SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

It’s Shekhar vs Shotgun in Patna
New Delhi, April 6
It will be a clash of film stars in the Patna parliamentary constituency in Bihar. The Congress has fielded film and television actor Shekhar Suman against Shatrughan Sinha, who is contesting on the BJP ticket.

EC issues notice on C’wealth Games ads
New Delhi, April 6
The Election Commission (EC) today took serious note of three officials of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) committee who okayed and issued advertisements eulogising the Central government and the Delhi government under the garb of projecting the work done for the forthcoming games in 2010.

Rabri in deeper trouble
Two Patna HC lawyers sue her on the charge of contempt of court
Patna, April 6
Trouble does not seem to end for former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi after she hurled choicest invectives against Nitish Kumar and his party president at an election meeting under Saran Lok Sabha constituency a couple of days ago.



EARLIER STORIES



BJP nominee for Mumbai North Central Mahesh Jethmalani, accompanied by his father Ram Jethmalani, on his way to file nomination papers in Mumbai on Monday. — PTI

ID card must to cast vote: EC
New Delhi, April 6
The Election Commission today issued orders saying that the people who have been issued voters’ identity card will have to produce the same before casting vote in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Now, AP Cong chief in hate-speech row
BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal demand case under NSA
Hyderabad, April 6
After Varun Gandhi, it is now the turn of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president D Srinivas to set off ripples in political circles by making controversial remarks on minorities, though in an exactly reverse way.

Rs 1,200-cr deal for Bofors ammo
Offset clause not to be evoked
New Delhi, April 6
A decade after the Indian Amy faced a shortage of heavy ammunition during the Kargil conflict, the Indian defence establishment has finally signed a deal to self-produce state-of the-art ammunition that will fire the frontline artillery guns.

Rajnath: UP govt humiliating Varun
Lucknow, April 6
Determined to play up the Varun Gandhi episode to its advantage, BJP president Rajnath Singh today alleged that the young leader was not only reportedly being harassed and tortured in jail but was also being humiliated by the state government.

SP nominee Azmi has assets worth Rs 125 cr
Mumbai, Aprril 6
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Mumbai North-West constituency, is worth Rs 125 crore, going by the affidavit he submitted along with his nomination paper today.

With assets worth Rs 299 cr, Cong MP richest in Andhra
Hyderabad, April 6
An industrialist-turned-Congress MP, L Rajagopal, is the richest politician in the election fray in Andhra Pradesh.

Cong bid to woo North Indians boomerangs
Mumbai, April 6
The Congress party's efforts to woo the North Indian community in Mumbai by fielding its spokesman Sanjay Nirupam from the Malad (Mumbai North) LS seat has sparked off a revolt in the party.

Centre puts Assam on maximum alert
New Delhi, April 6
Jolted by the powerful blasts in Assam on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit, the Union Home Ministry today put the state on maximum alert and asked the administration to be extra vigilant.

Mob attacks lensmen, cops
Guwahati, April 6
Mediapersons, lensmen and police personnel were attacked by a mob at Maligaon area in the city immediately after the devastating blast rocked the area in the afternoon.

SP will expose Maya: Mulayam
Lucknow, April 6
If the Samajwadi Party returns to power, it would inquire into cases of corruption against BSP president Mayawati, declared party president Mulayam Singh Yadav today.

49 species of mammals face extinction
Panaji, April 6
As many as 49 species of Indian mammals are facing extreme levels of danger from problems ranging from poaching, habitat destruction, alteration and pollution, a study conducted by an international environment agency has said. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in its 2008 red data list, has mapped these species, which are facing the brunt of human invasion in their territory besides the atmospheric changes. The list, which is up on the IUCN's website, (www.iucn.org/redlist), has placed 124 Indian mammals in firing line.

Maoists kill 4 guards
Latehar (Jharkhand), April 6
Maoists have allegedly killed four security guards of a proposed power plant in Jharkhand’s Latehar district.

Ravi Bhatia Tribune staffer dead
New Delhi, April 6
Ravi Bhatia, City Editor of Delhi edition of The Tribune, died here today after prolonged illness. Bhatia’s family members said he suffered an asthma attack early this morning following which he was rushed to the Max Balaji Hospital where doctors declared him dead.

Aircraft falls in Bargi reservoir
Bhopal, April 6
An aircraft on a training sortie fell and sank into Bargi reservoir in Seoni district today and the fate of its occupants is not yet known.

India concerned over N Korea missile test
New Delhi, April 6
India today expressed concern over North Korea conducting a ballistic missile test, saying the development has the potential of having a destabilising effect in the volatile region.

Woman marries ten men; robs all of them
Mumbai, April 6
A 26-year-old woman, who married ten men over a decade only to leave them after allegedly decamping with their cash and valuables, has landed in the police net in Bangalore.

 





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It’s Shekhar vs Shotgun in Patna
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6
It will be a clash of film stars in the Patna parliamentary constituency in Bihar. The Congress has fielded film and television actor Shekhar Suman against Shatrughan Sinha, who is contesting on the BJP ticket.

“His (Shekhar Suman) joining the Congress will strengthen the party in the state,” said Bihar Congress Committee chief Anil Sharma, announcing the TV star’s candidature at the AICC headquarters here on Monday.

Shekar’s entry into the arena can make things difficult for Shotgun, who appeared to be comfortable in the constituency of his choice till now. Both Sinha and Shekhar hail from Patna and belong to the ‘kayastha’ community.

The difference between the two Bihari babus lies in their genre of work in Bollywood. Shekar, who made his debut on the big screen, is more or less confined to TV now. Sinha, on the other hand, has been a relatively a more prominent name in the film world. He was also the union health minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Despite creating a flutter within his party with his statements, Sinha managed to get seat of his choice leaving behind other claimants like former minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Apparently, Sinha’s candidature even put the RJD in a fix, though the party said it had decided not to field any candidate against Sinha as a mark of respect to his contribution towards Bihar.

Observers though feel Sinha has a good chance of winning Patna, primarily because of his clean image, popularity and good work of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar but Shekhar will definitely give him a tough fight.

Shekhar, who made the customary visit to the AICC headquarters on Monday, made it clear that he respected Sinha as an elder brother and had absolutely no intentions of making any personal attacks on his senior colleague while campaigning.

Incidentally, past experiences have shown that many Bollywood actors being used by political parties to cash in on their star value and later discarding them. There have also been instances where after winning actors have done a disappearing act in their constituencies.

In reply to a query about film stars joining politics and failing to turn up in their constituencies later, Shekhar said he would not run away. “My home is in Bihar and I will be staying there,” he said explaining that his decision to join politics was guided by his father who wanted him to do something for his home state after having made good name and money outside.

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EC issues notice on C’wealth Games ads
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6
The Election Commission (EC) today took serious note of three officials of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) committee who okayed and issued advertisements eulogising the Central government and the Delhi government under the garb of projecting the work done for the forthcoming games in 2010.

The EC termed this as “a violation of the model code of conduct” and sent out show cause notices asking officials why the sum of nearly Rs 26.65 lakh should not be recovered from their personal accounts and debited to the committee’s account. The EC also rejected the plea of the CWG that it was a non-government autonomous body and was not covered under the model code of conduct. The games were being financed by the government of India by means of an unsecured interest bearing loan, the EC observed.

The EC said the officials, Shovana Narayan, joint director general (culture & ceremonies), Neel Chatterjee, additional director general (revenue & commerce) and Bharat Prasad, deputy director general (finance), had okayed the advertisement at a meeting on February 20 and determined its release on March 6. The model code of conduct came into force on March 2, said the EC.

The committee had ample time to review contents of the advertisement between March 2 and March 6 and could have withdrawn it, it said.

The EC has asked the officials to reply within five days failing which the commission will issue exparte orders in the matter without further notice.

The full-page advertisements relating to the games had mentioned creation of several infrastructure facilities like flyovers, aerobridge airports, low floor buses, metro destinations, restoration of national monuments etc in Delhi.

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Rabri in deeper trouble
Two Patna HC lawyers sue her on the charge of contempt of court
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, April 6
Trouble does not seem to end for former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi after she hurled choicest invectives against Nitish Kumar and his party president at an election meeting under Saran Lok Sabha constituency a couple of days ago. After being booked at the behest of the District Election Officer of Chhapra (Saran) late on Sunday night on this issue, she has now been sued by two senior lawyers of Patna High Court on the charge of contempt of court.

In course of her fiery speech, Rabri, who also happens to be the leader of Opposition in Bihar, had cast serious aspersions on the judiciary and also the media charging them with having been sold out at the hands of Nitish Kumar.

Taking cognizance of her provocative and uncharitable utterances through which she had questioned the integrity of judicial system in the state and had shown public disregard to the law, an advocate of Patna High Court Awadhesh Kumar Pandey filed a petition here on Monday for initiating contempt proceedings against her. The petitioner happens to be the convenor of the BJP’s legal cell.

Another petition has been filed in the court by an advocate Ashutosh Ranjan Pandey, owing allegiance to the Congress, for initiating criminal proceedings against her for contempt of court.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Navin Chawala who was here today said the EC was seized with the matter pertaining to objectionable language used by Rabri during her election meeting at Saran and a case been lodged against her by the DEO.

The JD(U) had lodged a written complaint with the EC in this regard on Sunday. However, the EC would decide on its next course of action only after perusing the recorded CDs of her speech by the full bench of EC. The CDs were already in possession of the EC, Chawla confirmed.

On the other hand RJD chief Lalu Prasad tried to assuage the hurt feelings of Nitish Kumar over the abusive personal remarks made against him by Rabri by saying “Nitish is my younger brother”. Apparently, he meant to say that Nitish should not mind the utterances of his “bhabhi”. However, an unrepentant Rabri refused to toe the conciliatory line adopted by her spouse and said she did not believe in making such relations in politics.

Addressing an election meeting at Aurangabad today, without taking names, she said she was being restrained to speak freely but she would speak her mind out in a democracy. However, Rabri did not take Nitish Kumar’s name in her speech today. Instead, she lashed out at L K Advani today.

Sources in the RJD confided that Lalu Prasad rebuked his spouse for whatever she had said against Nitish and he had also restrained her from campaigning. RJD party officials confirmed that she would not address any election meeting tomorrow.

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ID card must to cast vote: EC
Ajay Banerjee/Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6
The Election Commission today issued orders saying that the people who have been issued voters’ identity card will have to produce the same before casting vote in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

For those who have not been issued ID card so far or cannot produce it due to some reason will have to prove their identity. The EC has listed various papers/documents that can be used to establish one’s identity.

The order said “…All electors who have been issued the electors photo identity cards should produce them at the time of exercising their franchise. It will permit odd electors, who have not obtained their EPICs, to vote at the elections, provided their identity is otherwise established by the production of one of the alternative documents prescribed by the EC”.

The order further said the alternative documents included passport; driving licence; PAN card; service identity card issued by the state and central governments, public sector undertakings, local bodies or public limited companies; a passbook issued by a public sector bank/post office and kisan passbooks with photographs.

Other documents allowed are property documents such as pattas, registered deeds with photograph; SC/ST/OBC certificates issued by the competent authority with photograph; pension documents such as ex-servicemen’s pension book/pension payment order; ex-servicemen’s widow/dependent certificates, old-age pension order, widow pension order with photograph; freedom fighters identity card; arms licences; certificate of physical handicap; job cards issued under NREGA and health insurance scheme smart cards.

Since most of these documents are issued only to the head of the family, he may identify other members of the family, provided all members come together and are identified by the head of the family.

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Now, AP Cong chief in hate-speech row
BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal demand case under NSA
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 6
After Varun Gandhi, it is now the turn of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president D Srinivas to set off ripples in political circles by making controversial remarks on minorities, though in an exactly reverse way.

While addressing an election rally in Nizamabad district, Srinivas said he would “chop off” any hand that raises against Muslims.

“I am prepared to cut off my head for the sake of Muslim minorities. And if anybody raises his hand against them, I will chop it off,” he said in an emotion-choked voice while addressing a gathering of Muslims last night.

Srinivas, who is seeking re-election from Nizamabad (Rural) Assembly constituency, showered praises on Muslim community and said he was grateful to them for giving him a big victory in the last elections.

Attributing his victory in the last elections to the unflinching support from Muslims, he said: “Because of you, I became a minister in YS Rajasekhara Reddy cabinet and also PCC president twice. With your support and Sonia Gandhi’s blessings, ‘Insha Allah’, I might even get a bigger post this time.”

Srinivas also called upon the Muslims to drive away “communal forces” which were trying to get back their hold in the district. “Let us all work together to ensure that the communal BJP does not come to power at the Centre again,” he said. His remarks created a sensation in the communally-sensitive Nizamabad district.

Taking objection to his statement, state BJP spokesman N Ramachandra Rao demanded that Srinivas be booked under National Security Act, as was done in the case of Varun.

The VHP submitted a memorandum to the state Chief Electoral Officer, IV Subba Rao, stating that the PCC chief had instigated communal feelings among the people and hence, should be arrested.

“If no action is taken within 48 hours, we will launch a state-wide agitation,” G Durgaiah, general secretary of VHP, Andhra Pradesh unit, said. Bajrang Dal secretary Yaman Singh also demanded arrest of the Congress leader.

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Rs 1,200-cr deal for Bofors ammo
Offset clause not to be evoked
Ajay Banerjee/Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6
A decade after the Indian Amy faced a shortage of heavy ammunition during the Kargil conflict, the Indian defence establishment has finally signed a deal to self-produce state-of the-art ammunition that will fire the frontline artillery guns.

The Rs 1200-crore deal will enable the setting up of a joint venture between Israeli company Israel Military Industries (IMI) and India’s Ordinance Factory Board (OFB). A total of five ammunition producing units will be set up in an upcoming factory in Nalanda, Bihar. An agreement was signed between the two countries in the last week of March, officials in the Ministry of Defence confirmed today.

The plant will produce ammunition for the 155 MM Swedish-built Bofors artillery guns which form the backbone of the Indian Army’s frontline attack. India already has signed an agreement with the same company in 2005 to produce 125 MM tank ammunition. Various expert committees including a sub-group of the Kargil review committee had emphasised the importance of self reliance for ammunition.

Such was the shortage in 1999 that India ended up paying up to $ 1000 for each shell purchased in the open market. Till today large part of the ammo is imported, said an official. Stocking of ammo costs a great deal of money, since materials have a shelf- life and must be thrown away after that.

The Israelis have been given a time line of three years to start the factories that will be modelled on the same lines as the company’s factory outside Tel Aviv. The Government of India had floated a global tender for the deal in 2007 and following approval of the cabinet committee on security, the deal was inked in March.

The offset clause that enables of up to 30 per cent of the deal to be ploughed back into India will not be evoked. Explaining this, defence officials said the offset clause was not needed as the plant itself was being set up in joint venture with an Indian defence company and it was located in India. The offset clause is part of the defence procurement procedure (DPP) laid down by the government.

The deal was delayed by a few years as the South African gun maker Denel was blacklisted in 2005 following corruption charges. The UPA government ordered a “fresh look” at the deal and then issued a global tender. Meanwhile, work on the Nalanda plant has started in January this year after a delay of four years.

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Rajnath: UP govt humiliating Varun
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 6
Determined to play up the Varun Gandhi episode to its advantage, BJP president Rajnath Singh today alleged that the young leader was not only reportedly being harassed and tortured in jail but was also being humiliated by the state government.

He said that the BJP would not sit quietly but take it to the court of the people of India.

The meeting comes four days after senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu met Varun in Etah jail and had first spoken about the Mayawati government paying a heavy price for harassing Varun in jail.

Reiterating the party’s stand of backing Varun politically and legally, the BJP president said the state government had acted prematurely by not investigating the doctored tapes before resorting to action against Varun. A doctor had accompanied him during his meeting with Varun.

“If he had violated the model code of conduct, action should have been taken against him under the appropriate sections of law. Where was the need to invoke National Security Act (NSA) against him,” wondered Rajnath.

He ignored questions regarding BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s likely plans of meeting Varun at the Etah jail in the coming days.

For security reasons the Etah district administration today videographed the half an hour meeting between BJP president Rajnath Singh and incarcerated Pilibhit BJP candidate Varun Gandhi

The state government had invoked NSA against Varun Gandhi on March 29 for hate speeches and mob violence that erupted during his arrest in Pilibhit court the previous day.

Yesterday, Varun had reportedly refused to record his statement and give samples of his voice to the Pilibhit police. Armed with court orders from the CJM Pilibhit, investigation officer Mani Ram Rao along with a probe team had arrived at the Etah district jail to record the voice of Varun.

Varun not only refused to record a statement but also refused sample of his voice on the grounds that he would not speak without the presence of his lawyers.

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SP nominee Azmi has assets worth Rs 125 cr

Mumbai, Aprril 6
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Mumbai North-West constituency, is worth Rs 125 crore, going by the affidavit he submitted along with his nomination paper today.

The amount includes assets owned by Azmi and his wife Zaheda. Azmi, Zaheda and a dependent possess moveable assets worth Rs 103 crore and immoveable property worth Rs 22 crore while his liabilities include loans worth Rs 3.33 crore.

Azmi, accompanied by party leaders Amar Singh, Jaya Bachchan and workers, arrived at the Collectorate office in suburban Bandra and filed his nomination papers amid slogan shouting by party workers. While party workers shouted slogans during the procession held in support of Azmi, his brother Shahid Azmi was found allegedly distributing money to the workers.

However, Abu Azmi denied this allegations saying, “Question of distributing money does not arise. I don’t think such a thing has happened.” Meanwhile, election authorities said they would probe reports that money was distributed during the procession. “We are checking veracity of the reports that Azmi’s supporters distributed money during the procession and will take action if he is found guilty,” an election officer said. — PTI

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With assets worth Rs 299 cr, Cong MP richest in Andhra
Suresh Dharur/Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 6
An industrialist-turned-Congress MP, L Rajagopal, is the richest politician in the election fray in Andhra Pradesh.

With assets worth over Rs 299 crore, Rajagopal, who is seeking re-election from the Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat, is way ahead of his colleagues contesting the coming elections.

Rajagopal, the former chairman of Lanco Group of Companies, and his wife L Padma together own movable and immovable assets worth Rs 299 crore.

As per the affidavit filed along with his nomination papers, he has movable assets of Rs 90 crore and immovable assets of Rs.14 crore. He also has foreign assets of $36.14 million.

His wife has movable and immovable assets of Rs 14.1 crore.

The Congress leader, known for his aggressive style of functioning, also has bonds and shares worth Rs 82.82 crore in various companies. His assets include houses and apartments in Hyderabad worth Rs 13.35 crore, seven vehicles worth Rs 3.56 crore, gold worth Rs 1.70 crore and agricultural land worth Rs 70.2 lakh.

Actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi, who is making electoral debut, comes second in the list of richest contestants in the state with assets worth Rs 88 crore.

Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy’s son YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who has been fielded by Congress from the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat, is at the third place with Rs 77 crore worth declared assets.

However, the Chief Minister has declared assets worth only Rs 30 lakh.

The opposition leader and Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu and his wife N Bhuvaneswari together own assets of Rs 68.70 crore. 

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Cong bid to woo North Indians boomerangs
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 6
The Congress party's efforts to woo the North Indian community in Mumbai by fielding its spokesman Sanjay Nirupam from the Malad (Mumbai North) LS seat has sparked off a revolt in the party.

Scores of party workers, including sitting MLA from the Malad Assembly constituency P U Mehta, sent in their resignation to the party leadership in a bid to have the candidate changed. "The party has disregarded loyalists by nominating a newcomer like Sanjay Nirupam," Mehta told reporters a day after he sent in his resignation.

A number of members in the Brihanmumbai MC belonging to the Congress have threatened to quit as well.

Senior party leaders however told this reporter that attempts were being made to accommodate the dissidents as well. The Congress had chosen Nirupam in place of actor Govinda, the sitting MP from the Mumbai North constituency renamed as Malad. The BJP has fielded Ram Naik, former Union Petroleum Minister, who lost the Lok Sabha polls last time.

According to sources, Nirupam, a vocal campaigner for the rights of North Indians, was chosen to contest in view of the huge North Indian community living in the area. North Indian voters number more than three lakh and account for nearly 22 per cent of the electorate here.

Nirupam is expected to consolidate this set of voters behind the Congress. The MNS is seen as a potential spoiler with its high-profile spokesman Shirish Parkar wooing the Marathi-speaking voters here. However, much depends on how the Congress keeps Mehta on its side. Mehta is from the Gujarati community which accounts for as many voters as the North Indians.

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Centre puts Assam on maximum alert

New Delhi, April 6
Jolted by the powerful blasts in Assam on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit, the Union Home Ministry today put the state on maximum alert and asked the administration to be extra vigilant.

Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta told reporters that he was in constant touch with Chief Secretary PK Sarma, to whom he had written a few days ago suggesting tight security ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Gupta, who reviewed the security scenario in the north-east last week, is likely to visit the region soon to have a first-hand idea of the ground situation. He will also review counter-insurgency operations and steps taken along the international borders in the run up to the general elections.

Preliminary investigations indicated the hands of ULFA in the blasts as the banned outfit carried out such explosion in the past prior to its ‘Raising Day’, which falls tomorrow and around the time of Republic Day and Independence Day to demand sovereignty. — PTI

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Mob attacks lensmen, cops
Bijay Sankar Bora

Tribune News Service

Guwahati, April 6
Mediapersons, lensmen and police personnel were attacked by a mob at Maligaon area in the city immediately after the devastating blast rocked the area in the afternoon.

Several photo-journalists and a cameraman of a local private TV channel sustained injuries in the attack by the agitated people, who got infuriated at the sight of photographers and policemen on the job at the site immediately after the blast.

As the situation was spinning out of control, police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the mob, which also damaged several vehicles passing by the area.

A large number of panic-stricken people were stuck up in different floors of a building that caught fire after the blast that stoked a blazing inferno. The people were later evacuated by fire service personnel, but not before a few persons had been injured while trying to rush out of the building in fire.

It happened to be the second blast in the highly-protected city within a span of seven days. One person was killed and 13 others injured in a blast that rocked Jyotikuchi area of the city on March 31 last while Union External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee was in the city to campaign for the party’s poll candidate for Guwahati parliamentary constituency.

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SP will expose Maya: Mulayam
Shahira Naim/Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 6
If the Samajwadi Party returns to power, it would inquire into cases of corruption against BSP president Mayawati, declared party president Mulayam Singh Yadav today.

While talking to the media, Yadav cited the recent case of suicide by a state government official Gayas Ahmad on Saturday as proof of extortion from government employees reportedly still continuing under the present regime. The SP leader quoted that the official, in his suicide note, had mentioned that he was ending his life due to continued harassment by his seniors for money.

Ahmad, posted as marketing officer in the Pradesh Cooperative Federation in Mahoba, had hanged himself on Saturday in his house at Allahabad.

“This incident proves that extortion has not stopped after the CM’s birthday. First, an engineer was lynched because he did not pay money for the birthday and now this official has been driven to suicide on the same grounds. The Chief Minister is directly responsible for these deaths,” alleged Yadav.

According to him, last year on her birthday, Mayawati had declared that she had been gifted Rs 12 crore. This year she claimed due to the Opposition parties associating the lynching of the PWD engineer Manoj Gupta with her birthday, the amount of donation had reportedly doubled.

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49 species of mammals face extinction

Panaji, April 6
As many as 49 species of Indian mammals are facing extreme levels of danger from problems ranging from poaching, habitat destruction, alteration and pollution, a study conducted by an international environment agency has said. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in its 2008 red data list, has mapped these species, which are facing the brunt of human invasion in their territory besides the atmospheric changes. The list, which is up on the IUCN's website, (www.iucn.org/redlist), has placed 124 Indian mammals in firing line.

Of them, 10 have been included as critically endangered, 39 as endangered, 48 are vulnerable for extinction and 29 species are showing sharp decline in their population. A closer look at the list indicates that around 16 species of mammals included in the list are from the Western Ghats of India which includes the protected areas and forests of Goa. The list includes mammals like the tiger, leopard, dhole (wild dog) and sambar amongst others, all of which have a presence in the state's forests. — PTI

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Maoists kill 4 guards

Latehar (Jharkhand), April 6
Maoists have allegedly killed four security guards of a proposed power plant in Jharkhand’s Latehar district.

After a spate of attacks on school buildings and government buildings, a group of Naxals attacked the site office of Abhijeet Group, which has proposed a power plant at Chakla village in the district.

Three guards reportedly died on the spot, while one succumbed on way to a hospital. One injured guard has been admitted to a Ranchi hospital.

According to officials, Maoist rebels had demanded a levy of Rs 2 million from the company. The group had apparently refused to pay the amount.

SP Hemant Toppo termed the attack an act of terror.

"A chit was found on the place of this incident, in which the Sanyukta Krantikari Committee (United Revolutionary Committee) is claiming responsibility for the incident. Although we have never heard of this group earlier, this is a serious crime committed by them," said Toppo.

The police has launched a search operation to nab the rebels. — ANI

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Tribune staffer dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6
Ravi Bhatia, City Editor of Delhi edition of The Tribune, died here today after prolonged illness. Bhatia’s family members said he suffered an asthma attack early this morning following which he was rushed to the Max Balaji Hospital where doctors declared him dead.

Bhatia (58) is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. He had been working for The Tribune since 2001.

Before joining The Tribune, Bhatia worked as the Chief Reporter of The Times of India, New Delhi. He was one of the city’s well-known crime reporters in the 1980s. He also did a stint as the Resident Editor of the Times of India, Chandigarh. His cremation will take place tomorrow at the Lodhi Road crematorium here.

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Aircraft falls in Bargi reservoir

Bhopal, April 6
An aircraft on a training sortie fell and sank into Bargi reservoir in Seoni district today and the fate of its occupants is not yet known.

The aircraft took off at around 1430 hours from Dhana Club in Sagar with a trainee pilot identified as Rituraj, DIG Jabalpur Madhu Kumar informed.

It was on a training sortie and fell in Bargi reservoir near Gadhaghat in Seoni district under the Ghansour police station, the police said. After its fall in the reservoir, the plane sank into it.

Ghansour police station in charge Deepak Mishra, who was at the spot, said the plane was not visible on the surface of the reservoir.

He said the aircraft fell in deep waters and the service of divers were requisitioned to launch the rescue operation. — PTI

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India concerned over N Korea missile test

New Delhi, April 6
India today expressed concern over North Korea conducting a ballistic missile test, saying the development has the potential of having a destabilising effect in the volatile region.

“We have seen reports that describe the missile launch by the DPR Korea as a satellite launch or a ballistic missile test...... We are concerned at the possible destabilising effect of these events in the region,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman said. — TNS

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Woman marries ten men; robs all of them

Mumbai, April 6
A 26-year-old woman, who married ten men over a decade only to leave them after allegedly decamping with their cash and valuables, has landed in the police net in Bangalore.

Kausar Begum and her parents were nabbed by a team of Mumbai police after one of her husbands approached the police, saying she had taken all the valuables from his house. — PTI

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Congress’ North-Central Mumbai candidate Priya Dutt at a mosque before filing her nomination papers in Mumbai on Monday. — PTI

CPM leader Brinda Karat releases campaign audio CDs and posters 
at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI

Puducherry Lt Guv passes away
NEW DELHI:
Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Govind Singh Gurjar died at a private hospital here on Monday following a brief illness. Gurjar, 78, passed away at 5.15 am on Monday morning, resident commissioner of Puducherry KK Singh said. He was suffering from kidney and heart ailments and was admitted to Apollo Hospital a few days back. Gurjar was born in 1932 in Balakanangal village of Rajasthan and had served as a minister between 1981 and 1985. He was appointed to the post of Governor in July 2008.

Car used in Soumya murder seized
NEW DELHI:
The Delhi police on Monday said they had recovered a car which was a "vital evidence" in the murder of TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan. An auto lifter, who had purchased the car used in last year's murder of the TV reporter, had been arrested, the police said. Ajay Sethi, the last absconding in the sensational murder, was held from Faridabad in Haryana on Sunday.

TN tops in cadaver organ donation
CHENNAI:
Tamil Nadu has topped the list of states in cadaver organ donations and organ harvesting in the past six months, putting it on par with top performers at the international level, despite constraints in infrastructure. A total of 60 organs, including kidneys, livers and hearts, were harvested from brain dead donors within a period of just six months from October 2008 to March this year, giving a fresh lease of life to 59 persons all over India. This is commendable given the fact that Andhra Pradesh, which topped last year, could manage only 17 organs for donations throughout the year, health department officials said, adding that the state was now on par with top performers globally.

Sidhu to bat against Azhar
MORADABAD:
To counter the star power of former Indian skipper and Congress candidate from here, Mohammed Azharuddin, the BJP is planning to rope in former cricketer and MP Navjot Singh Sidhu to campaign for it in the brass city. We are going to get Navjot Singh Sidhu to campaign for us in the constituency, BJP’s candidate form Moradabad Sarvesh Singh said. The date for his campaigning has not yet been decided as the city will go to polls in the last phase of the elections on May 13.

Amar Singh claims threat
Mumbai:
Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh has claimed that an associate of underworld don Chhota Rajan has given him a threatening call, asking him to stay away from his party colleague Abu Asim Azmi. “I have informed Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Home Minister Jayant Patil and also the National Security Advisor about the threat," Singh told reporters in Mumbai. Singh also demanded security for himself, Azmi, Jaya Bachchan and actor Sanjay Dutt, who was recently made the general secretary of the Samajwadi party.

Source: Agencies

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