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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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Bill exempts 14 posts from ‘office of profit’ definition
BJP slams move as ‘unconstitutional’

New Delhi, May 18
Pending notices by Election Commission to 19 Congress MLAs on the ‘office of profit’ issue, the Delhi Assembly today passed a Bill to avert their possible disqualification from the House, which would have reduced the ruling party to a minority.






Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit proceeds for the one-day special session of the Delhi Vidhan Sabha in the Capital on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit proceeds for the one-day special session of the Delhi Vidhan Sabha in the Capital on Thursday

Demolitions: HC imposes Rs 50,000 fine on MCD DC
New Delhi, May 18
The Delhi High Court today constituted a committee to monitor the drive against unauthorised constructions in the Capital. 

CGHS scam: Bail denied to former Registrar
New Delhi, May 18
A Delhi court today refused bail to the former Registrar of Co-operative Societies Narayan Diwakar, prime accused in the Rs 4,000-crore Co-operative Group Housing Societies scam.









EARLIER STORIES
 

HUDA allots plots to 60 ‘oustee’ farmers
Gurgaon, May 18
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has started allotting residential plots to farmers who were not given these under the oustee category since 1995 in lieu of acquisition of their land.

Faridabad industrialists demand flyover at Badarpur
Faridabad, May 18
Even as the government has announced its intention to develop Haryana as one of the most industrialised state in the country, the local industrialists have once again reminded the district administration of its past promises that have remained unfulfilled. Expressing resentment over the “unusual delay” in the construction of the flyover at Badarpur-Delhi border, the industrialists have claimed that unless such bottlenecks are removed, no real development could be undertaken in this industrial township.

IN PARLIAMENT
MCD begins sanitation work in 450 unauthorised colonies

New Delhi, May 18
Delhi Government has approved Rs 20 crore to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for undertaking sanitation works in unauthorised colonies located in private land and the civic body has already started work, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

‘Pace of work at relocation camp tardy’
New Delhi, May 18
The Delhi Urban Development and Public Works Department Minister, Dr A. K. Walia, has said the PWD is actively considering constructing the left over portions of all Master Plan roads in the national Capital.

Advocate held for raising slogans in Assembly
New Delhi, May 18
An advocate, who raised anti-Sonia Gandhi and anti-Congress slogans from the visitors’ gallery in the Delhi Assembly, was today arrested and sent to jail for seven days.

Noida residents protest against power crisis
Noida, May 18
Agitated residents, including the representatives of the Noida Entrepreneurs Association, Vapar Mandal and some RWAs gheraoed the Deputy General Manager, UPPC, due to the unprecedented power cuts in Noida yesterday.

Man robbed of money outside bank 
Gurgaon, May 18
Three unidentified persons today robbed a man of Rs 38,000 outside the premises of the Bank of Baroda here where he had gone to deposit the money. The police, at the time of filing this news, had started investigating the case but had not yet registered an FIR. A manhunt has been launched to nab the culprits.

Apollo to host first Cochlear camp 
New Delhi, May 18
Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals will host its first Cochlear Implant Educational Programme (CIEP) under the guidance of Dr Ameet Kishore, Senior Consultant, Otolaryngology on Sunday which would also officially announce the opening of the department to deal with Cochlear implants.

New infrastructure at Rohini court complex
New Delhi, May 18
The acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Mr Justice Vijender Jain, and a Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice K Balakrishnan, today formally lay down the foundation stone of the Lawyers’ Chamber at the Rohini Court complex.
Mr Justice K.G. Balakrishnan of the Supreme Court in the presence of Mr Justice Vijender Jain at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Lawyers’ Chambers at the Rohini district court complex in the Capital on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph
Mr Justice K.G. Balakrishnan of the Supreme Court in the presence of Mr Justice Vijender Jain at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Lawyers’ Chambers at the Rohini district court complex in the Capital on Thursday

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Bill exempts 14 posts from ‘office of profit’ definition
BJP slams move as ‘unconstitutional’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
Pending notices by Election Commission to 19 Congress MLAs on the ‘office of profit’ issue, the Delhi Assembly today passed a Bill to avert their possible disqualification from the House, which would have reduced the ruling party to a minority.

The Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2006, presented by Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit, was passed by voice vote in a special day-long session of the House.

The Bill was tabled and passed amidst stiff opposition by the BJP, which described the government’s move to bring the amendment as “unconstitutional” and voted against it.

Seeking to exempt as many as 14 offices from the office of profit definition with retrospective effect, the bill will be with effect from September 9, 1997.

Replying to the opposition BJP’s criticism that the Bill was unconstitutional and a last ditch attempt to save the government, Ms Dikshit said, “It is our right to save our government. And we are doing it in a constitutional manner. The document was vetted by the Union Home and Law Ministries”.

She added that similar Bills have been passed in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, where BJP is in power.

Earlier, the BJP, following its Central leadership which opposed the Bill in Lok Sabha earlier this week, moved a proposal seeking that the Bill should not be allowed to be tabled.

Demanding that 19 MLAs in question should not be allowed to participate in the discussion in the House on the issue, the opposition also asked the Speaker to prevent them from voting on the Bill.

Describing the Bill as ‘flawed’, Leader of Opposition Mr Jagdish Mukhi said the government had brought it in a hurry to save the Congress MLAs, which was crucial for the government’s survival.

However, the proposal was rejected by the Speaker, citing the Lok Sabha example where the MPs involved in the office of profit controversy were allowed to vote on the Bill.

The Opposition also complained that the government had circulated the Bill only last night, breaking the norm that any proposed legislation should be given to the legislators two days in advance.

Among other posts, the bill seeks to exempt the offices of chairmen and vice chairmen of Trans-Yamuna Area Development Board, Rural Development Board, Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister, chairmen of the nine district development committees and chairperson of SC/ST Welfare Board. Chairperson, vice-chairperson and members of governing bodies of Delhi government colleges and cooperatives were also exempted under this Bill.

The Election Commission had issued notices to 19 Congress legislators on the basis of a petition by a BJP MLA, Mr Vijay Jolly. The list of MLAs includes Naseeb Singh, Narendra Nath, Anjali Rai, Mateen Ahmed, Rajesh Jain, Prahlad Singh Sawhney, Braham Pal, Ambrish Singh Gautam, Rajesh Lilothia, Bijender Singh, Balram Tanwar, Kiran Walia, Ashok Ahuja, Tajdar Babbar, Vijay Singh Lochav, Mahabal Mishra, Kanwar Karan Singh, Veer Singh Dhingan and Bhisham Sharma. 

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Demolitions: HC imposes Rs 50,000 fine on MCD DC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
The Delhi High Court today constituted a committee to monitor the drive against unauthorised constructions in the Capital.
A Special Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma also directed the CBI to probe the role of the MCD’s Deputy Commissioner, north Shahdara, in allegedly abetting several illegal constructions by an MLA and other bigwigs, besides imposing a heavy penalty of Rs 50,000 on the official.

The Bench also asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to take stern action against the Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) as the latter reportedly refused to provide proper security to the MCD staff during the ongoing demolition drive despite the court’s earlier directives.

The Bench passed the directions following stinging revelations by the four court appointed ‘commissioners’ on the extent of massive illegal constructions in the city and the wilful defiance by some officials of the court’s repeated directions to demolish all illegal and unauthorised.

During a presentation in the court by the ‘court commissioners’, it was alleged that the local MLA Saheb Singh Chauhan had resorted to several unauthorised construction at the Yamuna Enclave with the “active connivance” of the Deputy Commissioner, Shahdara.
Though about 300 police personnel headed by an Additional DCP arrived at the place to provide protection to the demolition staff, the MCD Deputy Commissioner allegedly did not grant permission to his subordinates to carry out the task.

While the entire police machinery and MCD staff waited for the official’s nod, the latter arrived at the spot only towards evening and was still unwilling to give permission for demolishing the illegal structures, it was alleged.

The Bench, which took exception to the MCD official’s attitude, ordered that the official would pay a penalty of Rs 50,000 as a punishment for keeping the large police posse in waiting literally for the whole day.

It also ordered the MCD Commissioner to take stern disciplinary action against the official besides asking the CBI to probe his role in allegedly abetting the illegal constructions.

The ‘court commissioner’ for south zone also alleged before the court that about 70 acres of ridge land, ravines and water bodies in the South Delhi area have over the past several years been converted into residential and commercial structures by vested interests.

He alleged that ‘mafia’ elements have systematically filled up the ridges, ponds and ravines with sand and concrete materials to construct the structures. In all, there is about 6,700 acres of ridge land in the south Delhi area.

The Bench, while expressing its serious concern over the allegations, observed that such illegal activities would only cause irreparable loss to the Capital’s ecological system.

In view of the seriousness of the complaint, the Bench directed the Delhi Chief Secretary, MCD Commissioner, Chief Conservator of Forests and Vice-Chairman of the DDA to take immediate steps for removing the said encroachments.

The court further ordered that there shall be no further constructions at the said ridges and water bodies and asked various government agencies to file a status report on the matter at the next date of hearing. 

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CGHS scam: Bail denied to former Registrar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
A Delhi court today refused bail to the former Registrar of Co-operative Societies Narayan Diwakar, prime accused in the Rs 4,000-crore Co-operative Group Housing Societies scam.

Special Judge S K Kaushik dismissed the bail plea of the former RCS, who had surrendered before the court on January 30, observing that the offences he appeared to have committed were prima facie serious as per the chargesheet filed by the CBI.

Appearing for CBI, counsel A P Singh had submitted that investigations into Diwakar’s involvement in the scam were complete, and that he could be linked to at least 66 cases relating to the fraudulent revival of defunct housing societies across the Capital.

Diwakar’s counsel had argued that the allegations in the chargesheet were “bald” and that no case of cheating could be made out against his client as no delivery of property was involved.

He also said that CBI officials had failed to find any incriminating documents from Diwakar’s residence which could connect him to the societies alleged to have been fraudulently revived, a contention that was rejected by the court.

According to the CBI chargesheet filed on March 28 this year, Diwakar, in a criminal conspiracy with five other RCS officials, fraudulently and dishonestly revived the defunct Taj CGHS on the basis of bogus and fake documents, “with the sole intention to get land allotted from DDA at a cheaper rate”.

CBI alleged that the builder mafia conspired with the RCS and exploited provisions of Delhi Co-operative Societies Act which allows for the revival of wound-up societies.

According to the CBI chargesheet against Diwakar and his conspirators, the Taj CGHS was set up in 1972 and wound up in 1979, with a brief existence in amalgamated form as the Taj Sartaj CGHS.

However, sometime in 2003, the original files of the Taj CGHS, and its amalgamated successor Taj Sartaj CGHS, were made to disappear from the RCS office.

On October 1 that year, the RCS received a request from co-accused Anna Wankhede to cancel the winding-up order of the CGHS and revive it instead under the Delhi Co-operative Societies Act.

On January 7, 2004, Diwakar approved the proposal to reconstruct the society’s file, without raising any questions about the missing original file, the chargesheet said. This proposal was recommended and forwarded by two RCS officials, who did not initiate any steps to inform the police about the missing documents, it said.

The RCS approved reconstruction of the file without verifying the liquidation order, which the CBI alleges was deliberately done, and the society was eventually revived on March 11, 2004 with Diwakar’s approval. Investigations later revealed that 134 of the 135 names presented as members of the revived Taj CGHS were fictitious.

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HUDA allots plots to 60 ‘oustee’ farmers
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, May 18
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has started allotting residential plots to farmers who were not given these under the oustee category since 1995 in lieu of acquisition of their land.

The Administrator, HUDA, Gurgaon, Mr S. P. Gupta, informed that out of the total 230 farmers who had applied for the plots, 60 farmers had already been allotted the plots in different sectors after scrutiny of their papers in Gurgaon, Rewari and Mahendragarh districts. The second draw for 14 eligible farmers would be conducted on May 23, added the officer.

The allotment of plots of varying sizes from four marla to one kanal had been made in Sectors 42, 43, 38, 56, 46, 47, 52, etc, said the officer.

The HUDA Administrator revealed that top officials of the state government, including Ms Shakuntala Jakhu, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning, took the initiative to resolve the long-pending demands of the farmers. Ms Jakhu guided and monitored every step, said the Administrator. Mr Gutpa added that 10 cases were pending since 1995, 24 cases were of the year 2000, 29 cases of the year 2001, 42 cases of 2002, seven cases from 2003 and 118 cases since 2004. Various departments had been passing the buck to one another for allotting the plots to farmers.

All cases of Rewari and Mahendragarh districts had been resolved, claimed the Administrator. The officer further added that 38 cases of farmers were rejected for not fulfilling the eligibility criteria. HUDA had refunded their earnest money.

There were around 90 cases where the farmers had been told to complete the papers and other formalities. The tehsildars concerned had also been directed to submit reports of the pending cases on a priority basis, added Mr Gupta.

“We have set a target of resolving all oustee cases in a couple of months,” said Mr Gupta.

Under the oustee quota, HUDA allots residential, industrial or institutional plots to farmers whose land is acquired by the department.

To check loopholes and curb corruption in the system, HUDA had constituted a committee headed by the Administrator and consisting of the Estate Officer, the Land Acquisition Officer, the District Town Planner and the ADA for scrutinising each case as a plot in Gurgaon attracted a very good premium, informed Mr Gupta.

Ms Sarbati of Wazirabad village, who has been allotted a one kanal plot in Sector 43, informed ‘The Tribune’ that she and her family members had been running from pillar to post since 2002 for getting the plot. She was happy at getting a plot in a prime sector.

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Faridabad industrialists demand flyover at Badarpur
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, May 18
Even as the government has announced its intention to develop Haryana as one of the most industrialised state in the country, the local industrialists have once again reminded the district administration of its past promises that have remained unfulfilled. Expressing resentment over the “unusual delay” in the construction of the flyover at Badarpur-Delhi border, the industrialists have claimed that unless such bottlenecks are removed, no real development could be undertaken in this industrial township.

At an interactive meeting with the district authorities, the representatives of the Faridabad Industries Association (FIA) today put forth its various demands that were still to be looked into.

It may be pointed out that this was the second such interactive meeting that was organised by the FIA in the past two weeks. Earlier, the FIA had expressed its satisfaction over the pace of development works being carried out by the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) and the projects that were on the anvil.

The members of the Association, who were eager to hear about the start of the construction of the Badarpur flyover that has already been delayed by several years, were told by the authorities, led by the Deputy Commissioner (DC), that the government was making effort to get the work started at earliest.

It may be recalled that the demand for this flyover has been around for over a decade now, as the residents of Delhi and Faridabad consider it as a major bottleneck for a smooth traffic movement.

The industrialists here claim that this was perhaps “one of the most delayed projects” on a leading national highway of the country.

However, the DC asked the entrepreneurs to do their bit to shape the city and change the image of the city. She told the industrialists that the state government had taken up the project of setting up an ‘Industrial Model Township’ in an area of about 1000 acres in sector 68 and 69 here and it was one of the fastest processed scheme.

The development of a textile processing zone at Palwal and cluster development zone were also in the pipeline, she said.

The FIA, however, submitted a charter of demands, which included expediting the work of Badarpur flyover, provision of natural gas supply to industry, setting up of a special economic zone (SEZ), Metro project for the city, efficient traffic regulation and local transport system. 

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IN PARLIAMENT
MCD begins sanitation work in 450 unauthorised colonies
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
Delhi Government has approved Rs 20 crore to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for undertaking sanitation works in unauthorised colonies located in private land and the civic body has already started work, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

MCD has started sanitation services in 450 unauthorised colonies located on private land where some civil works had already been done by the civic body and the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation in March, 2006, Minister of State for Urban development Mr Ajay Maken said in a written reply in the Upper House.

On whether this work would be taken up in the rest of the colonies, the Minister replied that there was no such proposal as of now.

Replying to another question on displacement of people living in unauthorised colonies, Mr Maken said that Urban Development Department of the Delhi Government has said that it does not envisage such a scenario.

In another written reply pertaining to the Capital, Tourism and Culture Minister Ms Ambika Soni told the Rajya Sabha that Delhi has not received any Central funding for heritage tourism projects after 2003, when it was sanctioned Rs 2,000.48 lakh.

In a separate reply, Ms Soni said Delhi had 15.12 lakh foreign visitors in 2005 as against 8.40 lakh in 2004 and 6.94 lakh in 2003.

But the Central funding to Delhi for a variety of infrastructure development schemes came down from Rs 3,323.53 lakh in 2003 to Rs 20 lakh last year, she said.

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‘Pace of work at relocation camp tardy’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
The Delhi Urban Development and Public Works Department Minister, Dr A. K. Walia, has said the PWD is actively considering constructing the left over portions of all Master Plan roads in the national Capital.

Dr Walia said suitable instructions had already been issued to undertake study of all left over portions, keeping in view the expected quantum of traffic and extent of resultant relief subsequent upon completion of particular Master Plan road.

He categorically stated that the proposed exercise would also go a long way in providing alternate roads, which would help in decongesting the city roads.

Meanwhile, after inspecting a temporary relocation camp site for displaced shanty dwellers at Savda Ghevra in North Delhi, he directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s Slum and JJ Department to adopt a humane approach in developing the transit camp site.

He expressed dissatisfaction over the pace of development work at the camp site, which was yet to be even properly leveled. He was surprised to see that no arrangement of water and electric supply had yet been ensured as per decisions of the Delhi Cabinet.

The construction of roads and lanes was also yet to start.

He was accompanied by senior officials of Slum and JJ Department and PWD Engineer-in-Chief R Subramanyam.

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Advocate held for raising slogans in Assembly
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
An advocate, who raised anti-Sonia Gandhi and anti-Congress slogans from the visitors’ gallery in the Delhi Assembly, was today arrested and sent to jail for seven days.

He was handed over to the local police after being arrested by the security guards posted in the Assembly.

Half-and-hour after the House had began in the morning today, the man who had been sitting in the visitors’ gallery, got up and started shouting anti-Sonia Gandhi and anti-Congress slogans.

He was immediately nabbed by security personnel and taken outside.

The Finance Minister, Dr. A. K. Walia, and the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president and MLA, Mr Ram Babu Sharma, demanded that he should be arrested and demanded an inquiry into how he managed to secure a pass for the gallery.

Later, the Speaker informed the members that the man had been sent to seven-day judicial custody in Tihar Jail.

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Noida residents protest against power crisis
Our Correspondent

Noida, May 18
Agitated residents, including the representatives of the Noida Entrepreneurs Association, Vapar Mandal and some RWAs gheraoed the Deputy General Manager, UPPC, due to the unprecedented power cuts in Noida yesterday.

The entrepreneurs said that the unprecedented power cuts had disrupted their normal activities, apart from being a major hurdle in industrial activities.

With power cuts of 12 hours and more, generator sets and inverters have also grounded to a halt. Industrial sectors are facing power cuts extending from 8 to 10 hours while residential sector are bearing power cuts up to 8 hours at a stretch.

According to reports, the supply had fallen from 240 MW to 130 MW, throwing daily routine works out of gear. It has also had an adverse effect on the water supply.

According to the Deputy General Manager, UP Power Corporation, Noida, Rajesh Kumar, the 220 KW line got snapped on May 15 between Muradnagar and Sahibabad.

When the UPPC team arrived to fix it, they found that some 100 metres of costly and heavy power cable had been stolen. Mr Kumar said 30 to 35 transformers have been replaced in the city area.

Since the system is without insulators, even a minor fault leads to the shutting down of the entire area, he added.

He assured that with replacements having been ordered, the situation should be back to normal soon. 

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Man robbed of money outside bank 
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, May 18
Three unidentified persons today robbed a man of Rs 38,000 outside the premises of the Bank of Baroda here where he had gone to deposit the money.
The police, at the time of filing this news, had started investigating the case but had not yet registered an FIR. A manhunt has been launched to nab the culprits.

The incident happened at the old judicial complex where the Bank of Baroda branch is located. The place is one of the busiest centres of the city and the residences of top officers of the district, including the Commissioner, Gurgaon Division, the Inspector-General of Police, Gurgaon Range, the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, Gurgaon, and the residence of the District and Sessions Judge are just a stone’s throw away.

A few months back, there was a spate of such cases of looting when employees returning from office with their monthly salary or persons visiting banks were victimised. The district police had made special security arrangements like posting personnel outside all banks till 2 pm and maintaining a high vigil in the city during the first week of every month when the employees of private firms got their salaries.

Today’s incident occurred at about 4 pm, highlighting the fact that the criminals were trying to tactically ambush the security arrangements of the police.

The general feeling is that the police have visibly checkmated incidents of chain snatching and looting in the past few months. But today’s incident has caused a scare among the residents of the area.

This once again brings to the fore the awful shortage of manpower in the district police for policing the developing city of Gurgaon. Although the police cannot pass the buck, many are of the firm view that it is not humanly possible for the police to thwart the designs of criminals with the given strength of manpower at their disposal. Just a few days back, the police authorities had raised the issue of shortage of manpower with the Chief Secretary of Haryana, Mr Prem Prashant.

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Apollo to host first Cochlear camp 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals will host its first Cochlear Implant Educational Programme (CIEP) under the guidance of Dr Ameet Kishore, Senior Consultant, Otolaryngology on Sunday which would also officially announce the opening of the department to deal with Cochlear implants.

A substantial number of children and adults with profound hearing loss are expected to attend a free screening-cum-consultation camp at the auditorium in Apollo Hospitals which will begin from 10 a.m. Organised by Pika Medical Ltd, the authorized distributors for Cochlear Ltd. Australia in India, this camp will help people with severe to profound hearing loss to assess their needs for a cochlear implant.

Dr Ameet Kishore had initiated the cochlear implant programme at Apollo Hospitals a few weeks ago. A two-and-a-half year-old boy was the first child to be implanted at the hospital and to receive the Nucleus Freedom cochlear implant. 

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New infrastructure at Rohini court complex
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
The acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Mr Justice Vijender Jain, and a Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice K Balakrishnan, today formally lay down the foundation stone of the Lawyers’ Chamber at the Rohini Court complex.

The Rs 28-crore structure, to be built by the Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) and the Public Works Department (PWD), will have two halls and 498 chambers. The 8,010 sq metre complex with 15 floors will also have a parking facility for 200 cars.

Inadequate facilities at the Rohini court were alleged to be one of the reasons which led to the three-month-long strike by lawyers early this year.

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Three members of family electrocuted

Faridabad, May 18
Three members of a family were electrocuted here, police said.
The wife of Sanjay, a washerman by profession, was putting clothes for drying yesterday when she came in contact with an electric wire. Her daughter and Sanjay were also electrocuted when they tried to rescue her. A case has been registered at the Sarai Khwaja police station.—TNS

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Criminal involved in Rs 17 lakh loot held

Ghaziabad, May 18
The Vijay Nagar police in Ghaziabad claimed to have arrested a criminal who was involved in a Rs 17 lakh loot in the area two years ago. He was also carrying an award on his head. The police have recovered Rs 4 lakh from Ahsan Qureshi, a resident of Bulandshahr. According to the SO of the Vijay Nagar police station, Ahsan was one of the criminals who had snatched the money from a trader in the police station area in 2004.—OC

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