SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

Judge’s daughter goes missing from train
Patna, August 16
The daughter of a judge in Bihar has gone missing from a running train in mysterious circumstances sending the state’s police establishment into a tizzy. Rani Archana Singh, the married daughter of Subhash Chandra, additional district and sessions judge of Banka, went missing from Capital Express train on way to Patna from New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal in the early hours yesterday, superintendent of railway police Ajitabh Kumar told PTI.
Sister-in-law of Archana Singh shows her wedding album at their residence in Patna Sister-in-law of Archana Singh shows her wedding album at their residence in Patna on Thursday. Archana Singh, daughter of a judge at Banka district court, went missing from Mokama while she was travelling in a train. — PTI photo



EARLIER STORIES


SC to hear pro-quota body’s views
New Delhi, August 16
The Supreme Court will hear an association of SCs, STs and OBCs countering the claim of the anti-reservationists that the provision of 27 per cent quota for the Backward Classes without collection of data on their population was illegal.

Apex court stays release of 1,500 Andhra convicts
New Delhi, August 16
The Supreme Court today stayed pre-mature release of 1,500 convicts by the Andhra Pradesh Government on Independence Day, including former Congress MLA Gauru Venkata Reddy, considered close to Chief Minister Y. S Rajshekhar Reddy and serving 10 years’ term in a homicide case.

Bhattal meets Sonia
New Delhi, August 16
Former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to brief her about the party's performance in the recently held municipal elections. Sources said Bhattal, who is the CLP leader, also discussed organisational matters, including the appointment of a new PCC chief.

DSP Amin surrenders, says life in danger
Ahmedabad, August 16
Deputy superintendent of police N.K. Amin, accused of being involved in disposing the body of the wife of a man killed in a fake encounter, surrendered to a court here today and claimed there was a threat to his life from officers of the Crime Branch.

Suicide rate among troops more in USA than India
New Delhi, August 16
Latest reports emerging from the United States of America suggest that the suicide rate of their soldiers was much higher than that of the Indian Army. A report prepared by the US Army and obtained by Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release points out that the suicide rate in the force last year was at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dhruv gets lethal
Bangalore, August 16
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) today showcased an armed version of the indigenous Dhruv helicopter fitted with turret guns, rockets and missiles as well as another version fitted with a more powerful “Shakti” engine. Both versions of the helicopter were put through a rigorous test during their maiden flight at the HAL complex here.

12.5 pc service tax on pvt educational institutions proposed
Chandigarh, August 16
The empowered committee of states set up by the Union Government to deal with various financial issues has proposed to levy 12.5 per cent services tax on private educational institutions in the country.

AP to set up schools on Punjab’s pattern
Chandigarh, August 16
Andhra Pradesh government has also decided to set up rural residential public schools for bright rural students on the pattern. Punjab has planned Adarsh schools. Andhra government has invited philanthropic foundations, NGOs, charitable organisations, corporate groups to set up such schools in public-private partnership mode.

Secy unaware of deadline
Lucknow, August 16
There is a chance that the CB-CID enquiry into the Allahabad fake encounter ordered by Chief Minister Mayawati may be put on the back burner as Javeed Ahmad, secretary, Department of Home, revealed that he was not aware that the inquiry report had to be submitted within a month’s time.

Karnataka MLA hurt in scuffle with police
Mumbai, August 16
Independent MLA from Karnataka Ravikant Patil was injured in a scuffle with the police when it questioned him for violating a Supreme Court order banning bursting of fire crackers late on Wednesday night at Solapur.

‘Employee can revoke VRS offer before acceptance’
New Delhi, August 16
The Supreme Court has ruled that an employee who has opted for a voluntary retirement scheme can revoke his decision before the management considers his offer unless the scheme itself forbade such a revocation.

Hemkund yatra suspended
Dehra Dun, August 16
Yatra to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib was suspended today due to road cave in caused by landslide and flashloods on route to both shrines in Chamoli district. Pilgrims have been advised against undertaking yatra till restoration of the route.

13 more dead in Bihar floods
New Delhi, August 16
The situation in Bihar, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh remained grim as incessant rains led to the rise in the levels of rivers while pilgrimage to the Badrinath shrine was suspended today following heavy landslide.

Joshi courts arrest against Reliance SEZ
Mumbai, August 16
Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi today courted arrest at Belapur along with party workers as part of the ‘jail bharo andolan’ to protest the ‘Mahamumbai SEZ of Reliance group’ in Raigad.

Videos
Daring feats by teenaged girls of Vizag.
(56k)
Tourism in Naxal-infested areas.
(56k)
More ATMs at railway stations.
(56k)
Aamir in Taare Zameen Pe.
(56k)
An actor lives eunuch's life for film.
(56k)
Himesh plays Rishi.
(56k)





Top








 

Judge’s daughter goes missing from train

Patna, August 16
The daughter of a judge in Bihar has gone missing from a running train in mysterious circumstances sending the state’s police establishment into a tizzy.

Rani Archana Singh, the married daughter of Subhash Chandra, additional district and sessions judge of Banka, went missing from Capital Express train on way to Patna from New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal in the early hours yesterday, superintendent of railway police Ajitabh Kumar told PTI.

He said the woman had gone on a trip to Darjeeling on August 10 along with her husband Rajiv Kumar and was travelling in a sleeper class coach of the train when she disappeared. The two were married in April this year.

Rajiv registered an FIR with the GRP police station at Mokama in connection with the incident.

According to the FIR, the couple had dinner at Katihar railway station around 8.30 pm on August 14 and after that they retired with the husband occupying the lower berth and the wife the upper one.

The FIR said that when Rajiv woke up at around 5 am, he did not find his wife though all her belongings, including slippers, were intact.

Ajitabh Kumar said the family had not yet received any ransom call.

Stating that the circumstances of the disappearance of the woman were “very strange”, he said it was unlikely that a grown up woman could have been kidnapped from the upper berth of a sleeper class bogie full of people without anybody noticing it. — PTI

Top

 

SC to hear pro-quota body’s views
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 16
The Supreme Court will hear an association of SCs, STs and OBCs countering the claim of the anti-reservationists that the provision of 27 per cent quota for the Backward Classes without collection of data on their population was illegal.

The court allowed the All India Backward Class, SC and ST Action Committee to implead as a party in the ongoing OBC reservation case being heard by a five-judge constitution Bench.

The committee in its PIL said that political class, bureaucracy and media dominated by the rich sections of the upper castes, presented a wrong picture about the OBCs’ status whereas their actual position in the society was far from satisfactory.

In an attempt to prove its point in favour of 27 per cent quota for the OBCs, the body urged the Bench to take in to consideration five factors that showed predominance of rich and higher castes in every sphere of life.

These included influence of pre-dominantly rich class on political parties and their decisions, dominance of higher castes in bureaucracy, top officers of law enforcing agencies from higher castes, lawyers taking up reservation cases in courts also from the rich section and higher castes and universities and educational institutions.

It said caste dominance was not only confined to the Hindu community alone but was evident among Muslims who called themselves Sheikhs and Syeds.

It also had a complaint against the media for not presenting a “fair picture” of the entire reservation issue, specially with regard to the total percentage of backwards in government as well as private jobs and accused them of “launching a vicious campaign” against the decision of the government to implement quota for the OBCs in education.

The hearing was adjourned by the Bench for August 21.

Top

 

Apex court stays release of 1,500 Andhra convicts
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 16
The Supreme Court today stayed pre-mature release of 1,500 convicts by the Andhra Pradesh Government on Independence Day, including former Congress MLA Gauru Venkata Reddy, considered close to Chief Minister Y. S Rajshekhar Reddy and serving 10 years’ term in a homicide case.

This is the second attempt by the A .P Government to release Gauru Reddy after the remission of his sentence by the Governor was rejected by the Supreme Court earlier. After his conviction in the murder of a rival Telugu Desam leader about four years ago, the Congress had given ticket to his wife, Charita, and she had become a legislator.

A Bench of Justices B. N Agrawal and D. K Jain stayed the release of the prisoners by the Reddy Government in the alleged violation of the rules, saying that the impact of general amnesty like this on the society had to be taken into consideration.

Since it was pointed out in a PIL that many of the convicts proposed to be granted pardon were hardened criminals involved in heinous crimes like murder, rape, dacoity, and robbery, the court asked A.P counsel Gopal Subramaniam “how can habitual offenders be released in this manner.”

Admitting the PIL, the court issued notice to the A .P Government and the DGP, seeking their replies in two weeks. But it permitted the two committees set up by the state government to scrutinise the genuine cases for remission of sentences.

“They are a menace to the society…the matter is serious and we have to consider it,” the Bench said, rejecting the plea of Subramaniam to seek instruction from the state government before issuing notice to it.

The court said when the government had announced its decision, where was the question of seeking fresh instruction. “We have to keep in view the interest of the society also, particularly the impact of the release of habitual offenders.,” the court said.

Top

 

Bhattal meets Sonia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 16
Former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to brief her about the party's performance in the recently held municipal elections.

Sources said Bhattal, who is the CLP leader, also discussed organisational matters, including the appointment of a new PCC chief.

She said the party was weighing various options before taking a decision on the PCC chief in view of the need to maximise the support base of the party among various communities in the state.

Among the options being considered is of appointing a working president alongside PCC chief.

With the next parliamentary elections in view, the high command is keen to ensure that the person who is appointed PCC chief is able carry along all sections of the party.

Top

 

DSP Amin surrenders, says life in danger

Ahmedabad, August 16
Deputy superintendent of police N.K. Amin, accused of being involved in disposing the body of the wife of a man killed in a fake encounter, surrendered to a court here today and claimed there was a threat to his life from officers of the Crime Branch.

Amin - accused of having a role in disposing the body of Kausar Bi, the wife of Sohrabuddin Sheikh who was gunned down by the police in 2005 - surrendered in the court of additional sessions judge P.P. Bhatt.

The anticipatory bail granted to him by a lower court was cancelled by the Supreme Court on August 13. Judge Bhatt remanded Amin to judicial custody till further orders.

After surrendering, Amin's lawyer Mitesh Amin moved an application that said there was a threat to his life. — PTI

Top

 

Suicide rate among troops more in USA than India
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 16
Latest reports emerging from the United States of America suggest that the suicide rate of their soldiers was much higher than that of the Indian Army.

A report prepared by the US Army and obtained by Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release points out that the suicide rate in the force last year was at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the report there were 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers in the US Army during 2006, up from 88 the previous year. This when compared to the figures in the Indian Army in percentage was much higher.

As per the latest figures tabled in Parliament last week, there were 120 suicides in the Indian Army in 2006 and till August 5 this year there have been 70 suicides.

This, when compared in terms of the force strength of the Indian Army and US Army in active duty, turns out to be much lower in India.

Incidentally, Indian Army with a strength of 1.3 million in active service and 1.2 million in reserves is the second largest army in the world. The US on the other hand has just about half million force in active service.

Besides, of the 1.3 million Indian Army about a quarter of a million are engaged in counter-insurgency duties in the disturbed regions of Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northeast of the country. The US on the other hand is fighting terrorists and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the report prepared by the US Army again as part of efforts to reduce suicides, in a service of more than a half million troop, the 99 suicides amounted to a rate of 17.3 per 100,000, which was the highest in the past 26 years. The average rate over those years has been 12.3 per 100,000 in the US Army.

The increase for 2006 came as Army officials worked to set up a number of new and stronger programmes for providing mental healthcare to a force strained by the longer-than-expected war in Iraq and the global counter-terrorism war entering its sixth year.

Failed personal relationships, legal and financial problems and the stress of their jobs were factors motivating the soldiers to commit suicide, according to the report.

Although the Indian Army establishment has been on the receiving end for the fact that India lost as many as 120 soldiers through suicides last year in comparision to losing 72 while fighting the militants, the report emanating from the US points out a greater awareness level and concern for bringing down the suicide rate here.

As part of the measures defence minister A.K. Antony had called for the study after the spurt in cases of suicide and fragging (to kill a fellow soldier or superior) by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) which was submitted to him in January last.

On the recommendations of the report he had asked the establishment to take certain measures and he himself had spoken to the chief ministers of all states to ensure that local sainik boards should take more interest in the family problems of the jawans posted in these insurgency hit areas.

The report by the DIPR said army officers needed to inculcate some genuine OLQs (officer-like qualities) as humiliation at the hands of their seniors is what often pushes them over the brink. The jawans attributed perceived humiliation and harassment, over and above occupational and familial causes, as the triggering factor which forced them to take such extreme steps.

It recommended “sensitising the leadership” on a war-footing to tackle the mounting problem. “A soldier, worried about a problem his family is facing, looks forward to getting help, guidance and assistance from his superior officer. The officer or JCO (junior commissioned officer) need to be approachable to soldiers at the time of crisis,” says the report.

Dividing its recommendations into three categories - immediate, intermediate and long-term - the reports say that enhancing leadership qualities among young officers and JCOs and drastically improving interpersonal ties between officers and jawans needs to be done immediately. Other “immediate” measures include rationalising the grant of leave, giving adequate rest and recuperation time, improving the organisational climate, controlling the zero-error syndrome and improving manpower management.

The “intermediate” and “long-term” recommendations, in turn, include improved selection and training of soldiers; better basic facilities and salaries; good weapons and equipment; and use of religious teachers as counsellors.

Top

 

Dhruv gets lethal
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, August 16
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) today showcased an armed version of the indigenous Dhruv helicopter fitted with turret guns, rockets and missiles as well as another version fitted with a more powerful “Shakti” engine.

Both versions of the helicopter were put through a rigorous test during their maiden flight at the HAL complex here. The helicopter with the new “Shakti” engine is likely to be delivered to the Services in 2009. Certification tests, including both sea-level and high altitude test flying, will begin within few months.

The weaponised version of Dhruv comes fitted with “fire-and-forget” air-to-air missiles, 70 mm rockets which can be fired in both direct and indirect modes, a 20-mm turret gun and a target-pointing system mounted on the helmet of the pilot. This version will also be integrated with “fire-and-forget” anti-tank guided missiles and smart defences like the ability to confuse and deflect missiles had been integrated into the copter.

The second helicopter which made its maiden flight today has been fitted with the new “Shakti” engine which has been jointly designed by HAL and Turbomeca of France. The engine has been under development since 2003. This engine has come about due to the needs of the Army which wants a more powerful helicopter to service high altitude areas.

Speaking about the new versions, HAL Chairman Ashok K.Baweja told newsmen that the present Dhruv had progressed to the Mark 111 version. He discounted all speculations about the air worthiness of the aircraft saying the company had reacted with caution while replacing all tail rotors after an “incident”. He said the vibration in the current helicopter was as good if not better than its international counterparts.

Baweja said the Indian armed as well as paramilitary forces had displayed confidence in the aircraft. At least 75 bookings had already been confirmed. He said eight helicopters had been delivered. “I see a market for 300 Druv helicopters in India”, he said. “The helicopter has been test flown in Chile and we are holding talks with Bolivia, Turkey and Mauritius for placement of orders”, he added.

He, however, said helicopter was primarily for the Indian market as was the case with companies abroad who supplied primarily to their countries first. He said the helicopter was, however, an attractive export proposition as it was around $ 1.5 million less expensive than helicopters in the same 5.5 tonne class abroad.

Top

 

12.5 pc service tax on pvt educational institutions proposed
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The empowered committee of states set up by the Union Government to deal with various financial issues has proposed to levy 12.5 per cent services tax on private educational institutions in the country.

Recently, the Union Government had released a list of 42 services authorising the state government to levy services tax on the same.

Sources said there was consensus in the empowered committee headed by Asim Dasgupta, finance minister of West Bengal.

Private players are entering the education business in a big way. Several professional colleges such as medical, dental, ayurvedic, engineering, B.Ed, nursing and other colleges have been set up by private managements.

Even universities and business schools have come up in the private sector. Managements of such institutions are making huge sums of money.

The Union Government is already collecting service tax from various academies and coaching centres engaged in preparing students for competitive examinations such as CET, PMET and AIEET etc in union territories.

Top

 

AP to set up schools on Punjab’s pattern
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Andhra Pradesh government has also decided to set up rural residential public schools for bright rural students on the pattern. Punjab has planned Adarsh schools.

Andhra government has invited philanthropic foundations, NGOs, charitable organisations, corporate groups to set up such schools in public-private partnership mode. Punjab has invited corporate houses to set up schools in rural areas and has assured to make 60 per cent one-time contribution for such schools.

The Andhra schools will be of English medium with hostel, library, laboratories, sports and other facilities. The government will provide 30 acres to 50 acres for each school and also share 50 per cent annual recurring cost of the school. Investment in each school will be of Rs 15 crore.

Top

 

Fake encounter report
Secy unaware of deadline
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 16
There is a chance that the CB-CID enquiry into the Allahabad fake encounter ordered by Chief Minister Mayawati may be put on the back burner as Javeed Ahmad, secretary, Department of Home, revealed that he was not aware that the inquiry report had to be submitted within a month’s time.

Informing the Press about the CB-CID enquiry into the encounter Ahmad said that a magisterial inquiry must have also been going on in Allahabad into the 17 September 2006 killing of a petty criminal in the posh Civil Lines area in a fake encounter.

“Magisterial inquiries into such encounters is a routine matter,” informed the home secretary. However, he could not provide any details of the fate of such magisterial inquiry reports.

“I am not aware of any centralised tracking system to find out about these reports. They may be available at the district,” he added.

He also denied having any information about the NHRC deciding to investigate the Allahabad encounter. “We have not heard from them”.

Commenting on the timing of the encounter tape appearing in a section of the media, a political observer did not rule out the hand of a Samajwadi MP from Allahabad who is currently in the eye of a storm for his role in the elimination of the BSP MLA. This may be his stratagem to put the state police on the back foot and under a scanner.

Top

 

Karnataka MLA hurt in scuffle with police

Mumbai, August 16
Independent MLA from Karnataka Ravikant Patil was injured in a scuffle with the police when it questioned him for violating a Supreme Court order banning bursting of fire crackers late on Wednesday night at Solapur.

Fifty-year-old Patil, who represents the Indi constituency in the neighbouring state, suffered multiple injuries in the clash and was admitted to the ICU of the Solapur Civil Hospital, the police said. He was arrested, produced in a local court and released on a bail for Rs 10,000.

Patil was injured in the scuffle that broke out when policemen questioned him for violating Supreme Court order banning bursting of fire crackers during his birthday bash late at night, Solapur Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte said.

However, Patil alleged it was Kamte who assaulted him and members of his family and also threatened him with a revolver.

Kamte had gone to the residence of Patil, asking the MLA and his supporters not to burst crackers and disturb the neighbourhood, the police said.

Before Kamte went to Patil’s residence, two policemen who had gone there to stop the firecrackers were threatened by his supporters, the police said. Even after Kamte himself rushed to the spot, the noise continued, following which Patil was forcibly evicted from the spot, during which he sustained injuries.

Meanwhile, the police in Solapur has begun checking vehicles coming in from Patil’s Indi constituency to ensure law and order in the town. Patil is contemplating filing a petition in the court against Kamte, his supporters said. — PTI

Top

 

‘Employee can revoke VRS offer before acceptance’

New Delhi, August 16
The Supreme Court has ruled that an employee who has opted for a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) can revoke his decision before the management considers his offer unless the scheme itself forbade such a revocation.

Dismissing an appeal filed by the public sector Food Corporation of Indian (FCI), a bench of Justices A.K. Mathur and Markandeya Katju said, the management cannot retire the employee who had applied for VRS, if the latter’s offer was not accepted before the revocation.

In this case the employee Ramesh Kumar working in the corporation’s Punjab branch had applied for VRS on September 13, 2004, but revoked his offer 14 days later on September 27.

However, the FCI on November 9, 2004, retired him saying his earlier offer for VRS was accepted.

Kumar challenged his retirement before the Punjab & Haryana High Court which directed his reinstatment, following which the corporation filed the SLP before the apex court.

The apex court noted that Section 8 of the scheme clearly stipulated that the management will decide the VRS offer of an employee within three months. — PTI

Top

 

Hemkund yatra suspended
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 16
Yatra to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib was suspended today due to road cave in caused by landslide and flashloods on route to both shrines in Chamoli district. Pilgrims have been advised against undertaking yatra till restoration of the route.

Meanwhile, mishaps due to heavy rains in the past many days have claimed seven more lives in the hill districts of Chamoli and Pauri Garhwal.

As per district officials, a part of the road about a kilometer ahead of Pipalkoti caved in by about 50 metres due to incessant rains. The pilgrims already on way to the shrines have been advised to either to return or to wait till completion of the repair work which may take 5-6 days. Those planning to undertake yatra have also been similarly advised.

However, efforts were on to create a temporary path to enable the pilgrims to bypass the road block on foot.

Top

 

13 more dead in Bihar floods

New Delhi, August 16
The situation in Bihar, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh remained grim as incessant rains led to the rise in the levels of rivers while pilgrimage to the Badrinath shrine was suspended today following heavy landslide.

In Bihar, 13 more deaths were reported from four districts as the toll in the current spell of floods went up to 300. Over 1.5 crore people have been affected by the floods that have destroyed standing crops worth nearly Rs 271-crore, besides damaging over 1,59,500 houses.

In Himachal Pradesh, two more bodies were recovered since yesterday from the debris of houses destroyed in the flash flood caused by a cloudburst at Ghanvi village. However, 45 people are still missing, officials said.

Incessant rains have wreaked havoc in several parts of Uttarakhand, claiming 40 lives, damaging property worth lakhs of rupees and blocking several highways. — PTI

Top

 

Joshi courts arrest against Reliance SEZ

Mumbai, August 16
Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi today courted arrest at Belapur along with party workers as part of the ‘jail bharo andolan’ to protest the ‘Mahamumbai SEZ of Reliance group’ in Raigad.

Speaking to reporters at the CBD Belapur police station, Joshi said, “Shiv Sena would support the poor farmers whose land is being acquired forcibly by the Maharashtra government.”

He said the agitation would be further intensified if the state government did not amend the land acquisition policy for SEZs.

Regarding the stone-pelting by protestors at the venue, Joshi said “some persons with vested interests who wanted to sabotage the protest rally had indulged in the act.”

The former Lok Sabha Speaker said he would raise the issue of SEZ in the on-going Monsoon Session of the Parliament. — 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 |