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N A T I O N

Modi’s remarks leave BJP in quandary
New Delhi, February 10
The BJP is in a quandary over the recent remarks of its Hindutva icon and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi giving fuel to Pakistan by alleging that there were Indian accomplices of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorists.

Mumbai Attacks
Kasab faces ‘threat’ from underworld
Mumbai, February 10
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist caught alive in the November 26 terror attack here, is facing threat from the underworld, the police said today.

Satyam Fraud
Reddy for CBI probe
Hyderabad, February 10
Amid mounting pressure from the opposition, the Congress govt in Andhra Pradesh has sought a CBI probe into the Satyam fraud.

BJP misusing religion: Sonia
Patna, February 10
The inauguration of construction work of “Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor” at Dalmiya Nagar today gave an opportunity to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to kickstart her campaign for the coming Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.



EARLIER STORIES



US Air Force men check an engine on the eve of the Aero India Show-2009 at Yelhanka Air Base in Bangalore
US Air Force men check an engine on the eve of the Aero India Show-2009 at Yelhanka Air Base in Bangalore on Tuesday. — PTI

Cabinet meeting in mustard fields
Patna, February 10
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar held a full-fledged cabinet meeting in wheat and mustard fields of Barbighi village in Begusarai district, 150 km from here, today. It is said to be first-of-its-kind meeting in the entire country.

Ayodhya trials: SC refuses to interfere
New Delhi, February 10
The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the criminal proceedings in cases relating to demolition of disputed structure at Ayodhya in which the trial involving senior BJP leader LK Advani and seven other VVIPs were segregated from others.

Chopper incident: Pilots cleared, 2 ATCs taken off duty
New Delhi, February 10
The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today cleared the two Air India pilots involved in the near-miss between an Air India plane and a helicopter belonging to the President’s entourage at the Mumbai airport yesterday.

Stand-off between HRD Ministry, knowledge panel
Arjun rejects higher education proposals
New Delhi, February 10
The HRD Ministry-National Knowledge Commission stand off today took an expected turn, when the Arjun Singh-chaired Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) rejected most of the recommendations of the NKC in the area of higher education reforms, at its 55th meeting here today.

Docs go on strike after assault by patient’s kin
Mumbai, February 10
Doctors at the municipality-owned King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital here went on a flash strike after the relatives of a patient, who died while under treatment, assaulted hospital personnel.

Sushmita faces more trouble in car case
Mumbai, February 10
Actress Sushmita Sen is caught in yet another storm with the Bombay High Court today asking the police to consider invoking the tough Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against those involved in illegally importing a car ordered by her.

Bharat Ratna conferred on Pt Bhimsen Joshi
Pandit Bhimsen JoshiPune, February 10
Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was presented with Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award at his residence here today. Bhimsen (87) was given the award comprising a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President of India and a medallion by a senior bureaucrat. The award, which was announced after a gap of seven years, was last given to Lata Mangeshkar and shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan.

Three-tier security for aero show
Bangalore, February 10
An unprecedented security blanket has been thrown around the IAF base at Bangalore’s Yelahanka area, venue of the Aero India 2009, to ensure that the mega event passes off peacefully.

Naxal attack: Panchayat head under scanner
Patna, February 10
A panchayat head is under the police scanner in connection with the worst Naxalite attack in Bihar this year that left 10 policemen killed after he went absconding. Rameshwar Ram, officer in charge of the Kauakol police station in Nawada district, who was among the victims.





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Modi’s remarks leave BJP in quandary
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 10
The BJP is in a quandary over the recent remarks of its Hindutva icon and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi giving fuel to Pakistan by alleging that there were Indian accomplices of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorists.

In his speech on the political resolution in the BJP national council meeting in Nagpur on February 8, Modi had stated, “Ask the most ignorant person and he would say that such a Pakistani attack could not have taken place without help from here in India. I ask the Delhi sultanat who is preventing you from catching these persons. You are only attacking Pakistan.”

Interestingly, Pakistan immediately made use of Modi’s statement and Pakistani media, led by its leading English daily Dawn, prominently displayed this on its front page. BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley was livid with Pakistan for making use of this and said Pakistan had no business to use this statement. But being a camp follower of Modi, a visibly embarrassed Jaitley sufficed to say, “There is likely to be some local logistical support for such an action,” and added, “This is a question of investigation, who all were involved.”

The first one to suggest that the Mumbai terrorists had accomplices in India guiding their movement, was none other than Minority Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Antulay. He had raised a political storm on December 18, 2008 by suggesting that there was “someone” who was guiding Amir Ajmal Kasab and his accomplices who attacked and killed the entire Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Maharashtra police led by Hemant Karkare.

Antulay had then said, “The circumstances of Karkare’s killing must be inquired into.”

Immediately, Jaitely reacted on behalf of the BJP and said, “Antulay is as good as playing ISI’s attorney” and added that Pakistan could now quote Antulay to contradict Indian contention.

He also demanded then, “Having made such a preposterous statement, Antulay cannot be allowed to remain in the government even for a day.”

But today a red-faced Jaitley merely said, “Pakistan has no business to use Modi’s statement.” 

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Mumbai Attacks
Kasab faces ‘threat’ from underworld

Mumbai, February 10
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist caught alive in the November 26 terror attack here, is facing threat from the underworld, the police said today.

“We have received intelligence inputs stating that Kasab’s life may be under threat from the underworld,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said.

Maria said final touches were being given to the chargesheet in the terror attack case, but refused to reveal the date by which it would be filed before a special court set up for the trial.

Kasab is now in police custody till February 13 for the murder of the captain of Gujarat-based fishing vessel MV Kuber. — PTI

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Satyam Fraud
Reddy for CBI probe
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, February 10
Amid mounting pressure from the opposition, the Congress govt in Andhra Pradesh has sought a CBI probe into the Satyam fraud.

“It would be appropriate if the CBI takes over the investigations into the scam so that coordination among various agencies can be achieved,” Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

As the biggest fraud in corporate history acquired political overtones ahead of the Assembly elections, the Chief Minister sought to lob the ball in the Centre’s court, saying the scandal had wider ramifications requiring probe by central agencies.

Stating that his government initiated swift action and ordered a CID inquiry, he said: “The CID has been in regular touch with other investigating agencies but there were several issues which need to be looked into deeply by Union government organisations.”

In view of this, he said, it would be appropriate if the CBI takes over the investigation, and the CID would fully cooperate with it (CBI). The CM’s communication to PM came in the midst of a bitter blame game between Congress and the TDP.

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BJP misusing religion: Sonia
Tribune News Service

Patna, February 10
The inauguration of construction work of “Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor” at Dalmiya Nagar today gave an opportunity to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to kickstart her campaign for the coming Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.

Addressing the gathering on this occasion, she launched a scathing attack on the BJP and charged the party with misusing and misleading the countrymen in the name of religion.

She said the BJP was in the habit of exploiting the name of Lord Ram during the time of elections.

“Satta ki sidhi chadhne ke liye ye log hamesha Ram ke naam ka istemaal karte hain”, she said in chaste Hindi. She also cautioned the people not to get carried away by the religious slogans of BJP as “religion is an individual’s faith and God lives in one’s heart, she said.

The country at the moment was facing a major challenge from terrorism and the BJP was trying to arouse communalism solely for its electoral gains, she added. “Communalism would be the biggest deterrent in fighting terrorism”, she added. The AICC President also made it clear that the performance of Manmohan Singh government would be the main poll plank of UPA in the coming polls.

Sonia also projected Railway Minister Lalu Prasad as the star campaigner for UPA in Bihar by showering a lot of praises for the achievement of his ministry. Lalu Prasad also gave her all credit for bringing in Railway projects worth Rs 55,000 crore to Bihar.

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Cabinet meeting in mustard fields
Tribune News Service

Patna, February 10
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar held a full-fledged cabinet meeting in wheat and mustard fields of Barbighi village in Begusarai district, 150 km from here, today.

It is said to be first-of-its-kind meeting in the entire country. While Nitish reached the village a day ahead and spent the night in special tents, all his cabinet colleagues and departmental secretaries travelled by luxury buses to the village on Tuesday morning and returned back by late evening.

In the meeting, it was decided to upgrade all 1,350 middle and secondary schools up to “plus-II” level, open constituent degree colleges in all 39 subdivisional headquarters and grant scholarship of Rs 3,000-4,000 to meritorious students.

Talking about this unprecedented cabinet meeting, the CM said: “It’s just a beginning of imposing Lokshakti (people's power) over Rajshakti (state power).

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Ayodhya trials: SC refuses to interfere

New Delhi, February 10 
The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the criminal proceedings in cases relating to demolition of disputed structure at Ayodhya in which the trial involving senior BJP leader LK Advani and seven other VVIPs were segregated from others.

The apex court said it had in March 2007 decided the matter relating to the trial of cases, and it could no longer regulate the proceedings which are taking place in Rae Bareli and Lucknow courts.

It said any petition or application relating to the cases could be filed in the Allahabad High Court, which has the supervisory authority over the subordinate courts.

“We have disposed of all the petitions — Special Leave Petition (SLP) and Review Petition relating to the cases. You go to the high court and take appropriate order,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and JM Panchal said. — PTI

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Chopper incident: Pilots cleared, 2 ATCs taken off duty
Tribune News Service

Another collision averted

Guwahati: A mid-air collision was averted on Tuesday when an Indian Airlines flight from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kolkata and an Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft came close to each other, officials said. — IANS

New Delhi, February 10
The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today cleared the two Air India pilots involved in the near-miss between an Air India plane and a helicopter belonging to the President’s entourage at the Mumbai airport yesterday.

Air India pilots SS Kohli and A Dewan have been cleared by the DGCA inquiry to resume flight duties with immediate effect, a statement issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation late evening stated. It also added that the two Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials have been “de-rostered” till the DGCA inquiry gets completed. “No ATC officer has been suspended. As per standard DGCA procedure, the two officers have been de-rostered for the period of investigation as is the standard procedure during any DGCA investigation,” it added.

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Stand-off between HRD Ministry, knowledge panel
Arjun rejects higher education proposals
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 10
The HRD Ministry-National Knowledge Commission stand off today took an expected turn, when the Arjun Singh-chaired Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) rejected most of the recommendations of the NKC in the area of higher education reforms, at its 55th meeting here today. The CABE is the highest advisory body to Central and state governments in the field of education.

Primary among the NKC recommendations that CABE is opposed to are commercial use of campuses for revenue generation; setting up of Central Board of Undergraduate Education and Independent Regulatory Authority for Higher Education (IRAHE), private investment in education and rationalisation of fees to a part of university expenditure. On the last recommendation, the CABE seemed to agree with the ministry’s view that it would adversely affect access to higher education.

The NKC recommendation on diversification of university lands for financing also met strong resistance, with a consensus emerging that such commercial use of land would hamper the social objectives of education. There was a general feeling that the NKC operated in isolation and made recommendations without consulting the HRD ministry and others affected by the issues at hand.

CABE members toed HRD ministry’s line that universities should be encouraged to use assets optimally, but in a way that does not undermine their actual objective. Also rejecting NKC’s concept of IRAHE, CABE upheld the necessity of the regulatory role of the UGC and AICTE.

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Docs go on strike after assault by patient’s kin
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 10
Doctors at the municipality-owned King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital here went on a flash strike after the relatives of a patient, who died while under treatment, assaulted hospital personnel.

According to the police, around 15 persons who claimed to be relatives of a 73-year-old patient attacked doctors and other hospital personnel.

The patient was brought to the hospital after an accident and admitted to the casualty ward. However, he died later in the night. The relatives of the deceased, however, insisted that no postmortem be conducted on the body and demanded that the remains be released to them.

Doctors at the casualty and postmortem departments, who insisted on conducting the postmortem, were among those attacked. Among those beaten up included the secretary of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), Dr Anil Dhudbhute. In all five doctors were beaten up, the police said. Shortly after the incident this morning, doctors went on a flash strike throwing operations out of gear.

Dr Dhudbhute said guards appointed by the civic body to prevent such attacks were mute spectators while the relatives of the patient went on a rampage. "We want the authorities to take action against the municipal guards who did not prevent the attack from taking place," Dr Dhudbhute told reporters.

The police have now moved in and arrested five persons in connection with the attacks. Their names have been given as Ganesh Aduvarekar, Rohan Meher, Satish Sandev, Amarnath Parekar and Yogesh Salaskar. More persons are likely to be arrested.

However, BMC's deputy commissioner Kishore Gajbiye and senior police officials met with the striking doctors and requested them to resume duty. Gajbiye later said he was confident that the strike would be called off shortly.

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Sushmita faces more trouble in car case
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 10
Actress Sushmita Sen is caught in yet another storm with the Bombay High Court today asking the police to consider invoking the tough Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against those involved in illegally importing a car ordered by her.

Justices JN Patel and VK Tahilramani of the court, who are hearing the case, said the import of expensive cars using fake documentation was part of organised crime syndicates, and dealers of the vehicles and the beneficiaries were all involved in it.

The court further warned that the case may be handed over to another agency like the CBI in another two weeks if the police failed in its efforts.

The case had been filed by the actress who had challenged a penalty of Rs 20 lakh imposed on her by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for evading octroi. Sen had imported a Toyota Land Cruiser car way back in 2005.

Investigations by the police revealed that the car had been imported by a dealer who specialised in importing expensive vehicles from Dubai using the transfer of residence facility available to expatriate Indians returning home. Such people are liable to pay far lower duties and the cars brought into the country under their names were then sold to buyers. Often the registration papers of the vehicles and their chassis numbers are tampered with to show new cars as old vehicles.

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Bharat Ratna conferred on Pt Bhimsen Joshi

Pune, February 10
Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was presented with Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award at his residence here today.

Bhimsen (87) was given the award comprising a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President of India and a medallion by a senior bureaucrat. The award, which was announced after a gap of seven years, was last given to Lata Mangeshkar and shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan.

The vocalist, whose name was announced for the prestigious award on November 5 last year, had requested that on account of his frail health he should be allowed to receive the award at his residence and that the presentation might be a low-key affair without involving too many people.

Accordingly, in deference to the wishes of Panditji and his family members, the decoration of the award was presented at his residence by the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs.

“On this occasion, a commemorative brochure containing the citation and photograph of Bhimsen has also been released,” an official spokesman of the Union Home Ministry, said. — PTI

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Three-tier security for aero show
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 10
An unprecedented security blanket has been thrown around the IAF base at Bangalore’s Yelahanka area, venue of the Aero India 2009, to ensure that the mega event passes off peacefully.

Pradeep Kumar, secretary, defence productions, said three tiers of security was being provided for the five-day event starting here from tomorrow.

Kumar said the personnel of defence security corps would man the first ring of security. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawans would be in charge of the second tier while the elite commando force raised by the IAF, Garuda, would be in charge of the innermost security cordon.

He said around 1.25 people were expected to visit the show, which would be 25,000 more than the number of people visiting the last air show in 2007. Defence ministers and deputy ministers from 15 different countries, Air Force chiefs from 11 countries, and vice-chiefs from four countries would participate in the show. Aircrafts taking part in the show would include F-16s, Mig-35s, Sukhois and Eurocopters.

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Naxal attack: Panchayat head under scanner

Patna, February 10
A panchayat head is under the police scanner in connection with the worst Naxalite attack in Bihar this year that left 10 policemen killed after he went absconding. Rameshwar Ram, officer in charge of the Kauakol police station in Nawada district, who was among the victims, had given into repeated request by a ‘mukhiya’ (panchayat head) and agreed to chair the birth anniversary celebration of Sant Ravidas, a Dalit sage, at Mahuliatand village where the police team came under fire, ADGP Neelmani said.

Ram, himself a Dalit, was escorted to the venue of the function by the ‘mukhia’, who is absconding after the incident in the village. “We have identified the panchayat head, who is one of the organisers and have extended the invitation to the slain officer in charge and efforts are on to apprehend him.... His involvement in the incident, prima facie, is much too evident,” Neelmani said. — PTI

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