SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

B.Ed Quota
SC directs HP to admit outside students

New Delhi, October 4
In a major relief to non-Himachali students seeking admission in the B.Ed course in various private colleges of the state, the Supreme Court today directed the state government to admit them under the 15 per cent all-India quota from this year itself.

Police beat up ETV journos
Coochbehar(WB), October 4
The police today beat up two journalists of a TV channel, while they were photographing a police party, allegedly extorting money from car owners, in front of the Sadar hospital here today.

UP disbands panel probing recruitment of cops
Lucknow, October 4
Virtually going on the back foot, the Uttar Pradesh government today not only decided to disband the probe panel investigating the recruitment of constables during the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime but also distanced itself from the controversial letter written by the probe panel chairperson demanding narco-analysis test.

Killing of ‘Thief’
Police station gheraoed
Kolkata, October 4
Enraged over the brutal killing of a person by pouring raw acid in eyes, a large number of local residents at Diamond Harbour town in South 24-Parganas, about 60 km from Kolkata, today, came out on the streets and protested.






EARLIER STORIES




5,782 Indians who died in World War II honoured
New Delhi, October 4
For the first time since 1945, a ceremony was held at Cassino (Italy) to honour 5, 782 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the Second World War in Italy.

FIRs lodged in ragging incident
Agra, October 4
A case was today registered against the management of an engineering college and four students after a student was injured when his seniors pushed him off the third floor of the college building.

CBI yet to go through ex-RAW official’s book
New Delhi, October 4
In an embarrassment, the CBI has informed a court here that it was yet to go through the book written by former RAW official, who has already been booked by the investigating agency for alleged violation of Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Farmers protest ban on onion export
Mumbai, October 4
Onion farmers have taken to sporadic protests at the market in Maharashtra's Nashik district after prices crashed sharply following the government's ban on exports of the bulb.

OBC Quota
Parasaran defends govt
New Delhi, October 4
Former Attorney-General K Parasaran today put a strong defence on behalf of the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government for implementation of 27 per cent OBC quota in education institutions in the Supreme Court saying that there was no need for preparing a fresh identification list of the backward classes.

MPs’ fake sting operation
Kingpin lands in police net
New Delhi, October 4
The kingpin of a gang, which was blackmailing MP’s after conducting fake sting operations, has landed in the police net after evading arrest for about a month. Sanjay Tiwari, who was running a media consultancy which provided sting operations to TV channels, was arrested from an east Delhi locality yesterday during a raid, the police said.

Now, PMK hits out at courts on bandh issue
Chennai, October 4
The controversy over the Supreme Court’s observation over the Tamil Nadu bandh seems to be heading for a confrontation between political parties and the judiciary, with the PMK now questioning not only the authority of courts but also prevalent judicial practices.

A protest in middle of river
Dehra Dun, October 4
Four residents of Gyansoo town of Uttarakanshi district have found a novel way of protest. They are camping on an island of rocks in Bhagarthi river for the past four days to ensure compensation to all people affected by the Maneri Bhali Phase-II hydroelectric project.

Tea workers may not get bonus in Assam
Guwahati, October 4
The ensuing Durga Puja festival in Assam may fail to bring cheers to thousands of tea workers engaged in 100 tea estates in the Barak valley of southern Assam as the tea companies have expressed their inability to pay the bonus before the festival.

Judiciary hits crime citadels in Bihar
Patna, October 4
The dice has finally been cast and from the long spell of lawbreakers for which Bihar earlier had earned a bad name, it is the time of lawmakers now.

Sangma to contest Meghalaya poll
Guwahati, October 4
Former Lok Sabha Speaker and national general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Purno A. Sangma, will make a come back in state politics with his eye set on the chair of the chief minister in his home state Meghalaya.

BMW case: Judge declines to recuse, another disagrees
New Delhi, October 4
In a new twist in the contempt case against senior advocate R.K. Anand, Justice Manmohan Sarin of the Delhi High Court today refused to recuse himself while the other Judge on the Bench did not concur with him, expressing “disinclination” to hear the matter.

Decline in leaf fall from boy’s ear: family
New Delhi, October 4
There has been a dramatic decline overnight in the leaves falling from the ear of the teenaged Faridabad boy.

Left never decided to withdraw support: Bardhan
Patna,October 4
CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan today categorically stated that the Left never decided to withdraw support from the UPA government at Centre in the backdrop of differences over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

CID report silent on how Rizwanur died
Kolkata, October 4
The CID report on the controversial death of Muslim teacher Rizwanur Rehman, who was allegedly pressurised by senior police officials his marriage with the daughter of Hindu industrialist, is silent if it was a case of suicide and does not accuse anyone specifically.

For Major Vinay, the wedding was not to be
Hyderabad, October 4
An Army Major, K P Vinay, from the city died in a gun battle with militants holed up in the Rajwali forest area in Baramulla sector in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. The Major’s marriage was scheduled later this month.

SC deprecates HCs summoning top bureaucrats
New Delhi, October 4
The Supreme Court has deplored the practice of high courts summoning top bureaucrats like chief secretaries and asked them to use such powers only under exceptional circumstances.


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B.Ed Quota
SC directs HP to admit outside students
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 4
In a major relief to non-Himachali students seeking admission in the B.Ed course in various private colleges of the state, the Supreme Court today directed the state government to admit them under the 15 per cent all-India quota from this year itself.

The order will benefit nearly 1,128 students from outside Himachal Pradesh.

Modifying the HP High Court order for implementing the 15 per cent Central quota from 2008-09 academic session, Justices P.P. Naolekar and D.K. Jain said that the HP University should issue advertisement for their admission in national dailies by October 11.

Since the state has done away with entrance test for B.Ed admission in which securing a minimum of 35 per cent marks was earlier mandatory, the court said the last date for submitting the admission forms will be October 20 and the counselling has to be completed by October 30.

It further said that the selected candidates should be allocated the colleges by November 2 so that the session could start soon after this.

The High Court had ordered admission under 15 per cent Central quota setting aside state’s policy reserving all seats for domiciles in the B.Ed colleges.

The court permitted admissions this year itself after examining the records placed before it by the university on last year’s admission schedule according to which the intake of students was stopped only on November 3.

The combined intake of students in 65 private colleges, Dharamsala’s government college and HP University is 7,525, the court was informed and the 15 per cent of this figures comes to a little over 1,128 students, who will be benefited by the order.

The court modified the order after HP’s Additional Advocate General J.S.Attri said the government was willing to provide the admission under 15 per cent quota to non-domiciles and it had not challenged the High Court order.

The total intake of students this year has increased by 3,257 as compared to 4,250 students admitted last year, the university record indicated.

The apex court modified the High Court to implement the 15 per cent all-India quota from this year itself after a student and the HP Promotion Society had moved the apex court, stating that the deferred implementation by one year would cause them the loss of a full academic session.

The university, in its statement, stated that in private colleges the session normally starts from September 5, but this year there was delay because the counselling was not completed as the third round stared only on October 3.

The High Court had deferred the implementation of its verdict till next session mainly because the admission process is set in motion in November to get the formalities completed by June next year.

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Police beat up ETV journos

Coochbehar(WB), October 4
The police today beat up two journalists of a TV channel, while they were photographing a police party, allegedly extorting money from car owners, in front of the Sadar hospital here today.

According to an FIR lodged with the Kotwali police station, a police team led by Assistant Sub-inspector, Bablu Roy beat up ETV reporter Partha Chakrabarty and cameraman Ashok Dey, when they were filming Roy and other policemen stopping vehicles, carrying patients, and extorting money.

Their camera was damaged and mobiles were snatched away by the police.

The injured journalists were admitted to hospital. Forest minister Ananta Ray and Forward Bloc MLA Deepak Sarkar met the mediapersons at the hospital. — PTI 

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UP disbands panel probing recruitment of cops
Shahira Naim/TNS

Lucknow, October 4
Virtually going on the back foot, the Uttar Pradesh government today not only decided to disband the probe panel investigating the recruitment of constables during the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime but also distanced itself from the controversial letter written by the probe panel chairperson demanding narco-analysis test.

Justifying the dissolving of the probe team, cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said that the task of the team was over, as its report was finally presented before the cabinet today. Singh refused to comment on whether the reported sexual exploitation of women candidates finds place in the final report presented before the cabinet.

It may be recalled that the probe team chairperson ADG STF Shailjakant Mishra had spoken of sexual exploitation of women, who had applied in the police wireless department.

In a letter written to the ADG anti-corruption organisation that is investigating the charges of the probe, Mishra had recommended narco-analysis test of a senior politician of the previous regime as well as senior police officials of the wireless department of that time.

Briefing the press about the meeting, the cabinet secretary said that the investigation of 51 of the 55 boards was complete. The results of two boards were withheld following petitions in the Allahabad High Court and the selection process in another two boards had not been completed.

According to Singh, action has already been taken on the reports of 42 boards. No irregularity was found in one board and the report of another eight boards are being reviewed.

A decision to constitute yet another three-member committee headed by the chief secretary was taken at today’s cabinet meeting.

SP denies charge of sexual exploitation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
Rattled by allegations of sexual exploitation of women police personnel recruited during Mulayam Singh Yadav's regime, the Samajwadi Party today went on offensive, denying vehemently insinuations levelled by the Mayawati government.

Demanding apology from the Mayawati government, SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav said the allegation that women constables were exploited was without any basis and the BSP government, led by Mayawati, was using senior police officials to target political opponents.

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Killing of ‘Thief’
Police station gheraoed
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, October 4
Enraged over the brutal killing of a person by pouring raw acid in eyes, a large number of local residents at Diamond Harbour town in South 24-Parganas, about 60 km from Kolkata, today, came out on the streets and protested.

They demonstrated and gheraoed the Diamond Harbour police station, demanding the arrest of people involved in the killing. One Baburam Mistri, (22) was allegedly caught last evening while he was stealing a mobile set. He was severely beaten up and then tied to the street lamp post.

Instead, people witnessing the punishment drama, laughed and rejoiced. Some of them also hit him with sandals and shoes. They themselves wanted to teach him a lesson and accordingly, a bottle of raw acid was reportedly poured into his eyes.

Baburam subsequently succumbed to his injuries. 

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5,782 Indians who died in World War II honoured
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
For the first time since 1945, a ceremony was held at Cassino (Italy) to honour 5, 782 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the Second World War in Italy.

Monte Cassino saw the fiercest battle of the Italian campaign on the Gothic Line of defence of the German army. Recalling that battle, Italy’s Chief of Army Staff General Fabrizio Castagnetti the 4th, 8th and 10th Indian Infantry Divisions were employed in the battle for the capture of the Monte Cassino and in the bitter campaign that followed for the breaching of the Gothic Line. This is what Field Marshal Wavel wrote about the heroic effort of the 4th Division, “The fame of this Division as one of the greatest fighting formations will be remembered in military history, just like the Tenth legion, the Light Division who fought in the Peninsular War and the old Napoleonic Guard.”

Italy’s deputy defence minister Emidio Casula recalled the immense sacrifice of the Indian soldiers that led to the defeat of fascism and the victory of freedom and democracy. He added that Indian soldiers were still remembered for their discipline, valour and friendship.

Addressing the gathering, Ambassador of India Rajiv Dogra said almost 50,000 troops, between the ages of 16 and 22, fought for the sake of freedom in Italy. Close to 50 per cent of them were injured in the process. Of these, a total of 5, 782 Indian soldiers died in Italy. It is to their credit that out of twenty Victoria Cross decorations given to the allied forces for bravery during the war in Italy, the Indian soldiers received as many as six. “The story of their bravery and their sacrifice is still talked about in Italian cities and villages that they helped to liberate,” Dogra said.

The winners of the Victoria Cross were Sepoy Kamal Ram, 3/8 Punjab, NK Yashwant Ghadge (Posthumous), 3/5 Maratha LI, Sepoy Namdeo Jadhav, 1/5 Maratha LI, Rifleman Sher Bhahadur Thapa, 1/9 Gorkha Rifles, Rifleman Thaman Gurung (Posthumous), 5 Gorkha Rifles and Sepoy Hyder Ali, 6/13 Frontier Force Rifles.

The Italian army arranged a special Guard of Honour by a large number of soldiers signaling the importance attached to the role of the young Indian soldiers in liberation of Italy. The main cemeteries where Indian soldiers are buried are Arezzo, Sangro, Cassino, Forli Indian Army War Cemetery and Rimini Gurkha War Cemetery. Among the cities that the Indian soldiers helped liberate are Perugia, Luca, Florence, San Marino, Cesena, Forli, Ferrara and Bologna. 

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FIRs lodged in ragging incident

Agra, October 4
A case was today registered against the management of an engineering college and four students after a student was injured when his seniors pushed him off the third floor of the college building.

On Monday, Abdul Wahab, a B.Tech II year student at Anand Engineering College here, was beaten black and blue by his seniors, who also snatched Rs 3,000 from him.

When the victim told them that he would complain to principal, they allegedly pushed him off the third floor of the college building.

Abdul was rushed to a close by hospital, where his condition was stated to be serious. FIRs were lodged against the management of Anand Engineering College and four unidentified students today.

Taking cognizance of the incident, district administration has directed all colleges of the city to take necessary steps to prevent ragging incident. — UNI

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CBI yet to go through ex-RAW official’s book

New Delhi, October 4
In an embarrassment, the CBI has informed a court here that it was yet to go through the book written by former RAW official, who has already been booked by the investigating agency for alleged violation of Official Secrets Act (OSA).

The CBI, which booked Major General (retd) V K Singh on September 19 for allegedly violating section five of OSA (wrongful communication of information), was taken aback over the questioning by the Additional Sessions Judge Babu Lal, who asked the agency to provide documents pertaining to the violation of law.

Singh wrote a book “India’s External Intelligence: Secrets of RAW”.

The CBI through its counsel informed the court that it would place before it all the details about the case on November 5, 2007. — PTI

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Farmers protest ban on onion export
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 4
Onion farmers have taken to sporadic protests at the market in Maharashtra's Nashik district after prices crashed sharply following the government's ban on exports of the bulb.

After the union government banned exports of onions for 15 days from Tuesday, prices at the Nashik onion market fell by Rs 500 to touch Rs 1771 per quintal. Farmers who were bringing in the produce on Wednesday and Thursday hoping to receive higher prices for their produce took to the streets and blocked traffic.

"Farmers are angry with the government because their opportunity to learn even a slightly higher income has been thwarted by the ban," said Holkar, secretary, Lasalgaon market committee.

However, state government officials here maintained that the protests are being fuelled by traders and speculators who have been hoarding onions for the past several days in the hope of making a killing before the arrival of the kharif crop.

The administration has rushed police reinforcements after farmers began to protest at low prices today as well, sources said.

The government had announced that the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) would not issue any no-objection certificates for export of onions till October 15. This measure is expected to ease onion prices which had touched Rs 30 at the retail level in some markets.

No ban on onion exports: Nafed

Nafed today said there was no bar on export of the edible bulb after traders went on strike protesting a reported ban on selling the commodity overseas.

“The export of onions is still on. However, concerned by the rising prices of onion... certain measures have been pressed into to check the ongoing spurt in the prices of onion,” Nafed managing director Alok Ranjan said.

He said the agency was only going slow on issuing NoCs to exporters. To deter overseas sale of onion, Nafed had first increased the minimum export price by $ 50 for all destinations. — PTI

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Centre restricts export of onion

New Delhi, October 4
The union government today restricted exports of onion and made it permissible only under an export licence through designated canalising agencies.

The restriction were announced late night by commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath. The move is intended to check the domestic spiralling of prices of the commodity. The commodity was hitherto canalised through the designated public sector agencies.

Accordingly, a notification has been issued by the government providing that the export of onion shall be restricted and permissible only under an export licence through designated canalising agencies.

Analysts say restricting the export of onion would help stabilise prices. — UNI 

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OBC Quota
Parasaran defends govt
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 4
Former Attorney-General K Parasaran today put a strong defence on behalf of the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government for implementation of 27 per cent OBC quota in education institutions in the Supreme Court saying that there was no need for preparing a fresh identification list of the backward classes.

He also claimed that the principle of “creamy layer” will not apply for reservation in admissions to education institutions, while arguing before a five-judge constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.

Prasaran said since the list prepared by the states and the Mandal Commission figures on OBCs had been accepted by the apex court in the Indira Swahany case pertaining to the reservation in government jobs for the OBC, there was no reason for preparing a fresh identification list.

Prasaran has been specially engaged to argue on behalf of the Centre and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made a personal request to him to bail out the government from the quota imbroglio. He said once a class has been identified as backward after applying the laid down criteria, no further classification could be made on the basis of economic criteria, he said.

He stated that the creamy layer was still a developing concept, it could only be applied only by enacting a law not otherwise, he contended.

The court, however, put to him some probing questions relating to Parliament delegating power to executive to provide quota without identification of the OBCs and said would it not amount to excessive delegation without completing this formality.

“If it is blanket delegation (of power by Parliament) then it must go,” the court observed, pointing out that the criteria laid down about two decades ago could not be continued to be the same.

The challenge in the petitions against the OBC Reservation Act was not only to the delegation of the power by Parliament to the executive but also to the mechanism laid down by the government to implement it, the court pointed out.

But Parasaran tried to defend his stand, saying that the government’s action was an affirmative one to bring the backward classes at with those who had oppressed them for centuries and the beginning should not be stopped.

He admitted that there could be a review of the beneficiaries after 10 years. He will continue with his arguments on October 10, when the Bench reassembles.

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MPs’ fake sting operation
Kingpin lands in police net

New Delhi, October 4
The kingpin of a gang, which was blackmailing MP’s after conducting fake sting operations, has landed in the police net after evading arrest for about a month. Sanjay Tiwari, who was running a media consultancy which provided sting operations to TV channels, was arrested from an east Delhi locality yesterday during a raid, the police said.

His three accomplices were arrested on September 10 after complaints from three MP’s at the Parliament Street police station that Tiwari, who was posing as the secretary and allegedly told that he could arrange a Rs 18 crore project for their constituencies.

Tiwari, who approached three MP’s — Rameshwar Oraon, Sushila Kerketta (both Cong) and Eklal Mahto (JMM), posing as secretary of of tribal affairs minister P R Kyndiah, had managed to escape then. Tiwari allegedly told the MP’s that he would give five per cent to the law-makers for which they have to give him Rs 5,000 initially and Rs five lakh later.

Oraon, a former additional director general of the police, first received a call from Tiwari but finding it suspicious, he contacted the minister who denied any such projects or the official attached with him.

Tiwari and his three associates went to Oraon’s residence on September 10 afternoon for “fixing the deal” and started asking him some questions to which Oraon objected to.

They were allegedly “filming” the conversation using secret cameras, the official said adding that the waiting police team then caught the trio but Tiwari managed to escape.— PTI

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Now, PMK hits out at courts on bandh issue
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, October 4
The controversy over the Supreme Court’s observation over the Tamil Nadu bandh seems to be heading for a confrontation between political parties and the judiciary, with the PMK now questioning not only the authority of courts but also prevalent judicial practices.

Following the Supreme Court staying Monday’s Tamil Nadu bandh called by the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) demanding speedy implementation of the Sethusamudram project, PMK founder Dr S. Ramadoss today said that it was not in the interest of democracy if laws made by courts became permanent and kept on increasing.

Ramadoss elaborated on differences between laws enacted by state legislatures, Parliament and “court-made laws” and said that it was not good for democracy if such a phenomenon became permanent law.

The PMK is not only part of the DPA but also a constituent of the ruling UPA at the Centre with two Union ministers.

He pointed out that before the legislature enacted a law, the draft bill was debated upon by elected representatives to remove lacunae if any unlike court rulings which were based on arguments by lawyers in the interest of their clients.

Ramadoss commented that the interest of the people would not be served if in the course of time rulings on cases initiated by private parties became law.

He asserted by saying that agitations or movements in support of people’s development and for the rights of toiling masses was a right bestowed by democracy.

Referring to the Kerala High Court’s judgement declaring a bandh illegal, he pointed out that it was a particular case with a specific background and was subsequently upheld by the apex court.

However, he found it strange that such a judgement became a permanent law leading to a situation that a bandh in support of the Sethusamudram project became impossible.

The Left parties have already criticised the Supreme Court over the same issue, with the CPM general secretary Prakash Karat saying “such judicial encroachment is uncalled for”.

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A protest in middle of river
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, October 4
Four residents of Gyansoo town of Uttarakanshi district have found a novel way of protest. They are camping on an island of rocks in Bhagarthi river for the past four days to ensure compensation to all people affected by the Maneri Bhali Phase-II hydroelectric project.

Jeopardising their lives to get their demands accepted, the novel form of protest has sent the official machinery into a tizzy. “We have conveyed their demands to the state government. The protesters will be informed about the response as soon as it reaches us. But we are tying to resolve the matter by holding talks with the protesters,” said P.C. Dandriyal, SDM, Bhatwari.

The situation has posed another challenge to the government after agitation by the oustees of Tehri Dam project on which more than Rs 1000 crore has been spent so far.

The agitation in the middle of fast flowing started when the planning was on the fill the reservoir of the 300 MW project expected to be completed by the year end.

The protesters are not willing to move out of the river till acceptance of their demands of completing work on the retaining walls of the reservoir as well as payment of compensation to all affected persons.

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Tea workers may not get bonus in Assam
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, October 4
The ensuing Durga Puja festival in Assam may fail to bring cheers to thousands of tea workers engaged in 100 tea estates in the Barak valley of southern Assam as the tea companies have expressed their inability to pay the bonus before the festival.

The secretary of the Tea Association of India (TAI), Dipanjal Deka, informed that severe cash crunch precipitated by floods during the month of September had hit the tea estates hard in the Barak valley and as a result the tea companies were not able to pay the bonus before the festive season this year.

He informed that the floods devastated road communication in the entire Barak valley failing the tea estates to dispatch manufactured tea to the market that severely affected the inflow of cash to the bank accounts of the tea companies.

The situation was so worse that at least seven tea estates in the valley had to close down all operations for several days because of acute shortage of fuel to run their factories. Since, payment of bonus to over eight lakh tea workers in Assam, both in the Brahmaputra valley and the Barak valley, was a sensitive issue, the state government had already issued instructions asking the tea companies to pay bonus to all tea workers before the on set of the festive season in the third week of this month.

Accordingly, tea estates in the Brahmaputra valley had already started the process to facilitate payment of bonus to workers, but the picture is gloomy in the Barak estates. The TAI official said, “It is not that tea estates in Barak wouldn’t pay bonus, but it will be delayed payment this year because of the crunch situation.”

Meanwhile, the TAI president Shasank Prasad has written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) requesting the latter to instruct the scheduled banks to increase working capitals for crisis-ridden Barak tea estates to enable them to tide over the situation.

The tea planters’ association had also requested the Assam government to grant exemption on payment of green leaf cess to those tea estates at least for a few months. The TAI has asked the state government to repair all flood-ravaged roads leading to tea estates in Barak immediately to improve the situation.

Non-payment of bonus in time will be a set back for the ruling Congress, which has a strong bastion among tea workers, especially at this juncture when panchayat election is due.

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Judiciary hits crime citadels in Bihar
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, October 4
The dice has finally been cast and from the long spell of lawbreakers for which Bihar earlier had earned a bad name, it is the time of lawmakers now.

As a direct fall out of this development, the people of Bihar are now witness to how an alert and agile judiciary through speedy trials has marked the beginning of an end of a phase of politics in the state when alleged criminal-turned-politicians created political citadels where there words were law.

This was evident either from the death sentence pronounced by a sessions court in Patna for the former MP Anand Mohan yesterday or the life imprisonment awarded by a local court of Siwan to sitting MP of the RJD Mohd Shahabuddin in the recent past.

Governor R.S. Gavai put it straight saying: Speedy trials initiated by the state government were yielding good results.” He was talking to the media soon after the judgement against Anand Mohan at the Iftar party hosted by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at his Aney Marg residence yesterday.

And Gavai was not wrong. The speedy trial campaign through the fast track courts in the past 21 months of the Nitish government so far led to the conviction of an unprecedented 14,108 criminals under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Arms Act, a figure untouched even in the past one decade prior to 2006.

The impact of the verdicts against Shahabuddin or Anand Mohan could be assessed from the command they enjoyed in their respective areas over decades.

Still facing over 30 criminal cases, so complete was the sway of Shahabuddin over Siwan that DMs and SPs reportedly there called him “Saheb”. From an Independent MLA in 1990 representing Siwan’s Ziradei assembly seat, the birthplace of India‘s first President Rajendra Prasad, Shahabuddin completed his control over Siwan by 1995.

The same holds true for Anand Mohan too. Many people in Koshi area, be it out of fear or to seek favour, considered him the “Robinhood” of the area. Till recently he had as many as 28 criminal cases pending against him. Of these 20 were disposed of after long-drawn legal procedures. While seven cases are still pending against him, he has been convicted in the Krishnaiya murder case.

While Shahabuddin was linked to the RJD only, Anand Mohan had apparently enjoyed the patronage of both the ruling JD(U) and the opposition RJD. His own political outfit, the Bihar People’s Party (BPP), which was virtually defunct now, was formed following serious differences between him and Lalu Prasad over reservation issue. His ex-Parliamentarian wife Lovely Anand had unsuccesfully contested from the Barh Assembly seat on JD(U) ticket in February, 2005, elections.

Another sitting MLA from Lalganj, Munna Shukla, convicted yesterday with life imprisonment in Krishnaiya murder case along Lovely Anand, still represents the ruling JD(U).

The crime citadels of Bihar, however, were not confined to Shahabuddin and Anand Mohan only.

Some of the dons of the state now reportedly in the line of fire of judiciary on various criminal charges are RJD MP from Madhepura, Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, RJD MLA Surendra Yadav, JD(U) MLAs Sunil Pandey and Rama Kishore Singh, JD(U) MP Prabhunath Singh, and LJP MP Surajbhan Singh.

In fact, the post-1990 period saw a number of criminal-turned-politicians creating their own fiefdom where their writ ran large.

While Pappu Yadav, charged with the murder of CPM leader Ajit Sarkar, called the shots in Siwan, LJP MP Surajbhan Singh holds the away in the Mokama belt of Patna district. The suspended JD(U) MLA Sunil Pandey still lords over Piro in Bhojpur district. The list, however, does not end here.

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Sangma to contest Meghalaya poll
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, October 4
Former Lok Sabha Speaker and national general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Purno A. Sangma, will make a come back in state politics with his eye set on the chair of the chief minister in his home state Meghalaya.

The NCP leader told media here today that he would contest from Tura Assembly constituency in the forthcoming Assembly elections to be held in Meghalaya earlier next year.

Sangma, who earlier had a very brief stint in the state politics before he took a plunge in the national scenario, said the NCP had decided to go it alone in the next Meghalaya elections and would field its candidates in 55 out of the total 60 Assembly segments in the hill state.

Regarding next year’s Assembly elections in two other Northeastern states of Nagaland and Tripura, Sangma said the NCP would contest in 20 seats in Nagaland and 10 in Tripura. He said the party was hopeful of putting up a good show in Meghalaya election.

Union minister of food and civil supplies Sharad Pawar, president of the NCP, will come to Shillong to chair the two-day Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting of the party on October 11 and 12 to hammer out strategy for the Assembly elections in the Northeastern states. All top notch leaders of the party will converge to Shillong to attend the Central Working Committee sitting.

The CWC will be preceded by a two-day workshop on October 9 and 10 on “Preservation of tribal identity in the Northeast.” 

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BMW case: Judge declines to recuse, another disagrees

New Delhi, October 4
In a new twist in the contempt case against senior advocate R.K. Anand, Justice Manmohan Sarin of the Delhi High Court today refused to recuse himself while the other Judge on the Bench did not concur with him, expressing “disinclination” to hear the matter.

In a virtual split verdict, Justice Sarin was of the view that Anand’s application for his recusal contained “unfounded and motivated allegation of bias” but the other judge, Justice S.K. Mishra said he was unable to concur with him and expressed his disinclination to hear the matter any further.

In a strongly-worded order, Justice Sarin said that Anand’s application was for “forum-hunting/ Bench preference or brow-beating the court” and succumbing to such a pressure would tantamount to not fulfilling the oath of office.

Justice Mishra said, “I regret that I find myself unable to concur (with Justice Sarin). I do so with great diffidence in view of the fact that the nature of the controversy before us pertains to my learned brother alone.

“It revolves around a number of factual assertions, which can only be known to my learned brother personally, and which must necessarily be examined in the light of the law on the subject. Therefore, I consider it inappropriate to express any opinion in the matter, one way or the other.”

In view of the dissent and disinclination expressed by Justice Mishra to hear the matter any further, the matter has been posted for October 11 for “directions”.

In the light of this order, the issue might go before the Chief Justice for constituting a new Bench or referring it to larger Bench.

Anand had sought recusal of Justice Sarin in the contempt matter relating to BMW hit-and-run case. — PTI

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Decline in leaf fall from boy’s ear: family
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
There has been a dramatic decline overnight in the leaves falling from the ear of the teenaged Faridabad boy.

After a South Delhi ENT hospital offered to keep 13-year-old Amandeep Singh under “visual observation” through a close circuit television (CCTV), the family reported a single leaf fall on Thursday.The boy's father Sahib Singh told TNS here that only one henna leaf came out of the child's ear today compared to numerous fragments of leaves of various shapes and sizes that were falling earlier.

Meanwhile, the ENT hospital in Jasola here was reportedly flooded with calls this morning from gullible and superstitious persons from Delhi, Palwal and Panipat, all requesting for some fragments of leaves. ENT consultant Dr Arvind Kacker said the callers believe that the leaves may have some divine healing power that can cure them of malignancy, arthritis and asthma. He said a woman called from Panipat and asked for the leaves in the belief that its consumption would help her daughter-in-law have a male child.

A Ragi in a Faridabad gurdwara, Sahib Singh said that he did not take his son for CCTV monitoring today, as a doctor in the hospital asked them to come tomorrow.

Singh ruled out the suspicion that his son was playing pranks to catch his attention. “I will take him to Dr Kacker's hospital tomorrow. I also intend taking him to the Golden Temple in Amritsar on October 9 on the Prakash Diwas of Guru Ramdas. At present, I am in the Gurdwara and the child is at ease. We have been very disturbed and the child has not been going to school for almost a week.”

Dr Arvind Kacker maintains that there is no truth in the child's claim. ``I have examined Amandeep Singh seven to eight times and found no evidence of self-generation of leaves. On all occasions, the leaves have been lying at the entrance of the external ear.

So the claim of fragments of any long leaves like mango and banana does not hold any water. There are no abrasions on his outer ear canal. I now intend using a microscope with in-built video recorder, focus it on the ear and see if there is any autogenesis (self-created) flora and fauna.''

The consultant said that he has monitored the child continuously for 25 minutes and found that his eardrum was normal. ``There is no doubt in my mind that this is a hoax. We cannot condone such pranks and if doctors encourage this theory, our country will be full of charlatans.''

Dr Praveen Chawla, a Faridabad-based ENT consultant, said that he had taken out at least 300 leaves from Mandeep Singh's ear in the presence of photographers. He still buys the child's story. And the tale goes on... 

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Left never decided to withdraw support: Bardhan
Ambarish Dutta/Tribune News Service

Patna,October 4
CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan today categorically stated that the Left never decided to withdraw support from the UPA government at Centre in the backdrop of differences over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

Addressing a meeting of party workers to mark the end of the year-long celebrations of the 150 years of 1857 uprising at the S.K. Memorial Hall here, the veteran marxist leader rather sought to blame the media for speculating on the Left’s withdrawal of support from the UPA. “Media should stop speculating on this issue.

We are capable of taking our own decisions”, he asserted. Bardhan further claimed that as responsible political parties the Left was also not in favour to force mid-term polls on the country over the issue.

He, however, welcomed the remarks made by Congress president Sonia Gandhi while addressing the UN session on Tuesday marking the beginning of the celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2 every year as International Non-violence Day. Sonia there described the differences between the Left and the UPA on the nuclear deal issue not as serious as perceived by others.

Pointing out that he was happy with Sonia admitting the differences, he regretted that there was no suggestion put forward by her so far to end the deadlock.

Bardhan hoped a positive outcome on the nuclear deal issue during the UPA-Left meeting in Delhi tomorrow, failing which both parties would again meet on October 15.

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CID report silent on how Rizwanur died

Kolkata, October 4
The CID report on the controversial death of Muslim teacher Rizwanur Rehman, who was allegedly pressurised by senior police officials his marriage with the daughter of Hindu industrialist, is silent if it was a case of suicide and does not accuse anyone specifically.

Home Secretary P.R. Roy, to whom the interim report to the CID was submitted yesterday, said “the report did not mention if it was a case of suicide and also did not accuse anyone specifically”.Kolkata police Chief Prasun Mukherjee had two days after Rehwan’s body was found on railway tracks here on September 21 claimed it was a case of suicide.

Rozwanpur was threatened by senior Kolkata police officers to part with his wife Priyanka, daughter of industrialist Ashok Todi, after their marriage on ugust 18.

Asked if senior police officers would be summoned for questioned, Roy said “Officials will be called to appear at an appropriate time”.

He said the investigating agency had not come to any conclusion in the case. “The report contains the facts of inquiry as of today and the case has not been closed”.

To a question, the Home Secretary said it was not within power of the CID or anybody to close the case.

Asked if there was anything “crucial” in the report, Roy said “i din’t think it ias very important. It deals only with an unatural death case”.

As regards the judicial probe ordered by Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, he said it would be the first point to ascertain if it was an accident, suicide or homicide. — PTI

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For Major Vinay, the wedding was not to be

Hyderabad, October 4
An Army Major, K P Vinay, from the city died in a gun battle with militants holed up in the Rajwali forest area in Baramulla sector in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. The Major’s marriage was scheduled later this month.

Vinay, 29, was a resident of Premavathipet in Rajendranagar. Family sources said Vinay passed out of National Defence Academy (NDA) in 1994 and joined the Indian Army. He was promoted as Major three years ago and was heading the 34 Rashtriya Rifles.

He was posted in J&K since the past two years. His brother Vikram, manager in an IT firm in the city, said his brother’s marriage was scheduled to be held later this month. "Vinay was granted leave for his marriage and was scheduled to return to the city in the next few days," Vikram said.

Vinay was the son of K R Prabhakar and Jayasri. Prabhakar is a former employee of NAARM, Rajendranagar. Vinay completed his schooling from Vasu Public School, Himayatnagar.

His family received the message from defence authorities in J&K at around 12.30 pm on Tuesday. The body is likely to be flown to the city by Wednesday or Thursday. — PTI

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SC deprecates HCs summoning top bureaucrats

New Delhi, October 4
The Supreme Court has deplored the practice of high courts summoning top bureaucrats like chief secretaries and asked them to use such powers only under exceptional circumstances.

“Such summoning orders should not be passed lightly or as a routine or at the drop of a hat,” a Bench of Justices A.K. Mathur and Markandeya Katju observed, while quashing a Gujarat High Court order summoning the state’s Chief Secretary and Law Secretary in a case.

The apex court observed that it was coming across a large number of cases “where such orders summoning of high officials are being passed by the high courts and often it is nothing but the for the ego satisfaction.” — PTI

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