SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Gujjar Unrest
9 FIRs registered in state during the agitation
Haryana DGP submits report to SC

New Delhi, June 14
Ahead of next week’s hearing on a suo motu petition by the Supreme Court on large-scale violence during the recent Gujjar agitation, the Haryana DGP today submitted an Action Taken Report to the court on the cases registered and people arrested in this regard.

100 days of Uttarakhand government
BJP celebrating hollow claims: Oppn
Dehra Dun , June 14
Even as the BJP prepares for statewide celebrations this Friday on completing 100 successful days of Uttarakhand government led by it, the Opposition parties have begun to slam its claims of achievements during the short tenure so far.

BJP starts drumming up support for Shekhawat
New Delhi, June 14
The announcement of Rajasthan Governor Pratbiha Devi Singh Patil as the UPA-Left's candidate for Rashtrapatil Bhavan has not deterred the BJP and the NDA from contesting the coming presidential candidate as Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat prepare for the coming electoral battle.



EARLIER STORIES


After a sizzling spell of weather, people enjoy the heavy showers that hit Allahabad
After a sizzling spell of weather, people enjoy the heavy showers that hit Allahabad on Thursday. — Reuters

Presidential Poll
Asom Gana Parishad fends for Kalam
Guwahati, June 14

The regional Asom Gana Parishad has decided to root for the re-election of president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam during the June 18-Chennai conference of the Third Front comprising eight regional parties.

Presidential Candidate
After days of stalemate, decision taken in hours
New Delhi, June 14
After days of stalemate, it was a decision taken in hours. The candidature of Pratibha Devisingh Patil as the UPA's candidate for the presidential poll caused quite a surprise in the political circles as it was a name that was nowhere on the horizon until yesterday.

Pratibha feels honoured
Jaipur, June 14
Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil tonight said she felt honoured on being chosen as UPA-Left combine’s Presidential nominee and that the selection of a woman would send a “very good message” to the world that women were respected in India.

Pratibha’s Profile
New Delhi, June 14
A veteran Congress leader with wide experience in the party and government, Pratibha Devisingh Patil is the only woman among present governors and could be the first woman President of the country.

Vajpayee rebuffs PM, Sonia
New Delhi, June 14
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi tonight spoke to senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee on phone seeking the NDA’s support for the UPA’s choice of Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil, but were rebuffed by the Opposition leader, who said the Opposition alliance had its own candidate.

Samajwadi Party office raided
Lucknow, June 14
Indirectly targeting senior Samajwadi Party leader and former urban development minister Mohammad Azam Khan, the Rampur police today raided the SP district office after receiving information about the distribution of blankets and sewing machines purchased under the District Urban Development Agency funds from the party office.

Third front not viable: CPI
Chennai, June 14
Questioning the secular credentials of the AIADMK and the TDP, which have mooted the idea of a third front at the national level, the CPI today said it was not a viable alternative.

WB Cabinet okays Rs 5,000-cr metro project
Kolkata, June 14
The West Bengal government at its Cabinet meeting today formally approved the Rs 5,000-crore project for connecting Salt Lake City with the Howrah Station through the underground railways.

Court’s no to narco test on Vanzara
Ahmedabad, June 14
A local court today rejected Gujarat CID's application seeking narco-analysis test of six policemen, including IPS officer D G Vanzara, accused in the Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. Metropoliton judge K.J. Upadhyay rejected the CID application.

Katara denied bail
New Delhi, June 14
Suspended BJP MP Babubhai Katara, main accused in a human trafficking case, was today denied bail by a city court. Rejecting bail application of Katara, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Kamini Lau said if persons belonging to the high status in life, particularly those who are law-framers, showed scant regard to the laws of the country and become law-breakers, then such violators were required to be dealt with sternly.

Setback for treaty over Bhutanese refugees
Kolkata, June 14
The Indo-Nepal border treaties suffered a setback over the fate of some 10,000 Bhutanese refugees, who had been pushed out of Nepal but were now assembling in the Indo-Nepal border areas in north Bengal, awaiting their rehabilitation in West Bengal.

Kannadiga activists upset over release of non-Kannada films in Karnataka
Protest over ‘Sivaji’ release at film chamber
Bangalore, June 14
Who have earlier successfully enforced a delay in the screening of non-Kannada movies in Karnataka, have now decided to target the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce for allowing the release of Tamil superstar Rajnikant’s movie ‘Sivaji’ in the state tomorrow.

Governor's Golf from June 16
Dehra Dun , June 14
The major highlight of Governor's Cup Golf Tournament 2007 being organised by Raj Bhawan Golf Club at Raj Bhawan Golf Course, Nainital from June 16, is the rating accorded to this heritage golf course by Indian Golfer's Union (IGU), the apex body of the game in India. The recognition has put this event on the national golf calendar.

55 children still missing in Patna
Patna, June 14
Children in Bihar are the most vulnerable section as the cases of abductions have predominantly increased during the past few years. According to an official report, the capital city had witnessed 265 cases of child abductions between 2001 and 2007. Fifty-five of them are still missing.

Suspended MLA’s land allotment cancelled
Jaipur, June 14
To keep dissident voices at bay, the ruling BJP government has cancelled the allotment of agricultural land of suspended Gujjar MLA Prahlad Gunjal, who dared to go against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje during the week-long Gujjar agitation.

Mamata flays Buddha’s stand
Kolkata, June 14
The Trinamool Congress has rubbished the West Bengal government’s argument that land taken from unwilling farmers in Singur for a Tata Motors’ project cannot be returned and said the matter can be sorted out if there is political will to do so.

Gandhi’s grandson cremated
New Delhi, June 14
The body of Mahatma Gandhi's grandson and noted writer-philosopher Ramchandra Gandhi, who died here yesterday, was consigned to the flames this morning with several writers, relatives and well-wishers in attendance.

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Gujjar Unrest
9 FIRs registered in state during the agitation
Haryana DGP submits report to SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 14
Ahead of next week’s hearing on a suo motu petition by the Supreme Court on large-scale violence during the recent Gujjar agitation, the Haryana DGP today submitted an Action Taken Report (ATR) to the court on the cases registered and people arrested in this regard.

DGP R S Dalal, in his affidavit as sought from him by the Court, said a total of nine FIRs were registered in five districts of the state. While three cases were registered in Kaithal, two each were registered in Faridabad and Panipat and one each in Yamunanagar and Gurgaon, he said.

The cases were registered under various provisions of the IPC, and so far, 35 persons had been booked for indulging in violence during the agitation and for violating the prohibitory orders imposed by the authorities. Apart from this, 34 additional preventive detentions were made as precautionary measures, Dalal stated.

Though every possible step was taken to enforce the law and order during the agitation, the DGP said some violent incidents had occurred in Kaithal and Faridabad where public and private properties, including some Haryana Roadways buses, were damaged.

The law and order situation was constantly monitored from the state police headquarters as well as by the SSP of every district, the DGP's report stated.

In the wake of 39 deaths, mostly in Rajathan, during the agitation by Gujjars demanding Scheduled Caste status and large-scale damage to properties, the Court on June 5 had ordered registration of a suo motu petition on the issue. It had described the vandalism during the agitation as a “national shame”.

The Court, scheduled to hear the case on June 18, had issued notices to the DGPs of Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Police Commissioner of Delhi, seeking ATRs from them about the steps taken to bring the culprits to book.

It had also sought video footage of news coverage on the agitation from various TV channels for assessment by senior advocate Rajiv Dhawan, appointed as amicus curiae to assist it in adjudication of the case. The video footage could form the basis for issuing further direction for action against the culprits, the Court had indicated.

It was also indicated that the damage could be imposed on the arsonists on the lines of the same done by the Kerala High Court during a leftists' agitation and a Mumbai court that had imposed Rs 20 lakh damage on Shiv Sena and BJP during a strike in the city.

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100 days of Uttarakhand government
BJP celebrating hollow claims: Oppn
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun , June 14
Even as the BJP prepares for statewide celebrations this Friday on completing 100 successful days of Uttarakhand government led by it, the Opposition parties have begun to slam its claims of achievements during the short tenure so far.

While the Chief Minister B.C Khanduri expressed satisfaction over the performance of his government claiming transparency and accountability in public eye as well as ushering in better fiscal management of the state, the Opposition parties, including the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), have termed these achievements as hollow claims.

The government has planned to organise official and party functions at Dehra Dun, Haldwani and Haridwar, besides district headquarters on June 15. A booklet highlighting the government's achievements would also be released on the occasion.

Though Khanduri maintained that 100 days were not long enough period to pass judgement on the performance of his government, he was satisfied to convey to the bureaucrats and lower rungs of the state machinery that corrupt practices would not be tolerated at any cost. “The way in which SDM level officers were booked in graft cases, has sent a clear message that my government means business. Besides, we have taken steps to ensure transparency, development and fiscal discipline,” he told mediapersons.

Khanduri listed several initiatives taken to bring faster development in the generation of power from the ongoing hydro-electric projects starting with Maneri Bhali-II project and providing better infrastructure for tourism, the two core areas of the state.

On the other hand, the Congress today released a list alleging failure of the government on 35 counts. Taking a dig, its state unit president Harish Rawat today said making liquor cheaper in the state was the only 'achievement' of the government. Other notable failure was restriction imposed on the sale of land to outsiders and the CM's statements on land for industries led to slump in real estate business besides hampering industrial growth, said Rawat.

The state president of NCP Suryakant Dhasmana accused the BJP government of misleading people about development-oriented works. In fact the government has been sending negative messages in this regard. The manner in which the CM has entrusted the probe of alleged financial irregularities to the officials who were allegedly involved in scandals clearly showed that the CM's claims of transparency and accountability were hollow, he alleged.

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BJP starts drumming up support for Shekhawat
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 14
The announcement of Rajasthan Governor Pratbiha Devi Singh Patil as the UPA-Left's candidate for Rashtrapatil Bhavan has not deterred the BJP and the NDA from contesting the coming presidential candidate as Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat prepare for the coming electoral battle.

A senior BJP leader said, "if the UPA leadership thinks that by fielding a woman candidate, they can force us to avoid a contest, they are wrong".

"Even last time in 2002, the Left had fielded a woman candidate Capt Lakshmi Sehgal then why did the Congress not support her", a senior BJP leader quipped adding that there would be contest between two Shekhawats.

The UPA was so afraid of Bhairon Singh that it had to chose a woman married to a Shehawat, he pointed out.

The BJP's strategy is going to be to muster support from smaller parties for Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

With this in mind, senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today held discussions with Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh.

Earlier in the day, Naqvi also met Janta Dal (U) President Sharad Yadav and held wide-ranging discussions for evolving a strategy.

Naqvi, later, briefed former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about the strategy.

The strategy is to evolve a common understanding with the Third Front that both Shekhawat and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah are projected as independent candidates for the post of President and Vice President which would ensure voting above party lines.

"Our advantage is that Bhairon Singh ji enjoys tremendous support in parties like the Congress, BSP and RJD", a NDA leader said.

After that an appeal would be issued by eminent citizens to all MPs and MLAs to vote according to their conscience and then it is hoped that Shekhawat would get votes from all parties including the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, a senior NDA leader said.

The BJP would also seek support from parties from the North-Eastern states, sources said.

Meanwhile, the NDA is seriously thinking of asking the Election Commission to depute independent observers in key states to monitor the voting process so that the legislators and MPs exercise their franchise freely, the sources said.

The states where the NDA would like the deployment of observers include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Unlike the Rajya Sabha polls, in the presidential polls, the parties cannot issue any whip and the the MPs from both the houses and the MLAs, including Delhi and Puducherry, form the electoral college.

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Presidential Poll
Asom Gana Parishad fends for Kalam
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, June 14
The regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has decided to root for the re-election of president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam during the June 18-Chennai conference of the Third Front comprising eight regional parties.

AGP president Brindabon Goswami and party’s Lok Sabha member Sarbananda Sonowal stated that the party would try its best to persuade its allies in the Third Front to oppose the Congress presidential candidate, whoever it may be.

The AGP leaders, who are not likely to oppose any candidate put up by the Left parties, said their best choice for the high office is Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.

“We are going to ask our Third Front partners to root for Dr Kalam’s re-election to the Rashtrapati Bhawan,” the AGP leaders said.

The AGP, which has 24 legislators in Assam Assembly and two Lok Sabha members, has vowed to strive to strengthen the Third Front, which is still in its nascent stage.

“In the present political situation in the country, a single-party government at the Centre has become a remote possibility. Therefore, regional parties have become much more relevant in the national scenario,” Goswami said.

He said the forthcoming Chennai meet would dwell upon the issues of national importance, besides the presidential election.

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Presidential Candidate
After days of stalemate, decision taken in hours
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 14
After days of stalemate, it was a decision taken in hours. The candidature of Pratibha Devisingh Patil as the UPA's candidate for the presidential poll caused quite a surprise in the political circles as it was a name that was nowhere on the horizon until yesterday.

As the Congress leaders got down to the task of sorting out differences with the Left over the candidature of home minister Shivraj Patil, it was evident that the communist parties were not willing to give in.

The prcoess started last eveing when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi arrived in the Capital and went straight to the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was also at 7, RCR, to meet Karunanidhi.

The last night's meeting, where some names were discussed, was followed by a morning meeting today between Karunanidhi and the Left leaders Prakash Karat, A.B.Bardhan, D. Raja and Sitaram Yechury. Sources said the DMK chief told the Left leaders that the Congress would not spare their first choice - Pranab Mukherjee - of his responsibilities in the government and they will have to agree to another name. Sources said the Left parties, which were suggested alternative names of Patil and Dr Karan Singh, did not agree, as they were not convinced of "strong secular credentials" of the candidates. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister then went to 7, RCR, where top Congress leaders were meeting the UPA allies individually. Sources said Left leaders, who went to meet the Prime Minister and Gandhi in the afternoon, suggested the name of human resource minister Arjun Singh, but they were told that the senior minister was not keeping good health.

With logjam prevailing after days of discussions under the glare of media, Congress leaders were not in a mood to prolong the decision. Keen on a joint UPA-Left candidate, Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi suggested having a woman candidate, to which the Left agreed.

As discussions began on a name, lists prepared by the PMO of senior leaders and governors helped arrive at a decision on Pratibha Patil. Her name was endorsed by Bardhan, who hails from Maharashtra and knows the Congress leader well, and other Left leaders.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, too, backed the name of Patil and after the other UPA partners gave their consent, a meeting of the UPA-Left coordination committee was called in the evening, where Sonia Gandhi announced the decision of the candidature of Patil.

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Pratibha feels honoured

Jaipur, June 14
Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil tonight said she felt honoured on being chosen as UPA-Left combine’s Presidential nominee and that the selection of a woman would send a “very good message” to the world that women were respected in India.

“I never dreamt and thought of the top constitutional post but a hint about it was given by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi regarding her selection this afternoon when I was in Mount Abu,” said an elated Patil at press conference at the Raj Bhavan here shortly after her arrival by train from the hill station.

To a question, Patil said there was no pressure on her to contest the Presidential poll, and it was just an offer from Sonia Gandhi, which she accepted willingly. “She (Sonia) wanted to know my mind about the offer,” Patil said, adding that she was grateful to Sonia Gandhi and leaders of UPA constituents for considering her for the Presidency. — PTI

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Pratibha’s Profile
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 14
A veteran Congress leader with wide experience in the party and government, Pratibha Devisingh Patil is the only woman among present governors and could be the first woman President of the country.

She became the first woman Governor of Rajasthan nearly three years ago. Hailing from Maharashtra, 72-year-old Patil began her legislative career in 1962, three years before she got married, and continued to be member of the Maharashtra assembly till 1985. She held various portfolios in the state government between 1967 and 1985 except between 1978 and 1982, when she was leader of the Opposition in the state assembly for nearly two years. She was leader of the Opposition, when Sharad Pawar became Chief Minister for the first time. The portfolios held by her include urban development, housing, education, tourism, parliamentary affairs, health, social welfare, prohibition, rehabilitation, and cultural affairs.

Patil was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1985 and served as deputy chairman of the Upper House from November 18, 1986, to November 5, 1988. She was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1991 and served as the chairperson of the house committee. She was the PCC chief of Maharashtra from 1988 to 1990. During the years when the Congress was out of power at the Centre, Patil was virtually in political wilderness, doing work mostly in her home state.

A leader with spotless record in public service, Patil has special interest in rural economy and welfare of women and is considered a loyalist of the Nehru-Gandhi family. She is associated with various cultural, educational and social organisations and has visited several countries.

Born on December 19, 1934, in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, Patil practised as a lawyer in Jalgaon before joining politics. She is married to Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat, who originally hails from Rajasthan and belongs to a farming family.

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Vajpayee rebuffs PM, Sonia

New Delhi, June 14
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi tonight spoke to senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee on phone seeking the NDA’s support for the UPA’s choice of Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil, but were rebuffed by the Opposition leader, who said the Opposition alliance had its own candidate.

Vajpayee, chairperson of the NDA, told Manmohan Singh and Gandhi that the UPA had declared its candidate without consulting the NDA, which had its candidate and was therefore “unable” to back the ruling coalition’s nominee.

Gandhi told Vajpayee that it was for the first time that she had sought support from him but the former Prime Minister turned down the request saying “you announced the candidate without taking our opinion”, a statement issued by BJP late tonight said.

Besides, “We too have our candidate and we are, therefore, unable to support you”, the statement quoted Vajpayee as telling the Congress President. — PTI

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Samajwadi Party office raided
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, June 14
Indirectly targeting senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and former urban development minister Mohammad Azam Khan, the Rampur police today raided the SP district office after receiving information about the distribution of blankets and sewing machines purchased under the District Urban Development Agency (DUDA) funds from the party office.

Briefing media, secretary home Javed Ahmad said preliminary investigations made by Rampur SP Sanjiv Gupta revealed that material, costing approximately Rs 10 lakh, had been received from DUDA for distribution.

However, as the model code of conduct had been implemented, the material had been stored at the SP district office.

Today the news of the material being distributed to people spread like wildfire.

When the police and the city magistrate arrived on the scene to ascertain the criteria for distribution, the officer-bearers had escaped after locking the officer.

The police has registered no case so far, informed Ahmad.

According to sources, the development is targeted at Mohammad Azam Khan, the senior-most minister of the Mulayam Singh Yadav's cabinet.

He was also in the eye of a controversy for the setting up of Jauhar University in his hometown Rampur with himself as the lifelong chancellor.

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Third front not viable: CPI

Chennai, June 14
Questioning the secular credentials of the AIADMK and the TDP, which have mooted the idea of a third front at the national level, the CPI today said it was not a viable alternative.

Addressing a press conference here, CPI State Secretary D Pandian said ''they have named it as a third front.

But it is yet to take shape. It has neither clarity of politics nor any clear perspective.

We have to wait and watch. But definitely, it's not a viable alternative.''

Except for Samajwadi President Mulayam Singh Yadav, one of the architects of the proposed third front, the AIADMK and the TDP had allied with the BJP at one time or other.

''But now they say that the front is a non-Congress, non-BJP combine''.

Referring to the AIADMK's opposition to the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project in the name of existence of Ramar bridge, Pandian alleged that more than the BJP, the AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa appears to be fighting for a death case, echoing only religious sentiments devoid of politics.

''It was the same Jayalalithaa, which had included the SSCP in her party manifesto. But she is opposing it now and pleading for protection of 'non-existent' Ramar bridge supposed to have been built 17 lakh years ago and which has not been in use. It smacks of unscientific religious bigotry.'' — UNI

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WB Cabinet okays Rs 5,000-cr metro project
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, June 14
The West Bengal government at its Cabinet meeting today formally approved the Rs 5,000-crore project for connecting Salt Lake City with the Howrah Station through the underground railways.

The Japanese government has agreed to sanction the entire financial aid as long-term, low-interest rate loans. The Japan metro railway authorities have also agreed to execute the project jointly with the Indian Metro Railway and the state government under the rapid transit system scheme. The proposed metro rail is expected to be on tracks some time in 2013.

Talking to mediapersons, chief secretary A.K. Deb said the Centre had cleared the proposed metro rail link project in principle. The details of the scheme would be finalised after consulting the Japanese metro rail experts and the Indian metro rail authorities.

He said the Centre had also agreed to bear a substantial amount spent on the project and the state would also spend at least 20 per cent of the same.

The Cabinet also decided that the land already acquired and handed over to Tata Motors at Singur would be taken back under any circumstances.

On the contrary, the affected landowners would be allotted alternative land in and around Singur. Accordingly, state industries minister Nirupam Sen had also finalised an alternative proposal that would be sent to Mamata Banerjee and the Singur Krishi Bachaoo Committee.

However, since several cases regarding Singur and Nandigram disputes are pending in the Calcutta High Court, it has been decided that neither any minister nor official henceforth would make any statement on the issues.

The industries minister expressed hope that the Singur and Nandigram problems would be resolved soon and peace and normalcy restored.

The Chief Justice's Division Bench at Calcutta High Court, which could not take up the Singur and Nandigram cases yesterday, would hold the hearings tomorrow. The court would decide if the lands already acquired forcibly and transferred to Tata Motors could be taken back and returned to the unwilling farmers. State advocate general Balai Roy argued that the lands already handed over to Tata Motors could be taken back legally.

However, Mamata Banerjee, quoting several legal experts, said there could be no legal bar for taking back the lands acquitted forcibly and transferred to a third party without the consent of the land-owners.

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Court’s no to narco test on Vanzara

Ahmedabad, June 14
A local court today rejected Gujarat CID's application seeking narco-analysis test of six policemen, including IPS officer D G Vanzara, accused in the Soharabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. Metropoliton judge K.J. Upadhyay rejected the CID application.

Among the six arrested three are IPS officers D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Dinesh M N (all the three are suspended).

The other three accused policemen are N H Dabhi, Santram Sharma and Ajay Parmar.

Earlier, on June 7 the court had reserved its order on the petition of state CID seeking narco-analysis test of six policemen.

The defence argued that narco-analysis test of any accused cannot be conducted without his approval.

It also said that remand period of the six policemen was over and they could not be subjected to any further police custody.

Prosecution told the court the narco-analysis test of the accused is required to be done to find out the motive behind the fake encounter of Sheikh and alleged murder of his wife Kausar Bi. — PTI

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Katara denied bail
Our Correspondent

New Delhi, June 14
Suspended BJP MP Babubhai Katara, main accused in a human trafficking case, was today denied bail by a city court.

Rejecting bail application of Katara, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Kamini Lau said if persons belonging to the high status in life, particularly those who are law-framers, showed scant regard to the laws of the country and become law-breakers, then such violators were required to be dealt with sternly.

The court also said offence involving organised human trafficking syndicate stands on a much graver footing in respect of the punishment and a serious view had to be taken of the same as such offences are on rise.

Katara had yesterday claimed innocence before the court saying it was his secretary Rajendra Kumar Gumpa, who had got the alleged fake passports of his three children issued.

Katara’s counsel R.S. Jakhar claimed that no money was ever demanded by the accused MP and the three cheques, allegedly recovered from his possession at the IGI Airport here, were planted.

The allegation that Katara had earlier taken a man, three women and a child abroad with him had not been corroborated by the police till date, he claimed, adding that he was in custody since April 18 and merited release as the probe in the case, vis-a-vis him, was over.

The court had, on June 6, refused to grant bail to three co-accused Kiran Dhar, Sunder Lal Yadav and Satwant in the case saying that their release would have detrimental effect on the probe as the police was yet to lay their hands on other suspected Parliamentarians.

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Setback for treaty over Bhutanese refugees
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, June 14
The Indo-Nepal border treaties suffered a setback over the fate of some 10,000 Bhutanese refugees, who had been pushed out of Nepal but were now assembling in the Indo-Nepal border areas in north Bengal, awaiting their rehabilitation in West Bengal.

Visibly worried about the situation, the Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, met the external affairs minister, Pranab Mukherjee and sought the Central help and assistance for tackling the Bhutan refugees problems.

The chief secretary, A.K.Deb also rushed to New Delhi last week to meet the officials of the external affairs ministry and the home department.

According to the external affairs ministry, the unilateral decision by the Nepal government of pushing out the Bhutanese refugees from their lands to Bhutan en route north Bengal district was against the Indo-Nepal border treaties.

Returning back to the state, the chief secretary visited the Nepal-Bhutan border and held meetings with the police and the district officials, directing them to step up the security arrangement in the border for preventing any infiltration from across Nepal and Bangladesh. A strong protest note was also sent both from the external affairs ministry and the Bengal government to Nepal against their sudden pushing out of the Bhutanese refugees (known as Bhupali refugees) from their country to north Bengal without holding talks in this connection with both the Bengal government and the Bhutan administration.

The Nepal government had given June 15 as the deadline for the Bhutanese refugees to leave Kathmandu.

The Bhutan government, however, was not told anything about this decision by the Nepal administration.

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Kannadiga activists upset over release of non-Kannada films in Karnataka
Protest over ‘Sivaji’ release at film chamber
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, June 14
Who have earlier successfully enforced a delay in the screening of non-Kannada movies in Karnataka, have now decided to target the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce for allowing the release of Tamil superstar Rajnikant’s movie ‘Sivaji’ in the state tomorrow.

The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, which is behind this move, had earlier prevailed upon theatre owners in the city not to screen Tamil movies after the announcement of the Cauvery water dispute award.

The present proposed censorship harks back to an earlier understanding reached with the State Film Chamber of Commerce under which the release of all non-Kannadiga films was delayed by a few weeks. This was apparently done to safeguard the interest of Kannada movies as well as the Kannada film industry which is way behind its Tamil and Telegu counterparts.

In keeping with the general spirit of this informal decision, only 10 Tamil prints and four Telegu-dubbed prints of ‘Sivaji’ are expected to be circulated in the state. Moreover, there is going to be limited screening of the movie outside Bangalore for the first two weeks. The distributors of the movie are shunning publicity and have desisted from putting up hoardings advertising the movie. Sources said this was done so as not to excite Kannadiga sentiments as the distributors expect the pre-release hype surrounding the movie to carry the day for them. Industry sources said the film would be released tomorrow without any fanfare.

However, the Rakshana Vedike is clearly not satisfied with these steps. Its President T.A Narayana Gowda said Vedike volunteers would picket the Film Chamber’s headquarters here for allowing release of the movie. “We have a clear cut understanding that non-Kannada movies should be screened in the state only after a gap of seven weeks after the release of the movie”.

Gowda said the Chamber had, however, decided to go against its own rules to allow the screening of ‘Sivaji’ from tomorrow. The Vedike leader said such a move would amount to discouraging Kannada movies which would not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, the general public is quite excited over ‘Sivaji’ because of the large Tamil population in Bangalore. Multiplexes, which usually show only English and Hindi movies, are also slated to screen ‘Sivaji’.

Industry sources say distribution rights of ‘Sivaji’ have been sold in Karnataka and Kerala for around Rs 3.50 crore. The film is expected to be a big hit in Karnataka and distributors want to wait and watch for the reaction in the IT city before going in for widespread release of the movie in the other parts of the state.

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Governor's Golf from June 16
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun , June 14
The major highlight of Governor's Cup Golf Tournament 2007 being organised by Raj Bhawan Golf Club at Raj Bhawan Golf Course, Nainital from June 16, is the rating accorded to this heritage golf course by Indian Golfer's Union (IGU), the apex body of the game in India. The recognition has put this event on the national golf calendar.

Spread over 50 acre, the 18 hole golf course with 18 different tees is connoisseur's delight. Golfing was started here in 1926 with the efforts of Lord Malcolm Hailey, the then Governor of the United Provinces. Designed and laid by the British Army Engineers, the course reflects typical flavor of the British penchant for sylvan surroundings. Since beginning, it remains on the best-maintained golf course in the country. In 1994, it was opened for the public.

Uttarakhand Governor Sudarshan Agarwal will tee off to formally inaugurate this 5 th edition of the two day annual event on June 16. Among the dignitaries Lt.Gen. O.P. Nandrajog, GOC-in-C, Central Command, LT. Gen. TPS Rawat (retd.) are also participating in the tournament. The participants include competitive golfers, bureaucrats, defense services officers and the corporate community from Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, Kolkata and Lucknow

The event has been attracting participants from all over the country. This year also it has attracted unprecedented response from players. According to Nitin Upadhaya, Information Officer Raj Bhawan, a record number of 88 entries were received this time. But only 60 entries have been confirmed due to the golf course capacity. Like in previous editions of the tournament, this year also some national players like Asiad '82 gold medalist Amit Luthra and 10 years old, India Number two player in sub-junior level Vidit Singh are the notable participants. The tournament is divided in the two parts, day one 18 holes and day two 9 holes with competition like best score, gross and net in all categories and prizes for accuracy in long drive and approach to hole. In all there are 20 different trophies including hole-in-one.

It was on the initiative of the first Governor of Uttarakhand Surjit Singh Barnala that the Raj Bhawan Golf Club was duly set up with a clear mandate to establish this club as an attraction of Nainital in its own right. His successor, Sudarshan Agarwal has reaffirmed this mandate and as a result, the club is poised to become a prominent destination for golfers across the country. After the resounding success of the Governor's Gold Cup Golf sponsored by blue chip corporate companies in 2003, the club is poised to host a regular Pro-Am Tournament every year during the autumn offering substantial prize money to attract top professional names to this golf course.

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55 children still missing in Patna

Patna, June 14
Children in Bihar are the most vulnerable section as the cases of abductions have predominantly increased during the past few years.

According to an official report, the capital city had witnessed 265 cases of child abductions between 2001 and 2007. Fifty-five of them are still missing.

As per the report prepared by the police headquarters following Patna High Court's directive, most of the kidnaps were for ransom followed by other reasons, adding that 13 of the victims were killed while 197 rescued.

The report further revealed that from Motihari in East Champaran district, about 252 toddlers were kidnapped in the past seven years, of which four were killed and 200 rescued.

In Muzaffarpur, 146 children were kidnapped during the same period, where four were killed and in Katihar, police recovered four bodies of the abducted children during the period.

Police further said 48 children in Motihari, 37 in Sitamarhi and 25 children in Muzaffarpur were still missing.

The issue came to forefront and rocked the state administration after the highly sensitive abduction cases of Ankit, Kislay, Siddhant Parmar, Golu and Shalini.

The High Court had taken suo motu notice of the crime perpetrated on soft targets and had issued a number of directions to the administration. — UNI

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Suspended MLA’s land allotment cancelled

Jaipur, June 14
To keep dissident voices at bay, the ruling BJP government has cancelled the allotment of agricultural land of suspended Gujjar MLA Prahlad Gunjal, who dared to go against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje during the week-long Gujjar agitation.

Aloke, District Collector, Kota, cancelled at least 60 bigha land allotted by the government in Dharampura, citing that they failed to harvest the land in the year 2000.

Gunjal and his relatives have been pursuing agriculture on these pieces of government land for years. In 1999, the land allotment committee allotted these pieces of land in the name of Mr Gunjal, his wife Jai Kunwar, brother Ramlal Gunjal, sister-in-laws Dakha Bai and Ram Pyari and counsin brother Lalchand.

In 2003, tehsildar Ladpura appealed in the district collector court that the Gunjal family failed to use the land for agricultural purpose in 2000 and hence their allotment should be cancelled.

Gunjal and his family said they could not harvest the land in 2000 due to drought conditions and as water was not available. The case has been pending for the last four years.

After a hearing on Tuesday, district collector cancelled the land allotment. — UNI

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Mamata flays Buddha’s stand

Kolkata, June 14
The Trinamool Congress has rubbished the West Bengal government’s argument that land taken from unwilling farmers in Singur for a Tata Motors’ project cannot be returned and said the matter can be sorted out if there is political will to do so.

“The land acquired from unwilling farmers in Singur must be returned to them. We will fight for the return of the land,” Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said.

Banerjee told PTI: “Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee does not know the ABC of land acquisition. If the state government has the political will, the matter can still be sorted out. — PTI

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Gandhi’s grandson cremated

New Delhi, June 14
The body of Mahatma Gandhi's grandson and noted writer-philosopher Ramchandra Gandhi, who died here yesterday, was consigned to the flames this morning with several writers, relatives and well-wishers in attendance.

Conspicuous by their absence were prominent figures from political parties and representatives from Central and state governments.

The last rites were performed at about 10 a.m at the Lodhi Road crematorium where his daughter Leela lit the pyre.

Besides his brothers West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and noted journalist and former parliamentarian Rajmohan Gandhi, his sister Tara Bhattacharya was also present at the cremation ground along with several eminent people of the city.

Popularly known as 'Ramu' to his friends, 70-year-old Ramchandra Gandhi was found dead in his room at the prestigious India International Centre here yesterday. — UNI

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