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N A T I O N

Oppn, UPA rap govt on price rise
New Delhi, July 27
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government today came under a blistering joint attack from the Bhartiya Janata Party - led Opposition partiesand its own allies, including the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Left parties , on the unprecedented price rise of general commodities over the past two years.

BJP leader contests Advani’s deposition
New Delhi, July 27
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani’s woes appear to know no end as another party colleague D.B. Rai, former Faizabad district police chief, has challenged the former’s deposition before the Liberhan Commission.

SC not to entertain private parties
Ayodhya demolition case
New Delhi, July 27
The Supreme Court today questioned the interests of private parties to raise the issue of shifting of Babri Masjid demolition trial against top Sangh Parivar leaders, including Leader of Opposition L K Advani, from a Lucknow special court to Judicial Magistrate at Rae Bareilly and said it would only hear the prosecuting agency, the CBI, and the UP Government on this point if they had any grievance.




EARLIER STORIES




Office of profit Bill gets RS nod
New Delhi, July 27
The controversial Office of Profit Bill, which was returned by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for reconsideration was passed today by the Rajya Sabha by division vote, following a heated debate in which the BJP described the re-introduction of the Bill as the “arrogance” of parliamentary majority.

India calls for ceasefire in Lebanon
New Delhi, July 27

Underlining the need for an “immediateceasefire” to end the destruction of Lebanon, India called for a comprehensive and negotiated settlement to the West Asia crisis. “West Asia is our extended neighbourhood and tensions in that region affects our security and vital interests,”Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observed making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha today about the situation in Lebanon and the evacuation of Indian nationals.



CPM general secretary Prakash Karat (centre) and CPI national secretary D. Raja (left) lead Left wing activists during a march to the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi on Thursday. — AFP photo
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI national secretary D. Raja  lead Left wing activists during a march to the Israeli Embassy

4 killed in coal mine collapse
Kolkata, July 27
A major subsidence at Paharpur colliery in Asansol, 210 km from here, killed four workers and trapped around 12 today. A vast residential area of Saharanpur village was affected due to the subsidence. Official sources, however, did not confirm any casualties.

Pushkar: 3 found guilty
Ajmer, July 27
A fast-track court today convicted three of the five accused in the rape case of a Japanese woman at Pushkar in April this year. Babloo, son of a hotel owner, his mother Roshni and brother Raju were found guilty in the case while his friends Sanjay and Raju Sahi were acquitted. — PTI

Metro security goes to CISF
New Delhi, July 27
To ensure safety of the Delhi Metro, the government has decided to hand over its security to the CISF. The move is aimed at preventing a Mumbai-like terror attack. In the first phase 1,600 CISF personnel will be deployed to cover the 59 stations of the mass transit system, stretching over 62 km, as against the present system of 700-odd men guarding the network round the clock.

A woman activist is dragged by security personnel during a students’ organisation rally in protest against politicisation of education by the state government in Kolkata on Thursday
A woman activist is dragged by security personnel during a students’ organisation rally in protest against politicisation of education by the state government in Kolkata on Thursday. — PTI

Doc runs over pavement dwellers
Mumbai, July 27
A Mumbai psychologist has been arrested for rash driving after she ran her Opel Corsa over two persons sleeping on the footpath at Mahim in North-Central Mumbai early this morning, the police said.

Jaswant admits to seeking time from PM
New Delhi, July 27
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh, whose book “A Call to Honour” has created a political storm, today admitted that he had sought time with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh two days ago, but a confirmation of his appointment with Prime Minister was yet to arrive.

Jilted lover murders colleague
Bangalore, July 27
A jilted lover was arrested today and charged with the murder of his call centre colleague. The body of Tanya Bannerjee, a 32-year-old girl working at Aviva customer operational service, was recovered from Maranhalli, about 200 km from here, yesterday. She had been knifed around 25 times.


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Oppn, UPA rap govt on price rise
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government today came under a blistering joint attack from the Bhartiya Janata Party - led Opposition partiesand its own allies, including the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Left parties , on the unprecedented price rise of general commodities over the past two years.

Congress MP Chinta Mohan initiated the discussion in the Lok Sabha, by elaborating steps taken by the government to check price, while downplaying the issue that price rise was not a new issue .

MPs cutting across the party lines urged the government to take stringent measures to check the rising prices as it was forcing lakhs of people to “go to sleep without food.”

Congress MPs looked embarrassed when RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad supported BJP leader VK Malhotra, who charged that despite Sonia Gandhi’s tough public posturing on the issue, the “government had declined to withdraw hike in petrol, diesel prices, besides putting a ban on the Future Trading of Agriculture Commodities.”

“Kya Sarkar Mein Sonia ki Chalti Naheen Hai?” ( Does the writ of Sonia Gandhi not matter ?), asked Mr Malhotra.

Attacking the government, he said: “Only the prices of luxurious products like cars, air-conditioners, refrigerators and liquor had come down over the past two years, while the price of general commodities like floor, pulses, petrol, diesel and housing had substantially gone up due to poor management of the government.”

Ms Sonia Gandhi was also present during the debate, which continued for over five hours.

He said the government was importing wheat through Australian company involved in the ‘food for oil’ scam in Iraq at around Rs 1000 a quintal, while farmers were committing suicides due to low returns.

The Congress has cheated the ‘aam Aadmi,’ he said, while showing clippings of newspapers on the issue. “What is the government doing when one of the Congress MPs is buying house in Delhi for Rs 170 crore, and people are buying watches and cars for crores of rupees.”

Supporting him, CPM leader Basudev Acharya said, “the government should strengthen the public distribution system across the country by increasing the number of fair price shops to 6 lakh from the present level of around 4 lakh shops, besides providing other commodities like sugar, pulses through them to help the poor people.”

The government should immediately ban future trading of agriculture commodities, cut duties on petrol and diesel besides withdrawing food subsidies for rich people, he said.

The debate continued till 8 pm. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will reply tomorrow.

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BJP leader contests Advani’s deposition
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani’s woes appear to know no end as another party colleague D.B. Rai, former Faizabad district police chief, has challenged the former’s deposition before the Liberhan Commission.

Mr Rai, who was the BJP Lok Sabha MP from Faizabad, has reportedly made startling disclosures in his forthcoming book “Ayodhya, aur Chheh December ka Satya’ (Ayodhya and the truth of December 6).

The book reportedly contains narratives that portrays many of the leaders associated with the Ram temple movement in bad light. Mr Rai has tried to show that the movement was just a means for the BJP to come to power.

According to some excerpts from the book, carried by weekly Outlook in its latest edition, Mr Advani had addressed kar sevaks at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, contrary to his deposition before the Liberhan Commission that he did not do so.

The commission is in the process of finalising its report.

Mr Rai, who had been suspended in the wake of the demolition, has written at many places in his book, that by the time Mr Advani finished his address, kar sevaks had climbed up to the dome of the mosque.

“Leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, RSS and the BJP were taken aback by the sudden attack of kar sevaks. Mr Advani, who was addressing them, stopped and tried to dissuade them from their action... The act had started as soon as Mr Advani was to finish his address. He tried to make use of the loudspeaker, but somebody had disconnected the wires......’’ says Mr Rai in the book.

“Ms Uma Bharti and Achraya Dharmendra had come reportedly for keeping kar sevaks under control, but seeing the enthusiasm they also started instigating them to pull down the disputed structure,” says the book.

Mr Rai has also cited police and intelligence records and the letter written by the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary to one of the advisers of the then Governor in support of his claim that Mr Adavani had addressed kar sevaks.

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SC not to entertain private parties
Ayodhya demolition case
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 27
The Supreme Court today questioned the interests of private parties to raise the issue of shifting of Babri Masjid demolition trial against top Sangh Parivar leaders, including Leader of Opposition L K Advani, from a Lucknow special court to Judicial Magistrate at Rae Bareilly and said it would only hear the prosecuting agency, the CBI, and the UP Government on this point if they had any grievance.

“Do you have any special interest in the case. We are not going to hear it at the instance of any private party. This is a criminal case… Did you lodge the FIR before the police or Magistrate under the under the provisions of Cr.P.C,” a Bench of Mr Justice K G Balakrishnan, Mr Justice G P Mathur and Mr Justice D K Jain asked counsel of three individuals who had filed public interest litigations (PILs) on the issue.

The court also took the CBI and the UP Government to task for technical “goof-up” on their part in handling the matter and sought clarification from them why they should have objection to continuing with the trial at the Rae Bareilly court.

Besides, Mr Advani, Mr Manohar Joshi, Mr Vinay Katiyar, expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti, VHP leaders Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Rihtambhra are among the top eight Sangh Parivar leaders chargesheeted in the case in a separate FIR (No-198/92). There was another FIR (No-197/92), which included names of 49 persons, including the eight leaders.

The Rai Bareilly court had exonerated Mr Advani from the charges of conspiracy but ordered framing of charges against the other leaders and accused persons, which they had challenged in the High Court.The matter is pending there.

Three private persons, Mohammad Aslam Bhure, Mohammad Hashmi and Wajahat, in their PILs, had challenged the shifting of trial to Rae Bareilly, besides raising other related issues after the Allahabad High Court had quashed the constitution of a special court at Lucknow on the ground that it was not valid because the notification issued for this purpose on October 8, 1993, by the UP Government was without any approval from it.

But Bhure’s counsel O P Sharma claimed that there already existed two other notifications issued earlier stating there would be a “consolidated” trial in all cases relating to Ayodhya demolition in the Lucknow court.

When the Bench asked why should there be any difficulty then, Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the CBI said, in the earlier notifications, inclusion of FIR No-198/92 was “by mistake omitted”, necessitating issuance of the October 8, 1993, notification, which was eventually struck down by the High Court.

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Office of profit Bill gets RS nod
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
The controversial Office of Profit Bill, which was returned by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for reconsideration was passed today by the Rajya Sabha by division vote, following a heated debate in which the BJP described the re-introduction of the Bill as the “arrogance” of parliamentary majority.

The Rajya Sabha took up the Bill for voting after a four-hour debate followed by a reply from the government. It was passed with 98 members voting in favour and 49 against it. The voting, titled The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendement Bill 2006, took place after the BJP asked for a division.

Earlier, all amendments moved by BJP members, including Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress, were rejected.

The Bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on July 25 under Article 111 of the Constitution.

The Bill provides for exclusion of 56 posts, including that of the National Advisory Council (NAC) chairperson, from the purview of offices of profit.

Participating in the debate, former Law Minister Arun Jaitley in his 50-minute speech said the President had given a sane advice by asking the government to reconsider the “constitutional misadventure”. He adviced the government to correct its mistakes, but he was not sure whether the UPA government would heed to it because it had to protect certain individuals, many of whom are from the Left parties, from disqualification.

Slamming the Left for backing the legislation, Mr Jaitley said they were extending support to the Bill to save their own MPs.

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India calls for ceasefire in Lebanon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Underlining the need for an “immediateceasefire” to end the destruction of Lebanon, India called for a comprehensive and negotiated settlement to the West Asia crisis.
“West Asia is our extended neighbourhood and tensions in that region affects our security and vital interests,”Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observed making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha today about the situation in Lebanon and the evacuation of Indian nationals.

Announcing that his government would contribute Rs 10 crore for humanitarian and relief efforts to rebuild Lebanon, the Prime Minister was critical of Israel for arresting and detaining Palestinian ministers in the wake of Tel Aviv's military campaign against the Hezbollah.

“In our view there should be an immediate ceasefire so that the destruction of Lebanon is ended and humanitarian assistance can be provided.”

Dr Singh said India had also condemned the wholly unjustified arrest and continuing detention of ministers of the Palestinian National Authority and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

“There can be no justification whatsoever for taking such action against the duly elected representatives of the Palestinian people.”

Dr Singh denounced the Israeli attacks resulting in the death of four UN observers in Lebanon and an Indian, Devesh Kumar Swain, who died when a glass factory where he worked was bombed.

Immediately after the Prime Minister made the statement, Left MPs demanded that India end its arms purchases from Israel. They also demanded that New Delhi mobilise international opinion against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon.

As the Left MPs kept shouting, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourned the house half an hour before the lunch recess.

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4 killed in coal mine collapse
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, July 27
A major subsidence at Paharpur colliery in Asansol, 210 km from here, killed four workers and trapped around 12 today.
A vast residential area of Saharanpur village was affected due to the subsidence. Official sources, however, did not confirm any casualties.

The trapped workers were rescued.

According to the report reaching the state government from the district administration, the subsidence took place around 6 am soon after the resumption of the morning shift by the workers.

Some workers were still there near the pit holes at the end of their night shift.

A preliminary report said at least four workers were killed on the spot and over 12 trapped. Panick-striken people in the area started evacuating people from the place, which was cordoned off by the local and the coal mine authorities.

Both the Coal India authorities and the district administration said it was an abandoned mine.

Illegal mining had been continuing there despite their objections.

But, local residents and the panchayats alleged that some local mafias and the CIL personnel were involved in the illegal mining at the mine despite it being declared unsafe.

A large number of poor labourers from across Jharkhand and other remote areas in Burdwan districts were engaged in the lifting of coal. They were paid poorly.

According to official sources, it was the second time in one year that such an subsidence took place in the coal belt of Asansol, where illegal mining had been going on for several years.

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Metro security goes to CISF
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
To ensure safety of the Delhi Metro, the government has decided to hand over its security to the CISF. The move is aimed at preventing a Mumbai-like terror attack.
In the first phase 1,600 CISF personnel will be deployed to cover the 59 stations of the mass transit system, stretching over 62 km, as against the present system of 700-odd men guarding the network round the clock.

As of now the Delhi Police is in charge of overall security of the rail system with the CISF assisting them. After the switch over, the local police’s role will be confined to maintaining law and order outside stations, official sources said here.

The decision to induct the CISF into metro security was taken at a high-level meeting held at the Union Home Ministry here last week.

The CISF plans to upgrade and overhaul the security apparatus and install new gadgets for access control and surveillance, after it takes over.

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Doc runs over pavement dwellers
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 27
A Mumbai psychologist has been arrested for rash driving after she ran her Opel Corsa over two persons sleeping on the footpath at Mahim in North-Central Mumbai early this morning, the police said.

The mishap occurred at a little past 5am when the woman, Asma Sudhir Mada, was returning home at Juhu along with three of her friends from Worli. According to the police, the vehicle driven at high speed went out of control and mounted the foothpath were the two victims were asleep.

The car then hit a lamp post before overturning. According to the police, the names of the dead had been given as Thapa and Murli who did odd jobs and were ragpickers.

The mishap happened a short distance from where actor Salman Khan drove his Land Rover over three sleeping pavement dwellers some years ago.

The police said Asma and her friends fled the scene but surrendered afterwards. Though Asma’s friends were questioned, they have not been arrested so far.

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Jaswant admits to seeking time from PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh, whose book “A Call to Honour” has created a political storm, today admitted that he had sought time with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh two days ago, but a confirmation of his appointment with Prime Minister was yet to arrive.

“Two days ago I had sought an appointment with the Prime Minister and I don’t think I need to remind him”, the BJP leader said.

Confronted with reports that the Prime Minister had declined to meet him, Mr Jaswant Singh said he was not aware of any such development from Dr Manmohan Singh’s side.

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Jilted lover murders colleague
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 27
A jilted lover was arrested today and charged with the murder of his call centre colleague.
The body of Tanya Bannerjee, a 32-year-old girl working at Aviva customer operational service, was recovered from Maranhalli, about 200 km from here, yesterday. She had been knifed around 25 times.

The needle of suspicion fell immediately on Tanya’s colleague Gururaj Kishore as one of the victim’s colleagues had seen her leaving with Kishore on the fateful night before her death. He was picked up for detention after he failed to specify his wherabouts on the night of the murder.

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