SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Support will not come easy: SP to Cong
New Delhi, May 12
Accusing the Congress of using Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeshwar for roping in the BSP, the Samajwadi Party (SP) today made it clear that its support will not come easy this time and indicated readiness to go with the Left if the BSP was not with them.

PM calls Nitish to clear the air
Patna, May 12
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today spoke to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in an apparent bid to set the ‘relief row’ to rest. Nitish Kumar had accused the UPA government at the centre of not honouring its commitment to give a grant of Rs. 1010 crore for flood relief even after the Prime Minister announced it. Addressing a public rally in Ludhiana on Sunday, Nitish had also accused the central government of demanding the money back without paying it in the first place.

Govt Formation
Prez consults legal experts
New Delhi, May 12
President Pratibha Patil is understood to have started the process of consulting legal experts on the options available to her for the formation of a new government in the event of the elections throwing up a hung Lok Sabha.



EARLIER STORIES

LJP, RJD, SP to remain together: Paswan
New Delhi, May 12
Rubbishing reports of disunity in the ‘Fourth Front’, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan today asserted that his party, RJD and SP would remain together and strive to form a secular government at the Centre.

Cong pursuit to woo Nitish on
Nitish Kumar PM calls on him over Kosi flood relief issue
New Delhi, May 12
Despite the recent public pronouncements on him, the Congress has clearly not given up on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a potential post-poll ally. A day after the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh publicly questioned the Bihar Chief Minister’s secular credentials and the latter hit back in equal measure, the PM rang up Nitish Kumar, ostensibly to discuss the use of funds for the flood relief.
Muslims in New Delhi on Tuesday protest against the remarks made by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in favour of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi during an election rally organised by the NDA in Punjab recently.
Muslims in New Delhi on Tuesday protest against the remarks made by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in favour of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi during an election rally organised by the NDA in Punjab recently. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

NSA against Varun
UP govt moves SC against revocation
Pilibhit leader also files plea
New Delhi, May 12
The Uttar Pradesh government today challenged in the Supreme Court the removal of criminal charges against BJP leader Varun Gandhi under the dreaded National Security Act (NSA). Varun also approached the court, pleading that he should be heard before passing any order.

Cong to form govt in Meghalaya
Guwahati, May 12
A Congress-led coalition government of the Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) will be sworn in Meghalaya tomorrow in the wake of the Centre’s decision to revoke the President’s Rule in the hill state.

Kumaraswamy meets Sonia
New Delhi, May 12
Just a day before the last phase of the Lok Sabha election was over, former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence in the capital, sparking off speculation that the Janata Dal (Secular) was joining the Congress-led UPA alliance and the Third Front was crumbling even further apart.


Sikhs in Mumbai on Tuesday protest against Taliban’s atrocities on minorities in Pakistan.
Sikhs in Mumbai on Tuesday protest against Taliban’s atrocities on minorities in Pakistan. — PTI

Applying under RTI from abroad made easy
New Delhi, May 12
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has framed new rules to facilitate RTI application process from abroad, which will enable NRIs seeking information from various offices here to pay application fees and information costs at the Indian embassies and missions abroad.

Mamata set to make it for sixth time
Kolkata, May 12
Although her arch rival and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee campaigned in her backyard for the CPI(M) candidate, few doubt the victory of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee from the Kolkata South constituency, which she has won five times in a row. 

M’rashtra Assembly Poll
Populist schemes on the cards
Mumbai, May 12
Amidst feedback from the grassroots, indicating setbacks during the Lok Sabha poll for the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance in Maharashtra, the state government is preparing to woo the voters for the assembly poll.


Former Union Minister and DMK candidate Dayanidhi Maran arrives in court to file a case against AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa in Chennai on Tuesday
Former Union Minister and DMK candidate Dayanidhi Maran arrives in court to file a case against AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa in Chennai on Tuesday. — PTI

Ex-Naval chief Nanda dead
New Delhi, May 12
1971 Indo-Pak war hero and former Naval chief Admiral SM Nanda died at a hospital here last evening. Nanda (93), who was admitted to a city-based hospital yesterday morning with complaints of fever and breathlessness, breathed his last around 11 pm.

Expulsion Case
SC reserves verdict on Amarinder
New Delhi, May 12
A five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, today reserved its verdict in the case filed by former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, challenging his expulsion from the Assembly on September 10 last year.

SC stays HC order on black money
New Delhi, May 12
The Supreme Court today stayed an Allahabad High Court order dismissing a plea on black money with a cost of Rs 5,000 on the petitioners, People's Political Front and Azadi Bachao Andolan.

Saji Mohan chargesheeted
Mumbai, May 12
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) today filed a 400-page chargesheet against arrested IPS officer Saji Mohan and two others for their alleged involvement in narcotics trading. A copy of the chargesheet will be given to the accused on May 26.

 





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Support will not come easy: SP to Cong

New Delhi, May 12
Accusing the Congress of using Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeshwar for roping in the BSP, the Samajwadi Party (SP) today made it clear that its support will not come easy this time and indicated readiness to go with the Left if the BSP was not with them.

“I have been saying since the beginning that the Congress is in touch with the BSP through Governor Rajeshwar. This is called track-II politics,” SP general secretary Amar Singh told reporters here.

Singh also attacked the Congress for changing its attitude towards Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“Earlier, Rahul (Gandhi) said Nitish was secular and now Prime Minister Manmohan Singh doubts his secular credentials. This flip-flop politics is beyond my understanding. It seems as if Nitish is a fish and Manmohan Singh and Rahul are trying to catch him in their net,” he said.

Expressing confidence that the SP would get enough seats in the Lok Sabha polls to be “relevant”, he made it clear that the Congress would have a tough deal at its hands if it wanted its support.

“I am confident that I will be relevant, and if the Congress comes to me again, I will not behave like a gentleman. This time I will ask for my pound of flesh,” he said.

At the same time, Singh said he would “love to do business with Prakash Karat but minus the BSP.

He, however, ruled out making the first move and suggested that CPM general secretary Prakash Karat should initiate it.

On former BJP leader Kalyan Singh’s closeness with the SP, he said it was being “blown out of proportion” by the media. — PTI

Complaint against Amar over suicide remarks

Rampur, May 12
A complaint has been filed against Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh for allegedly making objectionable comments at an election rally in Tanda area near here in support of party candidate Jaya Prada, the police said today.

Singh allegedly said actress-turned politician Jaya “will commit suicide if she loses the election” at the rally on Sunday, the police said quoting the complaint.

“We have asked for the CD of the speech and will examine its contents. Only after verifying the allegations, an FIR will be lodged,” Jyoti Narayan, senior superintendent of police, Rampur, said. “It is an offence to instigate someone to commit suicide,” he added. With party colleague Azam Khan raising a banner of revolt against her, Jaya, who is seeking re-election from Rampur, is facing a tough battle in the constituency this time. Accusing Azam of circulating material to sully her image, Jaya had yesterday said she would complain to the Election Commission about it. — PTI 

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PM calls Nitish to clear the air
Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, May 12
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today spoke to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in an apparent bid to set the ‘relief row’ to rest. Nitish Kumar had accused the UPA government at the centre of not honouring its commitment to give a grant of Rs. 1010 crore for flood relief even after the Prime Minister announced it. Addressing a public rally in Ludhiana on Sunday, Nitish had also accused the central government of demanding the money back without paying it in the first place.

Stung by the public ridicule, the Prime Minister retorted the next day that the allegation was baseless and false and that the Bihar government had been asked to pay back the unspent amount of the flood relief.

While the Bihar Chief Minister maintained a stiff upper-lip on the controversy today, sources in the state government claimed that the Bihar Chief Secretary had been directed to send a protest letter to the Cabinet Secretary and point out accounting discrepancies in the central government’s claims.

Sources also claimed that following the Prime Minister’s conciliatory call and his assurance to look into the matter, the controversy had been laid to rest.

A spokesman at the PMO in New Delhi confirmed the telephone call made by the PM and said that the conversation lasted four to five minutes. But he hastened to add that the conversation was confined to flood relief and nothing more ought to be read into it. But political observers were quick to read the call as yet another signal that the PM is keeping the door open for a possible post-poll arrangement, if the need arises.

Bihar government sources claim to have received a letter from the Centre (Ministry of Home Affairs) on April 30, 2009 minutes after the conclusion of the third phase of polling for the Lok Sabha in the Kosi belt seeking refund of the money provided for carrying out relief work in the six flood affected districts. The figures pertaining to the amount of relief money quoted in the letter did not match with the records maintained by the state government. Moreover, the state was awaiting a positive response from the Centre on its proposed relief and rehabilitation package worth Rs 14000 crore.

Nitish Kumar raked up the issue at the NDA rally in Ludhiana and accused the UPA government of neglecting non-Congress governments in the states. He also called upon the migrant population in Punjab to vote for the NDA.

He said “Injustice has been done to us. We expected the Prime Minister (whom I considered as a man of justice) would look into

all aspects of our demand and realise the mistake on the part of Centre.” Nitish said that he was speaking after verifying the

facts of the matter and reiterated his charge against the Centre following his return from Ludhiana.

The Prime Minister and AICC chief Sonia Gandhi had undertaken an aerial survey of the flood affected areas and declared the Kosi floods as a ‘national calamity’. They had also assured to provide all necessary help to the state government for carrying out rescue, relief and rehabilitation schemes for the victims.

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Govt Formation
Prez consults legal experts
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
President Pratibha Patil is understood to have started the process of consulting legal experts on the options available to her for the formation of a new government in the event of the elections throwing up a hung Lok Sabha.

Among those involved in the consultation process are the Law Ministry, Attorney General Milon K Banerjee and several constitutional experts

With counting of votes just five days away after the fifth and final round of voting tomorrow, the spotlight will obviously be on the President since no party is expected to come anywhere near the majority mark in the new House.

Should the President invite the single largest party to explore the possibility of forming the new government or should she ask the pre-poll single largest alliance to do so? This is the question doing rounds in political circles as the Congress and the BJP stepped up efforts to make new friends in the run up to the counting of votes..

The Constitution makes it mandatory for the President to appoint a Prime Minister and on the advice of the President, a council of ministers is made responsible to Parliament. This, in effect, means that the President is prohibited from calling to form a government, anyone but the single largest party, on the basis of the argument, that it is the single largest party that is most representative of the will of the people even if it is in a minority.

But a stable government may be provided by a coalition of parties. In fact, a minority government of the single largest party might not last.

Constitutional experts said the degree of fragmentation in Indian polity had increased in this era of coalition politics. It would be a difficult task for the President once the election results were out and all her actions would be under close scrutiny. She faces a real dilemma.

The experts said she would also have to take into account similar situations that had arisen in the past in the wake of the electorate giving a fractured mandate.

According to noted constitutional expert PP Rao, the effort of the President should identify the leader who can command the majority in the House. For this purpose, the President can invite the single largest party. If the leader of the party says ‘yes’ to the invite, the President can personally consult the groups willing to support the leader of the single largest party.

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LJP, RJD, SP to remain together: Paswan

New Delhi, May 12
Rubbishing reports of disunity in the ‘Fourth Front’, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan today asserted that his party, RJD and SP would remain together and strive to form a secular government at the Centre.

“LJP and RJD are part of the UPA and the Samajwadi Party is supporting the coalition. We will remain united and work for the installation of a secular government at the Centre,” Paswan said here.

Asked why he skipped the Front’s rally at Rampur yesterday, Paswan said though SP leader Amar Singh had invited him for the rally, he could not attend because of prior engagements.

”Amar Singh called me telling about a rally in Rampur and requested me to come if possible. I told him that I have prior engagements,” he said.

Paswan described as non-issue his absence, reports of which triggered speculation that the Fourth Front was disintegrating.

The LJP leader said, “We -- me, RJD and Mualayam Singh -- will stay together. Without Mulayam Singh’s support, how can a government be formed at the Centre.” — PTI

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Cong pursuit to woo Nitish on
PM calls on him over Kosi flood relief issue
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, May 12
Despite the recent public pronouncements on him, the Congress has clearly not given up on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a potential post-poll ally.

A day after the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh publicly questioned the Bihar Chief Minister’s secular credentials and the latter hit back in equal measure, the PM rang up Nitish Kumar, ostensibly to discuss the use of funds for the flood relief.

Nitish Kumar had hit out at the Prime Minister and charged that the Centre had sought a refund of the assistance given to the Bihar government towards relief for the Kosi flood victims. In the course of campaigning, the PM had accused the Bihar government of not utilising Central funds for the Kosi flood relief work.

Confirming the telephonic conversation, Deepak Sandhu, the PM’s media advisor said, “ "Yes, the Prime Minister called up the Bihar Chief Minister and they spoke about the relief measures for those in the Kosi region."

Janardhan Dwivedi, AICC media department chief also chose to play down this development. “This was a telephone call from a Prime Minister to a Chief Minister on a public welfare matter, nothing else,” he added.

While the ruling establishment maintained this conversation was primarily on this issue, the timing of the telephone call is politically significant.

As the Lok Sabha election draws to a close and both the NDA and the UPA shop around for post-poll allies, Nitish Kumar has emerged as a key figure in the calculations of both these formations.

The Janata Dal (U) leader, who is expected to notch up a handsome tally in these elections, is a key partner of the BJP and though he has repeatedly said he has no intention of severing his ties with the saffron party, the Congress remains optimistic about winning him over.

Although no parties were named, Dwivedi’s declaration today that “All secular parties are welcome to join the Congress after the elections,” was read as an invitation to parties like the JD (U), which are currently outside the UPA fold but are viewed by the Congress as possible potential partners.

The first indication about the party’s intention came last week from AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi when he praised Nitish Kumar. Subsequently, Congress sacked its media department chief Veerappa Moily after he used extremely harsh language about Nitish Kumar.

The Bihar Chief Minister had quelled all speculation on changing sides and even attended the NDA's rally in Ludhiana on Sunday. However, this has not stopped the Congress from wooing him and the PM’s telephone call to him is a clear giveaway in this regard.

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NSA against Varun
UP govt moves SC against revocation
Pilibhit leader also files plea
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 12
The Uttar Pradesh government today challenged in the Supreme Court the removal of criminal charges against BJP leader Varun Gandhi under the dreaded National Security Act (NSA). Varun also approached the court, pleading that he should be heard before passing any order.

In a petition filed with the apex court, the state government maintained that the UP Advisory Board (Detentions), which had made the struck down the NSA charges on May 8, was not "legally competent" to go into the merits of a criminal case.

Further, the board had “failed to perform its legal obligation” by not giving a personal hearing to the Pilibhit DM, who had passed the order for detention of Varun under the NSA on March 29.

The apex court has earlier ordered the release of Varun on parole, which expires on May 14, a day after the polling in Pilibhit, when the case will be heard by it again. Varun is a BJP candidate for the Pilibhit Lok Sabha seat.

The board had set aside the NSA provision, citing non-supply of a copy of the detention order to Varun. The state government, however, disputed this, stating that “factually, the said copy was sent to him, but he (Varun) refused to accord his signature on receipt thereof.”

Also, Varun raised fresh points before the board, which he had not conveyed to the authorities earlier, the state averred. About the non-supply of the CD containing the violent incidents during his surrender, the state said the detention order was not passed on the basis of the CD and therefore, there was no need of giving it to Varun.

Further, the state contended that the Board should not have made the recommendation when the matter was pending before the apex court.

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Cong to form govt in Meghalaya
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, May 12
A Congress-led coalition government of the Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) will be sworn in Meghalaya tomorrow in the wake of the Centre’s decision to revoke the President’s Rule in the hill state.

Senior Congress leader Mukul Sangma informed that the Governor of Meghalaya RS Mooshahary had invited the Congress-led MUA which now has United Democratic Party (UDP) as the new partner, to form the next government in the state.A delegation of the Congress and its coalition partners today met the Governor in Raj Bhwan and staked claim to form the government. The delegation submitted a list of 37 MLAs supporting the Congress-led alliance in the government formation. Out of these 37 MLAs, 26 are from the Congress, nine from the UDP and two Independents. The hill state has a 60-member Assembly. The swearing in will take place tomorrow. Congress legislature party leader DD Lapang will be the Chief Minister in the new government.

The Congress has decided to reward the UPD for its support by allotting the regional party the berth of Deputy Chief Minister and a Cabinet Minister.

The state was brought under the President’s Rule in March 19 last after the NCP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government won the trust vote under controversial circumstances. The MPA had the UDP as a major partner. However, the UDP has decided to part ways with the MPA after the NCP leader PA Sangma had tried to warm up to the Congress to form the next government in the hill state sans consulting the MPA partners.

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Kumaraswamy meets Sonia
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
Just a day before the last phase of the Lok Sabha election was over, former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence in the capital, sparking off speculation that the Janata Dal (Secular) was joining the Congress-led UPA alliance and the Third Front was crumbling even further apart.

Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) leader K Chandrasekhar Rao attending the BJP’s rally in Ludhiana on Sunday had come as the first blow to the Third Front, a coalition of parties that claimed that they would install a non-Congress, non-BJP government, “secular” government.

Kumaraswamy’s meeting with Gandhi set rife speculation of a possible post-poll tie-up between the Congress and the JD (S). In fact, the meeting came amid rumours that a tacit understanding between the JD (S) and the Congress in Karnataka has already been reached. Political observers say that Kumaraswamy was always in the favour of an alliance with the Congress.

After visuals of Kumaraswamy entering Gandhi's residence were aired, a Congress leader admitted that the “report” of a possible alliance between the Congress and the JD (S) were true, though Kumaraswamy himself vehemently refuted reaching any such understanding with the grand old party.

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Applying under RTI from abroad made easy
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has framed new rules to facilitate RTI application process from abroad, which will enable NRIs seeking information from various offices here to pay application fees and information costs at the Indian embassies and missions abroad.

As per the new rules, the NRIs will also be able to avail audio-video conference facilities in case of first and second appeals.

Officials at the CIC said these new rules had been put in place to help NRIs to easily process their applications while exercising their Right to Information.

The new rules will allow applicants to directly file their RTIs to public authorities in India by email along with proof of payment, which will be provided by the Indian commissions by accepting the fee and the information cost and by providing e-receipts to the applicants.

NRIs have faced difficulty in filing RTI applications from abroad mainly due to the cumbersome process of fee-payment for seeking information.

There is no definite procedure to deposit the fee of Rs 10 from outside to the public authority anywhere in the country.

According to the Indian Embassy website, people can submit applications along with documentary proof of Indian citizenship and send prescribed fee in local currency, equivalent to Indian Rs 10 in cheque or demand draft.

However, with the CIC also training the staff of the Ministry of External Affairs in handling such issues, the procedure will now be simplified, officials said.

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Mamata set to make it for sixth time

Kolkata, May 12
Mamata Banerjee Although her arch rival and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee campaigned in her backyard for the CPI(M) candidate, few doubt the victory of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee from the Kolkata South constituency, which she has won five times in a row. 

Ever since Mamata, fondly called 'Didi' by her partymen, moved into this prestigious seat in the heart of the metropolis she has never looked back. While the CPI(M) has contested Rabin Deb, who had lost the 2004 Lok Sabha poll to Mamata by 98,429 votes, the BJP has fielded Jyotsna Banerjee. A party organiser and former Left Front chief whip in the state Assembly, Deb, had lost the 2006 Assembly elections from Ballygunj to Trinamool candidate Javed Khan.

Aware that it would be a tough battle for Deb, the CPI(M) had requisitioned services of its top leaders, including party General Secretary Prakash Karat, who campaigned in Ekbalpur area of the constituency. After delimitation, the seven Assembly segments under Kolkata South are - Rashbehari, Ballygunj, Behala Purba, Behala Paschim, Bhabanipur, Kolkata Port and Kasba.

Currently, Trinamool Congress holds Rashbehari, Ballygunj and Behala Paschim Assembly segments, while Behala Purba is held by the CPI(M).

Kasba, Bhabanipur and Kolkata Port are newly created segments. Keeping in mind that the Left Front government's industrialisation drive might strike a chord with the city voters, the CPI(M) raked up the issue of shifting of Tata Motors' Nano project from Singur to Gujarat and dubbed TC as anti-industry. The Chief Minister has been critical of the Trinamool's role in Singur, where, according to him, thousands of youths from the state would have got jobs had the Nano project stayed.

Mamata has, however, denied the allegation that her party has opposed the Nano project. "We said let the industry and agriculture flourish together. We demanded return of 400 acre to unwilling farmers. The Left Front government is bluffing in the name of industrialisation," she claimed. The CPI-M is also trying to woo Gujaratis and Marwaris, who form a sizeable population in the constituency. Party general secretary Prakash Karat during a recent visit to the city, attended a function organised by the Gujarati Samaj. In the minority dominated Kolkata Port segment, the CPI(M) has been raising the issue of Mamata's past association with the BJP and the NDA and saying that after the elections she might again return to the saffron camp. — PTI 

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M’rashtra Assembly Poll
Populist schemes on the cards
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 12
Amidst feedback from the grassroots, indicating setbacks during the Lok Sabha poll for the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance in Maharashtra, the state government is preparing to woo the voters for the assembly poll.

Elections to the Maharashtra legislature are due in September-October and the Ashok Chavan government is planning to launch a wide range of populist moves to woo the voters. According to sources here, local-

level Congress leaders have prepared lists of grievances that have been sent to Chavan. The demands sent to the Chief Minister include rice and wheat at heavily subsidised rates besides waiver of electricity charges for farm users. Chavan has already put together a team of bureaucrats from various departments to draft proposals that would be introduced in the legislature in the forthcoming budget session beginning June 1. Senior state government sources say the government is heavily pushing for subsidised rice and wheat for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.

Congress party officials want rice and wheat to be sold at between Rs 2 and 3 per kg through the public distribution system. However, bureaucrats in Maharashtra, which is reeling from deficit in revenue collection due to recession, are pitching for rice and wheat to be priced higher, say sources. The ruling combine is also giving finishing touches to schemes aimed at urban voters. Sources say the government may extend the cut-off date for illegal slums in the city to be regularised. Slums that came up till 2005 may be eligible for redevelopment, say officials. However

this proposal could be challenged in courts, feel a section of officials.

Incidentally, slum redevelopment projects mooted in the past five years have been put into cold storage due to the fall in real estate prices. Developers who signed agreements with slum dwellers are withdrawing from the projects since these are proving to be unviable. Among the projects that have been hit include an ambitious plan to redevelop the slums of Dharavi.

The Maharashtra government is now under pressure from the slum dwellers as well as builders to come up with fresh incentives so that these projects are put back on the rails.

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Ex-Naval chief Nanda dead

New Delhi, May 12
1971 Indo-Pak war hero and former Naval chief Admiral SM Nanda died at a hospital here last evening. Nanda (93), who was admitted to a city-based hospital yesterday morning with complaints of fever and breathlessness, breathed his last around 11 pm.

Nanda, a Padma Vibhushan award winner, was cremated at Delhi Cantt with full military honours in the presence of senior armed forces officers, including Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta.

Terming Nanda's death as a loss to the nation, the Navy chief said, "In his passing, the nation has lost a hero and a visionary leader, who contributed to the growth of the modern Indian Navy." "He will always be remembered in the most glowing terms for his leadership of the Indian Navy during the Indo-Pak conflict of 1971, in which the Navy carved its name in golden letters in the annals of history by its sterling offensive actions," he added. — PTI 

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Expulsion Case
SC reserves verdict on Amarinder
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 12
A five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, today reserved its verdict in the case filed by former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, challenging his expulsion from the Assembly on September 10 last year.

The Bench, which included Justices RV Raveendran, P Sathasivam, JM Panchal and RM Lodha, heard the wrap-up arguments advanced by both parties for about two hours today.

The case has national importance as the apex court has to decide whether any Assembly or Parliament has the powers to expel sitting members from the House for alleged breach of privilege or corruption committed during their previous tenures.

The court will also have to draw a line between the functions of the executive and the legislature as well as between the judiciary and the legislature. Further, it will have to spell out whether any alleged criminal action outside the House as part of some executive function will amount to breach of privilege.

The case had been initially put up before a two-member Bench and then before a three-member Bench, before being upgraded to the five-Judge level as it involved interpretation of the Constitution.

For the Captain, senior counsel K Parasaran and UU Lalit, both assisted by advocate Atul Nanda, argued the case, while senior counsel Ashok Desai, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Punjab’s standing counsel Ajay Pal appeared for the Assembly.

Counsel for the Captain argued that their client granting exemption for 32.1 acre of land from the purview of the Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) scheme to enable a private builder to develop it was an executive decision taken in his capacity as the Chief Minister. So, there was no question of any breach of privilege. Further, the decision had been taken during the tenure of the previous House and that the present House had no jurisdiction to go into that issue. Also, any alleged violation was a criminal matter that could be adjudicated only by the judiciary. Another contention was that their client had been re-elected despite the alleged corruption.

Counsel for the Assembly countered these contentions stating that the present House was competent to expel its members for breach of privilege committed during their previous terms as the institution had a permanent character.

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SC stays HC order on black money
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 12
The Supreme Court today stayed an Allahabad High Court order dismissing a plea on black money with a cost of Rs 5,000 on the petitioners, People's Political Front and Azadi Bachao Andolan.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, also agreed to hear the front's petition along with a similar plea by former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, former Punjab police chief KPS Gill and four others for bringing back Rs 70 trillion (lakh crore) stashed in secret overseas bank accounts.

Appearing for the front, senior counsel Rajinder Sachchar said corruption had progressively polluted the entire political system and eroded good governance.

According to the petition, those associated with the front are Kuldip Nayyar, Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh and Arundhati Rai, besides Sachchar.

In response to the earlier petition, which also included former Lok Sabha Secretary-General Subhash Kashyap, the Centre informed the court that it got details of some such accounts from Germany and that it was pursuing with Switzerland for getting information on other accounts. The matter would come up for next hearing some time in July.

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Saji Mohan chargesheeted

Mumbai, May 12
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) today filed a 400-page chargesheet against arrested IPS officer Saji Mohan and two others for their alleged involvement in narcotics trading. A copy of the chargesheet will be given to the accused on May 26.

The three accused - Mohan, businessman Vicky Oberoi and police constable Rajesh Kumar Kantharia -have been charged under the NDPS Act for possession of drugs and conspiracy.

Mohan, a former zonal director with the Narcotics Control Bureau in Chandigarh, was arrested on January 25 for possession of 12 kg of heroin allegedly smuggled from across the border. — PTI

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BRIEFLY


A nurse distributes chlorine tablets and oral rehydration salts to a resident of Bolakpur in Hyderabad on Tuesday. Twentysix persons have been tested positive for cholera in the Bolakpur area, where water contamination last week claimed 12 lives and left nearly 500 people sick, according to local reports.
A nurse distributes chlorine tablets and oral rehydration salts to a resident of Bolakpur in Hyderabad on Tuesday. Twentysix persons have been tested positive for cholera in the Bolakpur area, where water contamination last week claimed 12 lives and left nearly 500 people sick, according to local reports. — AFP

Candidate held for distributing computers
ERODE
: Karthikeyan, an Independent candidate for the Tirupur Lok Sabha Constituency, and two of his associates have been arrested for allegedly granting free computers to the voters in Gobichettipalaym taluk in the district. The police said, on receiving the information they rushed to Pankattur village and found that Karthikeyan was granting computer sets to the voters on Monday. The police seized three systems and also a car from his possession and arrested him and two others. — PTI

Ex-AIADMK minister dead
CHENNAI
: Former AIADMK minister PT Saraswathy was found dead at her residence here on Tuesday, the police said. The body of Saraswathy (75) was found in her house at Nandanam when her neighbours raised an alarm after her house remained locked for a long period, the police said. Saraswathy was the Social Welfare minister in the Cabinet of AIADMK founder, the late MG Ramachandran, in 1977. Saraswathy was staying alone, the police added. — PTI

‘Yagya’ for Cong victory
VIJAYAWADA
: Congress leader P Gowtham Reddy will conduct a ‘Vishesha Yagya’ on May 14 here for the party’s victory in the Lok Sabha as well as the state Assembly polls. Around 500 priests would perform the ‘yagya’ in five ‘homagundams’, he said. — PTI

27 persons killed in rains
LUCKNOW
: As many as 27 persons were killed in different parts of the state due to rains and storm which uprooted trees, telephone and electricity poles. While seven were killed in Hardoi, six in Mathura, two each in Lucknow, Mainpuri and Aligarh and one each from Etawah and Kannauj on Monday, police sources said on Tuesday. — PTI

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