level.

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Bihar boys sold in Punjab?
Nalini Ranjan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
“All I want is to get back my 12-year-old son Anil Sada,” says Lalo Devi while sitting in the office of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan here.

Her son was taken away from his home town Saharsa in Bihar to Amritsar to work as a bonded labourer for a meager amount of Rs 500. She, along with six other parents, has been running from pillar to post for more than two years to get their children back.

According to national convener of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan Rakesh Sengar, 18 children from Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul districts of Bihar were sold to Dilawar Singh, a farmer of Amritsar, through a tout, Ramchander Sada, about three years back.

The agent sold the boys for a meager amount of Rs 1,000. “Our Amritsar coordinator has informed us that the condition of the boys was deplorable. They get no money and no rest or freedom. They are kept starved, locked in dark rooms and sometimes even tortured for not trading their bodies. Our local coordinator went there with the affected parents, but to no avail,” he said.

He said it was strange that even the local administration and the police were not cooperating in that regard. “The SP, Saharsa, has written an official letter to the SP of Amritsar to cooperate in this regard, but nothing has come out yet,” he added.

According to a recently released report by the National Human Right Commission (NHRC), 10,000 children go missing every year in the country. The commission has strictly said that in case of some clue to missing children, a red alert should be sounded in the area in order to ensure safe rescue of these children.

Another affected parent Mangal Sada said, “We were cheated by the agent. He had promised that the children would be employed locally. But to our surprise, he sold our children in Punjab. Now, we have no idea as to how to get back our children. My wife could not bear the shock and died.”

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Kalam outlines roadmap for growth of Bihar
Tribune News Service

Patna, March 28
Bihar will soon play a decisive role in the development of India, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said here today.

Addressing a joint session of Bihar legislature, first time by any Indian President, Dr Kalam unveiled a roadmap of development for Bihar and outlined his 10 missions to transform the state into a developed state by 2015.

The President said even though after Bihar's bifurcation in 2000 all natural resources went to Jharkhand, still it has immense potential to develop. "Bihar has immense human resource potential and vast agricultural land. It is up to the Chief Minister to fall back upon ", Dr Kalam observed.

Agriculture and allied sectors, social sector, infrastructure and e-governance formed the priority areas of Dr Kalam to lead the state on the path of development.

The aim, he said, should be to increase rice production from 5.5 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes and wheat production from 4 million tonnes to 12 million tonnes in four years time.

Stating that Bihar should become "the theatre of action for India's second Green Revolution", the President suggested the creation of sugar cooperatives on the lines of Maharashtra who could establish at least 10 sugar mills which can fully utilise the existing 100 lakh tonnes of sugarcane being produced.

He also suggested to spread the operations of Bihar state Cooperative Milk Producers Federation to all 38 districts to enable provision of additional self-employment to 7,50,000 families in the rural areas in next three to four years.

The President expressed concern over women lagging in the field of education in the state. He congratulated Mr Nitish Kumar for his decision to empower women by reserving 50 per cent of seats for them, for the first time by any state government in the country, in the coming panchayat polls.

While the Governor, Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi, delivered the welcome address, Mr Nitish Kumar extended the vote of thanks.

The opposition leader and former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhury, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi were also present on the occasion.

Later, the President addressed the meeting of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he stressed the need for the creation of special economic zones to foster development.

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Sharad Yadav may take over as JD (U) chief

Patna, March 28
The forthcoming two-day national executive meeting of the JD (U) beginning in Patna on April 11 is likely to pave the way for a change of guard of the party at the national level.

Sources in JD (U) disclosed that barring any last minute change in plan, decks were clear for the chairman of the party’s parliamentary board, Sharad Yadav, to take over as the new President from George Fernandes.

Even though the ailing health of George Fernandes is officially being shown as the reason for change, it was reliably learnt that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar personally favoured the change of guard because of his greater working understanding with Mr Sharad Yadav than Mr Fernandes.

A senior leader of JD (U) claimed that once Mr Fernandes was replaced, it was likely to help the party to shed its pro-saffron colour to some extent because as a convener of NDA Mr Fernandes was more identified with the BJP.

The decision by Mr Nitish Kumar to back the LJP candidate Ranjan Yadav in the Rajya Sabha polls to be held tomorrow was believed to be a wider game plan by JD (U) to keep the doors open for future realignment of forces in state politics.

It may be noted that in 2004 Lok Sabha polls, it was because of Mr Nitish Kumar‘s insistence, Mr Fernandes had to vacate the Nalanda seat to contest from Muzzafarpur.

Another senior party leader, Prabhunath Singh, is expected to take over as the chairman of parliamentary board.

The meeting, which was earlier scheduled at the famous Buddhist site Rajgir in Nalanda district from March 28, had been postponed due to the visit of President A P J Abdul Kalam to the state today. — TNS

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Scientists reproduce spotted deer
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, March 28
For the first time in India, scientists have reproduced a spotted deer using artificial insemination procedure. This technique is expected to boost efforts to conserve endangered wild animals.

The birth of "Spotty" on March 14 this year, as a result of assisted reproduction using artificial insemination method, catapults India into the exclusive club of two nations, Australia and the USA, who have pioneered this procedure.

The Centre for Cellular Molecular Biology (CCMB) Director Dr Lalji Singh told reporters here that it was first time that non-invasive artificial insemination route was adopted in assisted reproduction of a wild animal.

So far, scientists around the world have been using surgical, intra-uterine insemination, an invasive procedure, in the case of cheetah, leopard, puma, wildcat and the deer. But, non-surgical intra-vaginal insemination, which is a non-invasive procedure, is more preferred to wildlife biologists.

The CCMB, a premier biological research institute, has undertaken studies to standardise techniques for assisted reproduction at the Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, using the spotted deer as a model for the other critically endangered deer of India.

The technique of artificial insemination (AI), though routinely practiced in domestic animals, has not been commonly applied to wild animals. Semen collection and preservation along with AI can significantly contribute to the maintenance of genetic diversity and conservation of endangered animals, the scientist said.

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Bhai Mohan Singh cremated
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
The mortal remains of Bhai Mohan Singh, founder of Ranbaxy laboratories, were consigned to flames at the Lodhi cremation ground this morning. A large number of employees of Ranbaxy Laboratories, Max India and Fortis attended the cremation.

His youngest son, Analjit Singh, and grandson Shivendra Singh lit the pyre. His other son, Manjit Singh also was present while Ranbaxy CEO and Managing Director Malvinder Singh, who was on an overseas trip, is coming back home later today.

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also condoled Bhai Mohan Singh’s death. Dr Manmohan Singh visited the residence of Bhai Mohan Singh to pay last respects and placed a wreath on his body.

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Bird flu now in MP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
As the bird flu is slowly but steadily spreading outside Maharashtra, the first positive case of avian influenza outside Maharashtra has been detected in Madhya Pradesh. The culling operations begin from tomorrow. The government and the RBI have come out with a relief package to the crisis-hit poultry industry.

The relief package to the crisis-ridden poultry industry includes a one-time reduction of 4 percentage points in the interest payment liability on the bank loans of all types taken by the poultry units. This amount will be directly credited to the accounts.

Meanwhile, one sample from Burhanpur district in Madhya Pradesh has tested postive. Seven other samples from Jalagaon in Maharashtra have also tested postive in the tests conducted at the High Security Disease Laboratory, Bhopal.

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Vehicle runs over sleeping migrants
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 28
Two persons were killed and three seriously injured when a speeding Tata Sumo ran them over while they were sleeping on a pavement at Lower Parel in Central Mumbai early this morning here.

Those killed were later identified as Sikandar Rajat (41) and Babu Dantani (50). The injured, Suresh Sau (24), Vijay Gupta (28) and Dilip Yadav (49), were migrants.

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