SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Sethu Canal Project
UPA, NDA cross swords
New Delhi, May 16
The BJP-led opposition clashed with the ruling UPA members in the Lok Sabha today on the Setusamundaram Ship Canal Project.The government refused to agree to the BJP’s contention that the structure connecting Sri Lanka with India was Ram Setu, built by the army of Lord Rama to invade Lanka.

Raja to focus on rural telephony
New Delhi, May 16
Rural telephony would be the key area of focus for the new communication and IT minister Andimuthu Raja.
New Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja assumes office in New Delhi on Wednesday.
New Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja assumes office in New Delhi on Wednesday. Raja replaces Dayanidhi Maran who resigned on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan

After Kalam, who?
Left-UPA candidate in a few days
New Delhi, May 16
The Left-UPA would finalise the presidential candidate in a few days, as their discussions have entered a crucial stage and spelt out the criteria they have set for considering any candidature, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said here today.








EARLIER STORIES




H1B Visa
India warns USA of adverse impact
New Delhi, May 16
Flaying the US move on H1B Visa, India today warned of an adverse impact on the rapidly expanding services trade and that such a move would make it difficult for New Delhi to enhance its commitments in the services negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

N-deal must conform to parameters: Pranab
New Delhi, May 16
The Indo-US civilian nuclear deal must conform to the framework and parameters of the agreement reached between the two countries on July 18, 2005, and the separation plan of March 2, 2006, coupled with the commitments made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of the House, External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha today.

Nandigram: Talks at Mahajati Sadan as Mamata wanted
Kolkata, May 16
Yielding to Mamata Banerjee’s “pressure,” the CPI (M) and other Left Front partners finally agreed to hold the Nandigram peace talks at the Netaji Subhas Bose-founded Mahajati Sadan and not at Writers Buildings or the Alimuddin Street party office.

25 killed in bus-truck collision in UP
Badaun, May 16
At least 25 persons were killed and over 35 injured when a speeding bus collided head-on with a truck under the Dhanari area on the Aligarh-Moradabad highway in the district today.

Sikhs to boycott panchayat head
Sriganganagar, May 16
The Sikh community today decided on a social boycott of Ganganagar panchayat samiti head, Harbhagwan Singh Brar, suspecting his role in the clashes between Sikhs and followers of Dera Sacha Sauda.

Maya inducts loyalist Mishra into her Cabinet
Lucknow, May 16
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today brought in Satish Chandra Mishra, the Brahmin face of the BSP, into her Cabinet in a special swearing in ceremony this evening even as a minister resigned to become the Speaker of the new Assembly.

Mayawati meets Nithari victims’ families
Lucknow, May 16
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today met parents of the children who went missing in the Nithari incident in Noida, and assured all possible help by her government.

HC defers hearing on Lalu DA case
Patna, May 16
The Patna High Court today adjourned the hearing on the state government petition challenging acquittal of railway minister Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi in a disproportionate assets (DA) case against them till July 4.

Bihar police turns heat on politicians
Patna, May 16
After the recent conviction of RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, the Bihar police has finally turned the heat on other criminal-turned-politicians cutting across party lines in the state.

Lok Pal Bill
Cabinet to decide on PM’s post
New Delhi, May 16
The Union Cabinet will decide whether the post of Prime Minister should be brought within the ambit of the Lok Pal Bill, minister of state for personnel Suresh Pachauri informed the Lok Sabha today.

Power Bill gets RS nod
Now, stringent punishment for electricity theft
New Delhi, May 16
The Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2007, providing for stringent punishment for power theft and aimed at reforming power sector and providing electricity to all households, got the nod of Parliament with the Rajya Sabha passing it through voice vote.

Sanjay Dutt’s probation plea hearing tomorrow
Mumbai, May 16
The special court set up under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA), which is hearing the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, today announced that the application filed by actor Sanjay Dutt and others for probation under the Probation of Offenders Act would be decided at the time of pronouncement of sentences, i.e. Friday.
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Passengers push engine to start train
Patna, May 16
Pulling of an emergency chain for one or the other reason is nothing new in Indian Railways.

Jailed MLA’s plea rejected
Dehra Dun, May 16
District and sessions judge, Dehra Dun, V.B. Rai today rejected the application of jailed UP MLA Amarmani Tripathi seeking permission to go to Lucknow to take the oath of office and participate in the proceedings of the Assembly, which is meeting tomorrow.


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Sethu Canal Project
UPA, NDA cross swords
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
The BJP-led opposition clashed with the ruling UPA members in the Lok Sabha today on the Setusamundaram Ship Canal Project.

The government refused to agree to the BJP’s contention that the structure connecting Sri Lanka with India was Ram Setu, built by the army of Lord Rama to invade Lanka.

BJP’s Vijay Kumar Malhotra accused the government of dancing to the tune of the US in going ahead with the present alignment of the project.

The government views the project as of great significance from the national defence and security point of view as it will enable quicker access between the east and west coasts as well as shortened response time in the event of a war.

The project envisages dredging of a ship channel to connect the Gulf of Mannar and Bay of Bengal through Palk Bay so that ships moving between the east and west coast of India can have a continuous navigable sea route around the peninsula within Indian waters. This will save up to 424 nautical miles of distance and 30 hours of sailing time for the ships.

Malhotra angrily said the government was playing with the religious sentiments of the Hindus of the country and warned a nation-wide agitation to force the government to abandon its plans to blow up with dynamite the connecting link between India and Sri Lanka.

Parliament proceedings were stalled repeatedly on the issue when speaker Somnath Chatterjee acceded as a one-off gesture to the opposition’s demand for downing away with the zero hour and take up a calling attention motion on the subject instead.

The government maintained that there was no scientific evidence to prove that the structure connecting India with Sri Lanka was man-made. Minister of shipping, road transport and highways T.R. Baalu quoted NASA in buttressing the government claim that the structure was not Ram Setu.

“The alignment of the canal does not contain any Unesco declared World heritage site or any government declared Monument of National Importance. Therefore, there is no question of damage being caused to any such heritage by the implementation of this project,” Baalu said.

In the afternoon, the Lok Sabha, which had to be adjourned for 90 minutes, earlier, in the day, had to be adjourned for the day when the tempers ran high on the issue.

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Raja to focus on rural telephony
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
Rural telephony would be the key area of focus for the new communication and IT minister Andimuthu Raja. He, however, promised to look into doing away with roaming charges as desired by his predecessor Dayanidhi Maran and attracting investments.

“I will continue with the policies of my predecessor (Maran). My top priority will be rural telephony.... To provide facilities to the lowest ebb of the people,” Raja said on assuming office here.

Since the telecom sector is a growing sector, all efforts required for maintaining its growth will continue, Raja added.

The minister said he would find ways to attract overseas investment in the country’s telecom sector, with mobile segment alone witnessing over six million subscriber additions a month.

The country had attracted investment proposals worth Rs 2,66,000 crore, including those from global majors such as IBM, Microsoft and Nokia during Maran’s three-year stint as minister.

Raja said he would give final shape to the Maran’s schemes and policies, which are in the pipeline, after discussing them with his officials.

Maran, after resigning from the Cabinet on Sunday, said he had planned to abolish mobile roaming charges from June 3 - the birthday of DMK president M. Karunanidhi.

Raja was earlier union minister of environment and forests. Elected as member to the 11th Lok Sabha for the first time in 1996, Raja has held the positions as minister of state of rural development and minister of state of health and family welfare.

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After Kalam, who?
Left-UPA candidate in a few days
Tribune News Service

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam New Delhi, May 16
The Left-UPA would finalise the presidential candidate in a few days, as their discussions have entered a crucial stage and spelt out the criteria they have set for considering any candidature, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said here today.

In the criteria, the Left leaders gave enough indication that the Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee would be the apt person to fit in.

“Consultations are on to arrive at a common ground... It (name) would be finalised in a few days,” he said after a meeting of four Left parties on the issue.

Karat said the Left parties have set the criteria that the presidential candidate should be a political personality who has the knowledge of the functioning of the political system, functions of the executive, legislature and judiciary and should have a strong secular credentials.

Secular credentials, he said, had become important after the Babri Masjid demolition, which was soon followed by the 1992 presidential poll.

The CPM general secretary said the Left leaders would again hold consultations with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other non-UPA parties to arrive at a consensus on a person who fulfils the criteria.

Asked whether Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee would be put up by the Left, Karat said we did not discuss any name. The criteria that we have finalised has to be fulfilled by the candidate.

He said they have held discussions with the NCP, DMK, RJD, TDP, Asom Gana Parishad, INLD and BSP. We have held discussions with all secular parties except the SP.

On the names that have been speculated as the likely candidate for the post, he said, “several names are being discussed. It would be disclosed at an appropriate time”.

Sources indicated that names of Congress leaders like Pranab Mukherjee, Karan Singh, Sushil Kumar Shinde were not the front-runners amongst the names being discussed.

As SP and TDP were unlikely to support either a Congress or a BJP candidate, the Left parties are expected to play a crucial role in evolving a consensus on a candidate.

With the victory of Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat following cross-voting still fresh in the minds of the Left parties, they were not taking any chances and were likely to hold discussion with all possible to tilt the scale in their favour.

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H1B Visa
India warns USA of adverse impact
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
Flaying the US move on H1B Visa, India today warned of an adverse impact on the rapidly expanding services trade and that such a move would make it difficult for New Delhi to enhance its commitments in the services negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Expressing surprise over a letter written by two members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee to some prominent Indian IT companies seeking details about the utilisation of the special H1B visa programme by these companies, minister for commerce and industry Kamal Nath, in a statement tonight, said, “Issues such as work visas are inter-governmental in nature and should be dealt with accordingly.”

Asserting that temporary movement of skilled professionals is an essential component of the global services economy and bears no relation to immigration issues, he said “any move which creates uncertainty and unpredictability about such movements will naturally have an adverse impact on the rapidly expanding services trade.”

“Services are an important component of the breakthrough in the current WTO negotiations and any move which vitiates the current progress will only frustrate the progress in bringing the round to a successful completion,” Nath said, adding that he would be raising this issue with Ambassador Susan Schwab, United States Trade Representative and in the G-4 meeting being held in Brussels tomorrow and the day after.

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N-deal must conform to parameters: Pranab

New Delhi, May 16
The Indo-US civilian nuclear deal must conform to the framework and parameters of the agreement reached between the two countries on July 18, 2005, and the separation plan of March 2, 2006, coupled with the commitments made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of the House, External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha today.

The 123 Agreement is in the final stages of negotiations with US under secretary of state for political affairs Nicholas Burns, who is scheduled to visit here next week for discussions with foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon to iron out the pending issues. Mukherjee did not agree with suggestions that the deal was in jeopardy as reported in the US media.

He drew attention to the US state department’s comment after the fourth round of negotiations on the agreement that the discussions were positive and that the US was encouraged by the extensive progress made on the issue. — TNS

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Nandigram: Talks at Mahajati Sadan as Mamata wanted
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, May 16
Yielding to Mamata Banerjee’s “pressure,” the CPI (M) and other Left Front partners finally agreed to hold the Nandigram peace talks at the Netaji Subhas Bose-founded Mahajati Sadan and not at Writers Buildings or the Alimuddin Street party office.

The all-party peace meeting will be held on May 26, which will be attended, among others, by the veteran Jyoti Basu at the insistence of the Trinamool supremo.

Earlier, the CPI (M) leadership and some other partners demanded that the meeting be held at Writers Buildings as done in the past with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in chair.

Accordingly, Banerjee was told by the mediator, senior FB leader Asoke Ghose. But Banerjee refused to attend any meeting at Writers Buildings or the CPI (M)’s Alimuddin Street party office. She was also opposed to be present in any meeting called by Bhattacharjee or Bose.

Hence, the proposed peace meeting will be formally called by FB leader Ghose, which Jyoti Basu will preside.

The FB leader told mediapersons today that he held talks with Banerjee as well as Bhattacharjee and Biman Bose and finally selected Mahajati Sadan as the venue of the peace meeting.

He said they all were very keen that the ongoing Nandigram crisis was resolved forthwith. He hoped that at the meeting, some tangible solutions to the problems could be found.

Jyoti Basu said if his health permitted he would certainly be present at the proposed peace meeting. He appealed to the leaders of all political parties and the Kishi Bachaoo Committee to attend the meeting with free minds.

He said the primary task was now to restore normalcy at Nandigram, which could be achieved by the district administration and the police with the cooperation of all political parties.

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25 killed in bus-truck collision in UP

Badaun, May 16
At least 25 persons were killed and over 35 injured when a speeding bus collided head-on with a truck under the Dhanari area on the Aligarh-Moradabad highway in the district today.

Police sources here said the accident occurred near the Tata Chemical factory at Majhola village. The UP Roadways bus was coming from Agra when the accident occurred.

Senior officials have rushed to the spot while the injured have been admitted to hospitals at Badaun, Aligarh and Etah.

All the deceased and injured were the passengers of the bus. The driver and cleaner of the truck, however, escaped after the accident. — UNI

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Sikhs to boycott panchayat head

Sriganganagar, May 16
The Sikh community today decided on a social boycott of Ganganagar panchayat samiti head, Harbhagwan Singh Brar, suspecting his role in the clashes between Sikhs and followers of Dera Sacha Sauda.

At a meeting held today, Sikhs also demanded that a case be lodged against Brar regarding his role in the clashes yesterday which left more than 30 injured.

According to sources, the Sikh community also expressed concern over the administration's role. They have also decided to take out a protest march soon.

Prohibitory orders imposed in the area surrounding collectorate will be on May 19.

Meanwhile, at least 1500 Dera Sacha Sauda followers gathered at Hanumangarh today and possible tension was diffused following intervention by administrative officials.

Thirty persons were injured here yesterday following violent clashes between Sikhs and Dera Saccha Sauda followers.

The police had to burst teargas shells and baton-charge the agitated crowd which started stone-pelting and lathicharged at each other.

Tension erupted after a controversial advertisement carrying a picture of Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh alias Premiji, donning Guru Gobind Singh’s attire appeared in Bathinda, enraging the Sikhs. — UNI

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Maya inducts loyalist Mishra into her Cabinet

Stops unemployment allowance

Mayawati today said unemployment allowance introduced by the erstwhile Samajwadi Party government would be stopped. Addressing a meeting with senior officials to review the preparations for the budget session of the state legislature slated for July, she said arrangements would be made to provide employment opportunities.

Lucknow, May 16
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today brought in Satish Chandra Mishra, the Brahmin face of the BSP, into her Cabinet in a special swearing in ceremony this evening even as a minister resigned to become the Speaker of the new Assembly.

55-year-old Mishra, an eminent lawyer and at present a Rajya Sabha member, who is credited with efforts to mobilise Brahmin support for Mayawati for her successful rainbow coalition, was administered the oath of office and secrecy at a brief ceremony at the Raj Bhawan by Governor T.V. Rajeshwar.

Mayawati, her Cabinet colleagues and Congress leader Pramod Tiwari were among those present on the occasion from which leaders of BJP and SP kept away.

An eminent lawyer and a close confidant of Mayawati Mishra is likely to be given an “important portfolio”, sources said adding that he could be even nominated Deputy Chief Minister.

An LLB from Allahabad University, Mishra was the Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh during an earlier tenure of Mayawati as Chief Minister between 2003 and 2003 and has been the BSP General Secretary since 2004. He was elected to Rajya Sabha in August the same year.

Mishra, who is married to Kalpana and has a son and four daughters, played a leading role in conducting Brahmin conferences throughout Uttar Pradesh in the last one year to mobilise support of the community for the party.

Earlier, during the day Sukhdev Rajbhar, a BSP leader who was sworn in as Minister on Sunday, resigned today after he was chosen as the party candidate for the Speaker elections to be held on May 18.

The ministers are yet to be allocated portfolios. — PTI

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Mayawati meets Nithari victims’ families

Lucknow, May 16
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today met parents of the children who went missing in the Nithari incident in Noida, and assured all possible help by her government.

The CM said as the CBI was investigating the matter, her government could not interfere even as the parents demanded the probe be handed over to the state police.

She said her government would strictly follow any directive of the court in connection with the case and give protection to the family members of the missing children.

When some of the parents complained about irregularities in the distribution of compensation. Ms Mayawati said she would soon seek all details from the district authorities.

During the meeting, the parents raised objection over the CBI’s move for not filing chargesheet against Mohinder Pander.

Earlier, the delegation members also met Bahujan Samaj Party general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra. — UNI

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HC defers hearing on Lalu DA case
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 16
The Patna High Court today adjourned the hearing on the state government petition challenging acquittal of railway minister Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi in a disproportionate assets (DA) case against them till July 4.

Justice R.K. Dutta reportedly accepted the appeal of C.R. Sinha, counsel for Lalu and Rabri and state’s standing counsel Akhileshwar Prasad Singh, who sought adjournment of the case till July 4 to enable them to specify the date on which their seniors from the Supreme Court would be coming to argue their sides.

According to Sinha, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had been approached for arguing the case in favour of the minister and his wife, while Singh said senior SC lawyer Harish Salve would represent the state.

Sinha said his clients would also be filing replies to the court’s notice seeking to know their position on the petition filed by the state challenging their acquittal in the case on July 4 itself.

Lalu and Rabri were acquitted in the DA case by the special vigilance judge Munnilal Paswan in December last. The Nitish government had filed a petition in the Patna High Court on February 19 against their acquittal.

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Bihar police turns heat on politicians
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 16
After the recent conviction of RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, the Bihar police has finally turned the heat on other criminal-turned-politicians cutting across party lines in the state.

Shahabuddin, who had been a law unto himself in Siwan for the past 23 years since 1984, was recently awarded life imprisonment for abducting CPI-ML worker Chote Lal Gupta in 1997.

In a major breakthrough, the police yesterday arrested Rajesh Choudhary, who is the husband of sitting JD(U) MLA Renu Devi.

Acting on a tipoff, a joint team of the Special Task Force(STF) and police picked up Rajesh as soon as he alighted at the Patna junction from the Howrah-Danapur Express. At the time of the arrest, his wife was also accompanying him.

Rajesh was wanted in over two dozen crime cases and was evading arrest by allegedly using his political clout. Muzzafarpur and Sitamari were Rajesh’s area of operations.

This was preceded by the arrest of former RJD MLA from Atri in Gaya Rajendra Yadav on Monday. A jail bird, Rajendra, had made a sensational escape from judicial custody in December last year.

Rajendra presently has 18 cases instituted against him ranging from murders to abductions. He was already facing trial in a Gaya fast track court in some cases before he managed to escape.

The Atri and Bathani areas of Gaya district were regarded as Rajendra’s fiefdom. His clout in the area could be assessed from the fact that despite being on the run in a murder case, he managed the victory of his wife Kunti Devi from Gaya in 2005 elections.

Sources in the police said trial was almost complete against suspended JD(U) MLA from Piro Sunil Pandey who was facing charges of extortion, besides his drunken brawl in a city hotel where he allegedly threatened to shoot the cameraman of a news channel for shooting his misconduct.

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Lok Pal Bill
Cabinet to decide on PM’s post
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
The Union Cabinet will decide whether the post of Prime Minister should be brought within the ambit of the Lok Pal Bill, minister of state for personnel Suresh Pachauri informed the Lok Sabha today.

He said the administrative reforms commission had not recommended the inclusion of the Prime Minister in the Lok Pal Bill. Several countries like New Zealand, UK and the European Union had kept the post outside the purview of similar institutions.

Responding to supplementaries, Pachauri said the Lok Pal Bill and recommendations of the group of ministers (GOM) as well as the ARC were being vetted by the Union Law Ministry. Once this process is over, the bill will be brought before the Union Cabinet for a final decision.

He said the government was keen to bring the legislative measure to Parliament as early as possible. Hannan Mollah of the CPM rued that the bill had been introduced in Parliament several times and had not been passed.

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Power Bill gets RS nod
Now, stringent punishment for electricity theft
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16
The Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2007, providing for stringent punishment for power theft and aimed at reforming power sector and providing electricity to all households, got the nod of Parliament with the Rajya Sabha passing it through voice vote.

The Bill gives joint responsibility to the Central and state governments to provide electricity to all, even in remote areas and villages. The Bill also contains a specific provision under which captive power plants set up in the country would be allowed to sell electricity without licence.

Most importantly, the Bill provides for stringent punishment, under Code of Criminal Procedure, for various forms of power theft.

The Lok Sabha passed the Bill last week.

Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde allayed fears of members that the Bill would lead to harassment of poor people saying that majority of power theft cases is reported from affluent colonies.

Asserting that no government can tolerate theft of power, the minister pointed out that he had been receiving several complaints of diversion of electricity connection meant for household to industrial purpose, as the former is subsidised.

The Bill covers all possible method of power theft and provides for action under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Shinde said.

The guilty would be penalised under the amended act with a fine or imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or both.

In the event of second and subsequent conviction of a person where the load abstracted, consumed, or used or attempted abstraction or attempted consumption or attempted use exceeds 10 kilowatt, such person shall also be debarred from getting any supply of electricity for a period which shall not be less than three months but may extend to two years. He shall also be debarred from getting supply of electricity for that period from any other source or generating station.

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Sanjay Dutt’s probation plea hearing tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 16
The special court set up under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA), which is hearing the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, today announced that the application filed by actor Sanjay Dutt and others for probation under the Probation of Offenders Act would be decided at the time of pronouncement of sentences, i.e. Friday.

Judge Pramod Kode, who is hearing the case, stated that the reports made by probation officers would be studied before deciding on the application made by those convicted under various provisions of law.

Late last year, the court had found the actor guilty under the Arms Act though he was not found guilty under TADA.

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Passengers push engine to start train
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 16
Pulling of an emergency chain for one or the other reason is nothing new in Indian Railways.

But for the hundreds of rail passengers at the Raghunathpur station under the East Central Railway (ECR) on the Patna-Buxar route in Bihar, it was indeed a bizarre experience yesterday, when they reportedly had to push the engine of a 565 Up EMU for 12 ft (4 metres) so that the locomotive could get current from the adjoining electric pole.

The incident occurred after a passenger pulled the train’s emergency chain by forcefully halting it in a “neutral zone”, a short length of track where there is no power in the overhead wires. A train’s momentum usually allows it to continue moving through the neutral zones.

The driver then pleaded to the stranded passengers to push the engine to the next electric pole to get sufficient current to make it start again. Once the irate passengers responded to driver’s appeal, the engine was detached from the coaches and pushed to the next pole.

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Jailed MLA’s plea rejected

Dehra Dun, May 16
District and sessions judge, Dehra Dun, V.B. Rai today rejected the application of jailed UP MLA Amarmani Tripathi seeking permission to go to Lucknow to take the oath of office and participate in the proceedings of the Assembly, which is meeting tomorrow.

The main accused in the much publicised, Madhumita murder case, a former UP minister presently lodged in Dehra Dun jail, successfully contested the recently held UP Assembly elections as the Samajwadi Party candidate from Luxmipur. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

BC leader replaces Tandon
Lucknow
:
The BJP's dismal show in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls claimed its first head on Wednesday when senior party leader Lalji Tandon made way for veteran backward leader Om Prakash Singh as the leader of the party's legislature group. Singh was elected unanimously as the leader at a meeting of the newly elected BJP MLAs. — PTI

300 huts razed
Mumbai:
Following the high court directive to remove hutments to facilitate the widening of the P D'Mello Road here for the Mumbai Urban Transport project (MUTP), the civic authorities on Wednesday demolished at least 300 shanties. — PTI

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