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Satyam fiasco rocks Andhra assembly
34 Opposition MLAs suspended for a day
Hyderabad, February 9
The political fallout of Satyam fiasco found its echo in Andhra Pradesh Assembly today with the ruling Congress and main opposition, the TDP, resorting to a bitter blame game on who should be held responsible for the biggest fraud in the country’s corporate history. The furore led to the suspension of 34 opposition members from the House for a day for obstructing the proceedings.

‘Role’ in Assam govt formation
Cong, AGP deny ULFA’s claim
Guwahati, February 9
Comments made by two leaders of pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) about the outfit’s role in formation of successive elected governments in Assam since 1991 has stirred the proverbial hornet’s nest in Assam with ruling the Congress and Opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) terming it baseless.


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Devotees take a dip on Maghi Purnima in Allahabad on Monday.
Devotees take a dip on Maghi Purnima in Allahabad on Monday. — PTI

Tropex-2009: Armed forces conduct joint exercise
New Delhi, February 9
The Indian armed forces today conducted their biggest ever joint amphibious exercise to fine tune abilities to launch an attack using the sea route, that too in a war-like situation.

SC judge recuses from highway project case
New Delhi, February 9
Just a few days after a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat had warned Deve Gowda against writing letters to the judiciary, the judge today recused himself from hearing a petition relating to the Bangalore-Mysore highway project, following a plea by the former Prime Minister.

Left-Cong alliance shaping up?
New Delhi, February 9
In the run up to the next general election, the Congress has also started warming up to the suggestions from its former Left supporters about a possible tie up in the post-poll scenario.

Pak fountainhead of terror: Cong
Asks Islamabad to come out with concrete results
New Delhi, February 9
Describing Pakistan as “fountainhead of terror”, the Congress on Monday threatened the neighbouring country to come out with concrete results or face consequences. Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “We want to make it absolutely clear that if Pakistan does not come out with concrete responses, the consequences for the globe and Pakistan would not be very pleasant.

V-Day without cards?
Bangalore, February 9
Protest by the rabid Sri Ram Sene against dating on Valentine’s Day by couples has prompted leading card manufacturer Archies to put a gag order on the company’s retail outlets in Bangalore.

No objection to ban on Ram Sene: RSS
Bangalore, February 9
Disassociating with Sri Rama Sene, whose acts of moral policing in Mangalore evoked nationwide indignation, the RSS today called for stringent action against Sene and said it had no objection if the government decided to ban the outfit.

Centre watching Sene with concern: Chidambaram
Kollam (Kerala), February 9
Observing that the Sri Ram Sene was a “threat” to the country, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram today said the Centre was watching its activities with great concern and expected the Karnataka government to take firm steps in the matter.

Lawyers assault Cong workers
Chennai, February 9
A group of lawyers attacked Congress workers, who gathered in front of the district court in Madurai, protesting against the attack on their party MP’s office and house.

Ten cops killed in Naxal attack
Patna, February 9
In a daylight operation on Monday, the outlawed Naxal outfit-MCCI killed 10 policemen, including an SHO and took away their semi-automatic weapons at Mahulitand village under Kauakol police station of Nawada district, around 150 km from here. The incident has unnerved the police top brass. According to reports reaching the state police headquarters here, the cops were trapped by the Naxals and done to death in a very well planned and unsuspecting operation. The victim police personnel could not smell the rat and were caught totally off the guard by the ultras posing as villagers.

Another suicide attempt in TN
Chennai, February 9
As Tamil news channels continue to telecast mauled bodies of Sri Lankan Tamil children and women allegedly killed by artillery shelling of the island army yesterday, a 60-year-old man, became the fourth person to immolate himself today.

HC raps CPM for damaging greens
Kolkata, February 9
The Calcutta High Court today reprimanded the CPM for violating the court’s order against the holding of meetings and rallies at the brigade ground leading to the destruction of the greens of the ground.

BJP’s raking up of temple issue poll gimmick: Maya
Lucknow, February 9
The BSP has said the BJP’s raking up of the Ayodhya issue is nothing but an “election gimmick.”

UP Budget Session
BJP to oppose Guv’s address
Lucknow, February 9
It may be a stormy opening to the state’s budget session slated to begin tomorrow as the BJP has announced to oppose the Governor’s address to the joint session of the state Assembly.





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Satyam fiasco rocks Andhra assembly
34 Opposition MLAs suspended for a day
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, February 9
The political fallout of Satyam fiasco found its echo in Andhra Pradesh Assembly today with the ruling Congress and main opposition, the TDP, resorting to a bitter blame game on who should be held responsible for the biggest fraud in the country’s corporate history. The furore led to the suspension of 34 opposition members from the House for a day for obstructing the proceedings.

As opposition members, belonging to the TDP, the TRS, the CPI and the CPM, stormed the well and surrounded the Speaker’s podium, Legislative Affairs Minister K Rosaiah moved a resolution suspending 34 of them for stalling the business. Earlier, tempers ran high during the debate on the issue.

While TDP president and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu accused the Congress government of trying to “shield” disgraced former chairman of Satyam Computers B Ramalinga Raju, the treasury benches turned the tables on the opposition leader saying it was the previous TDP regime which went out of the way to encourage the IT czar.

The allegations flew thick and fast as the House witnessed heated exchanges between Congress and TDP members during the debate.

Naidu, whose nine-year tenure as Chief Minister during 1995-2004 saw Satyam Computers emerge as a major IT player in the country, said the government should have immediately ordered a CBI probe after Raju confessed to a massive Rs 7,200 crore fraud in the company.

By hastily ordering a CID inquiry, the state government was only trying to “protect” the fraudsters, the TDP leader said and wondered why the projects handed over to Maytas Infra, owned by Satyam founder’s sons, were not cancelled even after the scam came to light.

Alleging “nexus” between the Reddy govt and the disgraced IT icon, Naidu said Raju’s family-owned companies-Maytas Properties and Maytas Infra-were offered huge tracts of lands on a platter. “When states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Orissa can cancel projects involving Maytas Infra, why cannot we do it?” he asked.

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‘Role’ in Assam govt formation
Cong, AGP deny ULFA’s claim
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, February 9
Comments made by two leaders of pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) about the outfit’s role in formation of successive elected governments in Assam since 1991 has stirred the proverbial hornet’s nest in Assam with ruling the Congress and Opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) terming it baseless.

Leaders of the pro-talks ULFA faction, Mrinal Hazarika and Prabal Neog who have already been expelled by the banned ULFA for entering into truce with Government of India to facilitate talks, told the media in New Delhi on Friday last that the ULFA had helped in formation of all governments in the state since 1991.

The ruling Congress and the regional AGP, which have intermittently ruled the state during the period, have dismissed the allegation as baseless and unwarranted from the militant leaders who had broken away with the banned ULFA to facilitate talks with the Indian government.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Bhubaneswar Kalita has stated that it was an uncalled for comment from the pro-talks ULFA faction leader given that the Congress came to power in the state in 1991, 2001 and 2006 with popular mandate of people.

AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said the regional party had never taken help of the banned ULFA at any point of time. The AGP ruled the state during 1996-2001 with Prafulla Kumar Mahanta as the CM who had taken a very tough stand against the ULFA during his tenure.

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Tropex-2009: Armed forces conduct joint exercise
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 9
The Indian armed forces today conducted their biggest ever joint amphibious exercise to fine tune abilities to launch an attack using the sea route, that too in a war-like situation.

The Indian Army, Navy and Air Force today demonstrated the abilities to conduct an amphibious landing that is considered to be the most complex of all military manoeuvres involving co ordination and synergy. The exercise named “Tropex-2009” was conducted at the Madhavpur beach in Gujarat.

The pre-assault operations of planning, mobilisation and embarkation having been achieved at Karwar of the Konkan coast, the amphibious task force sailed from Karwar on February 5 and landed on the shores of Madhavpur today. The newly inducted landing platform dock (LPD) the INS Jalashwa was used. Also used were several landing ships carrying infantry combat vehicles, fleet ships with their integral helicopters, shore-based aircraft and submarines from the Indian Navy and hovercraft of the Coast Guard.

Tanks, armoured personnel carriers and infantry troops of 91 Infantry Brigade of the Sudarshan Chakra Corps participated in both stand-off and hard beaching modes.

The infantry combat vehicles were launched from ships. The third dimension of the assault demonstration was when para troopers were inducted from air, using a transport aircraft. In the mock drill, the role of the enemy was played by the Golden Qatar Division of the Indian Army.

It also provided tremendous training value through the testing of human and material endurance, execution of organisational and logistics plans and finally delivering the punch in a mock battle, a spokesperson of the Indian Navy said.

This is for the first time that the amphibious warfare was put into practice with its full scope.

The exercise was witnessed by Air Marshal KD Singh, AOC-in-C, South Western Air Command, Vice-Admiral JS Bedi, FOC-in-C, Western Naval Command and Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna, GOC-in-C, Southern Command and other senior military officers from the three services.

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SC judge recuses from highway project case
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 9
Just a few days after a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat had warned Deve Gowda against writing letters to the judiciary, the judge today recused himself from hearing a petition relating to the Bangalore-Mysore highway project, following a plea by the former Prime Minister.

A Bench comprising Justices Pasayat and AK Ganguly today expressed unhappiness over Gowda’s plea seeking the recusal of the judge. Gowda through senior advocate Shanti Bhushan moved an application today, apprehending “bias and want of impartiality” on the part of Justice Pasayat.

“With a heavy heart, we direct the matter to be listed before any other Bench which does not have Justice Pasayat,” the Bench said. It was unfortunate that such an application had been filed. There was no ground to show that it had any concern with the issue. The reason indicated why one of us should not hear the matter was baffling, the Bench said. It said it was also at a loss to understand why the application had been filed through a senior advocate. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises, the contractor of the project, challenging a decision of the Karnataka High Court to treat a letter written by Gowda to HC judges as a PIL on the issue of alleged corruption in the project.

On February 4, a three-judge Bench headed by Justice Pasayat had asked Gowda to desist from contacting judges as it amounted to contempt. “Our judgments may be wrong and may be criticised but cannot be influenced,” the Bench had said.

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Left-Cong alliance shaping up?
Faraz Ahmad/Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 9
In the run up to the next general election, the Congress has also started warming up to the suggestions from its former Left supporters about a possible tie up in the post-poll scenario.

Reacting to a statement made by CPM general secretary Prakash Karat in a TV interview that after the next general election his party could not foreclose the options of supporting another formation which may include the Left, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “We did not leave the Left, the Left left us. If the Left has left us, it is for the Left to decide when it should come back.”

In his TV interview while Karat ruled out supporting a Congress-led government, he also reiterated his commitment to support a secular non-BJP government and when asked specifically if it could include the Congress but not necessarily be led by it, he avoided a direct reply saying, “I cannot say that now what’s going to happen. We are looking for a non-Congress, non-BJP government. That’s our first priority and we are working for that.”

The Left front pulled support from Manmohan Singh led UPA government July last, opposing Singh’s persistence in going ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal and had turned its guns on the Congress on all other issues as well.

The Congress too had started attacking the Left even accusing it of implicitly helping out the BJP. In fact, on the contentious issue of cash-for-vote scam probe, CPM member of the parliamentary committee Mohammad Salim was one with the BJP member Vijay Kumar Malhotra in dubbing the findings of the report, which naturally had more representatives from the ruling UPA, as an attempt to save the accused SP MP Amar Singh and Congress MP Ahmed Patel.

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Pak fountainhead of terror: Cong
Asks Islamabad to come out with concrete results
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 9
Describing Pakistan as “fountainhead of terror”, the Congress on Monday threatened the neighbouring country to come out with concrete results or face consequences. Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “We want to make it absolutely clear that if Pakistan does not come out with concrete responses, the consequences for the globe and Pakistan would not be very pleasant. If you (Pakistan) do not come out clean, others will have to clean it up for you.” Singhvi said.

The Congress spokesman asserted that India had not closed any of its options in the war against terror while stressing that no effort would be spared to protect India from covert activities and ensure its security and safety.

Referring to speeches of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the Party’s national convention on Sunday, he said statements made from the senior level of the party as well as the government made it clear that none of the options for India were not closed in the war against terrorism.

Referring to an article in an international magazine, GRANTA, Singhvi said the report gave revealing and scary details of terrorist networks in the neighbouring country.

“What is written is frightening. It shows for example that Pakistan Software Export Board provided employment to a large number of terrorists not only from Pakistan but also foreign citizens, who fought wars in North West Frontier Province. It shows that Pakistan has become fountainhead of terror,” he added.

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V-Day without cards?
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 9
Protest by the rabid Sri Ram Sene against dating on Valentine’s Day by couples has prompted leading card manufacturer Archies to put a gag order on the company’s retail outlets in Bangalore.

Vivek, who runs Archies outlet at Brigade Road, the biggest in the city, would not like to say anything about the progress of Valentine’s Day cards sale at his shop.

“Ours is a company shop and the company has asked us not speak to anyone about our Valentine Day business,” he told the Tribune. “Yes, we are selling cards. But we are not going to divulge the details like the number of cards sold or whether it is more or less than last year,” Vivek said.

Girish, agent of another leading card maker, Hallmark, apparently had no such instruction from his company. He had no trouble in sharing his preparations for the Valentine’s Day business.

“We have five cards each of 1,200 different designs. Thus, we have 6,000 cards devoted to Valentine’s Day in our shop,” Girish, who runs the Hallmark franchisee at Jayanagar area of the city, said. He said the number of cards on display this time was about the same as last year.

Elsewhere in the city, 20 couples today ran on the treadmill, did push ups and other exercises to win the first prize in a competition organised by a health club. The couple adjudged the healthiest will earn a free “dinner for two” at a city restaurant by the name of “Beach” on Valentine’s Day.

Yes, restaurants and pubs are spreading out their fairs as usual on the occasion provided by St Valentine.

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No objection to ban on Ram Sene: RSS

Bangalore, February 9
Disassociating with Sri Rama Sene, whose acts of moral policing in Mangalore evoked nationwide indignation, the RSS today called for stringent action against Sene and said it had no objection if the government decided to ban the outfit.

“The RSS considers attacks on humans as heinous crime. We do not have any objection if the government decides to ban Sri Rama Sene,” K Narahari, secretary, RSS South-Central Zonal, told at a press conference here.

“There is no relationship between the RSS and Sri Rama Sene,” he said a fortnight after Sene activists attacked girls in a Mangalore pub and issued threats to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Narhari said the RSS demanded stringent action be taken against Sri Ram Sene.

Sene activists had barged into a pub in Mangalore on January 24, beat up girls and others, triggering a nationwide outrage against the outfit.

“It is incorrect to link policies and activities of Sri Rama Sene to the Sangh Parivar,” Narahari and B Nagaraj, a pracharak of RSS South-Central Zone said. — PTI

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Centre watching Sene with concern: Chidambaram

Kollam (Kerala), February 9
Observing that the Sri Ram Sene was a “threat” to the country, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram today said the Centre was watching its activities with great concern and expected the Karnataka government to take firm steps in the matter.

Condemning the activities of the outfit, he said, “No organisation can become a self-styled police force. That cannot be allowed. Sene had already crossed limits. They cannot say what one should wear, one should eat or to where one should go.”

Asked if the Centre could impose ban on the outfit, he said, “let us see what the Karnataka government is doing. We expect Chief Minister Yeddyurappa to take firm action against them as promised”, he said. — PTI

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Lawyers assault Cong workers
Tribune News Service

Chennai, February 9
A group of lawyers attacked Congress workers, who gathered in front of the district court in Madurai, protesting against the attack on their party MP’s office and house.

As soon as the Congress workers began the protest, a group of lawyers, came out of the district court and asked them to disperse. When they refused and started shouting slogans against the LTTE and its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, the lawyers attacked the workers, with wooden logs, calling them ‘betrayers of Tamil race’.

The unruly lawyers also threw stones at the Congressmen and snatched the Congress flags from the cadres and burnt it. Since, the public in the busy area, did not come to the rescue of Congress workers, they ran to the nearest police station for protection. Policemen have been deployed in front of the district court, after the clash.

Meanwhile, the Congress functionaries of Veppampattu, a town panchayat, at Tiruvallur district, near Chennai, dissolved the party unit, protesting the Centre’s ‘pro-Sinhalese policy’.

In another incident, Kosalram, Kanyakumari, district general secretary of Congress, a lawyer by profession, was saved from self-immolation, by people near him in front of the district court there.

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Ten cops killed in Naxal attack
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, February 9
In a daylight operation on Monday, the outlawed Naxal outfit-MCCI killed 10 policemen, including an SHO and took away their semi-automatic weapons at Mahulitand village under Kauakol police station of Nawada district, around 150 km from here. The incident has unnerved the police top brass. According to reports reaching the state police headquarters here, the cops were trapped by the Naxals and done to death in a very well planned and unsuspecting operation. The victim police personnel could not smell the rat and were caught totally off the guard by the ultras posing as villagers.

IG, police, Patna Zone, Sunil Kumar told The Tribune from the point of occurrence that the Naxals had chosen such a spot, which had contiguous border with Jahrkhand’s Giridih district and Bihar’s Jamui district.

Both these districts are considered to be a strong hold of the MCCI.

The police party from Kauakol police station had gone to the village to provide security for ‘Sant Ravidas birth anniversary celebration function’. Apparently they were invited by the organisers who may have been hardcore activists of the MCCI. The unsuspecting SHO, Rameshwar Ram, went to the village accompanied by four armed Jawans of Bihar Military Police, four Jawans of Special Auxiliary Police, a battalion of ex-army men deployed by the state government for police duty and an Assistant Sub-Inspector.

Around 200 villagers, mostly the cadres of the MCCI, had gathered at the venue dressed in their colourful attire. They invited the cops for a feast and surrounded them in such a manner that they could not interact with each other. Finally they were overpowered by the armed Naxals and done to death. By the time the news could reach other police stations, the ultras had vanished from the spot with all weapons looted from the cops. However, the state police headquarters rushed heavy reinforcements to the area, along with senior officers.

The Bihar police top brass have also sent a distress signal to their counterpart in Jharkhand requesting them to launch a combing operation in their area bordering the point of occurrence.

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Another suicide attempt in TN
Tribune News Service

Chennai, February 9
As Tamil news channels continue to telecast mauled bodies of Sri Lankan Tamil children and women allegedly killed by artillery shelling of the island army yesterday, a 60-year-old man, became the fourth person to immolate himself today.

The man named Amaresan, a shop owner in north Chennai, was a devotee of Vallalar, a Tamil saint, who opposed killing and torture of human beings and animals. He immolated himself near a bus stop, shouting slogans urging the Centre to stop the war.

The man was disturbed by reports of the killing of Tamil people in Sri Lanka and lamented the fact every day, his son Shankar said. MDMK leader Vaiko appealed to people in Tamil Nadu, not to commit self-immolation, since their service was required to save the Sri Lankan Tamils.

Police disputed the reason for his self-immolation, saying the man was very old and he could have committed suicide, due to diabetes. However, his family said Amaresan was not a diabetic and he was healthy in spite of his old age.

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HC raps CPM for damaging greens
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, February 9
The Calcutta High Court today reprimanded the CPM for violating the court’s order against the holding of meetings and rallies at the brigade ground leading to the destruction of the greens of the ground.

The court directed the Army authorities at the Calcutta Fort Williams, the custodian of the ground, for supervising and monitoring the holding of rallies and meetings at the ground if the court’s orders were properly obeyed by the parties which had been granted permission as special case for using the ground for political purposes.

Chief Justice S S Nirjjar’s division bench also directed the Army authorities to issue a show-cause notice to the DYF, the CPM’s youth wing, asking them why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for holding the rally.

The court today was holding the hearing of the petitions filed by the Calcutta Pollution Control Board and environmentalist Subhas Dutt for misusing the ground.

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BJP’s raking up of temple issue poll gimmick: Maya

Lucknow, February 9
The BSP has said the BJP’s raking up of the Ayodhya issue is nothing but an “election gimmick.”

“The BJP thinks of the Ram temple only when polls are around. But, the public knows about its real face. Even saints are ridiculing the party,” BSP supremo Mayawati said in a statement here yesterday, adding “What did the party do to build the temple when it was in power at the Centre?”

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also criticised the SP and said “Samajwadi Party chief is today holding the hand of the person (Kalyan Singh) responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid.” Mayawati did not spare the Congress either and said the party was equally responsible for razing of the mosque as it was in power at the Centre when the incident happened and it could not shrug off its culpability simply by criticising the BJP in the media. — PTI

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UP Budget Session
BJP to oppose Guv’s address
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, February 9
It may be a stormy opening to the state’s budget session slated to begin tomorrow as the BJP has announced to oppose the Governor’s address to the joint session of the state Assembly.

In a press note, leader of the BJP in the legislative assembly Om Prakash has charged the BSP government of not fulfilling last year budget’s promises to the farmers and the poor.

Chairperson of the Upper House Chaudhary Sukhram Singh Yadav would administer the oath of office to the 12 newly elected members of the Vidhan Parishad in the presence of Chief Minister Mayawati and Vidhan Sabha Speaker Sukhdev Rajbhar.

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