SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

No compromise in N-deal: Kakodkar
Anil Kakodkar Bangalore, September 13
Mr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), said on Wednesday that there was no compromise involved in the July 18, 2005 civil nuclear cooperation deal signed between India and the United States, and re-emphasised that the pact was in the global interest.
Anil Kakodkar

World page:
Experts ask Senate to fix ‘flaws’ in Indo-US N-deal

AP Cong men soften stand towards TRS
Hyderabad, September 13
Admonished by party high command, Andhra Pradesh Congress leaders have softened their stance towards TRS following its president K Chandrasekhar Rao’s resignation yesterday.

Chavan to attend SCO meet in Dushanbe
New Delhi, September 13
Mr Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the PMO, will represent India at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of Government meeting scheduled to take place in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) on September 15.


EARLIER STORIES




Ramani in judicial custody
New Delhi, September 13
A Delhi Court today remanded 14 days judicial custody to Bina Ramani, prime suspect in Jessica Lall murder case and owner of Tamarind Court restaurant. She has been sent to judicial custody till September 27. — TNS


PM urged to take lead in arms-control initiative
New Delhi, September 13

Around 1,000 persons are killed and many more injured worldwide in incidents of armed violence involving small arms everyday. Every year, more than half a million people are killed in armed violence, which means one person every minute. In India, the number of persons killed everyday in such incidences is 12. At the global level, experts say, there is one weapon for every 10 persons, including men, women and children.





An activist from the Control Arms in a wheelchair holds a placard during a protest against unregulated arms trade in India, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

An activist from the Control Arms in a wheelchair holds a placard during a protest against unregulated arms trade in India, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi

PM to attend India-EU summit in Helsinki
New Delhi, September 13
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be in the Finnish capital of Helsinki exactly a month later to attend the seventh India-EU summit.

Cola ban: USA pleads case with Indian Govt
New Delhi, September 13
Perturbed by certain adverse developments against Coca Cola and Pepsi in India recently, Washington has asked New Delhi to ensure “level playing field” to these major US soft drink companies.

Accused says witnesses planted against him
New Delhi, September 13
Santosh Kumar Singh, main accused in the Priyadarshini Matto rape & murder case, today alleged that witnesses were planted against him to frame him in the case. However, he had a tough time countering the CBI’s contention before the Delhi High Court that he had suffered injury during the scuffle with the victim.

Jharkhand Speaker reserves decision on 3 MLAs
Ranchi, September 13
Independents continued to call the shots to decide the fate of the Arjun Munda government, as Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari today reserved his judgement on the disqualification petitions against three MLAs — Enosh Ekka, Kamalesh Singh and Stephen Marandi — after six hours long hearing of their respective cases as pleaded by their lawyers in the Assembly.

Yangon urged to crack down on insurgents
New Delhi, September 13
The 12th Home Secretary level talks between India and Myanmar began here today with New Delhi urging Yangon to crack down on Northeast insurgent groups operating from that country.

Badal picks holes in govt notification
Special trial Court at Ropar
New Delhi, September 13
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and some ministers in his cabinet today tried to dig holes in state government’s notification on setting up of a special court at Ropar to hold trial against them in corruption cases with their counsel asserting before the Supreme Court that the appointment of Special Judge without High Court approval was illegal.

ISI agent held in Lucknow
Lucknow, September 13
A suspected ISI agent was nabbed by the special task force of the Uttar Pradesh Police from the cantonment area here today, a top police official said.

Videos
Six films set for release on September 15.
(56k)
Man takes in a bunch of swords down his throat.
(56k)
Villagers flee as underground methane comes to the surface.
(56k)
CBI files charge sheet against DG and ADG.
(56k)

 

Top









 

No compromise in N-deal: Kakodkar
K.G. Vasuki for ANI

Bangalore, September 13
Mr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), said on Wednesday that there was no compromise involved in the July 18, 2005 civil nuclear cooperation deal signed between India and the United States, and re-emphasised that the pact was in the global interest.

Talking to a select group of reporters after inaugurating the Emergency Response Centre at the Department of Atomic Energy here, Kakodkar said India's present nuclear pariah status would end once the U.S. Congress ratified the deal unconditionally.

The passing of the agreement would ensure New Delhi's access to American nuclear technology and fuel, despite not being a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he said.

Mr Kakodkar predicted that the agreement would not only serve energy hungry India's interests, but would also cater to international demands.

"The fact still remains that India is a country with advanced nuclear technology. The fact still remains that energy requirements in India are very large. Also, the fact remains that a large faction of nuclear power in India is of course in Indian interest but also in global interest," Mr Kakodkar told reporters on the sidelines.

"It is linked with the sustainability of fossil fuels the world over, the prices of hydrocarbons particularly, and also even more importantly linked with global climate change issues, which are going to affect everybody," he added.

"So, there is this recognition that India offers a very large market in the energy segment," Mr Kakodkar said.

Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the nation's top nuclear scientists that India would not accept any significant changes in the deal, which was given initial approval by both the US House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in July.

"Well it is for us to decide and finally when we come to an agreement, we will of course ensure that the Indian interest is fully met and these have been very clearly spelt out," said Kakodkar.

But he also said that in the eventuality of the agreement falling through, India would still go ahead with its nuclear programme.

"I have told you what the Indian position is, and if within that, there is an agreement, then it will be very fast, if it doesn't, don't bother, the Indian programme will go on," Mr Kakodkar said.

India is going to make a big push for nuclear energy and reduce reliance on the very expensive fossil fuels. India imports 70 per cent of its crude-oil requirements.

There is, however, the fear that the nuclear pact will be delayed because of congressional preoccupation with domestic issues and elections this autumn. While launching an international bid, India is at the same time trying to ensure that its own house is in order.

The Indian government has drawn up an ambitious bid to garner 60 million tonnes per annum of equity oil from overseas by 2025 by empowering public-sector oil companies to enter exploration and production business abroad.

Last month, New Delhi announced that plans were being chalked up to double electricity production from nuclear power plants by 2030 with the possibility of international cooperation.

"We are trying to realize the target of 20,000 megawatts and scale it up to 40,000MW by 2030," Kakodkar said then.

At the current level of 3,310MW, nuclear energy constitutes only 3 per cent of the installed capacity in the country.

Top

 

AP Cong men soften stand towards TRS
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 13
Admonished by party high command, Andhra Pradesh Congress leaders have softened their stance towards TRS following its president K Chandrasekhar Rao’s resignation yesterday.

Even as two Congress ministers offered to resign accepting the challenge thrown by Mr Rao, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and PCC president K Keshava Rao made conciliatory gestures today.

While Mr Reddy gave enough indications that he would not accept resignations of his colleagues, the PCC chief said he was willing to withdraw his earlier remarks, which had prompted the TRS chief to quit his Lok Sabha seat and seek fresh mandate.

Caught off-guard by KCR’s daring move on the one hand, and chastised by party high command for precipitating the matters on the other, the state Congress leaders embarked on a fire-fighting exercise.

“The resignations are not relevant as long as TRS is part of UPA. As far as we are concerned, it is still a partner in UPA,” Mr Reddy said. He termed the development as a “storm in a tea cup” and said there was “nothing new” in Congress and TRS leaders “trading words” on the Telangana issue.

The two ministers, hailing from the Telangana region, had sent in their resignation letters to the Chief Minister. While the septuagenarian Rao, who holds Sports and Culture portfolio, had earlier dared TRS chief to quit from Lok Sabha and seek fresh mandate, the Information Minister Mohammad Ali Shabbir had challenged A. Narendra, the second-in-command in TRS, to resign and test his popularity at the hustings.

The Congress High Command is believed to have taken a serious note of the provocative statements by the state party leaders and their ongoing tussle with TRS. In tune with the signals from the High Command, the state leadership has toned down its strident posturing. 

Top

 

Chavan to attend SCO meet in Dushanbe
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
Mr Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the PMO, will represent India at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of Government meeting scheduled to take place in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) on September 15.

Tajikistan Prime Minister Akil Akilov had invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the meeting. However, Dr Singh could not attend the meeting due to his prior commitments abroad. The Prime Minister is currently on a two-nation tour to Brazil and Cuba to attend IBSA and NAM summits, respectively.

Top

 

PM urged to take lead in arms-control initiative
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
Around 1,000 persons are killed and many more injured worldwide in incidents of armed violence involving small arms everyday. Every year, more than half a million people are killed in armed violence, which means one person every minute.

In India, the number of persons killed everyday in such incidences is 12. At the global level, experts say, there is one weapon for every 10 persons, including men, women and children.

On the Global Day of Action on Control Arms Campaign today, young supporters of the Control Arms Campaign urged President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and the Ministry of External Affairs to take a lead in the global arms-control initiative for an international arms trade treaty so that the world becomes a safer place to live.

Supporters of Control Arms Campaign, including gunshot survivor from Jammu and Kashmir Javed Ahmad Tak, took part in the March, urging India to lead the world into signing an arms trade treaty at the forthcoming UN General Assembly meeting next month.

The UN says there are 75 million firearms in South Asia, 63 million of which are in civilian hands. As far as India is concerned, 40 million firearms are estimated to be in circulation. While there are no clear-cut estimates, experts says a large chunk of small arms is under government control. However, an equally large number, of which no figure or data is available, also happens to be in illegal possession.

In the memorandum submitted today, the activists said India was also a victim of unregulated arms proliferation and the arms trade treaty would be an essential step in prohibiting arms transfers to destinations where they are likely to be used to commit grave human rights violations, fuel conflict or undermine development.

The aim of the arms trade treaty initiative, originally launched by Nobel Peace laureates in 1997, is to provide a set of common minimum standards for arms transfer.

According to Oxfam Control Arms Policy Adviser Binalakshmi Nepram, so many people are killed in armed violence but there is no legally binding instrument to effectively bring weapon trade under control. India is concerned over the proliferation of sophisticated arms in illegal hands but clearly much more needs to be done.

Binalakshmi says there are more regulations for film and music trade than for the arms trade. “In a study conducted across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, 93 per cent people wanted some sort of regulations on the arms trade. In India, it is so easy to get a firearm, under sports, ceremony or self-defence category… Licences bought in Nagaland under the garb of self-defence are being sold in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar.”

Top

 

Cola ban: USA pleads case with Indian Govt

New Delhi, September 13
Perturbed by certain adverse developments against Coca Cola and Pepsi in India recently, Washington has asked New Delhi to ensure “level playing field” to these major US soft drink companies.

US Under Secretary for International Trade Franklin Lavin has written in this regard to Commerce Secretary S.N. Menon about a fortnight back, days after Kerala imposed a ban on the sale of these soft drinks and five other states prohibited their sale in schools and government offices.

In the letter, Lavin expressed hope that the government will ensure “level playing field” for Coca Cola and Pepsi after the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) alleged that these drinks contain non-permissible quantity of pesticides.

“Secretary Lavin has written a letter,” US Embassy spokesman David Kennedy said here today but expressed inability in providing its contents.

Mr Menon was not available for comments.

Pepsi and its rival Coca Cola came under attack after the CSE released its second “pesticides-in-cola” report in three years on August 2, prompting Kerala to ban manufacture and sale of cola drinks in the state and less severe action by other states.

The CSE claimed presence of “pesticide cocktail” in 11 brands of Coca Cola and PepsiCo.

The new findings, publicised after testing of 57 samples of 11 soft drink brands of Coca Cola and PepsiCo across 12 states, claimed that all bottles examined were a “cocktail of three-five different pesticides,” which was 24 times above the standards finalised by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). — PTI

Top

 

PM to attend India-EU summit in Helsinki
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be in the Finnish capital of Helsinki exactly a month later to attend the seventh India-EU summit.

He will meet his Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen during the summit on October 13, European Union sources said. Finland is the current chairman of the 25-nation European Union.

At the summit, India and the EU are likely to focus on cooperation in fight against terrorism and science and technology. Significantly, the EU has already acted upon Indian Government’s requests in the recent past and has put a number of terrorist organisations notified to it by New Delhi on its proscribed list.

The summit will also provide an opportunity to review the implementation of the action plan, adopted by the two sides at the sixth India-EU summit here last year.

Another important highlight of the Helsinki summit will be cooperation between India and the EU in the latter’s satellite navigation system, Galileo.

As usual, the political summit will be preceded on October 12 by business summit, which will be attended by Indian and European businessmen and industrialists. A large delegation of CEOs will be travelling with Dr Manmohan Singh to Helsinki.

Top

 

Matto Murder
Accused says witnesses planted against him
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, September 13
Santosh Kumar Singh, main accused in the Priyadarshini Matto rape & murder case, today alleged that witnesses were planted against him to frame him in the case. However, he had a tough time countering the CBI’s contention before the Delhi High Court that he had suffered injury during the scuffle with the victim.

Counsel for accused Santosh Kumar Singh, R K Naseem, too, accused the CBI of planting false witnesses and suppressing his client’s medical report.

Appearing before a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court headed by Mr Justices R S Sodhi and P K Bhasin, Mr Naseem tore into the depositions of two witnesses, Kuppuswamy and Jaideep Singh Ahluwalia.

“Kuppuswamy’s deposition that he had seen Santosh Kumar Singh outside Priyadarshini Mattoo’s residence at 5.30 pm on January 23, 1996 was used by the CBI as a strong circumstantial evidence against the accused. The truth is his deposition was an afterthought and after careful deliberation,” Mr Naseem said citing liberally from the case diary, documented by the police.

Another witness Jaideep Singh claimed to have been mildly run into by a stranger, appearing nervous, in front of Priyadarshini Mattoo’s residence at 5.20 pm. “The CBI has attempted to avail services of false witness to earn conviction against Santosh Kumar Singh,” Mr Naseem alleged adding that even the trial court had not believed Jaideep Singh. aThe counsel also accused the CBI of suppressing the medical reports of the injury on Santosh Kumar Singh’s right hand due to an accident on January 14, 1996. He presented the X - ray and treatment reports from Bara Hindu Rao Hospital.

Mr Naseem said the CBI had done so to make it appear an attempt by the accused to camouflage the injury received while allegedly bludgeoning Priyadarshini to death.

The argument given by the counsel of Santosh Kumar Singh did not impress the Bench, which asked if the accused had injured his hand how he was driving the motorcycle around the Delhi University Campus on the day of incident on January 23, 1996.

Top

 

Jharkhand Speaker reserves decision on 3 MLAs
Tribune News Service

Ranchi, September 13
Independents continued to call the shots to decide the fate of the Arjun Munda government, as Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari today reserved his judgement on the disqualification petitions against three MLAs — Enosh Ekka, Kamalesh Singh and Stephen Marandi — after six hours long hearing of their respective cases as pleaded by their lawyers in the Assembly. Mr Namdhari had allowed two hour slots to each lawyer of the three MLAs to argue their cases.

The Speaker’s decision to reserve his judgement without specifying the time limit, till the filing of this report, clearly indicated a nail-biting finish to the crucial trust vote to be faced by Chief Minister Arjun Munda tomorrow to save his 18-month-old NDA government on the floors of the House.

The poll managers of the NDA, however, are working overnight to muster the number game after the revolt by four independent MLAs last Tuesday reducing the Munda government to minority, from 43 to 39 in the 82-member House.

Former BJP President Venkaiah Naidu presided over a meeting of NDA MLAs at Mr Munda’s residence in the evening to chalk out floor strategies for tomorrow against the claim of RJD chief Lalu Prasad in Delhi today to have mustered the required support for the UPA to dislodge the NDA.

Sources in both NDA and UPA willy-nilly admitted that efforts were on by both sides to resort to “poaching” and “anti-poaching” tactics in rival camps either to wean away or retain MLAs till the wee hours and the climax in the battle of one-upmanship was expected to be unfolded only after the House meets for the trust vote tomorrow.

It is also learnt that despite putting up a brave front in Delhi by Mr Lalu Prasad claiming the support of 43 MLAs, the UPA could produce only 36 MLAs at ITDC Ashoka hotel here this evening.

The sources alleged that the Speaker’s reserved judgement on the disqualification issue was primarily linked to NDA’s success to dent into the rival camp to muster the required numbers to prove majority during the trust vote.

The Sources, however, did not rule out a possible volte-face by the Speaker, which might unexpectedly benefit the UPA, in case the NDA failed to muster the required numbers following its overnight operation today.

With Mr Namdhari reserving judgement, the focus was now expected to shift to the Supreme Court tomorrow, besides the scheduled proceedings in the Assembly for the trust vote, where the MLAs already filed petitions challenging the disqualification notices by the Speaker.

The Supreme Court on Monday did not pass any order on the petitions sought by the three MLAs to restrain the Speaker from passing any order on their issues.

The apex court adjourned the matter till tomorrow, and gave a free hand to the Speaker to pronounce his verdict before the court takes up the case again.

Mr Namdhari, meanwhile, denied charges levelled by the UPA for acting as an “NDA agent” by compromising with the impartiality of his chair.

Meanwhile, Governor Syed Shibte Razi has accepted the resignation of four ministers, namely Kamalesh Singh, Enosh Ekka, Surayanarayan Rai and Madhu Koda, who withdrew support from the Munda government last Tuesday.

The Ranchi Administration has imposed Section 144 near the Jharkhand Assembly with heavy security deployment till September 15.

Top

 

Yangon urged to crack down on insurgents
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
The 12th Home Secretary level talks between India and Myanmar began here today with New Delhi urging Yangon to crack down on Northeast insurgent groups operating from that country.

India also sought the early release of 21 Indian prisoners, all Manipuris, held by Myanmar, Home Ministry sources said after nearly four-hour meeting on day one, in which both sides exchanged preliminary notes of various issues of mutual interest.

The Myanmarese delegation, while not acknowledging the presence of the insurgents on their territory, is understood to have promised to look into the issue raised by India, sources said.

The 16-member Indian delegation was led by Union Home Secretary Vinod Kumar Duggal while the 12 member Myanmarese side was headed by his counterpart Brig Gen Phone Swe.

India is keen that Myanmar launches a Bhutan-type crackdown against insurgent groups like ULFA, NSCN(K), Peoples Liberation Army, UNLF, NSCN(I/M) operating from that country. Bhutan had launched an operation in 2003 against ULFA.

The two sides are also expected to firm up steps needed to curb smuggling of arms and ammunition and illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

In this context, India would press for formalising a mechanism to share intelligence information to check smuggling. India and Myanmar in their last meeting in Yangon in October last year had agreed to sharing of information.

Emerging from the meeting, both Mr Duggal and Mr Swe said the meeting was held in a very cordial and friendly atmosphere and all issues were discussed.

The two sides would resume talks on September 16 and sign minutes of the meeting.

Border management and fencing are some other issues expected to be discussed at the talks. India would take up the issue of speedy construction of fence in the ‘More’ sector in Manipur to check smuggling.

The issue pertaining to dispute in Nine Border Pillars, all of which are in Manipur, is also expected to figure prominently during the four-day meeting.

In the Home Secretary level meeting last year, both sides had agreed to further strengthen cooperation in tackling activities of insurgents, arms smugglers, drug peddlers and other hostile elements along the India-Myanmar border.

The status of various infrastructure projects in Myanmar, particularly in road and power sectors over which the two countries have agreed to cooperate, was also reviewed at the last meeting and a follow up was expected this time too.

India and Myanmar had signed an agreement for maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas in 1994, under which Home Secretaries of both countries are to meet once a year while Joint Secretaries are to hold sectoral meetings every six month. The last sectoral level meeting was held in Kolkata in July last year.

Top

 

Badal picks holes in govt notification
Special trial Court at Ropar
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 13
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and some ministers in his cabinet today tried to dig holes in state government’s notification on setting up of a special court at Ropar to hold trial against them in corruption cases with their counsel asserting before the Supreme Court that the appointment of Special Judge without High Court approval was illegal.

Former Attorney-General Soli Sorabjee and senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for them, told a Bench of Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice S H Kapadia that apart from not taking mandatory approval of Punjab and Haryana High Court for the appointment of the Special Judge, the state government in its “arbitrary” used of power had made special court’s jurisdiction applicable to the entire state.

“The notification of November 17, 2003, appointing the Special Judge, Ropar, for the whole of the state is illegal and unconstitutional… it violates Section 4(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Article 235 of the Constitution for not having the consultation with the High Court,” Vengugopal said.

Both the senior advocates said the effect of the notification was that a single police station of Mohali was given the responsibility to investigate all cases of corruption against any person irrespective of his residential status and the place of occurrence of the alleged crime.

But the state government had no power under the law to extend the jurisdiction of a court and the police station to the entire state as “the local area can never include the whole of the state,” they contended.

The main problem before the SP in-charge of the investigation for Mohali police station was that he would have the discretion to “pick and choose” cases for probe if the police station is flooded with the complaints in that event a group of cases of identical nature, required not only to be tried together but probed together.

Top

 

ISI agent held in Lucknow

Lucknow, September 13
A suspected ISI agent was nabbed by the special task force of the Uttar Pradesh Police from the cantonment area here today, a top police official said.Taseen Azim, alias Lareb Khan, a resident of Karachi, was arrested this morning following inputs by Central intelligence agencies, state police chief Bua Singh said. He ran a placement agency in the city and had even arranged jobs for some youths. — PTI

Top

 

 

 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |