SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Cow belt troika reposes faith in PM
Lucknow, April 3
Setting aside their prime ministerial aspirations, the ‘cow-belt’ trio of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ramvilas Paswan today categorically stated that they were very much part of the UPA and Dr Manmohan Singh would remain their prime minister after the general election.

BJP’s manifesto unethical: Cong
New Delhi, March 3
Terming the BJP’s promise of low tax and interest rates in its manifesto as “unethical, illogical and confused”, the Congress today said tax relief and exemptions were the prerogative of the government in power and could not be the part of any party’s poll proposal.

Nitish disapproves of BJP manifesto
Says JD(U) against inclusion of Ram temple
Patna, April 3
The BJP’s poll manifesto has even failed to suffice its allies within the NDA, with JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar toeing a different line on the saffron party’s promises on Ram temple, uniform civil code and abolition of Article 370.

No officials on private trips: EC to Gogoi
Guwahati, April 3
The Election Commission has asked Assam Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi to leave behind his officials while embarking on private or political visits out of the station during election period.

Meena’s wife parts ways with R’sthan govt
Jaipur, April 3
In what is being seen as a fallout of heated war of words between rebel BJP leader Kirori Lal Meena and Union Minister Namo Narayan Meena over ticket allotment for the Lok Sabha polls, Kirori’s wife Golma Devi, who was the Minister of State for Khadi and Gramodyog in the Congress government, last night resigned from her post.

BJP, BSP trying to make Varun a hero: Lalu
Lucknow, April 3
BJP Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi becoming a national hero is part of a secret understanding between the BSP and the BJP, alleged RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav.


A woman blesses Telugu Desam Party candidate Talasani Srinivas Yadav as he campaigns in Hyderabad on Friday.
A woman blesses Telugu Desam Party candidate Talasani Srinivas Yadav as he campaigns in Hyderabad on Friday. — AFP


EARLIER STORIES

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil meets villagers at Kibithu, Arunachal Pradesh, where she attended a Sainik Sammelan on Friday.
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil meets villagers at Kibithu, Arunachal Pradesh, where she attended a Sainik Sammelan on Friday. — PTI
BJD workers blow conches, the party symbol, during the joint mass rally of BJD, NCP, CPL, CPM and Forward Block in Bhubaneswar on Friday.
BJD workers blow conches, the party symbol, during the joint mass rally of BJD, NCP, CPL, CPM and Forward Block in Bhubaneswar on Friday. — PTI

Sushma Swaraj files papers from Vidhisha
Bhopal, April 3
Wearing her trademark “bindi”, Ms. Sushma Swaraj, one of the key members of the BJP’s ‘second line of leadership’, could hardly stop smiling as she handed over her nomination papers to the Returning officer for the Vidisha Parliamentary constituency in Madhya Pradesh yesterday. Ms. Swaraj just like her opponents and detractors knows only too well that the possibility of her defeat is almost non-existent.

A technical offence, not fraud
Chandigarh, April 3
The Tribune has received the following communication from Shri S.K. Chibber, a former Lieutenant Governor of Mizoram. “The news splashed on the front page of The Tribune dated 25th March, 2009, “ Jail for ex-Gov, 4 others for Fraud” is grossly misleading. It is not truly supported by what follows underneath. There is not even a hint or allegation like fraud anywhere in the reported case.

Dalit village Jalka tastes electricity for the first time
Rahul’s Kalavati dumps nuclear dream; chooses solar power
New Delhi, April 3
Rahul Gandhi might just have to rewrite his energy security script, with the protagonist of his story choosing to look the renewable way. News is that Kalavati Bandurkar, whose story the MP had so forcefully narrated in the parliament last July for drawing a connect between poverty and nuclear energy, yesterday welcomed the arrival of clean and reliable energy into Jalka, her village in Vidarbha, Maharashtra’s suicide belt.

BJP is younger brother of CPM: Mamata
Burdwan (WB), April 3
Terming the BJP as “younger brother” of the ruling CPM, Trinamool Congress (TC) chief Mamata Banerjee today accused the Left party of helping the saffron party.

Workers paint Congress symbol and campaign slogans in Birbhum area of West Bengal.
Workers paint Congress symbol and campaign slogans in Birbhum area of West Bengal. — PTI

Deemed varsities can’t skip RTI: CIC
New Delhi, April 3
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that all deemed universities in the country are public authority and cannot escape divulging information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Facing heat, education board chief quits
Jaipur, April 3
Chairman of the Board of Secondary Education, Rajasthan, Bharat Ram Kumhar, today tendered his resignation following three instances of paper leakage in the ongoing board exams.

Provogue owner acquitted in drug case
Mumbai, April 3
Owner of the famous apparel brand Provogue, Salil Chaturvedi, was today acquitted in a 2005 drugs case by the sessions court.

Abandoned bag sparks bomb scare in Kolkata
Kolkata, April 3
An abandoned rucksack triggered a bomb scare in the international cargo division of the NSC Bose International Airport here this morning.





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Cow belt troika reposes faith in PM
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 3
Setting aside their prime ministerial aspirations, the ‘cow-belt’ trio of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ramvilas Paswan today categorically stated that they were very much part of the UPA and Dr Manmohan Singh would remain their prime minister after the general election.

In a joint press conference addressed by the national presidents of Samajwadi party, Lokjanshakti and Rashtirya Janata Dal at the Samajwadi Party office here the three leaders clearly set out their agenda - to jointly fight the 134 parliamentary seats in the strategic cow belt states of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand .

Clearing much confusion around the coming together of these three stalwarts and much to the relief of the Congress watchers, RJD president Lalu Prasad said, “We have nothing to do with the Third or so-called Fourth or Fifth Front. Although CPM has been our natural ally we are saddened by their siding with Mayawati who has openly aligned with communal forces. Let me make it very clear we are part and parcel of the UPA”.

Recalling how the three of them had “helped form, nurture and sustain” the UPA government, Lalu Yadav expressed “highest regard for Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh” but did not mince words in criticising some “munshi and managers” in the Congress party.

Elaborating on their problems with these manager types he said, “We were not prepared to give Congress crucial seats in Bihar and UP to lose”.

Yadav reiterated that they had come together with the single-minded aim to make the NDA bite dust in the cow belt. “Though I am not an astrologer I had predicted long ago that there were no signs in LK Advani’s birth chart of his becoming the prime minister”

Describing the sense of despair in the NDA with their coming together, Yadav wondered which leader of national stature was left in the NDA after the exodus of alliance partners like Farooq Abdullah, Mamata Bannerjee, Naveen Patnaik, Chandrababu Naidu and Jayalalitha and even a senior leader like George Fernandes.

Calling the BJP and Mayawati their main target, Paswan hit out at the Mayawati government calling it “anti-Dalit” which had diluted the significance of dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar in an attempt to promote BSP founder Kanshi Ram. “Her government demolished the Ambedkar stadium to make way for Kanshi Ram memorial”. He also listed her government’s “anti-people policies” of cancelling the appointment of close to 19,000 police constable, abolishing unemployment allowance and Kanya Vidya dhan scheme of the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

Mulayam Singh Yadav underlined the ideological basis of their strategic partnership. He said that we would ensure that farmers, poor and marginalised - the “aam aadmi” remained in the centre of development”.

A lack of consensus was only detected when a Lalu was asked if Kalyan was also their partner and if like Mulayam he was ready to forgive the former chief minister Kalyan Singh for his role in the Babri Masjid demolition.

While Mulayam tried to intervene, Lalu quickly clarified: “Kalyan was guilty and was even convicted for a day. Do you see him sitting here?”

The SP president announced that the three leaders would soon address joint rallies in Varanasi, Sefai, Lucknow and Mumbai in which Sanjay Dutt, the newly appointed general secretary of the Samajwadi party would also participate.

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BJP’s manifesto unethical: Cong
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
Terming the BJP’s promise of low tax and interest rates in its manifesto as “unethical, illogical and confused”, the Congress today said tax relief and exemptions were the prerogative of the government in power and could not be the part of any party’s poll proposal.

“Relief and exemption should not be spelled out in the manifesto. It is the prerogative of the government in power and its finance minister, keeping in mind the current financial situation of the country. Announcing figures and income tax slabs of this nature is completely unethical and inappropriate,” Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.

Notably, the BJP promised low taxes and interest rates to revive a slowing economy. It said it would cut housing interest rates, give tax exemption to citizens above 60 years of age and waive personal income tax for hundreds of thousands of defence personnel and pensioners if voted to power.

Calling the BJP manifesto as Ram Mandir, Article 370 and uniform civil code-centric agenda, Sibal said they (BJP leaders) should have waited till May 16 and come up with a plan of action on what its role as the “opposition party” in the Parliament would be.

In fact, said Sibal, the BJP should not had even bothered to come out with the manifesto, especially when they knew that its members would be sitting on the opposition benches. “They should have made a manifesto of opposition’s role, especially when one of its own leaders has admitted that the party has no scope of coming to power. They also know that they cannot fulfill what they have promised in the manifesto as their allies will never agree to it.”

The Congress leader also took this opportunity to “congratulate” BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani for admitting that an “improved POTA-type law would be introduced”.

The BJP had, in its manifesto, said it would improve upon POTA to ensure it was more effective and that innocent people were not harassed. Sibal, however, chose to see this as BJP’s admission that POTA was misused against innocent people.

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Nitish disapproves of BJP manifesto
Says JD(U) against inclusion of Ram temple
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, April 3
The BJP’s poll manifesto has even failed to suffice its allies within the NDA, with JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar toeing a different line on the saffron party’s promises on Ram temple, uniform civil code and abolition of Article 370.

Kumar said the BJP as a party had the liberty of making its own manifesto, but the NDA had always opposed these three issues. And that was why, he said, they did not find a place in the common minimum programme that was prepared as the guiding policy to run the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government.

Being a part of the NDA, the JD(U) remains firm at its earlier stand on these controversial issues, Nitish clarified. "We were always in favour of settling the dispute over Babri mosque and Ram Temple at Ayodhya by the court verdict or through dialogue,” he said.

But, the JD(U) had always opposed abolition of Article 370 that had given special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, the party had never supported the idea of having an uniform civil code for the Muslims, he said.

Without mincing words, Nitish said that if the NDA got the majority to form government at the Centre, a CMP would again be prepared in consultation with all its constituents and it would also be ensured that the government adhered to the document, he added.

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No officials on private trips: EC to Gogoi
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, April 3
The Election Commission has asked Assam Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi to leave behind his officials while embarking on private or political visits out of the station during election period.

The EC has issued the directive to Gogoi after perusing the complaints of breach of poll code of conduct lodged against him by rival political parties.

Opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the BJP had complained before the EC that Gogoi had misused the position of the Chief Minister to collect election fund for the party from the tea industry during a recent trip to Kolkata.

The complaints were lodged after Gogoi had admitted before the media in Guwahati that he had been to Kolkata to collect the party’s election fund from the tea industry.

“The Election Commission has advised me not to take any government officer along with me while I am on a private or political trip,” Gogoi admitted today. He, however, is writing a letter in response to the EC’s directive to underline why it is necessary for him to have an officer around while on any sort of trip out of station.

“I will write to the EC today that I don’t cease to be the Chief Minister while I am on private or political trips. If an officer doesn’t accompany me, how will I know and issue necessary instruction if something goes wrong in my state while I am not in the station. I need an officer with me to discharge my duty,” Gogoi informed.

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Meena’s wife parts ways with R’sthan govt
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, April 3
In what is being seen as a fallout of heated war of words between rebel BJP leader Kirori Lal Meena and Union Minister Namo Narayan Meena over ticket allotment for the Lok Sabha polls, Kirori’s wife Golma Devi, who was the Minister of State for Khadi and Gramodyog in the Congress government, last night resigned from her post.

Golma Devi sent her resignation to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and AICC Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. However, Kirori Lal said his five MLAs would continue to support the Congress government. His two other aides, who are also ministers in the Congress government, Ramkishore Saini and Parsadilal Meena, are still part of the government.

The development came a day after senior Congress leader and Union Minister Namo Narayan Meena lashed out at Kirori Lal for “conspiring” against him.

Addressing the media after putting in her papers in the presence of Kirori Lal, Golma Devi said her husband was being humiliated by the Congress. She said the Congress not only took his suggestions lightly but also pitted him against Namo Narayan. She also objected to Gehlot’s alleged statement that Golma was with the Congress and not with her husband Kirori Lal and that she would continue to support them.

Kirori Lal denied that he was seeking ticket for himself from the Congress. He said he had merely put forth his “social engineering formula” before the party so that it could bag more seats. He again hinted that he might contest as an Independent candidate from Dausa.

Kirori Lal was eyeing Dausa Lok Sabha seat, besides seeking ticket for his candidates.

According to sources, Namo Narayan’s utterances against Kirori Lal in Udaipur a couple of days back followed by Gehlot’s virtual acknowledgement to it, led to Golma’s resignation. Namo Narayan had said, “Kirori Lal has been camping in New Delhi to ensure that I don’t get a ticket, but he would never succeed.” He had also dared Kirori Lal to take out the “rath yatra” that he had planned before the Lok Sabha polls in the Meena-dominated areas. He said the people were against Kirori and he would face stiff resistance in each and every village. To top it all, Gehlot’s statement that Namo’s “threat” was “the reaction to an action”, further irked Kirori Lal Meena.

Meanwhile, sources said Kirori’s “pressure tactics” might force the ruling party to rethink its strategy regarding Lok Sabha ticket allotment in at least three constituencies.

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BJP, BSP trying to make Varun a hero: Lalu
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 3
BJP Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi becoming a national hero is part of a secret understanding between the BSP and the BJP, alleged RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav.

“If I had been the Home Minister I would have taught him (Varun) a lesson,” asserted Yadav.

He wondered why the young poster boy of the saffron party was not arrested immediately after he entered Ghaziabad on March 28, the day he courted arrest amidst much fanfare and violence. “He was allowed to proceed all the way from New Delhi to Pilibhit with the media trailing him all the way. What was this if not part of a secret understanding between the BSP and the BJP?” questioned Yadav.

Supporting Yadav, LJS president Ram Vilas Paswan alleged that the Mayawati government first turned Varun into a hero and then imposed NSA in an attempt to win over the Muslim voters, who are part of arch rival Mulayam Singh Yadav’s loyal vote bank.

Paswan also criticised LK Advani’s reported statement in Patna, comparing Varun Gandhi with Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan.

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Sushma Swaraj files papers from Vidhisha
Tribune News Service

Bhopal, April 3
Wearing her trademark “bindi”, Ms. Sushma Swaraj, one of the key members of the BJP’s ‘second line of leadership’, could hardly stop smiling as she handed over her nomination papers to the Returning officer for the Vidisha Parliamentary constituency in Madhya Pradesh yesterday. Ms. Swaraj just like her opponents and detractors knows only too well that the possibility of her defeat is almost non-existent.

Ms. Swaraj is, presently, a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh. Having been elected to the Upper House in the 2006, almost three years of her Rajya Sabha term still remain. As to why she still chose to take the Lok Sabha route is anybody”s guess.

The 57-year-old Ms. Swaraj does not hail from Madhya Pradesh. For record, her official ‘permanent address’ is a farm house near the Bhopal airport but that is just that for record and for satisfying statutory requirements.

The owner of the farmhouse has been amply rewarded for allowing Ms. Swaraj to hang her nameplate at the main gate. Despite stiff opposition from local BJP men, Mr. Jitendra Daga, the landlord of Ms. Swaraj, was granted party nomination from one of the assembly constituencies in Bhopal in the November 2008 assembly elections.

The local leaders cried themselves hoarse arguing that Mr. Daga a businessman was a paratrooper and had nothing to do with politics or the BJP but Ms. Swaraj’s backing ensured that Mr. Daga’s nomination remained intact. He is now the BJP MLA from Huzur constituency in Bhopal district.

Initially, Ms. Swaraj was very keen to contest from Bhopal but former chief minister Mr. Kailash Joshi, who presently holds the Bhopal seat, refused to yield. When he was told to shift to Vidisha, he made it clear to the party leadership that he was in no way ready to stomach this humiliation. His stern demeanour forced the state and Central leadership to leave him alone. And Ms. Swaraj decided to move to the neighbouring Vidisha.

Vidisha is a BJP stronghold of yore. It has been represented for long by the chief minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chauhan. But it also has a history of returning leaders from outside the state. Among the “outsiders”, who have represented Vidisha are Mr. Ramnath Goenka, the then boss of the Indian Express, and Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, who, after getting elected both from Vidisha and Lucknow chose to retain the Lucknow seat.

The Congress has made things pretty smooth for Ms. Swaraj by fielding Mr. Rajkumar Patel against her. Mr. Patel has a difficult-to-match record of losing assembly and Parliamentary elections. He is no match for Ms. Swaraj. She enjoys a national stature and given the constituency”s long saffron record, there is hardly any impediment in Ms. Swaraj”s path.

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A technical offence, not fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
The Tribune has received the following communication from Shri S.K. Chibber, a former Lieutenant Governor of Mizoram. “The news splashed on the front page of The Tribune dated 25th March, 2009, “ Jail for ex-Gov, 4 others for Fraud” is grossly misleading. It is not truly supported by what follows underneath. There is not even a hint or allegation like fraud anywhere in the reported case.

“The litigation is entirely about bouncing of post-dated cheques punishable under section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act with exceptions. By and large, demand and issue of post-dated cheques is (unfortunately) a regular and well recognized and practiced feature of financial business of companies, mutual funds ( Deposits) and even public sector banks as an instrument of additional collateral security. And when the issuing party gets into financial problems, these cheques are dishonoured, which seemingly happens often judging by the very very large number of cases pending before courts.”

“The newspaper report does not provide information about the extent and nature of the involvement of those named in the headline, namely ex-Lieutenant Governor S.K. Chibber and Padma Shri S.C. Chhabra, both convicted in this case.”

Both joined the board of M/S Bhiwani Denim and Apparel as independent, non-executive Directors. This company became sick and went under BIFR. Some of the cheques were honoured and the remaining bounced.

The court case took ten years to conclude and S/Shri Chibber and Chhabra were given exemption from attendance in court hearing in all these years. The advocate appointed by the Company was also authorized to plead on their behalf and look after their interests in court.

The use of the word ‘fraud’ in the headline was incorrect and avoidable. The use is regretted. — Editor

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Dalit village Jalka tastes electricity for the first time
Rahul’s Kalavati dumps nuclear dream;
chooses solar power
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
Rahul Gandhi might just have to rewrite his energy security script, with the protagonist of his story choosing to look the renewable way. News is that Kalavati Bandurkar, whose story the MP had so forcefully narrated in the parliament last July for drawing a connect between poverty and nuclear energy, yesterday welcomed the arrival of clean and reliable energy into Jalka, her village in Vidarbha, Maharashtra’s suicide belt.

So far, the celebrations are limited to two village schools, where solar panels have been installed to power 10 fans and a computer. These are schools Kalavati’s s sons attend; they will no longer have to sweat though study sessions, thanks to Greenpeace energy campaigners, who have shown that Kalavatis of India need not wait 15 years to taste the rural electrification. Solar power can deliver the dream much sooner.

“Rahul Gandhi had a nuclear energy dream for Kalavati. But the point we are making is different. One need not wait for 15 years for a nuclear power plant to be installed and electricity to land in remote areas. Three days are enough,” Vinuta Gopal, Greenpeace’ activist yesterday told The Tribune, advocating decentralised power through mini-grids in villages. Right now, 78 million rural households are without electricity; they need not wait for nuclear energy to get their share of power.

That’s precisely the message Jalka’s most famous resident gave. “Now my children have a future,” said Kalavati, whose two daughters and two sons are among the 100 children to experience accessible solar power today. In a village that goes without power for 12 hours at a stretch, solar power has come like the proverbial “whiff of fresh air”.

Children are so excited; they want Rahul Gandhi to visit their village and see a schools that has fans. Village sarpanch Anusuabai Kumbhre when contacted on the phone, told The Tribune, “Rahul Gandhi made our village famous by referring to it in the Lok Sabha. Yet nothing changed for us. Electricity when we needed it remained a promise. I have now seen how easily the solar panel can be set up. We heard Rahul Gandhi will be in Wardha from today. I invite him to Jalka to take the solar vision forward.”

So far, 1200 residents of Jalka have voted for the renewable energy option by signing a poster prepared by school children demanding complete solar energy in the village. Greenpeace campaigners who made the dream come true for villagers said, “We want to challenge the political class to think beyond the tested and failed attempts, at rural electrifications. Time has come to look at every citizen as an empowered producer of electricity and not just a passive beneficiary.”

The message comes at a time when political parties are promising electricity for all by 2012 but not saying how to achieve it. Centralised grid with coal fired power plants won’t be able to deliver the promise. “Bulk electricity gets diverted to cities which get priority for supply; villages which are in the last of the line of the grid don’t get electricity,” says Maitree Dasgupta of Greenpeace.

The solution is to have a dedicated grid in the form of decentralised generation for a set of villages.

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BJP is younger brother of CPM: Mamata

Burdwan (WB), April 3
Terming the BJP as “younger brother” of the ruling CPM, Trinamool Congress (TC) chief Mamata Banerjee today accused the Left party of helping the saffron party.

“Afraid of the Congress and the TC and to divide the anti-Left votes in the state, CPM cadre is writing slogans on the wall for their younger brother--the communal BJP---and also helping its candidates,” Banerjee alleged at an election rally at Belsore here.

“The Left front especially the CPM is so much afraid of the united opposition in West Bengal that they are trying all their dirty tricks, including helping the BJP, just to divide the opposition vote share,” she claimed.

Banerjee alleged that CPM activists along with the police and local administration’s help were allegedly committing atrocities in many areas of the district especially in the Raina, Khandagosh and Memari areas. — PTI

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Deemed varsities can’t skip RTI: CIC
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that all deemed universities in the country are public authority and cannot escape divulging information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

This interesting ruling was made by Information Commissioner Sailesh Gandhi on an application moved by Mahavir Chopda of Mumbai against NMIMS University, Mumbai, when the latter refused to divulge information on the fee collected by it from students who had cancelled their admissions.

While giving the judgement, Gandhi also directed the university to present all information sought by the applicant by April 20. In his application moved before the CIC, Chopda sought to know how many students cancelled their admission after paying fee to the university’s FT-MBA course. He also wanted to know what amount of fee was retained by the NMIMS.

The university refused to divulge the information on the grounds that it was not a public authority. It was relying on an order of the Rajasthan SIC where it was ruled that a deemed university was not a public authority.

On the arguments presented by the counsel for the university that it was not a public authority, the CIC, in its initial hearing on January 14 last, sought to know whether NMIMS was public authority by virtue of being a deemed university. It also sought to know whether the NMIMS had been ‘substantially financed’ by the government or had received land concessions and subsidies and whether it was exempted from paying income tax.

To this, the NMIMS filed an affidavit stating that it had not obtained land at concessional rates nor were the donations received exempted from income tax and again sought to clarify that it was not a public authority.

In response to the affidavit filed by the university, the CIC said “public authority” meant authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted by or under the Constitution, by any law made by Parliament, by any other law made by State Legislature, by notification issued or order made by the appropriate government. Therefore, any authority or body established or constituted by notification issued by the appropriate government was a “public authority” under the RTI Act.

As NMIMS agreed that it was conferred the status of deemed university by a notification issued by the Central government, the CIC, on March 27 last, ruled that since the university had been conferred the status of a deemed university by virtue of notification No. F.9-37/2001-U-3 dated January 13, 2003, of the Government of India, it clearly met the criterion of Section 2 (d) of the RTI Act since it got its status as ‘deemed university’ by virtue of a notification by the Central government.

It ruled, “All deemed universities are public authority as defined under the RTI Act. Since NMIMS University is also a deemed university by virtue of a notification by the Central Government, it is a public authority and must furnish information as mandated by the RTI Act.”

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Facing heat, education board chief quits
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, April 3
Chairman of the Board of Secondary Education, Rajasthan, Bharat Ram Kumhar, today tendered his resignation following three instances of paper leakage in the ongoing board exams.

The board last evening suspended science paper of Class X after it was found that the paper was leaked prior to the examination. It was the third paper leak incident in the last few days.

The science paper was to start at 3 pm yesterday, but the board received around 15 fax messages intimating it about paper leak. These fax messages were received from Jaipur, Sirohi, Churu, Bhilwara and Bikaner.

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Provogue owner acquitted in drug case

Mumbai, April 3
Owner of the famous apparel brand Provogue, Salil Chaturvedi, was today acquitted in a 2005 drugs case by the sessions court.

A special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court acquitted Chaturvedi, who was arrested for consumption of drugs, after the prosecution failed to prove that he possessed three grams of cocaine that was allegedly found at his Lokhandwala bungalow in August 2005. Judge A T Amlekar said the prosecution has failed to prove that the premises was in exclusive possession of the accused.

“When the police raided Chaturvedi’s residence, there were many persons present there including his wife, other relatives and servants. There is no evidence to prove that the recovered drugs belonged to the accused,” Chatruvedi’s lawyer argued.

The case dates back to January 26, 2005, when police detained one Alwyn Sequeira, who was carrying vials of cocaine in a parcel to be delivered to Chennai. The Chennai address belonged to Provogue manager Vishal Maghnani who was arrested on June 23, 2005. Two policemen were also held in July 2005 for allegedly trying to replace the cocaine powder with boric powder and extort money from Maghnani. — PTI

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Abandoned bag sparks bomb scare in Kolkata

Kolkata, April 3
An abandoned rucksack triggered a bomb scare in the international cargo division of the NSC Bose International Airport here this morning.

A black rucksack was found lying under a tree just outside the import gate of the international cargo division at about 10 am when the staff of the department was arriving for duty, airport sources said.

Fearing that it could be a bomb, they informed the police. Subsequently, personnel of the police, CISF, bomb squad and fire brigade reached the spot.

Bomb squad personnel opened the bag and found some vegetables, a cell phone charger and some papers in it, the sources said. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

PM returns from London
NEW DELHI:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned here on Friday night after a three-day visit to London where he attended the G-20 summit on the global financial meltdown. The PM met US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the summit in the first substantive meeting between the two leaders.

Karuna receives threat
CHENNAI:
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Friday received a death threat allegedly from the banned LTTE, police said. The police said a letter carrying the symbol of the proscribed outfit issuing the death threat was received at Karunanidhi’s Gopalpuram residence. Following the threat, security has been stepped up for the Chief Minister, who already is in the ‘Z plus’ category.

Maneka fails to meet Varun
ETAH:
BJP MP Maneka Gandhi was on Friday denied permission to meet her son Varun, detained under the National Security Act at the Etah jail here since Wednesday. District Magistrate Gaurav Dayal said Maneka had sought permission to meet her son Varun ,but he had told her that she could only meet him after April 8.

Pawar ridicules Advani
Mumbai:
NCP president and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today ridiculed NDA's prime ministerial candidate LK Advani for his demand to bring back black money from India deposited in Swiss Bank. Addressing a press conference, Pawar wondered why Advani had not thought about it when he headed the Union Home Ministry for five years. “The UPA’s Home Minister has given a detailed written explanation to Advani about what steps have been taken so far,” he said.

Mahatma’s idol worship
ROURKELA:
Mahatma Gandhi is revered all over the country but people in a sleepy little village off Sambalpur town in Orissa worship his idol in a temple. The temple at Bhatra village attracts people of all religions and castes who offer their obeisance to the idol of the Father of the Nation sitting under the Tricolour. The temple's head priest, Kalia Bagh, a Dalit, said followers of Gandhi read out his teachings after 'arati' in the morning and evening. The temple was the brain-child of Abhimanyu Kumar, an ex-MLA. "We were not allowed entry into temples at the village and elsewhere. So in 1971 the idea of construction of a temple dedicated to the man who abolished untouchability struck me." he said

Mamata’s no to Nano
KOLKATA:
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has refused to own Tata’s dainty car Nano. "I will not ride the Nano which has been manufactured with the people's blood," said Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee whose party has been blamed for the shifting of Tata's small car factory from West Bengal. Banerjee, whose party's anti-land acquisition agitation led to the shifting of the Tata factory from the state, claimed that the base model of the "Rs one lakh car" will cost not less than Rs 1.54 lakh in Kolkata.

Six transgenders held
CHENNAI:
The CB-CID wing of Tamil Nadu police on Friday arrested six transgenders on charges of abducting a boy and forcibly transforming him into a transgender to indulge in prostitution in Pune. An official release said they were arrested following a complaint by one Rani, mother of the victim, who had alleged that the transgenders had abducted his son and illegally detained him. The arrested were identified as Radha alias Raja, Subu alias Subakaran, Arasu alias Arasi, Shanthi, Kuttiamma and Jothi alias Sekar. The arrested were later remanded to judicial custody.

Businessman stabbed to death
Mumbai:
A businessman dealing in scrap was allegedly beaten up and stabbed to death in south Mumbai in the wee hours today, the police said. Irfan Maqbool Khan, alias Irfan Chindi, had parked his vehicle and got out when he was allegedly attacked and beaten up by a group of six-seven assailants. After assaulting him with iron pipes, the assailants then stabbed him multiple times with choppers after which they fled, the police said. Khan, who was allegedly an informant for the police, was rushed by a business associate who was with him to the nearby J J Hospital where he was declared dead. — Source: Agencies

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