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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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N A T I O N

105 arrested for railway exam leak
Jaipur, February 15
The special operation group of the Rajasthan police has, in a joint operation with the Uttar Pradesh police, arrested 105 persons for allegedly leaking and selling examination paper of assistant station master conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board in different parts of the state today.

Tiger Deaths
Poaching ruled out
Guwahati, February 15
The wildlife authority in Assam today ruled out poaching as a cause behind deaths of 10 tigers in the Kaziranga National Park since November 2008 till date.

LPG cylinders to be history in cities
Mumbai, February 15
With natural gas from Krishna-Godavari basin set to flow from this year, the Union government has drawn up an ambitious plan to phase out liquefied petroleum gas cylinders from all city households of the country, and in its place supply piped gas.

Surrogacy Bill
All eyes on India
New Delhi, February 15
India has come under the sharp focus of nations across the world, including the US, Canada, Australia and Germany, following its move to enact a law to deal with commercial surrogacy that has spurred the “reproductive tourism” industry with an estimated turnover of Rs 25,000 crore a year.




EARLIER STORIES

Another don joins Maya camp
Lucknow, February 15
Another mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, an accused in the murder case of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, today joined the ruling BSP.

No claim if employee dies doing non-official task: SC
New Delhi, February 15
In the absence of any link between an employee's death and his assigned duty, the victim's family is not entitled to compensation, the Supreme Court has held in the case of a truck driver who drowned in a pond while taking a dip during his official trip.

Illegal income can be assessed for tax: HC
Chennai, February 15
Even if an income tax assessee is prosecuted by law-enforcing authorities for an offence, the income earned by the offender will be liable for assessment, the Madras High Court has said.

Naxals occupy 250 acres of Raju’s land
Hyderabad, February 15
A Naxalite outfit has occupied 250 acres of land, said to be owned by the disgraced former chairman of Satyam Computers, B Ramalinga Raju, in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, and vowed to distribute it among the local poor.

PM active even in recovery mode
New Delhi, February 15
Since returning to his official residence at 7, Race Course Road, two weeks ago after a heart surgery, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been fairly active, though staying under strict medical supervision.

Three more towns in MP get ‘holy’ status
Bhopal, February 15
With three more towns in Madhya Pradesh being notified as “holy towns” by the state government, the number of towns in the state where the sale of liquor, eggs and meat is prohibited has gone up to eight. The main Opposition Congress is not amused. It says that prohibiting the sale of meat in the name of “holy status” was yet another anti-minority community step of the state BJP government.

Advani rakes up temple issue again
Gorakhpur, February 15
Senior BJP leader LK Advani today raked up the Ram Temple issue again, saying it was the party's resolve to build the temple in Ayodhya and claimed that the issue had catapulted the party to power at the Centre earlier.

Alert gate-man helps avert train mishap
Kolkata, February 15
A Howrah-bound local train had a miraculous escape today when a gate-man detected a damaged fish-plate at a level-crossing ahead of the Tarakeswar station in Hoogly district and alerted the train driver just in time, sources said.

Holbrooke Visit
India wants US to keep up pressure on Pak
New Delhi, February 15
India will impress on Washington the need to relentlessly apply pressure on Pakistan to force it to do more to combat terrorism emanating from its soil during discussions with Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, here tomorrow.

 





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105 arrested for railway exam leak
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, February 15
The special operation group (SOG) of the Rajasthan police has, in a joint operation with the Uttar Pradesh police, arrested 105 persons for allegedly leaking and selling examination paper of assistant station master (ASM) conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) in different parts of the state today.

According to information, the examination was cancelled after the police conducted raids and arrested the accused, who included 11 members of an inter-state gang indulging in such kind of activities. The new date of the exam, meanwhile, would be announced soon.

SOG ADG Kapil Garg said the state police, along with their UP counterparts, was working on the leads against the gang. “The paper was sold last evening. We compared it with the question paper given to candidates today and found both same… We are also probing the role of some railway officers in the incident,” he said.

Garg said those arrested included candidates from Jaipur, Jodhpur and Ajmer, and preliminary investigation suggested that they bought the question paper for Rs 4 lakh.

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Tiger Deaths
Poaching ruled out
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, February 15
The wildlife authority in Assam today ruled out poaching as a cause behind deaths of 10 tigers in the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) since November 2008 till date.

MC Malakar, chief wildlife warden, told The Tribune that as carcass of none of the 10 tigers found dead in and around KNP since November 2008 had been taken away, the reason of deaths could be anything but poaching.

“Poachers kill tigers for its parts and take the carcass away after killing the animal. But we have recovered carcasses of all 10 tigers. In most of the cases, infighting among big cats was found to be the cause of deaths,” he said.

“We apprehend that there may be a rise in tiger population inside the national park and that has led to infighting over space. We will welcome any independent inquiry by the Central authority as well as a headcount to find out the number of big cats inside the sprawling park,” the official said.

The wildlife official also gave a detailed account of the 10 tiger deaths in the Park. “Out of the 10 tigers found dead, three died of old age, one killed by a buffalo during a fight, one was poisoned to death by villagers for killing over 100 cows in the area, two died of infighting among tigers and rest three died of unknown causes and those carcasses were too decomposed for collection of sample for post-mortem.”

The KNP, which is considered the abode of one-horned Asiatic rhinoceros, was declared a Tiger Reserve by the government of India under the Project Tiger in the year 2006. The last tiger census carried out inside the park in 2000 had spotted 86 big cats.

The latest carcass of a tiger inside the KNP was found on Friday last in Kohora Range. The carcass bore several injury marks. A senior wildlife official in the Park said that the three-year-old male tiger was probably killed by a full-grown tiger that was seen in the area with a tigress.

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LPG cylinders to be history in cities
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 15
With natural gas from Krishna-Godavari basin set to flow from this year, the Union government has drawn up an ambitious plan to phase out liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders from all city households of the country, and in its place supply piped gas.

The LPG cylinders would, however, continue to supply fuel to people living in remote areas, sources in the petroleum ministry said. Unlike piped natural gas (PNG), LPG is more expensive and supply using cylinders calls for tremendous logistical back-ups.

As per the initial plans, the government is throwing open city gas projects in 65 cities across the country. Major players like Reliance Industries, Cairn India, Everest Kanto Cylinders, apart from the public sector Gas Authority of India, are vying for a slice of the pie, sources say.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), set up by the government to act as a regulator, would play a major role in fixing tariffs and setting out norms to be followed by licensees, say sources.

The licenses are likely to be awarded in the coming weeks or after the Lok Sabha elections, say sources. The city gas distribution networks would entail a capital expenditure of more than 10 billion dollars in the first phase. Cities in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana would be covered initially.

Notably, the city gas projects are presently functioning smoothly in Delhi and Mumbai. While Indraprastha Gas is the licensee in Delhi, Mahanagar Gas does the job in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Mahanagar Gas, which covers a large swathe of Mumbai's city and suburbs, today unveiled a plan to invest Rs 1,500 crore over the next five years as part of the second phase. "We have a target of 10 lakh customers from four lakh now, while CNG customers would double to four lakh from the present two lakh,” Mahanagar Gas managing director PK Gupta said.

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Surrogacy Bill
All eyes on India
R. Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 15
India has come under the sharp focus of nations across the world, including the US, Canada, Australia and Germany, following its move to enact a law to deal with commercial surrogacy that has spurred the “reproductive tourism” industry with an estimated turnover of Rs 25,000 crore a year.


Law Commission Chairman Justice AR Lakshmanan (left) and jurist Soli Sorabjee during a debate on “Surrogacy — Bane or Boon” in New Delhi. A Tribune photograph

This came to light at a seminar here on Friday evening on “Commercial Surrogacy in India: Bane or Boon” that was attended by legal experts, including Law Commission Chairman Justice AR Lakshmanan, Soli Sorabjee, and diplomats from various embassies and high commissions. “We are keenly watching the developments in India, particularly on the legal front,” said envoys.

The new Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill and Rules, 2008, aimed at legalising commercial surrogacy, would be one of the propitious laws on the subject in the world, Justice Lakshmanan said. Unlike other countries, surrogacy agreements between two parties would be legally binding in India and would safeguard everyone concerned —genetic parents, the surrogate mother and the child.

“The bill comes as a bright hope to all those who, at the hands of complicated procedures and deficient provisions, find themselves in a state of despair,” he said. Lynn Lewis, senior migration chief from the US Embassy, said some of the states in her country did allow surrogacy and permit the biological parents to hire a surrogate mother in countries like India. The surrogate child was allowed inside the US if the DNA of the infant and the parents matched. “However, we are looking for guidance as work is in progress,” she said.

Kris Cala, principal migration officer from the Australian High Commission, said the legal procedure in her country was very similar to that of the US. “We have a procedure that is evolving to grant citizenship to surrogate children born offshore,” added Cala.

Surrogacy was, however, forbidden in Germany and such children had no right to German passport, while adoption of children was very time consuming. “We are waiting to see what happens in India,” Diane Roherig, head of consular section of the embassy, said. Jaswinder Singh and other diplomats from the Canadian High Commission said their country had allowed surrogacy, subject to DNA tests. Legal experts Anil Malhotra and Ranjit Malhotra, who specialise in matrimonial and family law and child protection, said the bill required a serious debate before being enacted as law. Among the issues that should be addressed carefully were the rights of surrogate mothers and children and misuse of the legal provisions to run surrogacy rackets, they said and suggested the setting up of special courts to deal with disputes relating to surrogacy. Every participant agreed that the welfare of surrogate children should be of paramount interest as nothing in this world could be categorised as a bane or a boon in pure terms.

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Another don joins Maya camp
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, February 15
Another mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, an accused in the murder case of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, today joined the ruling BSP.

Ansari, who is sitting MLA from Mau, has been declared the BSP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Varanasi. Currently lodged in Ghazipur jail for the murder of Rai, Ansari‘s candidature was announced at a massive public rally at Beni Bagh Maidan in Varanasi today by state PWD Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui.

Present on the dais were Ansari's brothers -- sitting SP MP from Ghazipur Afzal Ansari, a co accused in the Rai murder, who recently joined the BSP and was declared the Lok Sabha candidate from Ghazipur. The eldest brother and sitting SP MLA from Ghazipur, Sibtaqulah Ansari, was also present on the dais, indicating his shift to the ruling party.

Mukhtar Ansari is facing a dozen criminal cases, including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, extortion, loot and land grabbing. With this new heavyweight criminal joining the ruling BSP, Mayawati's claim of establishing the rule of law appears hazier.

Not sparing the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime for its lawlessness and "goonda raj", Mayawati has virtually won over every single criminal who was once siding with the SP.

Notably, another mafia don-turned-politician DP Yadav had merged his two-member Rashtriya Parivartan Dal into the BSP. He joined the BSP along with his wife, the only other MLA from the party. They happen to be the parents of Vikas Yadav, convicted in the high-profile Nitish Katara murder case.

Similarly, Dhananjay Singh, JD (U) MLA from Rari in Jaunpur, merged his one-man party in the state with the ruling BSP. Mayawati whole-heartedly accepted him. A Lucknow University student-turned-gangster is a history-sheeter of the Sikrara police station in Jaunpur and once carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head for a murder case in Lucknow.

Another criminal who joined the BSP was Ajay Pratap Singh, alias Lalla Bhaiya . He quit his Congress seat from Gonda to join the BSP. His sister won his Assembly seat while he is likely to be fielded during the Lok Sabha election.

A dreaded criminal from Lucknow, Arun Shanker Shukla, alias Anna, recently switched loyalties. A hard-core Mulayam supporter, Anna had been with the Samajwadi Party for more than a decade. As a matter of fact, the SP had reportedly used his "good offices" to harass Mayawati during the infamous guesthouse episode, a day before she first assumed office on June 3, 1995.

Now Mukhtar Ansari has also joined the BSP and it is a matter of time before Atiq Ahmad, and Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiyya, jump onto the ruling BSP bandwagon.

Forgetting and forgiving their past crimes, Mayawati openly claims that “those who reform should be given a second chance”. Opposition leaders do not miss a chance to ask if the BSP supremo has a magic wand with which she washes off the sins of criminals who cross over to her party.

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No claim if employee dies doing non-official task: SC

New Delhi, February 15
In the absence of any link between an employee's death and his assigned duty, the victim's family is not entitled to compensation, the Supreme Court has held in the case of a truck driver who drowned in a pond while taking a dip during his official trip.

"An accident may lead to death, but that an accident had taken place must be proved. Only because a death has taken place in course of employment will not amount to accident. In other words, death must arise out of accident," a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Asok Kumar Ganguly observed.

According to the apex court for availing compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, it is necessary to prove that the death occurred due to stress and strain arising during the course of employment, or an injury was aggravated due to stress and strain.

The apex court passed the ruling while allowing the appeal filed by truck owner Malikarjuna G Hiremath challenging a direction of the Karnataka High Court to award compensation to the widow of Veeresh Kumar, the truck driver who accidentally slipped and died in a well.

The widow had claimed that her husband, who was employed as a truck driver, on the instruction of Hiremath carried some passengers in the truck to the temple of Gurugunta Amreshwara Temple. When the vehicle reached Gurugunta, Veeresh went to a local pond and while taking bath, he drowned.

The Commissioner, Workmens' Compensation, Bellary, by an order in July 2002 allowed the claim petition and determined the compensation at Rs 2.20 lakh, with interest. It was held that the truck insurer, Oriental Insurance, was liable to pay the compensation.

But the Karnataka High Court on an appeal from the insurer modified the order stating that the insurance company was not liable and accordingly directed it to recover the compensation from the truck owner and pay it to the widow.

The High Court had held that "when the driver was taking a bath in the pond and drowned there, the death had occurred out of an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment." Hence, it said the widow and the family was entitled to compensation to be borne by the truck owner.

However, the apex court rejected the High Court's contention and said that since there was no link between Veeresh's employment and his death in the pond, neither the insurance company nor the truck owner was entitled to pay compensation under the Act. — PTI

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Illegal income can be assessed for tax: HC

Chennai, February 15
Even if an income tax assessee is prosecuted by law-enforcing authorities for an offence, the income earned by the offender will be liable for assessment, the Madras High Court has said.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Prabha Sridevan and KK Sasidharan, was allowing appeals filed by the Commissioner of Income Tax, Erode, challenging an order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.

K Thangamani, an assessee, was engaged in tax consultancy and audit work. The assessment relates to 1987-88 and 1988-89. During a search at his residence and office in 1989, documents were seized, which revealed that he had been claiming and receiving income tax refunds by filing bogus TDS certificates.

He challenged the assessment orders before the Commissioner (Appeals). Aggrieved by the order of Commissioner (Appeals), the department and the assessee filed appeals before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

The tribunal said the assessee had filed bogus TDS certificates, but income tax officials were also involved in the transaction. The refund received by the assessee through fraudulent means could not be treated as income.

Standing Counsel for IT, N Murali Kumaran, said the tribunal was of the opinion that the assessee had indulged in making illegal claims from the department. It should have treated the refunds as income.

The Bench said the Income Tax Act considered legally-earned income and tainted income alike. There was a clear factual finding by the assessing authority and the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) that the assessee had filed bogus TDS certificates and received refunds. — UNI

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Naxals occupy 250 acres of Raju’s land
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, February 15
A Naxalite outfit has occupied 250 acres of land, said to be owned by the disgraced former chairman of Satyam Computers, B Ramalinga Raju, in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, and vowed to distribute it among the local poor.

The activists of CPI(ML-Liberation), a fringe ultra left outfit, have pitched red flags in the land located near Kondapuram village in the paddy-rich coastal region, about 350 km from here. Putting up red flags has been a routine practice with extremists to declare their occupation of the land.

A group of 40 to 45 extremists put up the flags in the lands, the police sources said.

“The government does not appear to be aware of these lands. By occupying these lands, we are bringing the matter to its notice. We will distribute it among the poor if the government fails to do so on its own,” the Krishna district secretary of CPI (ML-Liberation) D Harnath said in a statement.

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PM active even in recovery mode

New Delhi, February 15
Since returning to his official residence at 7, Race Course Road, two weeks ago after a heart surgery, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been fairly active, though staying under strict medical supervision.

Besides stepping up his exercise regimen because of his improving health, the PM has been meeting aides, looking at urgent files, glancing through daily media summaries provided by the Press Information Bureau besides watching some television.

Because of the fear that he may still contract infection as his stitches were removed only on February 8 after a surgery that required five grafts, only a select few are allowed to meet him besides his family members.

“He is in recovery mode and is keen to resume normal work as soon as possible. But he may require a couple of more weeks to fully recuperate,” said a prime ministerial aide. — IANS

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Three more towns in MP get ‘holy’ status
Tribune News Service

Bhopal, February 15
With three more towns in Madhya Pradesh being notified as “holy towns” by the state government, the number of towns in the state where the sale of liquor, eggs and meat is prohibited has gone up to eight. The main Opposition Congress is not amused. It says that prohibiting the sale of meat in the name of “holy status” was yet another anti-minority community step of the state BJP government.

Ujjain, Maheshwar and Omkareshwar were declared “holy cities” in the last BJP regime. And earlier this week, the state Cabinet decided to extend this designation to Maihar, Chitrakoot and Salkanpur as well.

The Congress has opposed the move saying that depriving the meat and egg-eating residents of the towns of their right to choose their food was an infringement of their basic human rights. And when seen in the context of the fact that among Muslims, sacrifice of animals and consumption of their meat was a religious requirement, the move smacked of anti-minority community stance, it said.

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Advani rakes up temple issue again

Gorakhpur, February 15
Senior BJP leader LK Advani today raked up the Ram Temple issue again, saying it was the party's resolve to build the temple in Ayodhya and claimed that the issue had catapulted the party to power at the Centre earlier.

“The party has not forgotten its resolve to construct Ram Temple in Ayodhya. It was the Mandir issue, which finally took BJP to power at the Centre and several states and changed the course of Indian politics,” he said.

“The BJP is still committed to the construction of Ram Mandir. The real essence of 'Jai Sri Ram' can be realised only after the Ram Temple is built in Ayodhya,” he said while addressing 'Rashtra Raksha Vijay Sankalp Rally' here.

The BJP's prime ministerial candidate said five years of UPA government witnessed upsurge in terrorism and accused the Centre of worsening the plight of common man. He claimed that there were no cases of farmers' suicide in BJP-ruled states, while such incidents were occurring in non-BJP states.

Advani charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with working on the dictates of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. — PTI

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Alert gate-man helps avert train mishap

Kolkata, February 15
A Howrah-bound local train had a miraculous escape today when a gate-man detected a damaged fish-plate at a level-crossing ahead of the Tarakeswar station in Hoogly district and alerted the train driver just in time, sources said.

The motorman of the 'Down T-76 Tarakeswar' local was signalled by the gate-man of a cracked fish-plate near Tarakeswar station, Eastern Railway sources said here.

The driver was able to stop the train, which was running at a low speed, just metres away from the site after it moved out of the Tarakeswar station at 9.26 am, they said.

Tarakeswar station master Ashok Mondol said train services, which were suspended following the incident, resumed at around 10.15 am after a permanent way inspection team from Howrah inspected the tracks and restored the fish-plate. — PTI

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Holbrooke Visit
India wants US to keep up pressure on Pak
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15
India will impress on Washington the need to relentlessly apply pressure on Pakistan to force it to do more to combat terrorism emanating from its soil during discussions with Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, here tomorrow.

On the eve of Holbrooke's arrival here, New Delhi was confident that the Kashmir issue would not figure formally or informally during talks with the visiting dignitary.

India earlier had apprehensions about the Barack Obama administration trying to play an interventionist role in the Kashmir issue when it announced Holbrooke's appointment. However, Washington subsequently clarified that Kashmir is not in the mandate of Holbrooke, giving a sigh of relief to officials at the foreign office here.

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