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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

RS panel wants to take sting out
of operations

New Delhi, August 24
The privileges committee of the Rajya Sabha has suggested enacting a suitable law for regulating sting operations.

Nandigram
1 killed in fresh violence
Kolkata, August 24
Fresh clashes broke out between activists of the CPM and the Krishi Bachao Committee at Nandigram today, killing one person and injuring several others.

Joint mechanism to resolve N-crisis
soon: Basu

Kolkata, August 24
Jyoti Basu today expressed hope that a joint mechanism would be evolved soon with the involvement of the UPA and the Left leadership for ending the present political crisis. The ball is in the Prime Minister's court and the country's future stability depends on the UPA, remarked the veteran CPM leader.

DGP Mohanti suspended
Bhubaneswar, August 24
Orissa’s top police official B.B. Mohanti was suspended today, a few hours after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him by a Rajasthan court for allegedly sheltering his son who was convicted of raping a foreigner and jumped parole from a jail in that state.





EARLIER STORIES




A worker cleans the Rs 300 crore Mahalakshmi temple, made of gold, in Vellore, near Chennai on Thursday. The temple was consecrated on Friday.
A worker cleans the Rs 300 crore Mahalakshmi temple, made of gold, in Vellore, near Chennai on Thursday. The temple was consecrated on Friday. — PTI

Foreign player to integrate Cauvery engine
Bangalore, August 24
After spending a decade in developing the indigenous Cauvery engine Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, India has solicited proposals from international engine makers Snecma from France and Saturn of Russia who have offered to integrate the work done by India on the engine as well as provide critical “hot end” parts of the engine to carry the project forward.

Mumbai blasts: Prosecutor hospitalised
Mumbai, August 24
Ujjwal Nikam, public prosecutor responsible for the conviction and sentencing of 100 persons accused in the Mumbai blasts case, has been admitted to the hospital following severe food poisoning.

Mumbai Riots
Govt to deal firmly with guilty: Dasmunsi
New Delhi, August 24
The government today said it would deal firmly with those found guilty by the Srikrishna Commission, which went into the communal riots in Mumbai in 1993.

SC bars channels from airing obscene Monica pictures
Monica Bedi New Delhi, August 24
The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to issue a direction to all TV channels to restrain from telecasting the objectionable photograph of Bollywood starlet Monica Bedi, shot allegedly by a hidden camera when she was lodged in a Bhopal jail in connection with a passport forgery case.

Personality tests to check suicides in Army
Bangalore, August 24
The armed forces have decided to counter the increased cases of suicides and fragging among personnel classified as Other Ranks by instituting Personality Testing at the time of recruitment.

Lalu for separate ‘Purvanchal’
Patna, August 24
After his bete noire and another Yadav leader Mulayam Singh was dislodged from power in UP in the last Assembly elections, it is now “mission UP” for Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad with the call for a separate “Purvanchal” state.

Rights body initiates probe into teacher’s suicide
Hyderabad, August 24
The Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission has taken a suo motu cognisance of suicide by a woman teacher in Kadapa town and initiated a probe into the incident.

11 die as bus falls into gorge
Dehra Dun, August 24
Eleven passengers were killed and seven injured when a state-owned bus fell into a khud in rain-ravaged Tehri Garhwal district today.

Petition against Rahman, Mittal dismissed
Chennai, August 24
The Madras High Court today dismissed a petition filed against music director AR Rahman and Sunil Mittal, chairman Bharti Airtel Ltd, accusing them of showing disrespect to the national anthem.

Appropriation Bill approved
New Delhi, August 24
The government today said it would not hesitate in taking steps to control core inflation, but prices of vegetables can be checked by increasing agricultural production.

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RS panel wants to take sting out of operations
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
The privileges committee of the Rajya Sabha has suggested enacting a suitable law for regulating sting operations.

In its report on the matter of privilege arising out of the alleged defamation of a member, Isam Singh, by Star News channel under the programme Operation Chakravyuh in 2005, the panel decided the matter may be closed in view of the regrets expressed by the channel and its acceptance of the committee's view that there were other ways of showing the programme which would have sent a different message about the member.

The committee, in its report tabled in the Rajya Sabha today, said there was no proof that the member accepted or demanded commission (for MPLAD scheme) but the anchor in the programme said he had also not denied the commission. “(It) only reflects over-enthusiasm resulting in undermining the image of a member in particular and the dignity of the House in general,” the report said. “The committee is fully in agreement with the views expressed by the committee on ethics that time has come for enacting a suitable law for regulating sting operations,” the report said.

The commitee, headed by deputy chairman K. Rahman Khan, said if the public had an opportunity of seeing the unedited programme, the impression about Isam Singh would have been totally different from what had been created by the anchor in the telecast version. “Resorting to too much of coaxing and inducement, casting reflection on the integrity of other MPs and trying to entrap someone by fabricating stories is not the way to expose wrongs in the parliamentary system,” it said.

On the issue of non-cooperation in disclosing certain information by the channel and the dedicated investigators guild (DIG), the report said there had been no breach of privilege or contempt of the House. However, the committee recalled a convention in respect of parliamentary priviliges and said it was a gross breach of privilege and contempt of the House to deliberately not provide the information sought by a parliamentary committee and disobey the legitimate orders of the committee. “The committee expects from all concerned coming to depose to come fully prepared with all necessary information on various aspects of the matter under consideration,” it said.

In another report, the committee which went into the reported police assault on RJD MP Ramdeo Bhandary, said the member had gone to Ranchi in connection with a court case pertaining to his party leader. “Though a case of breach of privilege which arises in case the member is prevented from performing his parliamentary duties is not strictly made out, the committee strongly disapproves the manner in which the police behaved with Prof Bhandary,” the report said.

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Nandigram
1 killed in fresh violence
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, August 24
Fresh clashes broke out between activists of the CPM and the Krishi Bachao Committee at Nandigram today, killing one person and injuring several others.

Activists on both sides used firearms, bombs and other lethal weapons.

Madab Bera (42), belonging to the Krishi Bachao Committee, was killed and several others injured in the firing.

The police and para-military forces arrived at the scene to control the situation.

According to reports reaching the CPM party office at Alimuddin Street, the trouble started when some cultivators, belonging to the CPM, were stopped from cultivating the fields by members of the committee, leading to clashes between the two groups.

However, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee counter-alleged that the clashes took place after several CPM cadres, wielding rifles, bombs and other weapons, arrived at the scene from adjoining Khejuri and attacked the supporters of the committee in their bid to capture the area.

She alleged that a CPM leader carrying a revolver fired indiscriminately at the farmers, killing Bera, who was sitting in the balcony of his hut. He was taken to Kolkata but succumbed to his injuries on the way.

After the incident, Banerjee declared they would not allow chemical hubs to be built anywhere in the state.

She added that none of the Trinamool Congress leaders would attend the Chief Minister’s all-party meeting on September 3 unless those involved in the March 14 massacre were brought to book and affected families adequately compensated.

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Joint mechanism to resolve N-crisis soon: Basu
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, August 24
Jyoti Basu today expressed hope that a joint mechanism would be evolved soon with the involvement of the UPA and the Left leadership for ending the present political crisis. The ball is in the Prime Minister's court and the country's future stability depends on the UPA, remarked the veteran CPM leader.

Basu was talking to mediapersons at the Alimuddin Street party office after attending a meeting in which both the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the party secretary Biman Bose were present.

The meeting today reviewed the CPM’s stand on the nuclear deal vis-à-vis the Left parties withdrawal of support from the Manmohan Singh government after the end of the party's two-day central committee meeting held in New Delhi.

Basu was much relieved that both the politburo and the central committee finally reversed the decision of withdrawing of support which he himself was advocating.

But the crisis is not yet over and now it will be the duty of the Prime Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and Sonia Gandhi to jointly find a settlement for the UPA's survival and resolve the present uncertainty and political turmoil, Basu remarked.

It was only yesterday that we have officially sent our proposal to the Prime Minister and we hope within a few days after Sonia Gandhi's return from aboard, there will be a positive response from them, he added.

After today's meeting neither the Chief Minister nor Biman Bose made any statement. But sports minister Subhas Chakraborty, though he did not attend the meeting, told mediapersons at Writers Buildings that he felt personally the country was heading towards a mid-term poll for which both the UPA and the Left leadership would be equally responsible.

A section in the CPM state committee believed that because of the pressure from them, the party general secretary Prakash Karat and other politburo members ultimately had to backtrack from the withdrawal of support, which the CPI general secretary Abinash Bhusan Bardhan was insisting on. The step would been equally disastrous for the UPA and the Left parties, central committee member Nirupam Sen observed.

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DGP Mohanti suspended

Bhubaneswar, August 24
Orissa’s top police official B.B. Mohanti was suspended today, a few hours after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him by a Rajasthan court for allegedly sheltering his son who was convicted of raping a foreigner and jumped parole from a jail in that state.

Mohanti, Orissa director-general(fire services), is, however, yet to be arrested and could not be traced.

He was suspended after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik consulted chief secretary Ajit Tripathy, home secretary T.K.Mishra and senior officials following the delivery of the NBW against Mohanti and his son to the Cuttack district magistrate during the day.

“Mohanti was suspended in accordance with the provisions of service rules. Such action can be initiated against any civil servant facing criminal cases,” Mishra said.

To a query, he said the warrants issued against Mohanti earlier were defective while the NBW served today was in proper form, which prompted the government to act.

Cuttack SP Soumendra Priyadarshi said a police team searched for senior Mohanti at his office and house but he could not be found.

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Foreign player to integrate Cauvery engine
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, August 24
After spending a decade in developing the indigenous Cauvery engine Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, India has solicited proposals from international engine makers Snecma from France and Saturn of Russia who have offered to integrate the work done by India on the engine as well as provide critical “hot end” parts of the engine to carry the project forward.

India has been facing problems in critical hot end parts like the high pressure compressor and the turbine which both international players have agreed to supply. These will be integrated with the present fans and its afterburner which controls the thrust of the engine.

“We are looking for a lead-assist venture under which the partner will lead in the hot design section while we assist him and similarly we will lead in the fuselage part of the engine and take assistance from the partner,” said Dr D. Banerjee, chief controller, Research and Development, DRDO, in an interview with TNS.

Dr Banerjee said the joint venture would be structured in such a way that the complete design knowledge was available to the country at the end of the day. “We can then change, re-configure or update the engine if required,” he said adding this could not be done with a license agreement.

The joint venture is being co-coordinated in partnership with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Air Force with the issue of transfer of technology being put into the contract, he said.

The proposals are being evaluated technically and the process is expected to be finished this month. Following this, negotiations will take place and the joint venture is likely to be signed and approved by December.

However, the money being offered by the companies will be a key factor. “We will evaluate them on the basis of money they pump in. They will get a market for their partnership as the Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered 20 LCAs”.

The joint-venture, if it does take place, is looking at manufacture of 200 to 300 engines according to the commitment already given by the Air Force.

The present Cauvery engine, which has been tested to full design capacity, has not been able to reach its full potential after burner thrust, according to the DRDO. The afterburner achieved at present is 90 per cent of that needed. The engine is also ten per cent overweight.

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Mumbai blasts: Prosecutor hospitalised

Mumbai, August 24
Ujjwal Nikam, public prosecutor responsible for the conviction and sentencing of 100 persons accused in the Mumbai blasts case, has been admitted to the hospital following severe food poisoning.

Nikam was taken to the Breach Candy hospital late last night after his condition worsened, police officials said.

The police said they were not suspecting any foul play for now after Nikam’s relatives told investigators that the senior lawyer had consumed food from outside while travelling.

Nikam had felt uneasy for several days and decided to go to the hospital only after his condition worsened.

He has been admitted to the ICU and his condition is stable, according to hospital officials. He enjoyed high security throughout the trial after he received threats inside and out of the courtroom. — TNS

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Mumbai Riots
Govt to deal firmly with guilty: Dasmunsi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
The government today said it would deal firmly with those found guilty by the Srikrishna Commission, which went into the communal riots in Mumbai in 1993.

“No stone will be left unturned and we will deal with those found guilty (by the commission) very firmly,” parliamentary affairs minister P.R. Dasmunsi said while responding to the issue raised by CPM leader Hannan Mollah during the zero hour in the Lok Sabha.

He said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was “seriously concerned” over the matter and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had said the recommendations had been partly complied with and his government would soon take action on the remaining recommendations.

Mollah said nine years had passed since the report had been submitted but no action had yet been taken on the report, which had identified 31 police personnel, as well as some others who engineered the riots.

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SC bars channels from airing obscene Monica pictures

New Delhi, August 24
The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to issue a direction to all TV channels to restrain from telecasting the objectionable photograph of Bollywood starlet Monica Bedi, shot allegedly by a hidden camera when she was lodged in a Bhopal jail in connection with a passport forgery case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan gave liberty to her to implead the news channel which had telecast a news item relating to the photograph.

In the petition, she had sought a direction for the Information and Broadcasting ministry for restraining the TV channels from airing her objectionable photograph.

Senior advocate K T S Tulsi submitted before the bench that a private TV channel had yesterday showed the objectionable photograph of the actress, shot by a camera installed in the jail bathroom.

The actress was acquitted by a Bhopal court in the passport forgery case on July 16. She was released on July 25 from a Hyderabad jail after getting bail from a court there in a similar case. — PTI

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Personality tests to check suicides in Army
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, August 24
The armed forces have decided to counter the increased cases of suicides and fragging among personnel classified as Other Ranks by instituting Personality Testing at the time of recruitment.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had been given the responsibility of preparing a personality test which can be conducted in groups and ensures speedy testing. DRDO Chief Controller, Research and Development W Selvamurthy said the agency had developed a quick testing facility which would be used to identify negative traits in prospective OR candidates. The test will be introduced in October this year for all OR recruitments in all the three wings of the armed forces.

“Till now we have been looking at positive traits only but the recent cases of suicide and fragging and the resultant feedback from the forces has resulted in this new testing method”, says Selvamurthy. The test will take fifty minutes during which candidates will be asked to react to pictures as well as short situations to gauge their psychology, he disclosed adding the automated computer checking will give instant results.

The R and D chief controller said the Defence Insitute of Psychological Research (DIPR) had conducted an analysis to find out the reason behind cases of suicide or fragging that is killing senior officers by jawans. He said the study had revealed individuals reacted in this way when some perceived needs were not met. “Traits which lead to such self persecution or hitting out at others over perceived faults have been identified and the personality test is geared to weed out people who have such negative traits”, he added.

In another first for the army, it has also been decided to allocate trades in Other Ranks in a more scientific manner. The army has been afflicted by the maximum number of suicides as well as other incidents of aberrant behaviour. The DRDO has been asked to institute a system for allocation of trades in the army.

Selvamurthy said the air force and the navy had a system for allocation of trades but this was not there in the army because of the sheer number of trades involved. He said the army had sponsored a study in this regard and the DRDO was evolving a computerized system for the same. “The Infantry School in Mhow will implement this system which is nearing completion”, he said. The system is expected to be introduced in the army in February, 2008.

In yet another first, the DRDO has also decided to make the task of those aspiring for a career in the armed forces as an officer a lot easier. These prospective candidates can go through an online aptitude self test to ascertain whether they have the required qualities to serve in the armed forces. This test will be available on the Directorate of Recruiting site as well as the DRDO site from December this year.

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Lalu for separate ‘Purvanchal’
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, August 24
After his bete noire and another Yadav leader Mulayam Singh was dislodged from power in UP in the last Assembly elections, it is now “mission UP” for Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad with the call for a separate “Purvanchal” state.

For the first time ever since its formation 10 years ago, the RJD is going to hold its two-day national convention at Sarnath in UP beginning tomorrow.

Sources in the RJD disclosed to The Tribune that in the coming convention, Lalu Prasad was going to give a call for a separate Purvanchal state with 25 districts of eastern UP.

Besides sharing common border with Bihar, eastern UP also has a sizeable section of Hindi-speaking Biharis which understandably has provoked Lalu Prasad to renew his effort to make dent in this crucial Hindi heartland to further marginalise Mulayam after his recent downfall.

The sources said the move by Lalu Prasad enjoyed the tacit support of the Congress by keeping an eye on Mulayam’s recent effort to reorganise the “third front” by combining anti-Congress forces. The target is obviously the next Lok Sabha elections.

The importance of Purvanchal in Bihar politics could be assessed from the last UP poll when all prominent leaders of Bihar, from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to Lalu Prasad, had camped in eastern UP to campaign for their candidates. The ruling JD(U), besides the BJP, already has a tie-up with the regional outfit Apna Dal in eastern UP.

Unlike other such national conventions in the past, the focus of the convention thus would precisely be on UP, and not Bihar. “Our target is to weaken Mualayam further on his home turf by leading the movement for a separate Purvanchal state through the bifurcation of UP”, the sources added.

Officially the RJD sought to dub the move as part of its effort to look beyond Bihar and Jharkhand.

The RJD reportedly also decided to raise the issue of disparity in development in eastern UP and the related poverty faced by the people there. The Purvanchal region sends 23 MPs to the Lok Sabha and 117 MLAs in the 403-member UP Vidhan Sabha.

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Rights body initiates probe into teacher’s suicide
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 24
The Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission has taken a suo motu cognisance of suicide by a woman teacher in Kadapa town and initiated a probe into the incident.

Sunitha, a high school teacher, committed suicide yesterday after being unable to put up with blackmail by two youths who threatened to post her naked pictures on the Internet if she failed to pay them Rs 5,000.

The two claimed to have taken her pictures using their mobile phone while she was having a bath.

A letter written by them demanding the money was seized from the house of Sunitha. The police has since arrested the two, identified as Narender Reddy, an intermediate student, and Jagadeeshwar Reddy, a school dropout.

The teenagers, one of them studying in the school where Sunitha was teaching, were her neighbours at Sivanandapuram colony in the town.

They started harassing the teacher a week ago. Sunitha, 28, had hanged herself from the ceiling fan at her home.

In her suicide note, she said she had decided to kill herself as she was unable to bear the blackmail by the youths who had threatened to make a CD of her naked pictures and go public.

Victim’s husband Ramakrishna said they had lodged a complaint with the police following the threats but no action was taken against the students, which emboldened them further.

Terming the incident highly condemnable, the rights body chairman B. Subhashan Reddy asked commission secretary Dr S. Chellappa to visit Kadapa and conduct the probe.

The commission will ask the district police authorities to give details of the incident. The commission secretary will submit the report on Monday.

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11 die as bus falls into gorge
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, August 24
Eleven passengers were killed and seven injured when a state-owned bus fell into a khud in rain-ravaged Tehri Garhwal district today.

As per government officials, an Uttarakhand State Transport Corporation bus on its way from Hardwar to Joshimath rolled down the Rishikesh-Badrinath road while negotiating a road block caused by a landslide at Totaghati, about 45 kilometres from Rishikesh.

Tehri SP Deepak Jyoti Ghildiyal said that the seven injured persons were admitted to a hospital near Rishikesh.

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Petition against Rahman, Mittal dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chennai, August 24
The Madras High Court today dismissed a petition filed against music director AR Rahman and Sunil Mittal, chairman Bharti Airtel Ltd, accusing them of showing disrespect to the national anthem.

A division Bench comprising Chief Justice AP Shah and Justice P Jothimani dismissed the petition filed by J Mohan Raj, general secretary of the Jabamani Janata Party. The petitioner sought that the sale or telecast of the “truncated and distorted” audio and video versions of the national anthem, composed by Rahman coinciding with 60th Independence Day, be declared illegal.

The song sequence was sponsored by Bharti Airtel and was telecast on many television channels.

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Appropriation Bill approved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24
The government today said it would not hesitate in taking steps to control core inflation, but prices of vegetables can be checked by increasing agricultural production.

Replying to a debate on the appropriation Bill, 2007, in the Rajya Sabha, finance minister P. Chidambaram said the supply side had to be augumented and the country needed more production of foodgrain and pulses.

The Bill seeking supplementary grants of Rs 20,412 crore was returned by the Upper House after being passed by voice vote.

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