SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Gorakhpur Blasts
Mayawati sees conspiracy
High alert sounded in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow, May 23
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today claimed that there was a “big conspiracy” behind yesterday’s serial blasts in Gorakhpur. She alleged that the BJP and the Samajwadi Party wanted to foment “communal tension” in the state.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati addresses a press conference in Vidhan Bhavan, Lucknow, on Wednesday.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati addresses a press conference in Vidhan Bhavan, Lucknow, on Wednesday. — PTI photo

Hasina Parkar told to surrender by today
Mumbai, May 23
A local court today directed Hasina Parkar, sister of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim, to surrender by tomorrow noon before the 37th Metropolitan Magistrate court, which had issued a non-bailable warrant for her.


EARLIER STORIES




Two SP, BJS legislators join BSP
Lucknow, May 23
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh got a boost today when two sitting MLAs, one each from the Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janshakti Party (BJS), joined its ranks.

Many Sikh groups refrain from bandh
Dehra Dun, May 23
The Sikh community may have succeeded in putting up a united show in reaction to the Dera Sacha Suada controversy but it is a divided front in Uttarakhand.

Lack of stringent law caused blasts: BJP
New Delhi, May 23
The BJP said today the absence of a stringent law to combat terrorism was responsible for terrorist acts like the Gorakhpur bomb blasts in the  country.

Forgery case against BSP legislator
Hardwar, May 23
Police has registered a case against the local BSP legislator in the Bhagwanpur district here for allegedly drawing salary for the post of temporary teacher even after the court had dismissed his petition for the regularisation of his service.

Trehan-Fortis Standoff
Docs’ body moves HC, seeks panel to run Escorts
New Delhi, May 23
The ongoing tussle between cardiologist Naresh Trehan and Fortis Healthcare, the new owner of the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center (EHIRC), took a new turn today with an association of doctors filing a petition in the Delhi High Court saying Trehan should be allowed to continue as the executive director of the institute.

100-hour blockade by ex-Bodo ultras from today
Guwahati, May 23
Leaders of the now disbanded Bodo tribal militant group, Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT), have called for 100-hour rail-cum-road blockade in Assam from tomorrow in protest against a series of attacks on former BLT members by the rival National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

Special training to fight low intensity war must: Patil
New Delhi, May 23
In the wake of growing incidents of terror strikes, union home minister Shivraj Patil today said the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans should be imparted special training to counter proxy and low intensity warfare.

Legal literacy programme for blind
Dehra Dun, May 23
The visually impaired in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh may justifiably take pride in being legally literate, thanks to the initiative taken by a Dehra Dun based NGO, Rural Litigation and Empowerment Kender (RELK), to develop local languages containing basic legal knowledge in Braille for the first time in the country.

Home Guards jawans sell arms to criminals
Patna, May 23
At a time when contractors engaged in construction of roads and other projects in Bihar are demanding more security cover from the state government against criminals and extortionists, seven home guards allegedly sold off their rifles and ammunition to criminals at Mokama in rural Patna.

Difference of opinion between SC judges
Man escapes death for wife’s murder

New Delhi, May 23
High profile, self-styled swamy, Shraddananda, alias Murli Manohar Mishra has escaped death penalty for the gruesome murder of his wife in Bangalore, to grab her huge properties worth several crore rupees, as there was difference of opinion between two judges of a Supreme Court Bench on the quantum of punishment to be handed over to him.

Schedule of Samjahuta Express revised
New Delhi, May 23
The Railway Ministry has revised the schedule of 4002 Attari Special and 4608 Samjahuta Express, linking Attari with Lahore, with effect from June 1.

Woman commits suicide
Chhattarpur (MP), May 23
A young woman committed suicide by consuming poison due to alleged police harassment immediately after she was released from police custody where she was interrogated in connection with theft of a motorcycle.

Rural road projects
PM concerned over corruption
New Delhi, May 23
Calling for more transparency and accountability in construction of road projects, Prime Minister today said, “Corruption in road construction projects had spread like cancer to every corner of the country.”

Taj Case
Hearing deferred till June 1
Lucknow, May 23
The hearing before the special CBI court was put off after one of the six accused sought more time to file his response to a CBI plea in connection with the Taj Corridor case.

Supreme Court cautions constitutional bodies
New Delhi, May 23
Expressing concern over the wrong choice of people, to man important constitutional bodies, the Supreme Court has cautioned such institutions against straying from the mandated path, otherwise it would have disastrous effects on the success of the democracy.

BJP to hold elections in next 2 months
New Delhi, May 23
The Bharatiya Janata Party today decided to hold organisational elections in the states of Uttar pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur in the next two months which could not be held because of the Assembly elections. The decision to hold organisational elections in the states was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by a former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at his residence here.

27 killed in TN wall collapse
Chennai, May 23
Atleast 27 people were buried alive while having a drink in a bar attached to a state government owned liquor shop at Tirupur town in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu tonight when a compound wall of an adjacent hosiery unit gave way and fell on the shop.

Police seeks NBW against Orissa DG
Jaipur, May 23
The Rajasthan police today sought the issuance of a non-bailable arrest warrant for Orissa’s Director General (Home Guards) Bidhya Bhusan Mohanty, who had given a surety for the parole of son Bitti Mohanty, convicted of raping a German tourist.

Boy falls into tubewell bore pit, dies
Jaipur, May 23
The body of a three-year-old child who fell in a 200 ft tubewell pit near Ranapara village of Dausa district of Rajasthan yesterday, was retrieved early today.

Police rifles stolen in Bihar
Barh, May 23
At least seven service rifles of Bihar police personnel were stolen from their barrack in the Mokama hospital in Patna district last night, official sources said today.

Girls outshine boys in Chennai
Chennai, May 23
Girls outshone boys in the CBSE XII exams whose results were declared today for the Chennai region.

Video
John finally makes it to Hollywood.
(56k)




Top










 

Gorakhpur Blasts
Mayawati sees conspiracy
High alert sounded in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow, May 23
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today claimed that there was a “big conspiracy” behind yesterday’s serial blasts in Gorakhpur. She alleged that the BJP and the Samajwadi Party wanted to foment “communal tension” in the state.

“There appears to be a big conspiracy behind the Gorakhpur blasts....It will be thoroughly probed”, Mayawati told reporters here.

Mayawati charged the SP and the BJP with fomenting communal tension in the state as they were “frustrated” by their crushing defeat at the recent Assembly poll.

“The SP and the BJP are frustrated...They want to disturb communal amity,” she said. She added that the government would not allow any one to disrupt communal harmony.

She said the government had taken the incident “very seriously” and had rushed state police chief ADGP, law and order, the ADG (STF) and principal secretary (home) there by a plane to monitor the investigation.

“Such incidents will not be allowed to recur and the guilty will be sternly dealt with”, she said. She added that a thorough probe would be conducted into the blasts to expose those behind them.

She said the terrorist activities were on the rise in the country and the Centre was trying to check them.

The state government also is alive to the problem and would take every step to thwart the designs of disruptive elements. The police said today a timer may have been used to trigger three blasts in Gorakhpur. It claimed to have got important clues about the serial blasts. Fifteen persons had also been rounded up for interrogation.SSP R.K. Rai said timer devices could have been used to set off the three bombs kept in tiffin boxes and tied to cycles. They went off at five minutes’ interval.

Hours after the blasts, the railway police recovered 10 kg of explosives and 20 litres of ammonium nitrate from the railway station at Faizabad, the twin town of Ayodhya.

The explosives were recovered around 2 am from the second class waiting room on platform No.1 of the station during a routine search.

Meanwhile, a Special Task Force team of the UP police had reached Gorakhpur to investigate the blasts in Golghar area. SSP Rai said all exit routes of the city had been sealed and security in and around the famous Gorakh Nath temple had been beefed up.

The police was also checking whether the blasts had any link with the recovery of 10 kg of explosives and 20 litres of ammonium nitrite, the sources said.

The nature of explosives was yet to be ascertained, the police said. It added that a team of experts had been rushed from Lucknow.

Gorakhpur: A state of high alert has been sounded across Uttar Pradesh. Security has been beefed up at all sensitive places and security personnel in strength deployed to thwart the designs to create problems in the state, sources said.

Tight security arrangements had been put in place at the Ram Janambhoomi complex at Ayodhya, Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and Srikrshna Janambhoomi in Mathura, they said.

A strict vigil was being maintained on the Indo-Nepal border districts and an extensive checking of vehicles was being conducted, they said. — PTI

Top

 

Hasina Parkar told to surrender by today

Mumbai, May 23
A local court today directed Hasina Parkar, sister of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim, to surrender by tomorrow noon before the 37th Metropolitan Magistrate court, which had issued a non-bailable warrant for her.

While disposing of her anticipatory bail application (ABA), acting principal judge N.D. Deshpande gave her a day’s reprieve and asked her to surrender tomorrow before the court.

The court has also given liberty to the prosecution that if she fails to surrender before the court, they can execute the warrant.

Judge Deshpande further said the applicant has liberty to file bail application tomorrow itself in the Metropolitan Magistrate Court.

The court directed the police not to arrest her till the disposal of her bail application. However, investigative agency has been directed to keep survelliance on Haseena's activities.

Earlier, special public prosecutor Rohini Salian told the court about the trouble faced by the police in tracing Hasina Parkar after an FIR was lodged against her in the extortion case.

She told the court that the police had first visited Hasina's Nagpada residence where they met Haseena's daughter who feigned ignorance about her mother's whereabouts. Thereafter, the police went to Mumbra in Thane district, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Uttar Pradesh in search of Haseena.

At this stage, Haseena complained of uneasiness following which judge Deshpande asked her to go to the adjoining court room and relax there.

Meanwhile, the anti-extortion cell has arrested Shamim Abdul Qureshi, driver-cum-bodyguard of Haseena for his alleged involvement in the SRA project dispute case.

He was produced before additional chief metropolitan magistrate S.Y. Shisode this afternoon, who remanded him in police custody till May 30. — UNI

Top

 

Two SP, BJS legislators join BSP

Lucknow, May 23
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh got a boost today when two sitting MLAs, one each from the Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janshakti Party (BJS), joined its ranks.

While SP MLA from Swar Tanda (Rampur) Nawab Kazim Ali resigned from his party’s membership, the lone BJS MLA Ram Sewak Singh Patel from Binawar (Badaun) announced merger with the BSP.

Addressing a joint conference with Patel and BSP national general secretary Nasimuddin Siddiqui, Ali said though he was elected on an SP ticket some office-bearers had opposed him openly in the elections at the behest of party leader Azam Khan.

He alleged that Khan helped BJP candidates in Rampur.

“I even apprised Mulayam Singh Yadav of the entire episode but nothing was done,” Ali said.

“The SP never worked for the interests of the community and in Rampur Azam Khan worked against the party,” he claimed.

Ali said his resignation had been accepted by speaker Sukhdeo Rajbhar.

About possibilities of contesting elections again by leaving the seat for Chief Minister Mayawati, Ali said he would do as directed by the party.

Patel said the BSP was the only party that could maintain law and order in the state and control crime and criminals. — PTI

Top

 

Many Sikh groups refrain from bandh
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, May 23
The Sikh community may have succeeded in putting up a united show in reaction to the Dera Sacha Suada controversy but it is a divided front in Uttarakhand.

Doubts have appeared over the successful conduct of Dehra Dun bandh on May 24 for which Uttarakhand Sikh Federation (USF) had given a call on Sunday, while a local unit of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has announced it would not support the bandh call.

The president of Dehra Dun district unit of SAD, Gurpal Singh, told The Tribune that they decided not to support the bandh call as they have not received any directive from the Sri Akal Takht Sahib.

Interestingly, the Sikh organisations here had refrained from announcing their support to the USF, which is only organisation to hold demonstration on the issue in the capital city recently. It’s president Gurdeep Singh Tony, had announced that they would ensure closure of all business establishments, private and government offices besides stopping movement of vehicular traffic.

The USF had also claimed support of UKD, the coalition partner of BJP government and Dehra Dun Beopar Mandal. The state president of UKD, B.D.Raturi has already expressed reservations over his party’s support to the bandh.

In a meeting held yesterday at the SAD office on the Race Course Road, the representatives of the Beopar Mandal and different market associations also decided not to participate in the bandh, moreover this would affecting their and trade create great inconvenience to general public.

Even as they expressed their respect for the religious sentiments of the Sikh community but maintained that since it was a sensitive religious issue, big event like the bandh should be avoided as it may affect peaceful environment.

Top

 

Lack of stringent law caused blasts: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 23
The BJP said today the absence of a stringent law to combat terrorism was responsible for terrorist acts like the Gorakhpur bomb blasts in the 
country.

There was no stringent legislation like POTA, which was there during the NDA rule to combat terrorism, and this had encouraged such acts, BJP president Rajnath Singh said here after a meeting of the party at the residence of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Referring to the yesterday’s blasts in Gorakhpur, Rajnath Singh said the perpetrators of the crime need to be brought to book at any cost. The morale of terrorist elements had increased manifold due to the absence of a tough law, he said.

Rajnath Singh lashed out at the UPA saying that although the Manmohan Singh government had managed to remove POTA owing to their policy of appeasement, it had not yet found a proper replacement for it.

Top

 

Forgery case against BSP legislator

Hardwar, May 23
Police has registered a case against the local BSP legislator in the Bhagwanpur district here for allegedly drawing salary for the post of temporary teacher even after the court had dismissed his petition for the regularisation of his service.

The case was registered yesterday against Surendra Rakesh on a report filed by B D Inter College Manager Vikas Tyagi. The Bhagwanpur Police registered the case under section 420 of the IPC.

According to Tyagi, Rakesh, who was appointed a temporary teacher in 1992, had filed a writ petition in the Allahabad High Court in 1994 for the regularisation of his service.

The court had ordered the college to continue to pay him salary till the final disposal of the petition. Later on, after the creation of Uttarakhand, the writ was transferred to the Nainital High Court which rejected it in 2003, the manager added.

''But even after the dismissal of his writ petition, Rakesh continued to draw his salary fraudulently for three years,'' he said.

However, Rakesh, who was elected an MLA in the recent Assembly elections, told UNI today that all the allegations levelled against him were ''baseless and politically motivated''.

He said he himself had withdrawn his writ petition from the court after receiving a letter form the management that his services would now be regularised in pursuance of a recent state government order. — UNI

Top

 

Trehan-Fortis Standoff
Docs’ body moves HC, seeks panel to run Escorts
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 23
The ongoing tussle between cardiologist Naresh Trehan and Fortis Healthcare, the new owner of the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center (EHIRC), took a new turn today with an association of doctors filing a petition in the Delhi High Court saying Trehan should be allowed to continue as the executive director of the institute.

The group also asked the court to set up a committee to run Escorts hospital.

Last week, Fortis Healthcare managing director Shivinder Mohan Singh removed Trehan from the EHIRC citing conflict of interest between the cardiologist’s “self-promoted” Medicity Project and the EHIRC as the reason.

This led to a major showdown on Saturday on the hospital premises followed by the high court staying the Fortis decision. Since then the two sides continued to exchange allegations and counter-allegations. The trouble between the cardiologist and the new management has been brewing ever since the hospital’s takeover by the Fortis. The conflict has roots in other issues as well, including allegations that Trehan himself was interested in taking over Escorts.

Meanwhile, doctors have also filed a contempt of court PIL that Fortis was not abiding by the court order of May 19 that permitted Trehan to treat patients and have unrestricted entry into the EHIRC.

President, operations, EHIRC, Daljit Singh confirmed to The Tribune that an FIR had been registered with the New Friends Colony police station. “On Saturday, we had complained about Trehan, his staff and supporters trespassing and disturbing peace in the hospital” he said, adding that the FIR was not “name specific”.

Trehan and his associates stayed away from Escorts today. As per Daljit Singh, “To the best of my knowledge, Trehan did not come to the hospital or perform any operations”. He also denied any incident of relatives of patients of Trehan having been beaten up by the police for “raising their voice”. “I am not aware of any such incident,” he said.

There were reports that when a couple of relatives of the patients asked why Trehan had not come to meet the patients since morning, they were slapped by policemen.

Patients also complained that Escorts had turned into a virtual jail with the police and private security men swarming the hospital, putting them and their attendants to inconvenience.

The court order, which allowed Trehan full and free access to his office, staff, and technical and administrative facilities in the EHIRC, has also become a subject of controversy. His two personal staff, who were also sacked on May 18, are not being allowed entry into the hospital.

While Fortis said it was adhering to the court’s order by allowing the entry of all doctors and technicians required for surgery, Trehan said he needed his personal staff, without which he could not work. The management continued to maintain that it was complying with the high court’s order, adding that the personal staff “do not have any technical skills and only take care of secretarial work”.

Top

 

100-hour blockade by ex-Bodo ultras from today
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, May 23
Leaders of the now disbanded Bodo tribal militant group, Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT), have called for 100-hour rail-cum-road blockade in Assam from tomorrow in protest against a series of attacks on former BLT members by the rival National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

Ex-BLT Welfare Society chairman Janamohan Mushahary, while calling for the blockade, stated that the NDFB, which is now in a ceasefire pact with the government of India, had been targeting former members of the BLT with a design to create trouble in the Bodo tribe dominated areas in western and northern Assam.

He alleged that the NDFB’s fugitive chairman D.R. Nabla, alias Ranjan Daimari, who is staying abroad, had lost control over the cadres of the militant group, which had been indulging in fratricide in sharp violation of the ceasefire ground rules.

The former BLT man warned the NDFB against testing the tolerance limit of the former members of the now disbanded BLT. On behalf of the former BLT Welfare Society, Mushahary condemned the May 13 killing of Mantu Basumatary, a surrendered BLT member, along with three of his associates allegedly by the NDFB in Sonitpur district of north Assam.

The former BLT members alleged the involvement of NDFB cadres based in the outfit’s truce-time camp at Singlimari in Baksa district of the state. The slain former BLT member was engaged in large-scale agricultural activities in the area under the banner of an NGO called ‘Vision NE-India’.

The BLT was a banned Bodo militant group, which was disbanded in year 2003 after it had signed a peace accord with the government of India. The leaders of the disbanded BLT are now in the seat of power, Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District Council (BTADC), which was created as per the provision of the accord signed with the BLT.

The NDFB is a proscribed rival Bodo insurgent group, which is at present in ceasefire with the government of India for the past 18 months and the actual peace negotiation is yet to take off.

Meanwhile, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is ready with a contingency plan to tackle the situation arising out of the 100 road-cum-rail blockade announced by the EX-BLT Welfare Society.

NFR spokesman N. Bhattacharrya informed that the railway authority would act on the basis of the impact of the blockade within the first few hours. Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in the Bodo tribe dominated areas in the state.

Top

 

Special training to fight low intensity war must: Patil
S Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 23
In the wake of growing incidents of terror strikes, union home minister Shivraj Patil today said the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans should be imparted special training to counter proxy and low intensity warfare.

“We need to give a different and specialised training to the personnel of the BSF, different from what is given to the military and police, to enable them to fight proxy war effectively, which does not recognise the boundaries of time and region,” Patil said, addressing BSF personnel at the force’s annual investiture ceremony here today.

Pointing to the use of sophisticated weapons by terrorists, the home minister said the government was committed to equip the force with modern weapons and gadgets.

The home minister also indicated that like in the case of Army personnel, BSF jawans could also be exempted from the new pension scheme and a more favourable pension scheme will be adopted.

“We are committed to ensure the welfare of the families of those personnel killed, more often at the early age, in combat,” Patil said, adding that favourable pension scheme for the force personnel is under active consideration and positive result may come soon.

Top

 

Legal literacy programme for blind
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, May 23
The visually impaired in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh may justifiably take pride in being legally literate, thanks to the initiative taken by a Dehra Dun based NGO, Rural Litigation and Empowerment Kender (RELK), to develop local languages containing basic legal knowledge in Braille for the first time in the country.

In order to expand legal awareness in maximum areas among maximum number of people, the NGO has already released booklets comprising simple laws, affecting common people in the local languages in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, where it is working on legal literacy programme in rural areas for past many years.

“But it is for the first time that we have included the visually impaired in the programme. For this, we are developing, in Braille script, the information about different laws in simple Gurmukhi and Hindi languages,” RELK chairperson Awadhesh Kaushal said while talking to The Tribune.

As per the data available at the National Institute of Visually Handicapped (NIVH), there are 396 and 298 visually impaired persons per one lakh people in rural areas of Punjab and Haryana respectively.

The initiative is part of the legal literacy programme beginning from June 1, covering all villages of the two states and Chandigarh.

The National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) is funding the programme. Respective state legal services authorities (SLSAs) are the local partners.

“We also plan to develop local languages in Braille in others states where we are already working on the legal literacy programme,” added Kaushal. The RELK is the only NGO being supported by the NLSA in the country for the purpose.

Top

 

Home Guards jawans sell arms to criminals
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 23
At a time when contractors engaged in construction of roads and other projects in Bihar are demanding more security cover from the state government against criminals and extortionists, seven home guards allegedly sold off their rifles and ammunition to criminals at Mokama in rural Patna.

Recently, a prominent contractor of Patna was gunned down by criminals at the busy Boring road in the heart of the city. The home guard jawans were posted at the construction site of a referral hospital at Mokama to provide security to the workers of a contractor receiving extortion calls.

Talking to media persons here today, director general of Bihar police, Ashish Sinha said prima facie, the jawans sold seven rifles and 20 rounds of ammunition to criminals.

He said six of them had been arrested and efforts were on to recover firearms and cartridges.

According to Sinha, the home guards were “cooking up” a story that their weapons had been looted by some anti-social elements. “If we take their side of the story to be true, then the question arises that why did these home guards not fire a single round,” he wondered.

Top

 

Difference of opinion between SC judges
Man escapes death for wife’s murder
S. S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 23
High profile, self-styled swamy, Shraddananda, alias Murli Manohar Mishra has escaped death penalty for the gruesome murder of his wife in Bangalore, to grab her huge properties worth several crore rupees, as there was difference of opinion between two judges of a Supreme Court Bench on the quantum of punishment to be handed over to him.

Due to difference between justice S.B. Sinha and justice Markandey Katju on affirming capital punishment to the swamy, the matter was referred to a larger Bench.

While justice Katju, in a strongly worded order, said “cunning rogue” like him did not deserve any mercy and there could not be any other punishment for him than death sentence, justice Sinha did not agree with him and opined that case did not fall in the rarest of the rare category.

The deceased, Shakereh, earlier married to Indian diplomat to Iran, Akbar Khaleeli, had fallen for Mishra in early eighties, when he was working as a manager for the nawab of Rampur. Khaleeli and Shakereh were family friends of the nawab.

Shakereh, after leaving Kahleeli and marrying Mishra, shifted to Bangalore and started living in her huge bungalow from where she went missing in May 1991. Her daughter, Sabah, from the first husband, got suspicious as Mishra gave her evasive replies about Shakereh when she contacted him on phone.

Finally, Sabah lodged an FIR with the police in 1992. It took police two years to crack the case and her body was exhumed from the backyard of the house in March 1994.

Mishra, who by then, had become swamy Shraddananda, broke down on interrogation and admitted to have killed Shakereh to grab her huge properties, inherited by her from her mother.

Justice Katju, in his order, described Mishra “cold-blooded scallywag, who had no proper qualification and profession.” “Such diabolical and cunning rouge are to be found in abundance nowadays… such people have become greedy and wish to amass wealth by short cuts, even by committing heinous crimes,” he said.

“In my opinion, this is a case of cold blooded, calculated, diabolical murder by the accused of an innocent lady who came from a good family but unfortunately due to her infatuation, fell into his clutches,” justice Katju said.

He said there would be “travesty of justice” if the death sentence is not affirmed on Mishra, who changed his name and became a swamy and by some dubious means, had got access to the house of nawab of Rampur, where he developed contacts with Shakereh.

“In my opinion, there is no doubt that he killed Shakereh and secretly buried her body in the backyard of the house… the fact that he kept her death a secret and told lies repeatedly to her daughter Sabah, proves his guilty mind,” justice Katju observed.

Mishra, at one point of time, told Sabah that her mother had gone to the US and was admitted to Roosevelt Hospital to deliver a child, while on another occasion, she was told that Shakereh had gone to London. The DNA test of the exhumed part of her body had confirmed the murder.

Top

 

Schedule of Samjahuta Express revised

New Delhi, May 23
The Railway Ministry has revised the schedule of 4002 Attari Special and 4608 Samjahuta Express, linking Attari with Lahore, with effect from June 1.

According to the sources in Northern Railway, the 4608 Lahore-Attari Samjhauta Express and the 4002 Attari-Delhi Link Express will run every Tuesday and Friday instead of Monday and Thursday.

The 4004 Delhi-Attari Special and 4607 Attari-Lahore Samjhauta Express will continue to run on Sunday and Wednesday and Monday and Thursday respectively.

The Ministry said there would be no change in the timings of the Delhi-Lahore Samjhauta and Delhi-Attari Link Special trains.

The 4001/4002 Delhi-Attari Link Special train will now offer passengers the comfort of air-conditioned travel with the addition of an AC 3-tier coach. This has been done with immediate effect on an experimental basis for six months in both directions. Sources in the Northern Railway said the Indian Railways rakes will be run for the next six months for Samjahauta Express from Attari to Lahore and back. — TNS

Top

 

Woman commits suicide

Chhattarpur (MP), May 23
A young woman committed suicide by consuming poison due to alleged police harassment immediately after she was released from police custody where she was interrogated in connection with theft of a motorcycle.

District Collector Ajatshatru, who visited Gavhara village along with the Superintendent of Police yesterday, announced a magisterial inquiry by Sub-Divisional Magistrate O.N. Pande into the death of 30-year-old Geetadevi. He also ordered payment of Rs 5,000 as ex-gratia and insurance amount of Rs 50,000 to her daughter.

Disciplinary action had been initiated against five police personnel in connection with the incident, police sources said.

Gourihar police station incharge Puranlal Prajapati and three police personnel were line attached while a lady constable had been suspended.

Police sources said four people had kept a motorcycle at Geetadevi's residence and took it away later. She was detained by the police on May 20 and released late in the night. She committed suicide at her residence the next day.

The villagers along with local MLA Vijay Bahadur Bundela resorted to road blockade agitation alleging police harassment leading to her death and demanded that cases be registered against the police personnel.

Police said the post-mortem was performed yesterday and the last rites would take place on the arrival of her husband Balkishan Shukla, who is employed in Surat. — UNI

Top

 

Rural road projects
PM concerned over corruption
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 23
Calling for more transparency and accountability in construction of road projects, Prime Minister today said, “Corruption in road construction projects had spread like cancer to every corner of the country.”

Inaugurating the national conference on rural roads here today, Dr Singh emphasised quality benchmarks and quality assurance for rural roads on the lines of national highways. “I am concerned about the fact that we invest crores of rupees every year on road construction and maintenance, and yet with every monsoon our roads get worn.” He said a major reason for poor quality roads was corruption and lack of quality assurance. Dr Singh, who released ‘Rural Road Development Plan: Vision 2025,’ said the rural development ministry had taken initiative to set quality benchmarks for rural roads.

“I sincerely hope we can implement both Prime Minister’s Gramin Sadak Yojana and Bharat Nirman without this affliction (corruption) in a transparent and accountable manner,” he said.

Asserting that regular maintenance and upkeep of rural roads was a necessary pre-condition for sustaining the benefits that they bring to our rural communities, he said maintenance functions in the past had not received as much priority as they merit in public systems. “We are losing road assets worth thousands of crores annually due to poor road maintenance. We cannot afford to allow this state of affairs to continue any longer,” he said.

Suggesting that road construction should be made as labour intensive as possible, he said such methods could increase the employment potential by at least five times without compromising quality.

Rural road connectivity, he said, promotes access to economic and social services and facilitates the growth processes in our rural economy. “According to some studies, a million rupees spent on roads has seven times the impact on poverty reduction as compared to similar spending on specific anti-poverty programmes.” He said micro-level studies show that villages having good all-weather road connectivity record better attendance of schoolteachers and doctors, para-medical personnel at their work places.

Under the time-bound programme, all-weather rural road connectivity will be provided to 66,000 villages with an investment of Rs 48,000 crore.

Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said of 33-lakh km of road length in the country, 26.4-lakh km was rural roads and nearly 1,22,000 km roads had been completed under PMGSY so far.

Planning Commision Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that rural roads had been made central feature of the strategy of inclusive growth in the 11th Plan.

Experts from central and state governments, funding organisations and research institutions, field-level officers, independent quality monitors, material and machinery manufacturers and consultants involved in the rural roads are taking part in the two-day conference.

Top

 

Taj Case
Hearing deferred till June 1

Lucknow, May 23
The hearing before the special CBI court was put off after one of the six accused sought more time to file his response to a CBI plea in connection with the Taj Corridor case.

There was no mention of Governor’s sanction being sought by the CBI to prosecute Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, an accused in the case, before a special court today which deferred hearing 
till June 1.

Former UP secretary (environment) R.K. Sharma sought time to file a rejoinder to CBI’s reply on his intervention application challenging a court order sanctioning prosecution of Mayawati and others in the case.

The court had first set June 2 as the date for next hearing but later at the request of CBI counsel, who said officials would not be able to attend the proceedings on that day, preponed it to June 1.

Special judge (anti-corruption) Rekha Dixit deferred the matter after Sharma’s counsel said he needed time to file the rejoinder on the CBI’s reply.

The CBI, which was given time till May 15 for filing the sanction for prosecution of the six accused persons including Mayawati, did not file the sanction today.

The agency had on May 15 moved an adjournment application seeking time to file the same.

The counsels for the CBI today filed their reply on the intervention application of Sharma in which the agency had contested his locus standi in the matter. They, however, did not mention anything about the sanction nor did the matter come up in the court during the brief hearing today. — PTI

Top

 

Supreme Court cautions constitutional bodies
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 23
Expressing concern over the wrong choice of people, to man important constitutional bodies, the Supreme Court has cautioned such institutions against straying from the mandated path, otherwise it would have disastrous effects on the success of the democracy.

This has been stated by a Bench of justices B.P. Singh, Tarun Chatterjee and P.K. Balasubramanyan, in its opinion on Presidential reference for the removal of Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) member, Sayalee Sanjeev Joshi, for her alleged misconduct of providing benefit to over 20 candidates in the subordinate services examination in 1999-2001.

There were allegations of payment of money through middlemen for helping the candidates to get through the examination and a criminal case was filed against Sayalee and 20 other persons allegedly involved.

“If constitutional institutions fail in their duties or stray from the straight and narrow path, it would be a great blow to the democracy, a system of governance that we have given unto ourselves and the great vision our constitutional framers had, about the future of the country,” the court, in its 153-page opinion order said, while answering the queries raised by the President.

Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had made a reference to the apex court, under Article 317 of the Constitution, which deals with the removal and suspension of the Union Public Service Commission and state public service commission members for any misconduct.

Maharasthra governor had referred the case of Joshi’s removal to the President after she was proceeded against, for criminal charges. The other accused include the MPSC controller of examinations, middleman Nitin Sathe and Mohd Chand Moolani, who was also an accused in the multi-crore Telgi fake stamp paper scam.

Expressing anguish over the MPSC “falling from grace and the exalted status” it once enjoyed, due to the mal-practise involving Joshi and its controller of examinations, the apex court said eruption of one scam after the other in a constitutional institution like the state public service commission was very “unfortunate and disturbing”.

Though six charges were initially framed against Joshi, two of them were dropped at the instance of attorney general Milon Banerjee, as no substance was found in those. The court, hence, re-framed the charges on four questions and gave its opinion in respect of those.

While giving benefit of doubt to Joshi in respect of the two charges, including receiving payment, due to the lack of evidence, the court, however, found her guilty on two counts - interfering in the inquiry against her and suppressing the fact from the commission that her daughter had also appeared in the examination - which she was bound to disclose.

Top

 

BJP to hold elections in next 2 months
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 23
The Bharatiya Janata Party today decided to hold organisational elections in the states of Uttar pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur in the next two months which could not be held because of the Assembly elections. The decision to hold organisational elections in the states was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by a former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at his residence here.

The party president Rajnath Singh, after the two-hour meeting, told the mediapersons, that the organisational elections were pending so a decision was taken to complete these within two months. The meeting of top BJP leaders came a day after the state unit deliberated upon the electoral results in Lucknow and sent its report to the high command.

The state unit of the party has been suffering because of differences between some senior leaders.

Singh evaded an answer when asked whether anybody was being held responsible for the party’s debacle in the just-held assembly polls in the state, where BJP could muster only 49 seats, down from 88 last time.

The state unit chief, Kalyan Singh, has already resigned taking moral responsibility for the party’s poor showing in elections. The meeting also discussed the patry’s next National Executive, scheduled to be held from June 15 to 17, at Jaipur.

Asked whether the issue of the NDA’s candidate for the coming presidential election was taken up, Singh said the meeting neither discussed presidential polls nor the electoral rout in UP.

When questioned further, Singh said Vajpayee had been authorised to talk to NDA and non-NDA parties for a consensus choice. “I can't say anything about his statement (where Vajpayee had refused to stand for the post of president) but any decision on the issue will be taken by the NDA,” he added.

Top

 

27 killed in TN wall collapse
Tribune News Service

Chennai, May 23
Atleast 27 people were buried alive while having a drink in a bar attached to a state government owned liquor shop at Tirupur town in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu tonight when a compound wall of an adjacent hosiery unit gave way and fell on the shop.

According to reports here tonight, the wall structure became weak due to incessant heavy rain at Tirupur, famous for hosiery export factories in Coimbatore, 550 kms from here and collapsed on the roof of the bar adjacent to the liquor shop run by the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation .

Police and fire service personnel could recover 27 bodies by 9.30 pm from the debris and rescue operations were going on as it was apprehended that more bodies could be buried below the debris. Most of the victims were drinking when the wall collapsed on them.

Top

 

Police seeks NBW against Orissa DG

Jaipur, May 23
The Rajasthan police today sought the issuance of a non-bailable arrest warrant for Orissa’s Director General (Home Guards) Bidhya Bhusan Mohanty, who had given a surety for the parole of son Bitti Mohanty, convicted of raping a German tourist.

The police officer has been charged with concealing facts and harbouring and obstructing the arrest of his son, who has been absconding after he was released from Jaipur jail on parole.

During the hearing in the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (No 2), the state police sought the warrant to compel the presence of DG Mohanty, who was expected to appear before the investigating officers or the court in Jaipur on Monday on the expiry of the six week relief granted ro him by the Supreme Court on April 19. — UNI

Top

 

Boy falls into tubewell bore pit, dies

Jaipur, May 23
The body of a three-year-old child who fell in a 200 ft tubewell pit near Ranapara village of Dausa district of Rajasthan yesterday, was retrieved early today.

Police sources said here today that Sunil of Golabas hamlet fell in the pit yesterday while he was playing in the vicinity.

Soon rescue operations were taken up with the help of villagers under supervision of the officials but he could not be saved.

The body was recovered during the wee hours today. — UNI

Top

 

Police rifles stolen in Bihar

Barh, May 23
At least seven service rifles of Bihar police personnel were stolen from their barrack in the Mokama hospital in Patna district last night, official sources said today.

They said the burglary took place when some thieves broke open the front door of the barrack, situated at the basement of the hospital and decamped with rifles.

The police camp was set up at the hospital premises last month after the authorities received repeated threats from local miscreants that they would stop the ongoing expansion of the hospital premises.

Meanwhile, the policemen on duty were being questioned. — UNI

Top

 

Girls outshine boys in Chennai

Chennai, May 23
Girls outshone boys in the CBSE XII exams whose results were declared today for the Chennai region.

The top three ranks were secured by Chennai students. K. Vijayakumar of DAV Boys Senior Secondary School, Gopalapuram, topped with 490/500 marks while Nisha Hariharan of PS Higher Secondary School, Mylapore, came second with 489. Rohini of DAV Girls Higher Secondary School, Gopalapuram, with 488 stood third. — 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 |