SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Post-Godhra Riot Cases
Gujarat minister declared absconder
Ahmedabad, February 2
Gujarat Minister Mayaben Kodanani and VHP leader Jaidip Patel were today declared absconders in some post-Godhra riot cases by a Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing some of the incidents afresh and the two accused faced possible arrest.

‘CEC toeing BJP line’
Congress-led UPA may ‘ignore’ the letter
New Delhi, February 2
In a direct contrast to its earlier stand that it was not in the interest of any political party to cast aspersions on Constitutional authority like members of the Election Commission, the Congress on Monday charged the Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami of toeing BJP’s line.

India inks safeguards pact with IAEA
New Delhi, February 2
India today signed a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that paves the way for the supply of atomic fuel and technology by the international community to India after 34 years of nuclear isolation.


EARLIER STORIES

NSA: Obama should not link Kashmir with Pak’s problems
New Delhi, February 2
Coming out strongly against any attempt to link Kashmir issue with turmoil in Pakistan's tribal areas, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan has said that US President Barack Obama would be "barking up the wrong tree" if he holds such views.

‘Pak may turn into a failed nation soon’
New Delhi, February 2
With Pakistan dithering over the global call to act against terror groups involved in the Mumbai terror strikes, a US-based intelligence think tank has projected that the South Asian state can very well turn into a “failed country” soon.

Mid-air Scare
14-day judicial custody for passenger
New Delhi, February 2
A local court today sent Jitendra Kumar Moyali, a passenger on board Indigo Airline who threatened to hijack the flight and was arrested yesterday from Delhi Airport, to 14-day judicial custody. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rajesh Kumar Goyal issued the order. The police, meanwhile, has registered a case against him under sections 336 and 506 of the IPC and under provisions of the Suppression of Unlawful Act against safety of civil aviation.

Police escort Jitendra Kumar Moyali to a court in New Delhi on Monday. — Reuters
Police escort Jitendra Kumar Moyali to a court in New Delhi on Monday.

The Tribune celebrates Founder’s Day
Tribune employees pay tributes to Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia on the occasion of the 128th Founder’s Day in Chandigarh on Monday. Chandigarh, February 2
The Tribune family reiterated its commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and creation of a just social order on the newspaper’s 128th founder’s day here today.
Tribune employees pay tributes to Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia on the occasion of the 128th Founder’s Day in Chandigarh on Monday. (From left) Sanjay Hazari, General Manager, Dr RP Bambah, Trustee of The Tribune Trust, and HK Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers, are also seen. A Tribune photograph

Aero India to be mega affair
Bangalore, February 2
Defence minister AK Antony will inaugurate the 7th edition of Aero India 2009, a premier air show of Asia, at the Yelahanka Air Force Station here on February 11.

Meltdown: Pink slips ensure work for study-abroad sector
Jobless professionals want to get back to school to hone skills
New Delhi, February 2
With the retrenchment-hit workforce itching to get back to school post recession, the "study abroad" sector is booming with profits.

Slaying Of Cops
Suspects held, but Naxals may have fled: Police
Mumbai, February 2
The anti-Naxal task force of the Maharashtra police has picked up a few suspects in connection with the killing of 15 cops at Gadchiroli on Sunday even as they expected that most of the guerrillas may have escaped to neighboring Andhra Pradesh.

‘Encounter’ of disabled
Army in dock
Guwahati, February 2
A bandh called by two tea tribes organisations to protest against “encounter” killing of a physically challenged teenager by the Army brought life to a grinding halt in Sivasagar district and parts of upper Assam today.

Muthalik gets bail in 2003 case
Madikeri, February 2
Srirama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik was today granted bail by a court in Virajpet in connection with a case filed against him for making "a provocative" speech during December 2003.

MoD orders more pay, but issues still remain
Chandigarh, February 2
While the much-awaited orders for placing officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent in pay band-4 have finally come through, the issue of pay and status disparity has only been partially resolved.

SC pulls up Railways for hooliganism in trains
New Delhi, February 2
The Supreme Court today rapped the Indian Railways on the knuckles for its failure to curb hooliganism in trains and protect the luggage of even those passengers travelling in reserved air-conditioned compartments from burglars.

SC notice to WB on NHRC complaint
Rape allegation against judge
New Delhi, February 2
The Supreme Court today issued notice to the West Bengal government on a petition by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking speedy probe into the allegation of rape against a sitting judge of a fast track court.

Death of K’taka CM’s wife: Re-probe ordered
Bangalore, February 2
K Sheshadri, whose petition prompted a court in Shimoga to order the local police to re-open the investigation into the death of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa’s wife, today said he was hopeful that the probe would “set the process of law into motion against the Chief Minister”.

Bribe from MLA costs official job
Jaipur, February 2
Sounds bizarre but that seems true: commoners in the country should not feel bad while paying bribe when even serving MLAs can be asked to grease the palms by road transport inspectors despite having genuine travel documents. The only twist here is that once the identity of the VIP is known, the bribe-seeker would immediately fall on former’s feet, seeking forgiveness. The commoners, however, would never enjoy such elation.

Bhupen Hazarika gets ‘Asom Ratna’
Guwahati, February 2
The Assam government conferred “Asom Ratna” honour on musician, singer and living legend of Indian music Dr Bhupen Hazarika at a function presided over by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi here recently.

Russian commits suicide
Mumbai, February 2
A Russian national allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the multi-storeyed Hotel Trident building in south Mumbai in the wee hours today.





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Post-Godhra Riot Cases
Gujarat minister declared absconder

Ahmedabad, February 2
Gujarat Minister Mayaben Kodanani and VHP leader Jaidip Patel were today declared absconders in some post-Godhra riot cases by a Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing some of the incidents afresh and the two accused faced possible arrest.

“We have issued her (Mayaben) summons on January 29 and 31, but she didn’t turn up,” a senior official in SIT, which is investigating the case, said.

SIT personnel had gone to the official residence of Kodanani, who is the Minister of State for Higher Education in the ministerial enclave, her personal residence in Ahmedabad, her MLA office, but she was not found to be present at any of the locations, the official said. She has also switched off her phone, the official added.

“So today we have declared her as an absconder and she may be facing arrest,” the official said. Kodanani is an accused in Naroda Patia riot case as well as Naroda Gam riot case which the SIT is probing.

Kodanani has approached the city sessions court seeking anticipatory bail. The court will take up the minister’s bail plea on Thursday.

When asked about her arrest, the official said it is a matter of time and depends on the court. “We will try to arrest her as soon as possible,” he said.

Kodanani, a three time MLA from Naroda Assembly constituency, was interrogated by the SIT officials in December last year.

Patel, who is also an accused in the Naroda Gam massacre case, has also been declared as an absconder by the SIT, the official said. He has also applied for anticipatory bail. SIT was appointed by Supreme court to re-investigate some of the post Godhra riot cases. — PTI

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‘CEC toeing BJP line’
Congress-led UPA may ‘ignore’ the letter
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 2
In a direct contrast to its earlier stand that it was not in the interest of any political party to cast aspersions on Constitutional authority like members of the Election Commission, the Congress on Monday charged the Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami of toeing BJP’s line.

Criticising Gopalswami for creating a Constitutional crisis, the Congress said circumstances and the way the entire episode, featuring Gopalswami and Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, had unfolded suggested a “congruence of action between the BJP and the CEC”.

The rift in the EC has set off a war of words between the BJP and the Congress. The Congress sees the timing of Gopalswami’s move aimed at supporting the BJP. “The crisis was created by the CEC and perpetuated by the BJP,” Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said after a detailed statement on turn of events in the last few days.

“It has never been our intention to counter Constitutional authority. But to the question whether there is a congruence of actions between the BJP and the CEC, yes, circumstances and the manner in which the whole episode has unfolded clearly suggest so,” Tewari added.

The Congress spokesman, however, refused to see any merit in the suggestion of a similar closeness between Chawla and the Congress. “I don’t think he (Chawla) was ever part of the Congress,” he remarked. “Can you site even one example when Chawla had supported the Congress… but certain facts have to be put on the record, especially when charges levelled against him are completely bogus,” Tewari added, defending the party’s stand of backing the Election Commissioner.

The controversy over the entire issue is raging on. While the opposition BJP is trying its level best to corner the government on the issue, the Congress on Saturday said Chawla had acted “most impartially” and there was no need for him to resign.

Meanwhile, Tewari asserted that the CEC had no unilateral power to recommend removal of an Election Commissioner. The CEC does not enjoy a “status superior to that of the Election Commissioner,” he added. Sources in the party said the government would ignore CEC’s recommendations. “The government is not under obligation to do anything. It can sit over the letter or send it back to the President, saying there is no merit in them,” they added.

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India inks safeguards pact with IAEA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 2
India today signed a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that paves the way for the supply of atomic fuel and technology by the international community to India after 34 years of nuclear isolation.

The agreement, signed in Vienna by India’s Ambassador to IAEA Saurabh Kumar and IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei, would effectively bring 14 of India’ 22 nuclear reactors under non-proliferation inspections of the international atomic watchdog. “The safeguards agreement, which is the result of several rounds of consultations conducted between India and the IAEA since November 2007, was approved by the IAEA Board of Governors in August 2008. The agreement will enter into force on the date the IAEA receives from India written notification that its statutory and constitutional requirements for entry into force have been met,” the IAEA said in a press release. The IAEA currently applies safeguards to six nuclear reactors in India. The additional reactors are expected to be under IAEA safeguards under the newly-signed agreement, the release added.

Saurabh Kumar expressed happiness after signing the agreement and said it was part of India’s integration into international civil nuclear community. “This is the first step in implementing various bilateral civil nuclear pacts India has signed so far. The agreement is based on goodwill and trust between India and the IAEA. It’s an assurance to the international community to enable the resumption of international civil nuclear cooperation with India,” he said. Senior officials of the Department of Atomic Energy, including director (strategic planning) Ravi B Grover, were present at the signing of the agreement.

The India-specific safeguards agreement was unanimously approved by the IAEA Board of Governors on August 1 last year. Thereafter, the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) amended its stringent rules, giving nod to India to undertake nuclear commerce after 34 years.

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NSA: Obama should not link Kashmir
with Pak’s problems

New Delhi, February 2
Coming out strongly against any attempt to link Kashmir issue with turmoil in Pakistan's tribal areas, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan has said that US President Barack Obama would be "barking up the wrong tree" if he holds such views.

Narayanan said India had made it known to the Obama team at the outset that it would not like Indo-Pak relations to be on the agenda of Richard Holbrooke, special envoy of the US for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“References made by President Obama did seem to suggest that there is some kind of a link between the settlement on Pakistan's western border and the Kashmir issue. Certainly that had caused concern,” he told Karan Thapar's ‘India Tonight’ programme.

He was responding to reported suggestions by Obama during his campaign that Pakistan's fight against Taliban on the western front is linked to resolution of Kashmir issue.

The NSA pointed out that Obama had made such references when he was in the campaign mode or when he was president-elect.

“We tend to sort of say let’s wait and see what he does when he comes into office,” Narayanan said. “I don't think we had any major exchanges with members of the Obama administration later on” though the US President had made courtesy call and discussed bilateral ties, he said. “I do think that we could make President Obama understand, if he does have any such views then he is barking up the wrong tree,” Narayanan said. — PTI

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‘Pak may turn into a failed nation soon’

New Delhi, February 2
With Pakistan dithering over the global call to act against terror groups involved in the Mumbai terror strikes, a US-based intelligence think tank has projected that the South Asian state can very well turn into a “failed country” soon.

“Pakistan already is in crisis, and in some ways it is hard to imagine it getting much worse. But if it continues to destabilise, it could very well turn into a failed country...albeit a failed country with a nuclear arsenal,” security think tank Stratfor said in its annual forecast on ‘Jihadism’.

The report, titled ‘Jihadism in 2009: The trends continue’ and released in January, said Pakistan was once again the critical location for the Jihadists.

“Given the number of plots linked to Pakistan in recent years, including the November 26 Mumbai attacks and almost every significant plot since 9/11, all eyes will be watching Pakistan carefully,” it said.

Slamming Pakistan for being home to the Al-Qaida’s core leadership as it pursues its ideological war, the think tank said the South Asian nation was also home to a number of Jihadist groups.

Stating that the coming year might prove to be pivotal in the global efforts against the Jihadists in Pakistan, the Stratfor forecast noted that before it became a failed state, there were a number of precursor stages it probably would pass through.

“This type of anarchy in Pakistan could give the Jihadists an opportunity to exert control in a way similar to what they had done in places like Afghanistan and Somalia.” The most optimist assessment was if Pakistan re-establishes control over its territory and the ISI, the development could deal a terrible blow to the terror groups’ aspirations. — PTI

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Mid-air Scare
14-day judicial custody for passenger

New Delhi, February 2
A local court today sent Jitendra Kumar Moyali, a passenger on board Indigo Airline who threatened to hijack the flight and was arrested yesterday from Delhi Airport, to 14-day judicial custody.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rajesh Kumar Goyal issued the order. The police, meanwhile, has registered a case against him under sections 336 and 506 of the IPC and under provisions of the Suppression of Unlawful Act against safety of civil aviation.

Three persons, including a woman, were detained yesterday when E 664, an Indigo Airlines passenger plane made an emergency landing at the Delhi Airport following a mid-air scare.

Panic gripped the Delhi Airport after the incident and security forces were rushed to provide cover as it looked like a hijak bid initially.

Secretary (Civil Aviation) Madhavan Nambiar told mediapersons: “The passengers threatened that they would hijack the plane, because of which the Air Traffic Control sounded the alert after receiving a call from the pilot, following which all precautionary measures were activated as per prescribed drill.”

Corroborating the official take, the airlines also said an unruly passenger forced the pilot, who feared that he might harm passengers and crew, to take the emergency step.

Nambiar, who was assisted by Airports Authority of India chairman, said the plane landed at 1729 hrs, taken to an isolated area and was cordoned off by CISF and NSG men immediately.

“All security parameters were followed with even a ‘command centre’ being set up to monitor the situation and recommend any necessary steps,” said a senior security official. — UNI

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The Tribune celebrates Founder’s Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Tribune family reiterated its commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and creation of a just social order on the newspaper’s 128th founder’s day here today.

Dr RP Bambah, trustee of The Tribune Trust, HK Dua, editor-in-chief, The Tribune group of newspapers, and Sanjay Hazari, general manager, led hundreds of newspaper employees in paying tributes to great visionary Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, who founded the newspaper in Lahore in 1881.

Later, addressing a brief but impressive function at The Tribune lawns, Dr Bambah said Majithia rightly felt the need for starting a newspaper to give voice to the people and acted as an instrument for the creation of a scientific, rational and progressive society. From a humble beginning, The Tribune, along with its sister publications of Dainik Tribune and Punjabi Tribune, had grown into a big responsible organisation in its own right, he said.

Over the decades, The Tribune stood up to its ideals, never compromising on values of humanism and democracy, Dr Bambah added.

Saying that The Tribune was not like any other commercial organisation, the trustee asserted that it had acted responsibly in championing people’s just causes over the decades.

Naresh Kaushal, editor, The Dainik Tribune, and GS Sidhu Damdami, editor, The Punjabi Tribune, were prominent among those present at the function.

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Aero India to be mega affair
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 2
Defence minister AK Antony will inaugurate the 7th edition of Aero India 2009, a premier air show of Asia, at the Yelahanka Air Force Station here on February 11.

The five-day show is being organised by the Ministry of Defence and managed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). While six successful editions of Aero India were organised earlier between 1996 and 2007, the coming show would be much bigger than the ones held before.

Aero India will showcase the latest in the field of military and civil aircrafts, vital components for aircraft engines, avionics systems & sub systems, airfield radars and new age technologies used in the defence sector. It is learnt that 592 exhibitors from 25 countries will participate in the show. The overseas participants include UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands and Ukraine. China, which shunned the previous air shows held in India, will also be participating this year.

Aircrafts, including F-16, F-18, MiG-35D, Eurofighter, IJT, Dhruv, Hawk, C-17, Embraer 135 business jet Legacy 600, C-130J, Citation XLS,G 550, AN-12 Cargo and A-310 MRTT, will be on display at the show. The exhibition will consist of both airborne and static displays of a wide range of civil and military aircrafts from leading manufacturers.

Defence ministers of seven foreign countries will converge in Bangalore for the show. Besides, a high- level delegations from 40 countries will watch the show. Opening up of the defence sector in India to foreign direct investment, the modernisation plan of its armed forces and enormous new opportunities in the civil aviation sector have brought new avenues for investment in the country.

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Meltdown: Pink slips ensure work for
study-abroad sector

Jobless professionals want to get back to school to hone skills
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 2
With the retrenchment-hit workforce itching to get back to school post recession, the "study abroad" sector is booming with profits.

Several firms imparting training programmes for further studies abroad or in India have reported over 25 per cent increase in enquiries from corporate and working professionals, keen on enhancing their skill set in this job-dry period. They would rather improve their future prospects than sulk over job loss.

Most of these enquiries are from IT and engineering professionals, who have either been laid off or are in line for retrenchment. A major spurt in business for the “study further” firms has come post Satyam fiasco, with enquiries for GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test) shooting up by 25 to 30 per cent.

Over 8 per cent of these are from Satyam alone, with nearly 14,000 profiles of the company's employees available on a leading job website. Most enquiries are from IT hubs Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Nidhi Modi, a foreign education expert, today told The Tribune that her company had seen almost 13 per cent increase in enquiries from South India over the past fortnight. She said many of Satyam's employees have expressed interest to study further.

“Eight per cent of the 14,000 Satyam employees we contacted wanted to take the GRE, GMAT route to go abroad to study,” she said, adding, “Recession hit India in the middle of November 2008 - the peak season for our business.”

About 45 per cent of the professionals making enquiries prefer graduate courses like MBA, MS and PhD; the rest are going for undergraduate and high school. As for preferred locations, US (with 65 to 70 per cent of total enquiries) topped the list, followed by UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.

No wonder the India representative for The Princeton Review (TPR), one of the world’s leading test preparation service providers, is offering discounts and scholarships to prospective students. "In the recession, we foresee an increase in the number of professionals going back to school to boost their qualification,” said Aradhana Mahana, MD of Manya Group, the Indian partners for TPR.

Research shows that in 2008 the number of students taking GRE that enables admission to academic programmes in the US had plummeted from 74,000 to 55,000. The tables have now turned.

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Slaying Of Cops
Suspects held, but Naxals may have fled: Police
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 2
The anti-Naxal task force of the Maharashtra police has picked up a few suspects in connection with the killing of 15 cops at Gadchiroli on Sunday even as they expected that most of the guerrillas may have escaped to neighboring Andhra Pradesh.

The police said at least 100 Naxals are believed to have been involved in the ambush where a (police) patrol party was trapped and its members killed mercilessly. Earlier reports had mentioned that Naxalites gouged out the eyes of the policemen and even chopped their fingers before finally killing them. DGP AN Roy, however, refuted the claim.

Today, most of the areas in Gadchiroli observed bandh to protest the brutal killing of the policemen.

CM Ashok Chavan and senior officials also rushed to the spot.

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Encounter’ of disabled
Army in dock
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, February 2
A bandh called by two tea tribes organisations to protest against “encounter” killing of a physically challenged teenager by the Army brought life to a grinding halt in Sivasagar district and parts of upper Assam today.

Army personnel, hot on the trail of some militants of the outlawed ULFA, ended up killing 18-year-old Bishnu Tanti from tea workers’ community at Tingalibam tea estate under the Sonari police station in Sivasagar district after a botched encounter on Thursday.

The Army, initially, claimed that Bishnu was an ULFA militant who was killed in an encounter and a pistol was recovered from the site. But the killing infuriated tea workers community in the area as Bishnu was a physically challenged teenager who had gone out of his home to fetch water.

Enraged by the killing, All Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association (AATSA) and All Adivasi Students’ Association (AASAA) called for a 12-hour Sivasagar district bandh today demanding exemplary punishment to Army personnel involved in the killing of the innocent youth and an unconditional apology from the Army unit responsible for the “operation”. The bandh call was supported by All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the People’s Committee for Peace Initiative in Assam (PCPIA).

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said the Army had ordered a probe into the encounter killing even as the state government had entrusted the Commissioner of upper Assam division to conduct a simultaneous probe into the incident that led to the killing of the youth.

“I have talked with the GoC 4 Corps of the Army about the incident and told that killing of innocent people in the operation against insurgents will not be tolerated,” Gogoi said.

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Muthalik gets bail in 2003 case

Madikeri, February 2
Srirama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik was today granted bail by a court in Virajpet in connection with a case filed against him for making "a provocative" speech during December 2003.

Granting the bail, Principal Sessions Judge R Ashok directed Muthalik to furnish a bond for Rs 1 lakh and a surety of the like sum.

The case was filed against Muthalik for allegedly making a provocative speech at the Hindu Samajotsav in Gonikoppal in December 2003 and he had not responded to warrants issued since then. This is the third case in which Muthalik has been granted bail in the last one week. — PTI

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MoD orders more pay, but issues still remain
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
While the much-awaited orders for placing officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent in pay band-4 have finally come through, the issue of pay and status disparity has only been partially resolved.

The government sanction letter for placing Lieutenant Colonels in the higher pay band was received at service headquarters today, sources said. The issue of grade pay for Lieutenant Colonels equal to their IAS counterparts and the issue of command and control are still pending.

Lieutenant Colonels have been upgraded to the Rs 37,400-67,000 bracket (PB-4) with a grade of Rs 8,000 from the earlier scale of Rs 15,600-39,100 (PB-3) with grade pay of Rs 7,600. The Services, however, had sought grade pay of Rs 8,700 at par with their civilian counterparts.

Sources said that the high-powered committee, set up recently, is yet to look into the status and command and control issue of military ranks vis-à-vis other organisations. The issue of granting lieutenant generals pay scales equivalent to that of a director-general of police is also pending.

Upgradation of pay scales means that Lieutenant Colonels would now be senior to deputy secretaries to the government of India, directors in state governments, senior superintendents of police and deputy commissioners of police, district collectors and district magistrates in the junior administrative grade, scientists ‘D” in technical services, commandants (junior grade) in the Coast Guard and the non-functional selective grade in central engineering services, sources added.

According to a letter issued by Ajay Tirkey, Joint Secretary in the MoD, PB-4 would be applicable to tenure postings with DRDO, DGQA, NCC, ISOs, etc. which fall within the purview of the ministry and for whom the pay allowances are paid from the MoD budget and deputation and training on foreign assignments.

Tenure postings to organistions including Assam Rifles, NSG, BRO etc. where “duty is military in nature and the officers posted would be carrying out the vital role which services otherwise would have to fulfill themselves”, would also come under the ambit of PB--4

Lieutenant Colonels on deputation to certain organisations like NHA, IRCON, Pawan Hans, state governments, etc, where the nature of duties is “not in line with normal combat profile of service personnel,” would draw PB-3 scales.

Special Army Instruction and fitment tables for enhancing the pay of lieutenant colonels would be issued by Army Headquarters shortly.

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SC pulls up Railways for hooliganism in trains

New Delhi, February 2
The Supreme Court today rapped the Indian Railways on the knuckles for its failure to curb hooliganism in trains and protect the luggage of even those passengers travelling in reserved air-conditioned compartments from burglars.

“We cannot leave the passengers at the mercy of hooligans who enter reserved compartments. We know how unauthorised passengers enter even reserved compartments in your trains,” a bench of Justices BN Aggrawal and GS Singhvi snapped at the Railways counsel Annapurnia.

The counsel had taken the stand that theft of luggage as alleged by a woman passenger, Pinki Gupta, cannot be countenanced on the ground that unauthorised persons cannot enter a reserved compartment. She had contended that the passenger was apparently bluffing.

However, the bench was not impressed with the argument. — PTI

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SC notice to WB on NHRC complaint
Rape allegation against judge
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 2
The Supreme Court today issued notice to the West Bengal government on a petition by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking speedy probe into the allegation of rape against a sitting judge of a fast track court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan termed the entire episode as “disturbing” and said it would wait for the response of the state government on the incident, which took place in 2004.

The bench, however, pointed out that the victim had delayed the filing of her complaint and also refused to undergo a medical examination in a government hospital. She preferred to approach the local bar association for lodging her complaint against the judge, Shyamlal Sengupta, of the Ranaghat court in Nadia district.

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Death of K’taka CM’s wife: Re-probe ordered
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 2
K Sheshadri, whose petition prompted a court in Shimoga to order the local police to re-open the investigation into the death of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa’s wife, today said he was hopeful that the probe would “set the process of law into motion against the Chief Minister”.

Sheshadri, an advocate-journalist, said he was aware of the constraints the police could face while probing a murder charge against the Chief Minister but “we are going to keep a watch on the investigation. In case of any foul play, we shall bring it to the notice of the court.”

He said on Friday, the day the Second Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) SN Kalkali pronounced the order, the Dodpet police had registered a case.

Body of Maitra Devi, wife of Yeddyurappa, was found in sump in their house at Shimoga on October 16, 2004. The police took the view that Maitra Devi had died by drowning and the case was closed. Yeddyurappa was then the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

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Bribe from MLA costs official job
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, February 2
Sounds bizarre but that seems true: commoners in the country should not feel bad while paying bribe when even serving MLAs can be asked to grease the palms by road transport inspectors despite having genuine travel documents. The only twist here is that once the identity of the VIP is known, the bribe-seeker would immediately fall on former’s feet, seeking forgiveness. The commoners, however, would never enjoy such elation.

Bengu constituency MLA Rajendra Singh Vidhuri had to pay Rs 200 to an inspector of the Rajasthan Road Transport Department late last evening near Brahrhod village in Chittorgarh district. An inspector of the flying squad had stopped his vehicle at a surprise naka.

After verifying the documents of the personal Indica of Vidhuri, inspector Sudhir Sehwalia allegedly demanded Rs 200 to let the vehicle pass.

“But what’s wrong with our papers?” bemused, the MLA asked.

“You have to give the pass fee. ‘Yahan aise hi chalta hai’ (Here we function like this only),” the inspector replied, in coarse voice.

Vidhuri, who was on his way to Bheelwara, first paid the amount to the inspector and then immediately stepped out of the car to introduce himself. The inspector, who till then was rude and full of airs, wasted no second and immediately fell on the MLA’s feet.

The inspector was, however, suspended later. Speaking to mediapersons, the MLA said: “I will raise the matter with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to get nailed other such corrupt officials.”

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Bhupen Hazarika gets ‘Asom Ratna’
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, February 2
The Assam government conferred “Asom Ratna” honour on musician, singer and living legend of Indian music Dr Bhupen Hazarika at a function presided over by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi here recently.

A Bharat Ratna may have eluded the music maestro so far but that does not seem to have disheartened the government in his home state, which has awarded him with the first ever “Asom Ratna”.

Presenting the award to the musician, Tarun Gogoi said this was a special honour from the people of Assam for the “greatest living artiste” of contemporary times who has strived for the promotion of humane values and world brotherhood throughout his illustrious musical journey over seven decades now.

The award, comprising Rs 3 lakh in cash, a citation, a plaque and a gramophone, was handed over to Dr Hazarika amid thunderous applause of a huge gathering.

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Russian commits suicide

Mumbai, February 2
A Russian national allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the multi-storeyed Hotel Trident building in south Mumbai in the wee hours today.

The Russian identified as Alexander allegedly jumped from the 16th floor of the hotel at around 02.00 am, the police said.

His body was found by the poolside of the hotel, they said adding further investigations are on. — PTI

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