SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Government can modify judges’ assets Bill
New Delhi, August 3
The government could “modify” the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill, 2009, to build wider consensus among MPs on the question. Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily, who sought to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha today, was eventually forced to withdraw it in the face of stiff opposition from most members cutting across party lines when their sentiments were ably articulated by Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley.

No stopping education bill now
To be passed today; Concerns can be addressed later, says HRD ministry
New Delhi, August 3
With disability rights groups still agitating the passage of Right to Education (RTE) Bill in the present form, the government today ruled out holding back of the legislation, which is likely to get through the Lok Sabha tomorrow. It was to be taken up today but had to be dropped following chaos in the House.
Disabled activists take part in a protest in New Delhi Disabled activists take part in a protest in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal





EARLIER STORIES



Bundelkhand ghost back to haunt LS
BSP, SP, BJP stall House proceedings over the issue of a central agency for region’s development
New Delhi, August 3
The ghost of a central agency for the development of Bundelkhand region came to haunt Parliament today, with the Lok Sabha suffering repeated interruptions and four adjournments on this and some other matters during the day.

Farmers shout slogans during a demonstration in New Delhi
Farmers shout slogans during a demonstration in New Delhi on Monday. A Tribune photograph

More of Buta’s kin in CBI net
Probe agency likely to quiz Sarobjit’s father-in-law
Mumbai, August 3
The CBI is likely to question the father-in-law of Sarobjit Singh, son of the chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, as the agency claimed calls from his cellphone were traced to alleged hawala dealers.

Prez has power to remove NCSC chairperson
New Delhi, August 3
The chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Buta Singh has rejected the demand for his resignation following the arrest of his son, Sarobjit Singh alias Sweety, by the CBI on the charges of corruption and other crimes and the allegation that he was in the know of his son’s activities.

Strike paralyses life in Manipur
Guwahati, August 3
A 48-hour general strike called by Apunba Lup, a banner organisation of 30 different civil society bodies, in protest against ‘fake encounter killing’ of a youth and a pregnant women by Manipur police on July 23, paralysed normal life in Manipur, particularly in Imphal. The situation in the state has remained tense after agitating people took to the streets yesterday.

Explosives recovered in Assam
Guwahati: The Army today recovered a huge quantity of explosives from a remote location in insurgency-affected Karbi Anglong hill district of Assam even as Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), tribe militant group, has threatened to target Hindi-speaking population in case the government did not respond to its talks offer within two months.

A member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) dressed as a cow protests the killing of cattle in Hyderabad
A member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) dressed as a cow protests the killing of cattle in Hyderabad on Monday. — AFP

AP orders probe into cop’s death
Hyderabad, August 3
Andhra Pradesh government today ordered a high-level inquiry into the mysterious death of a police constable P Muralinath who was forced to work as an “orderly” at the Noida residence of an IPS officer of AP cadre.

UP Assembly adjourned twice over drought issue
Lucknow, August 3
The Vidhan Sabha was adjourned twice and the Opposition occupied the well for the better part of the day demanding the entire state to be declared drought-hit. As soon as the House met this morning, Samajwadi Party leader Ambika Chadhury demanded a debate on drought situation in the state.

Session brings to fore affiliations of SP MLAs
Lucknow, August 3
The first Vidhan Sabha session after the Lok Sabha elections made political affiliations of several floating Samajwadi Party MLAs clear. Controversial SP MLA from Rampur Mohd Azam Khan was spotted sitting with Congress members.

Mulayam seeks Deora’s ouster
New Delhi, August 3
Dissatisfied over the Centre’s response to the issue involving gas allocation to Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today accused Petroleum Minister Murli Deora of “corruption”, saying the Minister allegedly granted favours worth Rs 15,000 crore to one person involved in the gas feud between the Ambani brothers.

Help on way for Egyptian mummy
Hyderabad, August 3
A young Egyptian girl from the remote past resting at a state museum here. Nasihu, the daughter of the Sixth Pharaoh of Egypt, is one of the six Egyptian Mummies preserved at different museums in India. More than 2,500 years after her death, the mummified visitor from far-away lands faces the risk of slipping into history, forever, in the absence of specialised conservation.

The mummy has been kept in a museum at Hyderabad
The mummy has been kept in a museum at Hyderabad.

Now, all eyes on Gayatri Devi’s will
Jaipur, August 3
The demise of Rajmata Gayatri Devi has fuelled the speculations as to who will inherit her property, estimated at a whopping Rs 1,100 crore. Though nobody knows for sure whether Gayatri Devi has left behind a will, but if she has left one, it is likely to be revealed after the 12-day mourning period keeping with family tradition.

Sohrabuddin case: Be ready for SIT probe, Gujarat told
New Delhi, August 3
The Supreme Court today said it was inclined to order a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the November 26, 2005 fake encounter near Ahmedabad in which Sohrabuddin Sheikh, an alleged gangster, was shot dead.

Lt Gen Kumar is head of Army Hospital
New Delhi, August 3
Lieutenant General Naresh Kumar has taken over as the new Commandant of the prestigious Army Hospital (Research and Referral), Delhi. A medical specialist of national and international repute, Kumar has had an illustrious career in Army Medical Corps.

Shivani murder case
HC grants interim bail to Sharma
New Delhi, August 3
The Delhi high court today granted interim bail for two months to senior IPS officer R K Sharma, who was awarded life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar, to enable him to fulfill domestic obligations.

No bailout package for airlines
New Delhi, August 3
A day after private airlines called off their planned strike, the government today ruled out any financial package for them but promised to do whatever is possible to address reasonable grievances of the industry.

Veteran CPM leader dead
Kolkata, August 3
Veteran CPM leader Subhas Chkarborty (67), who was the state’s Sports and Transport Minister since 1982, today died at a private nursing home. He was suffering from cancer. He is survived by his wife Romola, a party worker and a son. Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have condoled his death. — TNS





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Government can modify judges’ assets Bill
Faraz Ahmad\Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The government could “modify” the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill, 2009, to build wider consensus among MPs on the question.

Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily, who sought to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha today, was eventually forced to withdraw it in the face of stiff opposition from most members cutting across party lines when their sentiments were ably articulated by Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley.

The minister, however, described his act as “deferment” and promised to build wider consensus. Jaitley opposed clause 6 of the Bill giving judges immunity against probes into their wealth through RTI. A majority of members in the Upper House of Parliament, including Left parties, were one with Jaitley on the need for greater accountability of judges than that provided in the proposed Bill.

Congress also went along with Moily and appeared ready to have a re-look at the Bill. Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi tried to play down today’s embarrassment attributing it to “parliamentary procedure”.

However, he admitted, “The government is not working with a closed mind. Attempt will be made to generate consensus. Inputs will be taken to ensure general consensus. There are legitimate concerns. You may soon find this or a modified version.”

Jaitely described clause 6 of the Bill as ultra vires the Constitution. He cited a Supreme Court judgement under which even candidates contesting for assembly and parliamentary elections were obliged to declare their assets.

He reminded that the Supreme Court had termed right to information as fundamental rights as enshrined in Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution to make it obligatory for public servants and aspiring public servants to disclose their assets to the people. “Once Supreme Court ruled that the people have the right to know everything about public servants, you cannot have one standard for one set of public servants and another for another,” Jaitley argued.

He said, “There is nothing in the Constitution under Article 19(1)(a) which provides for discriminating between one public functionary and another. What applies to one public functionary under the Constitution applies equally to the other functionaries as well. Clause 6 of the Bill offends Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Minus the clause 6, the BJP and Opposition parties have no objection and will support the government,” he said.

As against that, clause 6 of this Bill gives such a protection, allowing withholding information regarding judges’ assets from the people and keeping these disclosures out of the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Singhvi dismissed Jaitley’s contention that the Bill was introduced in haste to fulfil Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 100-day agenda, without necessary preparation.

Meanwhile, two Congress MPs, Jayanti Natrajan and Rajiv Shukla, who spoke in the Upper House suggesting sending the Bill to the Standing Committee to build wider consensus, denied opposing it. Even Singhvi tried to make light of the curious development saying this is “an indication of transparency and sensitivity” in his party and that “nobody should be dogmatic.”

Political circles are speculating whether this was just a ploy by the government to take credit when it was not really serious about actually bringing in judicial reforms. The government is aware that it lacks numbers in the Council of States and political observers wondered why it chose to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

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No stopping education bill now
To be passed today; Concerns can be addressed later, says HRD ministry

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
With disability rights groups still agitating the passage of Right to Education (RTE) Bill in the present form, the government today ruled out holding back of the legislation, which is likely to get through the Lok Sabha tomorrow. It was to be taken up today but had to be dropped following chaos in the House.

The bill, said top government sources, would, for the first time, grant the statutory right of education to disabled children, as defined under the Persons with Disabilities Act (PWD), 1996. “For the first time, the right of a disabled child to education has been enforced,” said sources in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, adding that the definition of “disabled” could be enhanced later to accommodate the concerns of social activists, who felt the clause defining disability was inadequate.

“We can later extend the definition to include other forms of disability, and could put the same into model draft rules for the Act. But right now, the bill must go through,” said ministry sources, who are learnt to have been questioned on the matter by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

The apprehension of disability activists, who staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar today, relates to the fact that PWD Act does not fully cover autistic children and those suffering cerebral palsy. But the PWD Act, said ministry officials, did cover such children. While cerebral palsy patients are covered under locomotor disabilities, autism is covered under mental illness. The definition draws from the Oxford dictionary which explains autism as a brain disorder.

Another major allegation of disability activists is that HRD minister Kapil Sibal changed the draft of the bill to ignore the disabled. But the fact remains that the RTE Bill draft, which Sibal recently introduced in Lok Sabha, is exactly the same as former minister Arjun Singh had introduced in Rajya Sabha last December.

PWD Act to be amended

Aware of its shortcomings, the government has set out to amend the PWD Act, 13 years after it was enacted. In the present form, the Act does not mandate inclusive education on the part of schools. Social justice ministry officials confirmed to The Tribune today that consultations were on to change the Act to shift its focus from special schools to inclusive schools and make inclusive education mandatory, instead of desirable. There is also a move to change the Act to separately define autism. Guardians don’t like their autistic wards to be called mentally ill.

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Bundelkhand ghost back to haunt LS
BSP, SP, BJP stall House proceedings over the issue of a central agency for region’s development

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
The ghost of a central agency for the development of Bundelkhand region came to haunt Parliament today, with the Lok Sabha suffering repeated interruptions and four adjournments on this and some other matters during the day.

Fired by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the Prime Minister about the said agency for Bundelkhand, the BSP, SP and BJP stalled proceedings of the House, decrying the move as anti-federal and imperialist. All of them wanted the government to clarify its stand.

The government, however, was in no mood to answer, and eventually forced the final adjournment of the House around 3.20 pm today, but not before it had utilised the din to introduce three bills -- Companies Bill, 2009; Indian Trusts Amendment Bill, 2009 and SEBI Amendment Bill.

Busy protesting, the BJP was mainly livid at the UPA for not facing the Lok Sabha on the Bundelkhand issue, especially when its Minister Prithviraj Chavan had stated in the Rajya Sabha that there was no move to change the federal structure in the country.

“The government’s move smacks of imperialism,” said Sushma Swaraj, deputy leader of the BJP in Lok Sabha. At the start of the day, BJP, BSP and SP were all together in slamming the government for trying to set up a development authority for Bundelkhand without caring to talk to the affected states Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

But as moments went by, the SP was led away by the gas allocation issue, with Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav getting busy fielding for Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources, which, he said, was being discriminated against. The SP chief did not forget to mention that he had nothing to do with the feuding brothers.

That apart, the House saw some fencers also jumping into the chaos, when TMC’s Kalyan Banerjee objecting to the Chair which allowed the CPM to raise the price rise issue when the TMC wanted to talk West Bengal killings.

In an unprecedented show of disaffection towards their political enemies, the aggressive TMC MPs shouted down at CPM’s Basudeb Acharia when he rose to raise price rise. “You are the most undemocratic people around,” they screamed, accusing the Left of turning West Bengal into a “killing field”.

“Let them face a CBI probe to see who is killing whom. The Home Minister has already said they are at fault,” Kalyan Banerjee later said, daring the CPM to face the matter. The communists have been alleging TMC’s hand behind Bengal killings.

In the Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, it was left to SP’s Satish Chandra Mishra to raise the Bundelkhand issue, with support from BSP and BJP. The elders, however, unlike LS members, were happy with one adjournment.

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More of Buta’s kin in CBI net
Probe agency likely to quiz Sarobjit’s father-in-law

Mumbai, August 3
The CBI is likely to question the father-in-law of Sarobjit Singh, son of the chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, as the agency claimed calls from his cellphone were traced to alleged hawala dealers.

The CBI has also sealed five shops in Mumbai belonging to the alleged hawala dealers, Madan Solanki and Dukhsingh Chauhan, the latter an accused in the bribery case against Sarobjit Singh and presently on the run, and the material seized from there has been handed over to the Enforcement Directorate for investigations.

“We might question Sarobjit Singh's father-in-law. According to investigations, he used his father-in-law's mobile to make calls to hawala operators and other accused,” Joint Director (Western Region) Rishiraj Singh said here.

The CBI had roped in Enforcement Directorate to help investigations of a bribery case involving Sarobjit and trace Chauhan. “We have also sealed five shops in Mumbai belonging to hawala operators Solanki and Chauhan," Rishiraj said.

Chauhan was earlier arrested under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act and spent over a year in jail between 1995 and 2000.

A CBI team is in Bangalore searching for the third alleged hawala operator, Shamalal Chaudhari, who was to receive the money from Chauhan and transfer it to Delhi to Sarobjit alias Sweety Singh.

The CBI arrested 40-year-old Sarobjit on July 31 for allegedly demanding Rs 1 crore in bribe from a Nasik-based contractor Ramarao Patil to close a case with the commission against him. Three others, including Anu Begi, the middleman, and two hawala operators, who were said to be working for Sarobjit, were also arrested.

Begi, according to sources, had told the probe agency that Buta Singh was also in the know-how about the case, a charge denied by the chairman of the commission. — PTI

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Prez has power to remove NCSC chairperson
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 3
The chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Buta Singh has rejected the demand for his resignation following the arrest of his son, Sarobjit Singh alias Sweety, by the CBI on the charges of corruption and other crimes and the allegation that he was in the know of his son’s activities.

In the event of the government yielding to political pressure and deciding to remove Buta Singh, what is the procedure it would have to follow? The President has the power to remove from office the chairperson of NCSC for abusing his position to the detriment of the interests of the SCs.

“The President may by order remove from office the chairperson if the chairperson is, in the opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body or has so abused the position of chairman as to render that person's continuance in office detrimental to the interest of the SCs.”

This provision is contained in Clause 9(2)(c)(iv) of the annexure IV of the service and tenure rules of the commission notified by the Social Justice and Empowerment ministry on February 20, 2004.

However, the chairperson “shall not be removed under this clause until he has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter.” According to Clause 9(2)(a), the chairperson shall only be removed from his office by order of the President on the ground of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court, on reference being made to it by the President, has on inquiry held in accordance with the procedure prescribed by it under sub-clause(i) of clause (1) of Article 145 of the Constitution.

Sub-clause (b) states that the President may suspend from office the chairperson in respect of whom a reference has been made to the SC under this sub-rule until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the SC on such reference.

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Strike paralyses life in Manipur
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, August 3
A 48-hour general strike called by Apunba Lup, a banner organisation of 30 different civil society bodies, in protest against ‘fake encounter killing’ of a youth and a pregnant women by Manipur police on July 23, paralysed normal life in Manipur, particularly in Imphal. The situation in the state has remained tense after agitating people took to the streets yesterday.

The killing of the youth had almost passed off as just another encounters death in the troubled state, when a New Delhi-based weekly carried a series of photographs, apparently showing the sequence of the ‘encounter’ stoking the fire of protest in the state. One of the photographs reportedly showed some police commandos taking a person into a pharmacy in Imphal, while another allegedly showed them bringing his blood-soaked lifeless body out.

The slain youth was identified as Chungkham Sanjit, a former member of the outlawed militant group People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The pregnant woman who was also killed in the ‘encounter’ was identified as one Rabina Devi (23).

The police initially claimed that Sanjit was killed in an ‘encounter’ after he opened indiscriminate fire in the Khwairamband bazar area of Imphal. Meanwhile, a statement made by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in the Assembly last week informed that a pregnant woman was also killed in the shootout.

In the view of the growing protest, the state government also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. However, the Apunba Lup and opposition political parties like the Manipur Peoples Party (MPP), BJP and NCP, have demanded judicial inquiry into it.

Manipur DGP Yumnam Joykumar Singh claimed that the situation was peaceful and under control.

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Explosives recovered in Assam

Guwahati: The Army today recovered a huge quantity of explosives from a remote location in insurgency-affected Karbi Anglong hill district of Assam even as Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), tribe militant group, has threatened to target Hindi-speaking population in case the government did not respond to its talks offer within two months.

An Army spokesman informed that 14 kg of ammonium nitrate, 5 kg of gelatin, 50 electric detonators and 60 metres of safety fuse, hidden in a gunny bag underneath a culvert by suspected militants, were recovered at Amtrang under Boithalangshu police station of Karbi Anglong hill district.

He informed that no arrest had been made so far in the case. The Army has intensified counter-insurgency operations in the troubled hill district apprehending strikes by militants in the run up to Independence Day celebrations. The KLNLF is the most active militant group in the district and operates in collusion with the banned ULFA. The government has put 17 pre-conditions for talks with the outfit, which expressed its desire for dialogue in January. The outfit, however, has rejected five of the 17 pre-conditions put forward by Assam government for peace talks and set a deadline of two months to start the negotiation. — TNS

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AP orders probe into cop’s death
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 3
Andhra Pradesh government today ordered a high-level inquiry into the mysterious death of a police constable P Muralinath who was forced to work as an “orderly” at the Noida residence of an IPS officer of AP cadre.

The constable’s half-naked body was found near a railway track at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh on July 29 but his family members here were informed much later.

Muralinath was sent to work at the residence of Vivek Dube, additional Director General, “Octopus”, an anti-terrorism wing of the state police.

According to Murali’s wife Kavita, a teacher in a private school here, his body was buried at Gwalior in a hurried manner.

The constable was sent to Noida on July 20 to do household chores at Dube’s residence where the latter’s family is based. “He was asked to work as a driver for Dube’s family. A couple of days before his death, he called me saying that he was being harassed mentally and physically by the officer’s family members. Later, I did not hear about him. We don’t know how and why he went to Gwalior,” Kavita said.

Kavitha and her relatives met AP State Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice Subhashan Reddy and lodged a complaint with him.

Taking a serious note of the incident, the Commission ordered that the government bear all the expenses for exhuming Murali’s body and bring it to Hyderabad for funeral. Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who held a meeting with top police officials on the issue, constituted a three-member committee, headed by ADGP AK Khan, to probe the issue.

As per the normal practice, constables are deputed to work in the houses of senior police officials but within the borders of the state where the officer functions. But, in this case, more than five constables are said to be working in the service of Dube's family for several years.

While one constable from Amberpet Armed Reserve Police is on driver’s duty for the family, another constable from the first battalion of the AP Special Police is on duty to wash clothes, ironing and cleaning the house. A third constable from ITBP is the official chef to cook north Indian dishes at Dube’s Delhi residence. Besides, two other constables are engaged in gardening and driving the official car at his Hyderabad office.

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UP Assembly adjourned twice over drought issue
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 3
The Vidhan Sabha was adjourned twice and the Opposition occupied the well for the better part of the day demanding the entire state to be declared drought-hit.

As soon as the House met this morning, Samajwadi Party leader Ambika Chadhury demanded a debate on drought situation in the state.

When Speaker Sukhdev Rajbhar assured to take up the issue under appropriate rules, Congress, BJP and RLD members started raising slogans alleging that the government was anti-farmers. SP members entered the well of the House forcing it to be adjourned twice.

During Zero Hour, Leader of Opposition Shivpal Yadav once again demanded a discussion under Rule 311. While considering the admissibility of the suspension of rule motion, the Speaker allowed every party to present its view.

Shivpal demanded waiver of farmers’ loans, free seeds and other inputs for the next agrarian cycle. He also demanded that the government should not charge fees from children of drought-hit farmers.

Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Kaokab Hamid and SP’s Ambika Chadhury charged the state government of political vendetta for leaving out 13 districts from the list of districts declared drought-hit.

BJP senior leaders Hukum Singh and Om Prakash Singh challenged the chief secretary’s assurance that community kitchens were being run in drought-hit districts. They asked the government to furnish a list where these kitchens were being run so that opposition leaders could verify the government claim.

According to Congress leader Pramod Tiwari, the government was insensitive to the drought situation.

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Session brings to fore affiliations of SP MLAs
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 3
The first Vidhan Sabha session after the Lok Sabha elections made political affiliations of several floating Samajwadi Party MLAs clear.

Controversial SP MLA from Rampur Mohd Azam Khan was spotted sitting with Congress members.

He has been suspended from the Samajwadi Party for six years for anti-party activities. He had severely criticised Mulayam Singh Yadav’s proximity with former BJP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh and opposed Amar Singh protégé Jaya Prada’s candidature from his home district of Rampur.

Another MLA elected on Samajwadi Party ticket from Mohammadabad in Ghazipur district, Sibtaqullah Ansari, appears to be a misfit in his parent party. He preferred occupying treasury benches.

Two of his younger brothers have formally switched over to the ruling party. Jailed don-turned-MLA Mukhtar Ansari and Afzal Ansari had joined the BSP before the LS elections.

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Mulayam seeks Deora’s ouster
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Dissatisfied over the Centre’s response to the issue involving gas allocation to Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today accused Petroleum Minister Murli Deora of “corruption”, saying the Minister allegedly granted favours worth Rs 15,000 crore to one person involved in the gas feud between the Ambani brothers.

Mulayam alleged that the UPA was preventing flow of gas to Dadri project, being run by Anil Ambani-led Reliance Natural Resources, the company trapped in a legal battle with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industry.

Soon after the House reassembled at 2 pm post two adjournments, the SP supremo sought the resignation of Deora, saying the Minister’s continuation in office would bring a bad name to the Congress. It was only when Congress MPs, including Deora, took objections to Mulayams allegations that Deputy Speaker Karia Munda, then in chair, ordered that corruption remarks against the minister be expunged.

Muzzled by the chair, Mulayam eventually led SP to a walkout on the matter, maintaining that Deora’s statement did not address the heart of the matter. He, however, made sure to state in the Lok Sabha that he had nothing to do with the private dispute of companies or individuals, and with the two brothers.

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Help on way for Egyptian mummy
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 3
A young Egyptian girl from the remote past resting at a state museum here.

Nasihu, the daughter of the Sixth Pharaoh of Egypt, is one of the six Egyptian Mummies preserved at different museums in India.

More than 2,500 years after her death, the mummified visitor from far-away lands faces the risk of slipping into history, forever, in the absence of specialised conservation. With ravages of time taking a heavy toll on the mummy, the Andhra Pradesh government has sought the help of Egyptian experts for conservation. The mummy is on display at the AP State Archaeological Museum here since 1930 but is now decaying.

Following the state government’s request, a two-member team from the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), Egypt, will visit the city soon and take up conservation work. Tarek El Awdy, head of the research department at the SCA, and Sama Mohamed El Marghani, director-general of Treatment of Biological Damage at SCA, will first make an assessment of the work needed to be done for preservation of Nasihu’s embalmed body.

The SCA is part of the Egyptian ministry of culture and responsible for the conservation, protection and regulation of all antiquities and archaeological excavations in Egypt. Tarek El Awdy is also the general supervisor of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

The linen bandage of the mummy would be replaced along with the existing material stuffed inside the mummy with scientifically treated cotton foam material, Director of Archaeology and Museums P Chenna Reddy said. At present, the crust of the embalmed body, lying in an airtight enclosure, is fragmenting at the face, shoulders and around feet and the wrapping has started to peel off.

The mummy was brought by Nazeer Nawaz Jung, son-in-law of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, the VIth Nizam ruler of the erstwhile Hyderabad in 1920s and later gifted to the VIIth Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan. He had in turn donated it to the Hyderabad Museum which was opened in 1930 and since then the Mummy has been on put on display.

The Department of Archaeology and Museum had earlier sought expert help from the British Museum to restore the mummy but the latter had turned down the request saying it cannot spare its conservators for the job.

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Now, all eyes on Gayatri Devi’s will
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, August 3
The demise of Rajmata Gayatri Devi has fuelled the speculations as to who will inherit her property, estimated at a whopping Rs 1,100 crore. Though nobody knows for sure whether Gayatri Devi has left behind a will, but if she has left one, it is likely to be revealed after the 12-day mourning period keeping with family tradition.

In the absence of Gayatri Devi’s will, her legal heirs -- grandson Devraj Singh and granddaughter Lalitya Kumari, children of her only son Jagat Singh who died in 1997 -- will inherit her property. Sources said the duo is most likely to inherit not only her wealth but also that of their late father Jagat Singh.

The property of Gayatri Devi includes Lily Pool, a bungalow complete with pools and lily gardens, Takhteshahi Palace at the majestic Moti Dungri Fort, Jai Mahal Palace, Ram Bagh Palace, properties at Isarda village, a bungalow in England and Maharani Gayatri Devi School to name a few.

The will of Gayatri Devi holds great significance, particularly in view of a huge royal property dispute that had broken out in 2006. At that time the purported will of Jagat Singh, the only son of Gayatri Devi, had barred his two children from inheriting his property. Jagat Singh, who had married a Thai princess and later parted ways with her, reportedly refused inheritance to his son Devraj and daughter Lalitya in his purported will while leaving all of his property to his mother, Gayatri Devi. Jagat Singh died in 1997. His children had then challenged his will in a Jaipur court.

Jagat Singh’s purported will came to the fore after Devraj and Lalitya moved the Company Law Board against Jagat’s stepbrother Prithviraj Singh and his son, alleging that the duo had fraudulently reduced their father’s stake in Hotel Jai Mahal from 99 per cent to a meagre 7 per cent. The matter is still pending with the Board.

Meanwhile, sources said the dispute over Jagat Singh’s will had been peacefully sorted out between the Rajmata and her grandchildren prior to her death, making Devraj and Lalitya the legal heirs to estates and properties of Gayatri Devi.

As per records, Gayatri Devi’s husband late Maharaja Sawai Man Singh-II had equally divided his assets among his four sons in 1959. Bhawani Singh inherited the Raj Mahal and went on to become the Maharaja of Jaipur before the abolition of Privy Purse in 1971. He also inherited his father’s share of property under the Hindu Succession Act. This included Moti Dungri, Jaigarh Fort, Ashok Club and Mount Abu Palace.

Jai Singh inherited properties in Tonk district apart from a bungalow in Civil Lines, while Prithviraj Singh got property and land at Bhagwatgarh in Sawai Madhopur district. Gayatri Devi’s son Jagat Singh got the royal family’s properties at Isarda village. She inherited the same following his death in 1997.

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Sohrabuddin case: Be ready for SIT probe, Gujarat told
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 3
The Supreme Court today said it was inclined to order a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the November 26, 2005 fake encounter near Ahmedabad in which Sohrabuddin Sheikh, an alleged gangster, was shot dead.

A special Bench, headed by Justice Tarun Chatterjee, also asked the Gujarat government to pay compensation to the victim's brother Rubabbuddin Sheikh, who was reportedly suffering from terminal stage of cancer.

Senior Counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Gujarat, said he would consult the state government and inform the court the amount of compensation that could be paid. He, however, maintained that there was no need for SIT probe as the accused policemen had already been charged with murder under Section 302 of IPC.

“You can take it that it is going to the SIT” headed by former CBI Director RK Raghavan, which was already probing the 2002 post-Godhra riots and monitoring the trial in these cases, Justice Aftab Alam, the other Judge on the Bench, remarked. There were loose ends in the investigations conducted in the fake encounter case, the Bench felt.

Posting the next hearing in the case, filed by Rubabbuddin, for August 11, the Bench made it amply clear that its acceptance of the state's proposal on the compensation would depend on the amount.

Senior counsel Dushyant Dave said Sohrabuddin's wife, Kausarbi, had also been killed, but no case had been registered so far. Initially, Rohtagi suggested that the trial court could decide the compensation amount while pronouncing its verdict. 

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Lt Gen Kumar is head of Army Hospital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Lieutenant General Naresh Kumar has taken over as the new Commandant of the prestigious Army Hospital (Research and Referral), Delhi. A medical specialist of national and international repute, Kumar has had an illustrious career in Army Medical Corps.

The General has been a recipient of the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal for his outstanding and meritorious service. He succeeds Gen O P Mathew who has retired.

Lt Gen Naresh Kumar has served in the Sultanate of Oman and commanded the Armed Forces Clinic, New Delhi, and Command Hospital (Northern Command).

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Shivani murder case
HC grants interim bail to Sharma

New Delhi, August 3
The Delhi high court today granted interim bail for two months to senior IPS officer R K Sharma, who was awarded life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar, to enable him to fulfill domestic obligations.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked Sharma to furnish a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and a surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court for release on interim bail, which he sought to re-establish family links and visit his daughter who has recently given birth to a child.

Sharma had actually sought regular bail saying he has been in jail for the past seven years and needs to visit family members and relatives for re-establishing the links.

In March last year, Sharma, former Haryana DIG, and three other convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting the murder of Shivani, who was a journalist with "Indian Express" newspaper, in her east Delhi apartment on January 23, 1999.

Besides Sharma, those sentenced to life imprisonment are hired killer Pradeep Sharma, Sri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash.

According to the prosecution, Sharma, in his capacity as OSD at the PMO between July 1997, and April 1998, had leaked classified documents to the deceased journalist. It said the duo later developed an intimate relationship. — PTI

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No bailout package for airlines
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
A day after private airlines called off their planned strike, the government today ruled out any financial package for them but promised to do whatever is possible to address reasonable grievances of the industry.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel clearly specified that “there cannot be any financial bailout for any of the private airlines,” adding that “any issue, which is reasonable and fair, the government will try to do whatever best is possible”.

Responding to questions on private carriers calling off their August 18 strike against high taxes on jet fuel and airport charges yesterday night, the minister said the government understood the difficulties faced by the airline industry and would try to help the sector, which was important for the economic development of the country.

He, however, was clear that the decision to suspend flight operations, thereby causing inconvenience to passengers, was “not acceptable”.

Maintaining that Air India was also not getting a bailout package, Patel said: “The government is the owner and we have to do whatever is necessary. But to say that even Air India is getting money from the government exchequer, will not be correct”.

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BRIEFLY

IAF developing network-centric warfare capability
Bangalore:
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal PV Naik today said the Indian Air Force was gearing up to attain network-centric warfare (NCW) capability to enable it to fulfill all future operational requirements. Pioneered by the US department of defence, NCW relies on computer processing power and networking communications technology to provide shared information of the battle space among armed forces. — TNS

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