SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Army commanders told to be on vigil during poll
New Delhi, April 20
The grim security scenario in India’s neighbourhood reverberated at the bi-annual Army Commanders conference here today. While Defence Minister AK Antony called the security scenario in Pakistan “as a source of worry for the region and also for the international community”, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor told the assembled commanders to keep the forces on continuous alert in view of the spurt in activities of militants.
Defence Minister AK Antony arrives with Army chief Deepak Kapoor to inaugurate the Army Commander’s Conference in New Delhi
Defence Minister AK Antony arrives with Army chief Deepak Kapoor to inaugurate the Army Commander’s Conference in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal



EARLIER STORIES



Gapalaswami-Chawla Controversy
Jaitley’s plea seeking details turned down
New Delhi, April 20
The government has rejected senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley request seeking information under the RTI about the recommendation made by chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami to the President for the removal of election commissioner Navin Chawla.


Gopalaswami hugs Chawla on his way out

Outgoing Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami (right) and incoming CEC Naveen Chawla look in different directions during the send off function at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Outgoing Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami (right) and incoming CEC Naveen Chawla look in different directions during the send off function at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi

From Modinomics to Modinet
Narendra Damodardas Modi, who has been Chief Minister of Gujarat since 2001, goes by the acronym NaMo, which his spin doctors know has another meaning in Gujarati and many other Indian languages, including Sanskrit - 'to bow down to (someone)'.

Hate speech: Varun files undertaking in SC
New Delhi, April 20
BJP leader Varun Gandhi, booked under National Security Act, today filed his undertaking before the Supreme Court assuring it that he would not make any provocative and inflammatory speeches during his parole, which are likely to disturb communal harmony.

BJP condemns Karuna
New Delhi, April 20
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi may have described LTTE chief V Prabhakaran as a friend and not a terrorist to win votes in the Lok Sabha elections in his state but he seems to have courted a controversy at the national level.

TAKING WINGS: President Pratibha Patil waves from her aircraft at the Air Force Station, Palam, as she prepares to leave for a visit to Spain and Poland, in New Delhi
TAKING WINGS:
President Pratibha Patil waves from her aircraft at the Air Force Station, Palam, as she prepares to leave for a visit to Spain and Poland, in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI

Karunanidhi denies making pro-LTTE remarks
Cong demands Prabhakaran’s extradition
New Delhi, April 20
The Congress party on Monday reiterated that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was a terrorist outfit and its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran the prime accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case while demanding his extradition.

Karunanidhi denies making pro-LTTE remarks
Chennai, April 20
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today denied that he had made statements supporting LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, in an interview to a private channel, and said his comments had been twisted and taken out of context.

Stalin: I and father share same view on Prabhakaran
Thiruvananthapuram, April 20
DMK leader MK Stalin today declined to comment on his father and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s recent remarks on LTTE leader V Prabhakaran.

Withdrawal of return by Big B
SC annoyed with I-T Dept
New Delhi, April 20
The Supreme Court today expressed its displeasure over the Income Tax Department allowing film star Amitabh Bachchan to withdraw his revised IT return for 2000-01 when he was the host of the popular quiz show “Kaun Banega Crorepati” (KBC).

Kasab, Ismail had plans to strike Raj Bhavan
Mumbai, April 20
The lone surviving gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab and slain Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Ismail Khan had planned to strike Raj Bhavan but could not succeed as they were overpowered by the police at Chowpatty enroute to Malabar Hill, the prosecution said today.

Murder of Rane’s kin confirmed
Mumbai, April 20
The murder of Ankush Rane, cousin of Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane, has been confirmed after relatives identified the remains late Sunday night, according to the state police.

Shanno’s teacher yet to be arrested
New Delhi, April 20
The police is collecting evidence against a teacher before arresting her in a case involving the death of a girl student who was allegedly meted out corporal punishment even as initial reports suggested that the minor died due to respiratory problems.

Telgi convicted in fake stamp paper scam
New Delhi, April 20
A Delhi court today convicted the kingpin of multi-crore fake stamp paper scam Abdul Karim Telgi and six others after they admitted their guilt in the case relating to recovery of counterfeit stamp papers of the face value Rs 2.5 crore from the capital.

Raja Bhaiyya’s home raided
Pratagarh (UP), April 20
The police has carried out a search at the Beti residence of independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiyya, in connection with the nearly a month-old helicopter crash case in which an FIR was lodged against him and one of his aides.

Save me from Pappu: CPM leader’s widow
Patna, April 20
The widow of slain CPM legislator Ajit Sarkar, who is fighting the Lok Sabha polls from Purnia in Bihar, has urged the Election Commission to provide her adequate security against her husband's alleged murderer and MP Pappu Yadav.





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Army commanders told to be on vigil during poll
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Highlights of the conference

  • Focus to be on India’s neighbourhood
  • Tardy progress of road and rail development along Indo-China
  • Specific strategic restructuring and re-organising of the Army
  • A uniform compensation package for family in case of death.
  • Pilot project to start salary of jawans through banks
  • Review of housing provided for personnel

New Delhi, April 20
The grim security scenario in India’s neighbourhood reverberated at the bi-annual Army Commanders conference here today. While Defence Minister AK Antony called the security scenario in Pakistan “as a source of worry for the region and also for the international community”, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor told the assembled commanders to keep the forces on continuous alert in view of the spurt in activities of militants trying to seek into India from across the border to disrupt the elections.

This three-day brain storming session is the first conference of Army commanders after the Mumbai attacks in November last year. Separately, a three-day commanders conference of the Indian Air Force (IAF) also started in the national capital today where the IAF top brass was told by Antony that IAF would play a decisive role in future conflicts.

Sources said discussions are bound to focus on the neighbourhood. Be it China, Pakistan, Nepal or Bangladesh and the activities with regards to India. The Indo-China border and the lack of infrastructure on the Indian side has been taken up again. Road projects in the north-east and also J&K are languishing for one reason or the other.

Source said General Kapoor made it clear there had been a decline in militant activities, however, this upsurge had taken place in the last few weeks. The ongoing strife and the activities of the Naxals warrant continuous strict caution. The conference will take up issues that have direct bearing on the welfare of the troops. He also assured the senior officers that the government is going to soon issue instructions with regards to pay-related anomalies that are awaiting a final notification.

The commanders will be formulating a comprehensive work procedure for cantonments and recommend sorting out of issue of variable compensation in case of death of a jawans in operations.

Earlier, Antony slammed the growing Talibanisation of Pakistan, saying “terrorism and religious fundamentalism continue to pose a threat to global and regional security”. The developments in SWAT valley and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan are ominous signs not only for the region but the entire world. India is facing threats from our immediate and extended neighbourhood, he added.

On China, Antony said cooperation and competition exists in equal measure. There was a need to constantly upgrade military and economic capabilities, he added. Focusing on modernisation, Antony said there was a need to cut down on procedural delays among various headquarters and departments. Separately, at the IAF commanders conference Antony reiterated the Prime Minister’s stance that there would be no dialogue with Pakistan till it take action against terrorism.

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Gapalaswami-Chawla Controversy
Jaitley’s plea seeking details turned down
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

Gopalaswami hugs Chawla on his way out

Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami today demitted office ending a tenure that was under constant and intense “media glare”. Navin Chawla to take over as the CEC tomorrow and continue to be in the post till June next year.

On his way out, as he was leaving the Nirvachan Sadan, the outgoing CEC embraced his successor, Chawla and wished him “a very bright tenure”. Chawla will be the boss when the next phase four of the elections are conducted across the country. Just a few months ago Gopalaswami had wanted Chawla to be removed sparking-off a huge political controversy.

Gopalaswami, who had his differences with Chawla and had recommended to the President for his removal after the BJP had filed a complaint with the commission, was given a warm farewell by the two commissioners and staff. — TNS

New Delhi, April 20
The government has rejected senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley request seeking information under the RTI about the recommendation made by chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami to the President for the removal of election commissioner Navin Chawla.

“The recommendation sent by the CEC to the President has been classified as ‘confidential’ and of ‘fiduciary’ nature and, therefore, exempt from disclosure,’’ the President’s Secretariat and the Law and Justice Ministry said in separate but identical letters to Jaitley.

The development coincides with Chawla taking over as CEC from Gopalaswami on the latter’s superannuation today.

Releasing the letters to the media at the BJP press briefing here today, Jaitley said he had sent his letter to the Law and Justice Ministry, which, needlessly forwarded it to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. “There was no need to involve the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the issue.’’

The BJP leader, himself a senior advocate, was quite critical of the government for rejecting his plea. He wondered how a government ‘which prides itself for its openness’ could take such a position.

Jaitley argued that the people had the right to know what the CEC thought of Chawla. “This is an issue which falls in public domain. People have the right to know the actual reason why the CEC recommended the EC’s removal and not go by newspaper leaks.”

He said the BJP would now consider the next course of legal action available to it in the issue.

The BJP, meanwhile, alleged that the Election Commission had disallowed the party to show a short film on money belonging to Indians stashed in foreign banks. Some of the contests of the film, like one person giving a brief case to another, were found objectionable by the commission on the ground that they were against the spirit of the model code of conduct.

Jaitley said the commission must realise the political parties’ right to campaign instead of applying the decency and obscenity provision in this particular issue.

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From Modinomics to Modinet
Dinesh Kumar writes from Ahmedabad

Narendra Damodardas Modi, who has been Chief Minister of Gujarat since 2001, goes by the acronym NaMo, which his spin doctors know has another meaning in Gujarati and many other Indian languages, including Sanskrit - 'to bow down to (someone)'. But the confident swagger and the strident rhetoric hides a secret apprehension that he shares with any politician on the electoral trail this summer -- the fear of being 'shoe-ed away' from stage.

At public meetings all over Gujarat, and surprisingly even in his comfort zone of Ahmedabad, where even NaMo’s detractors credit him with fast-tracking development and creating jobs, his campaign organisers are taking no chances. Between the high profile Chief Minister and his attentive audience is a novel contraption strategically positioned to ward off any shoe-throwing attempts by a critic, closet opponent or attention grabber.

A volleyball net has sprung up in front of the stage where Modi's high octane speeches keep his listeners in thrall. His criticism of Manmohan Singh and snide remarks against Sonia Gandhi are as much the subject of discussion as this new innovation. "Take it as a measure of a leader's 'net' worth," joked a Commerce professor speaking on the condition of anonymity, adding to the cache of wisecracks that these incidents have spawned.

"Kya kare, precaution to lena hi parta hai", was the wry response of an embarassed party official citing security concerns that have been expressed by the Union Home Ministry. He took pains to point to a news item in today's local Gujarati newspaper, which reported that someone had thrown a fruit packet at a Congress Rajya Sabha member while addressing a rally in Goa on Sunday.

Although Congress spokesman Manish Doshi was less critical about the measure citing security advisories from the Union Home Ministry as a possible reason, he could not, however, resist taking a dig saying, "He (Modi) fears someone may attack him."

But the intrepid Mallika Sarabhai was less charitable. "Anyone who takes accolades should also be prepared to take the shoes. Why don't they put up a net when people shower garlands?" she asks. But the biggest jibe comes from his former partymen who have broken away to form the Mahagujarat Janata Party (MJP), which is contesting 17 out of the 26 Lok Sabha seats in the state. "Modi has put up the net to protect himself because he stands exposed and people know what a lie he is," says MJP secretary Vikram Chauhan.

The spate of shoe-chucking incidents that seem to have engaged the attention of an entire nation has understandably caused paranoia among candidates. It seems this is one time when the shoe is indeed on the other foot, with the politician being nervous of the masses instead of the latter being a victim of bad governance. The more famous the candidate, the greater the risk, with the politician fearing the 'beizzati' or the ignominy more than any physical injury from the missile. Even an attempt is enough to cause enormous embarrassment to a star campaigner.

This is one security precaution the police cannot put in place, for one cannot ask the crowds to enter the venue sans footwear. The Gujarati brain, which is famous for its innovative responses to new challenges, has come up with this interesting new addition to the list of things that make for a trouble-free rally. It remains to be seen, however, if the barrier prevents a well-aimed object from landing at the feet of the speaker or actually serves as a reminder that such a possibility of self-expression does indeed exist!

For now, neither the Net-a nor his poll managers want to find out the hard way.

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Hate speech: Varun files undertaking in SC

Varun Gandhi New Delhi, April 20
BJP leader Varun Gandhi, booked under National Security Act, today filed his undertaking before the Supreme Court assuring it that he would not make any provocative and inflammatory speeches during his parole, which are likely to disturb communal harmony.

“The affidavit has been filed in terms of the direction of the Supreme Court,” Varun's counsel Sandeep Kapur said.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan had on April 16 dictated the nature of the undertaking which the BJP leader had to file.

The Bench had said Varun in his affidavit will say: “I undertake that I will not by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visual representations or otherwise, promote or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other grounds whatsoever, disharmony or feeling or enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religions , races....or any act which disturb public tranquillity during the period of interim bail/parole”.

The 29-year-old BJP candidate, who is to make his electoral debut from Pilbhit Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, was granted two weeks parole/interim bail on April 16 by the Supreme Court which had directed him to give undertakings to the police in Etah, where he was lodged in a jail, and to the apex court that he would desist from making “inflammatory and provocative speeches threatening to disturb public order”. — PTI

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BJP condemns Karuna
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi may have described LTTE chief V Prabhakaran as a friend and not a terrorist to win votes in the Lok Sabha elections in his state but he seems to have courted a controversy at the national level.

The BJP today strongly condemned the DMK chief’s statement, though he had to later clarify that it was misinterpreted, and charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with taking a lenient view of the matter.

“We have always maintained that the UPA government has been soft on terrorism. Today, the Prime Minister is soft even on those who are soft on terror,’’ BJP spokesman Arun Jailey told reporters here today.

He recalled that the Congress party had withdrawn support to the then United Front government in 1998 because the DMK was one of its constituents after the Jain Commission of Inquiry into the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case indicted Karunanidhi.

The same DMK was now part of the Congress-led government. “The Congress leadership has become so weak that it longer can seriously object to such statements.’’

The BJP leader said the allies of the ruling coalition, having realised that the UPA had a weak leadership, were openly critcising the Prime Minister and still continued to be part of the government. He pointed out that NCP chief Sharad Pawar was addressing Third Front rallies and RJD chief Lalu Prasad was holding the Congress responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

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Karunanidhi denies making pro-LTTE remarks
Cong demands Prabhakaran’s extradition

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20
The Congress party on Monday reiterated that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was a terrorist outfit and its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran the prime accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case while demanding his extradition. Clearly the party, embarrassed with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi calling LTTE chief a “good friend” in a TV interview telecast yesterday, also indulged in some over-night damage control exercise.

Tamil Nadu was hit by a political storm after Karunanidhi’s remarks on Sunday. Party sources said by raking up the Lanka-LTTE issue again, Karunanidhi not only managed to put ally Congress in an uncomfortable position but by calling Prabhakaram “a good friend” and giving him clean chit he also gave the opposition a ready-made poll plank.

Which is why a day after Karunanidhi reportedly said that Prabhakaran was not a terrorist he made a U-turn saying that the LTTE was indeed a terrorist outfit. “They did not start off as a terrorist group. They began as a liberation group but it has now become a terrorist organisation,” another news channel quoted the DMK chief as saying on Monday, while referring to the LTTE.

Karunanidhi also insisted that the people had not forgotten Sriperumbudur, the town near Chennai where a LTTE suicide bomber assassinated the former Prime Minister at an election rally in May 1991.

Party sources said soon after the DMK chief’s interview was aired on Sunday he was asked to issue a clarification. Though party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said she was not aware of any such direction to the DMK chief. “He has already clarified….He was quoted out of context,” she said, adding: “The Congress’ position is clear. The LTTE is a terror outfit and Prabhakaran is an absconder. We want him to be extradited because he is the prime accused in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi,” when asked to comment on party’s stand on the LTTE and Prabhakaran.

In an interview to the news channel on Sunday, Karunanidhi reportedly said, “Is Prabhakaran a terrorist? No, I don’t see it that way. Prabhakaran is my good friend. He is not a terrorist. I will deeply regret it if Prabhakaran is killed. I will regret it. I will say it happened because of a lack of unity among the Tamil groups in Sri Lanka”.

He added: “Some people in Prabhakaran’s group might be involved in terrorism. But that is not Prabhakaran's fault.”

Soon after the interview was aired the Congress got on to the fire-fighting mode. The party said it considered LTTE a terrorist outfit. “As far as the Indian government is concerned, LTTE is a terrorist organisation and Prabhakaran is a terrorist.,” party spokesperson Kapil Sibal said on Sunday.

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Karunanidhi denies making pro-LTTE remarks
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Chennai, April 20
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today denied that he had made statements supporting LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, in an interview to a private channel, and said his comments had been twisted and taken out of context.

“I only said the LTTE was started as a liberation movement and later became a terrorist movement,” he clarified and said the television channel did not telecast the full interview and edited some portions, twisting his views.

“I expressed concern only for the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka,” he told reporters here and added that he would continue to demand a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

The DMK chief said he had not forgotten the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and he had named the IT corridor after the Congress leader. He also alleged the private television channel had created unnecessary problems and it had always acted against the DMK.

The DMK is surviving due to the outside support of the Congress, which has 35 members. However, Karunanidhi is facing stiff opposition to his alliance with the Congress from Tamil nationalist groups. AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa’s open support to a separate homeland for Tamils and the tremendous response for MDMK leader Vaiko’s pro-Tiger stand, seems to be exerting more pressure on the DMK leader.

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Stalin: I and father share same view on Prabhakaran

Thiruvananthapuram, April 20
DMK leader MK Stalin today declined to comment on his father and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s recent remarks on LTTE leader V Prabhakaran.

“My views are the same as that of Kalaignar (Karunanidhi),” Stalin said when reporters sought his views on his father’s remarks on the elusive LTTE chief. Stalin, a state minister, was on his way to campaign in the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency, when he was confronted by reporters at the airport here. Changing the topic, he said the DMK alliance would sweep Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the LS polls. — PTI

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Withdrawal of return by Big B
SC annoyed with I-T Dept
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 20
The Supreme Court today expressed its displeasure over the Income Tax Department allowing film star Amitabh Bachchan to withdraw his revised IT return for 2000-01 when he was the host of the popular quiz show “Kaun Banega Crorepati” (KBC).

A Bench headed by Justice SH Kapadia told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramanium, who appeared for the department, that “all these problems arose because you allowed” the Big B to withdraw his return.

Amitabh had, in his revised return, claimed a deduction of 30 per cent on his income, stating that he had to incur this on his personal security. But when the IT Department questioned the source of funds for this expense, the Big B withdrew the revised return. The ASG said 30 per cent deduction was allowed only to salaried people and insurance agents.

“Please show us the reopening order. In my limited experience, you have never allowed” anyone to withdraw a revised IT return, Justice Kapadia said. In his original return, the Big B had declared an income of about Rs 4.62 crore. Subsequently, he filed two revised returns, once placing the income at Rs 6.09 crore and then at Rs 3.24 crore. But, finally stuck to Rs 4.62 crore.

According to the IT Department’s petition, the assessing officer passed an order on March 30, 2004, placing the income at Rs 46.29 crore, ten times the declared amount of Rs 4.62 crore. Amitabh challenged the order before the IT Apellate Tribunal (ITAT) which, on May 18, 2005, struck down the Department's demand. The Department then went to the Bombay HC. In the meanwhile, on March 20, 2006, Mumbai Commissioner of IT (Central-I) set aside the order of the assessment officer on the ground that not even “minimal enquiries” had been conducted.

The assessing officer then reassessed the income at Rs 13.47 crore. Amitabh subsequently won the case at the Tribunal and the HC, forcing the department to come to the SC.

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Kasab, Ismail had plans to strike Raj Bhavan

Mumbai, April 20
The lone surviving gunman Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab and slain Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Ismail Khan had planned to strike Raj Bhavan but could not succeed as they were overpowered by the police at Chowpatty enroute to Malabar Hill, the prosecution said today.

A map which showed locations such as Chowpatty, Malabar Hill and Raj Bhavan was recovered from Ismail’s pocket, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told a special court here.

This was the same map allegedly made by arrested accused Faheem Ansari for the conspirators. The map was given to a handwriting expert who said it was prepared by Faheem, the prosecutor said. — PTI

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Murder of Rane’s kin confirmed
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 20
The murder of Ankush Rane, cousin of Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane, has been confirmed after relatives identified the remains late Sunday night, according to the state police.

Ankush Rane, son of the minister’s paternal uncle, was found at Nandgaon village, in a jungle near Kankavli, in Sindhudurg district two days after he was reported missing. The deceased, 49, was running a small transport business and was not involved in politics, according to sources.

Some reports say Ankush was actually an estranged cousin of Narayan Rane. However, the minister has not said anything about them being estranged. He had blamed Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP and editor of the party mouthpiece Saamna, as behind the murder.

While Raut has denied being behind the killing, the police have geared up for retaliatory attacks by supporters of Narayan Rane. DGP, Maharashtra, SS Virk told reporters here today that security had been tightened in the Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri constituency as a precautionary measure.

Considered to be a stronghold of Rane, this constituency has Shiv Sena’s Suresh Prabhu as sitting MP. Rane had campaigned for Prabhu in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and ensured his victory. After Rane left the Sena and joined the Congress party, he has fielded his son Nilesh, who is seen as a strong contender.

A number of Shiv Sena leaders in the area have already left the constituency for safer places like Mumbai and Pune after Narayan Rane blamed local party leaders for the killing.

Meanwhile, the local police say they are investigating the murder of Ankush. The remains were sent for an autopsy and forensic investigation, the police said.

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Shanno’s teacher yet to be arrested

New Delhi, April 20
The police is collecting evidence against a teacher before arresting her in a case involving the death of a girl student who was allegedly meted out corporal punishment even as initial reports suggested that the minor died due to respiratory problems.

The initial medical reports suggested Shanno Khan, the 11-year-old victim, had a previous history of epilepsy and that there could be a delay in her treatment.

A senior police official said they were “collecting” evidence against Manju, the teacher of MCD school in Outer Delhi's Bawana accused of making Shanno stand in the sun with bricks on her shoulders that led to the girl slipping into coma and later to her death on April 17.

“We are yet to arrest her. We are awaiting for the post mortem report. We are collecting other evidences also,” the official said, adding that a case of death due to negligence has already been registered in connection with the incident. — PTI

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Telgi convicted in fake stamp paper scam

New Delhi, April 20
A Delhi court today convicted the kingpin of multi-crore fake stamp paper scam Abdul Karim Telgi and six others after they admitted their guilt in the case relating to recovery of counterfeit stamp papers of the face value Rs 2.5 crore from the capital.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Bansal held Telgi, lodged in a Bangalore jail, guilty of criminal conspiracy and cheating.

Telgi and his co-accused Deepak Kudale, Mansoor Ahmed, Laxman, Pramod and Khatan Shah were produced before the court through video-conferencing from the Bangalore jail.

Another accused Sohail Khan appeared before the court through video-conferencing from a Pune jail.

RM Tufail and Anwar Khan, counsel for the accused, said they wanted to plead guilty in the case as they have already completed about seven years of prison-term during their judicial custody. All the accused also made their oral submissions, admitting their guilt in the case.

The court, taking their plea into consideration, fixed the matter for April 23 for pronouncing the order on sentence against them.

The Delhi police had arrested Sohail and Mansoor in August 2001, following the recovery fake stamp papers of the face value of Rs 2.5 crore. The matter was later handed over to CBI for probe in view of its enromity. — PTI

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Raja Bhaiyya’s home raided

Pratagarh (UP), April 20
The police has carried out a search at the Beti residence of independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiyya, in connection with the nearly a month-old helicopter crash case in which an FIR was lodged against him and one of his aides.

The search was carried out last night in the district, 205 km from Lucknow, in connection with the March 22 helicopter crash.

The search was carried out as the MLA has neither got bail nor was he turning up to record his statement, station house officer of Kunda police station Ashok Tiwari said.

Reacting to the police search, Raja Bhaiyya said he neither feared getting arrested and nor would he apply for a bail.

“The Mayawati government is adopting such tactics to malign my image and harass my family members,” he alleged. — PTI

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Save me from Pappu: CPM leader’s widow

Patna, April 20
The widow of slain CPM legislator Ajit Sarkar, who is fighting the Lok Sabha polls from Purnia in Bihar, has urged the Election Commission to provide her adequate security against her husband's alleged murderer and MP Pappu Yadav.

Madhavi Sarkar, contesting as a CPM (L) candidate, has told the poll panel that she felt threatened by Pappu Yadav.

“I have told the Election Commission that a free Pappu Yadav is a serious threat to my life. Anything can happen to me. Even the local police is helpless,” Madhavi told IANS on telephone.

Madhavi’s husband, who was locked in a feud with Pappu Yadav over farm labourers, was shot dead with his driver Harendra Sharma and party worker Ashfaqur Rehman in Purnia, about 350 km from here, on June 14, 1998. — IANS

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BRIEFLY

19 killed in road accident
PUNE:
Nineteen persons were killed and 15 injured when the truck they were travelling in turned turtle in Maharashtra's Pune district early Monday, police said.The victims were travelling from Kalyan to Sholapur in a truck carrying iron pipes. “Many were crushed under the iron pipes. While 18 people were killed on the spot, one died later at the Yavat Civil Hospital,” investigating officer S.F. Chavan said. — IANS

Unclaimed 1.75 cr returned
YAVATMAL:
A sum of Rs 1.75 crore released under ‘Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojna’ and ‘Shravan Bal Seva’ schemes was returned to state exchequer, as the fund belonged to the beneficiaries who are either dead or fake, official sources said. The fund deposited in banks and postal accounts of the beneficiaries across the district was lying unclaimed and an enquiry by additional district collector, Anil Bansod, revealed that most of the beneficiaries of the schemes are dead or fake, they said. — PTI

Prisoners on strike over IPL
KOLKATA:
Hundreds of prisoners in an eastern jail went on a hunger strike after authorities refused to allow inmates to watch one of India's biggest cricket tournaments on cable television, officials said on Monday. About 500 prisoners in the eastern city of Kolkata had requested cable television to watch the Indian Premier League, a Twenty20 cricket tournament being played in South Africa at the weekend. “We cannot allow cable television inside the jail compound”, a police officer said. — Reuters

Naxals blow up school building
Giridih (Jharkhand):
Maoists blew up a school building, which was used by security forces during a recent operation against the naxals, in Khukhra village of the district. Police on Monday said that about a dozen armed Maoists bombed the middle school building under Pirtant police station late last night. The security forces had used the four-roomed school as shelter for four days during their anti-Naxal operation last week. — PTI

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