SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

THE Telangana Tangle
Congress MPs call off fast as govt withdraws cases against students

Hyderabad, December 28
The ruling Congress TRS chief K Chandra Sekhar Rao with Congress MPs in Hyderabad MPs from Telangana called off their indefinite fast today after the government conceded their demand for withdrawal of all police cases filed against students during the recent agitation.

TRS chief K Chandra Sekhar Rao with Congress MPs in Hyderabad on Tuesday. — PTI

Report to offer many options on statehood
New Delhi, December 28
The five-member Justice BN Srikrishna committee on Telangana statehood issue today said it will give “several options with their pros and cons” in its report. The committee members today said it is unbiased and absolutely professional report and a lot of research has gone into it.

Srikrishna panel may take ‘middle path’
Hyderabad, December 28
After letting the genie out of the bottle, the UPA Government is now struggling to put it back.

Naxalism biggest threat: Pranab 
New Delhi, December 28
Calling naxalism the "biggest threat" to peace and security in the country, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said he is concerned about it's spread to economically backward areas and asked the CRPF to handle the situation with sensitivity.




EARLIER STORIES

Now, Cong MPs on indefinite fast
December 28, 2010
6 years later, life goes on for tsunami victims
December 27, 2010
Gujjars block another rail route
December 26, 2010
PM queries Pawar on onion prices
December 25, 2010
CBI grills RSS’ Indresh Kumar
December 24, 2010
Gas leak at Dr Reddy’s lab kills 2
December 23, 2010
Gujjars block road, rail traffic
December 22, 2010
CBI summons a routine affair, says Karunanidhi
December 21, 2010
Raja Bhaiya ‘fires’ at BSP leader, held
December 20, 2010
Medvedev keen on meeting Bollywood actors during visit
December 19, 2010
Prez issues show-cause notice to AMU V-C
December 18, 2010
No strain in ties with Cong: DMK
December 17, 2010
Chandigarh among 2 UTs, 4 states serious about RTE
December 16, 2010
BJP dares UPA to hold mid-term poll
December 15, 2010

A soldier records a rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in Kolkata
SAVOURING VALOUR: A soldier records a rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in Kolkata on Tuesday. — AFP 

Gujjar agitators pitch tents in the middle of National Highway No. 8 during their protest near Ajmer
DAY 9: Gujjar agitators pitch tents in the middle of National Highway No. 8 during their protest near Ajmer on Tuesday. — PTI

BJP at its tether’s end over Joshi 
Murli Manohar Joshi Party leaders start calling the PAC chief their Somnath Chatterjee!
New Delhi, December 28
The BJP is at its tether’s end over its former president Murli Manohar Joshi heading the PAC, meticulously puncturing the party’s campaign for JPC. As PAC chairman, Joshi demolished yesterday the BJP argument for JPC by declaring first that the PAC was fully empowered to probe far beyond the CAG report and mere numerical figures. 

Murli Manohar Joshi

Adarsh Housing Society scam
Govt tells 2 bureaucrats to quit 
Mumbai, December 28
Beginning its crackdown on bureaucrats who benefited from the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the Maharashtra Government has sought the resignations of Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari and state Human Rights Commission member Subhash Lala.

More time for replying to show-cause notice
New Delhi, December 28
Accepting a request from the Adarsh Housing Society, the Environment Ministry today extended, till January 4, the last date for filing response to a show-cause notice served on it and made it clear that it would be the last chance.

Pesky calls: No relief till Feb 1
New Delhi, December 28
Mobile subscribers will now have to wait for some more time to get relief from unsolicited calls and messages, as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has postponed the January deadline to bring an end to such marketing to February 1.

DRDO’s eye in the sky ready 
New Delhi, December 28
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today said its indigenously designed and developed aerostat system, capable of picking up communication signals for surveillance, was ready. The aerostat is like a balloon that carries intercepting equipment. The trial concluded last week. It included surveillance all over Agra and interception of variety of communications. 

Aerostat: The game-changer
An aerostat surveillance system unveiled by DRDO in Agra.
NEW LEAP: An aerostat surveillance system unveiled by DRDO in Agra. Tribune photo

Govt releases 50 lakh tonne of wheat, rice 
New Delhi, December 28
To combat rising food inflation, the government today decided to release 50 lakh tonnes additional wheat and rice stocks to states for poor families. Allotment of food grain will also serve a complementary function of freeing godowns for new crops.

Bureaucrat sparks row as PC visits Maoist bastion
Nagpur, December 28
As Union Home Minister P Chidambaram reviewed security operations in Maoist stronghold of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra, a state bureaucrat courted controversy alleging that such "high profile" visits would not yield any "results" or solve Naxal problem.

PC: Naxals have fortified position 
Nagpur, December 28
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today visited the Maoist stronghold of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra after which he said the Naxals of late have strengthened their position that led to rise in incidents of violence.

Violence mars Sena-BJP bandh in Pune
Mumbai, December 28
More than 50 persons were injured and a dozen transport buses were set on fire during the Pune bandh sponsored by the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today. The bandh was called after the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine which controls the Pune Municipal Corporation removed the statue of Shivaji's teacher Dadoji Konddev from Lal Mahal, the palace of the Maratha chieftain.

HC order to seal Sanjay Dutt’s property
Mumbai, December 28
The Bombay High Court passed an order today to seal actor Sanjay Dutt's property in Mumbai after producer Shakeel Noorani dragged the actor to court over losses incurred due to the actor abandoning his film “Jaan Ki Baazi” midway. Noorani, who first launched “Jaan Ki Baazi” in 2002 with Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra, has claimed that he received Rs 2 crore from Dutt, which includes Rs 50 lakh paid to him as a signing amount.

Govt mulls new norms for land acquisition 
Mangalore, December 28
Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily today said the Centre would introduce a new law to set guidelines on acquisition of farmland for industrial and other commercial purposes and ensure that lands are purchased at prevailing market value.





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THE Telangana Tangle
Congress MPs call off fast as govt withdraws cases against students
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, December 28
The ruling Congress MPs from Telangana called off their indefinite fast today after the government conceded their demand for withdrawal of all police cases filed against students during the recent agitation.

Amidst high drama and hectic consultations, the government finally made a climb-down and decided to withdraw all the 1,667 cases booked against over 8,000 protesters at the height of agitation for and against formation of separate Telangana state.

Eleven Congress MPs, led by CWC member K Kesava Rao, began their fast yesterday demanding “unconditional withdrawal” of all cases against pro-Telangana activists. The political circles saw it as an orchestrated move aimed at taking the wind out of the sails of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) which has been in the forefront of the statehood movement and cornering the limelight.

The hunger strike came in the midst of anxiety over political fallout of the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee’s report of Telangana, to be submitted on December 31. The Telangana protagonists within the ruling party are desperate to be seen as champions of the statehood cause .

As the fast by his own party leaders caused embarrassment to the government, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy held a series of consultations with ministers from Telangana region and police top brass on the issue of dropping cases against protesters.

“Keeping in view the future and careers of the students, the government has decided to drop all the cases,” Home Minister P Sabita Reddy said.

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Report to offer many options on statehood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 28
The five-member Justice BN Srikrishna committee on Telangana statehood issue today said it will give “several options with their pros and cons” in its report. The committee members today said it is unbiased and absolutely professional report and a lot of research has gone into it.

Addressing a press conference, the committee chairman and former Supreme Court Judge Justice Srikrishna hoped that the report will be submitted to Home Minister P Chidambaram before the deadline of the commission ends on December 31. It aims to provide a permanent solution to the contentious issue of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

All four members — ex-Home Secretary VK Duggal, Ravinder Kaur and Ranbir Singh — met the media at the Andhra Bhawan here today. While each member of the commission spoke separately, Duggal said the report dealt with all the aspects of statehood, including the agitations of the late 1960s, 1970s and the one of 2009. The report consists of two volumes -- the report and appendices.

Commission members felt that they had done full justice to the Telangana issue but were not so sure whether the government was willing to implement their recommendations in toto. 

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Srikrishna panel may take ‘middle path’
Suresh Dharur/TNS

Hyderabad, December 28
After letting the genie out of the bottle, the UPA Government is now struggling to put it back.

The turmoil over Telangana statehood issue continues to dominate Andhra Pradesh politics. It may well turn out to be the game-changer as political circles anxiously await the report of the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee.

AP has been in a state of perpetual agitation ever since the dramatic midnight announcement made by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on December 9 last year about initiation of the process for formation of the new state. The announcement, apparently prompted by deteriorating health of the fasting Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K Chandrasekhar Rao and fears over Maoists taking control of the violent Telangana agitation, had triggered a constitutional crisis with en masse resignations by legislators across the political spectrum in the other two regions-Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra.

It turned out to be a cure worse than the disease as the state witnessed bitter regional divide with resignations by elected representatives in a competitive display of regional loyalty, frequent agitations and bouts of student violence created unrest and dented its investor-friendly image.

For the first time, all major parties found themselves vertically divided on regional lines with leaders from Telangana region, irrespective of their party affiliation, rooting for division of the state. The 294-member Assembly has 123 MLAs from coastal Andhra, 119 from Telangana and 52 from Rayalaseema.

The five-member Srikrishna Committee, set up after a series of flip-flops, is expected to offer a “range of optimal solutions” to the problem instead of any firm verdict either way. The panel, which has extensively toured the state, interacted with several groups and received nearly 2 lakh petitions, is likely confine itself to presenting the factual position and a set of options to the Centre, which will take the final call.

One of the possible solutions doing the rounds is granting autonomy to Telangana region, comprising nine districts and Hyderabad, without bifurcating the state. The idea behind this formula is to give the people’s representatives from the region a complete control over the resources. The autonomous regional council can be formed to manage the affairs of the region.

Hyderabad, the bustling the IT-savvy city which has been a major bone of contention between Telangana protagonists and integrationists, can be retained as the joint capital. The city has, over decades, attracted a large number of people from the other two regions who are strongly opposed to the division of the state. In fact, they advocate Union Territory status for the city if the division becomes inevitable.

No one is in doubt about overwhelming statehood sentiment in Telangana. It was reflected in the July by-elections to 10 Assembly seats in which TRS made a clean sweep. But what sets Telangana apart from the other regions demanding statehood is that it was a separate state in the past, ruled by the Nizams, but was merged with rest of the Telugu-speaking regions in 1956 to form Andhra. 

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Naxalism biggest threat: Pranab 

New Delhi, December 28
Calling naxalism the "biggest threat" to peace and security in the country, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said he is concerned about it's spread to economically backward areas and asked the CRPF to handle the situation with sensitivity.

"I am particularly concerned over the spread of Left-wing extremism in some of the more backward areas of the economy. In part, it is a reflection of our failure in meeting the expectations of the local people," Mukherjee said while officiating as the chief guest at the 71st Raising Day celebrations of CRPF in the national capital.

The government has deployed almost 60,000 personnel (sixty battalions) of the CRPF to undertake anti-naxal operations in various states affected by Maoist activities.

"Maoist threat is one of the biggest threat to peace and security...it is easy to misguide people who have been denied their legitimate demands or deprived of their rights and where the state has not shown adequate sensitivity in sharing and mitigating the local concerns.

"However, implementation of any corrective public measures requires a certain degree of normalcy to prevail in the affected areas," Mukherjee said. "It is vital to dovetail the developmental efforts of the state in these areas with your operational strategy and practice. While we should be firm, decisive and unrelenting in dealing with the armed component of the extremism, a great degree of sensitivity, patience and maturity will have to be exhibited in dealing with the general population in the affected areas," he said after reviewing the parade of the world's largest paramilitary force which has a strength of three lakh personnel. "I urge you (security forces like CRPF) to handle the situation with sensitivity and a firm resolve with a view to bring back the disgruntled elements of the society into the mainstream of developmental process," he said.

"Today the peace and security of the country is being challenged by threats emanating from cross-border terrorism, insurgency in north eastern areas and the emergence of Left-wing extremism in certain parts of the country. These have direct implications not only for the development and prosperity of the affected regions but also affect the overall well being of our society.

Mukherjee said the writ of the constitution should be implemented across the country. "We as the custodians of the Constitution of India have a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to ensure that the writ of the Constitution runs throughout the length and breadth of the country with no exceptions. It is our solemn duty to confront all forces which stand in the way of implementing it's provisions. Herein lies the biggest challenge before you (security forces)," he said. — PTI

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BJP at its tether’s end over Joshi 
Party leaders start calling the PAC chief their Somnath Chatterjee!
Faraz Ahmad/TNS

New Delhi, December 28
The BJP is at its tether’s end over its former president Murli Manohar Joshi heading the PAC, meticulously puncturing the party’s campaign for JPC.

As PAC chairman, Joshi demolished yesterday the BJP argument for JPC by declaring first that the PAC was fully empowered to probe far beyond the CAG report and mere numerical figures. He had also shown that the BJP claim of a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer in the 2G licensing was contentious since the CAG himself admitted that the figure varied from Rs 57,000 crore to 1.76 lakh crore, depending how one calculated it. And third he refused to reject outright Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer to appear before the PAC to clarify his position.

Privately, BJP leaders have started calling Joshi the Somnath Chatterjee of their party.

Former Speaker Somnath Chattterjee put the duties to his office above party loyalty, paying for that with an expulsion from the CPM, after a lifetime of association. But Joshi being a veteran and enjoying the backing of RSS cannot be treated by the BJP the way CPM summarily dismissed Somnath.

Yet BJP leaders say that Joshi has earned their displeasure by virtually defying the party line. Naturally, it got the goat of BJP leaders who reacted immediately disputing Joshi’s contention. The first to react was Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj who tweeted on her twitter today saying, "Scope of the PAC is totally different from that of the JPC. While the PAC deals with accounts, the JPC deals with accountability and governance."

She dismissed the Prime Minister’s offer saying, "Under the Lok Sabha Rules, PAC cannot call a Minister, much less the Prime Minister. (The) Prime Minister's offer therefore, has no meaning."

Party spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy was more categorical. He said, “The Prime Minister has volunteered to break the precedent. We don’t want the Prime Minister to break the precedent. We are not interested in that.”

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, a member of the PAC, refused to comment on the matter saying "My lips are sealed. I will not comment. The party stand is clear," he said.

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Adarsh Housing Society scam
Govt tells 2 bureaucrats to quit 
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, December 28
Beginning its crackdown on bureaucrats who benefited from the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the Maharashtra Government has sought the resignations of Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari and state Human Rights Commission member Subhash Lala.

During his tenure as Urban Development Secretary, Tiwari was among those who cleared the Adarsh project. His son Omkar has a flat in the society. Lalla was secretary to the Chief Minister and his mother Susheela Shaligram and daughter Suneela Sethi own flats in the society.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has asked both the bureaucrats to resign from their posts. "The government has asked the two bureaucrats to put in their papers," Chief Secretary JP Dange told reporters at Mantralaya here. Sources said that action may be taken against the duo if they do not quit their posts.

The decision to crack down on the two high profile bureaucrats has created a flutter in the state’s powerful IAS lobby. In all, 21 officers have been asked to explain their dealings with Adarsh Society. Many of them own houses in the society in their own or in their relatives' names or had applied for membership. Among those under the scanner are former Municipal Commissioner JM Phatak, former Mumbai Collectors Pradeep Vyas, Idzes Z Kundan, former Chief Secretary DK Sankaran and his wife Joyce Sankaran, former BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade and former Transport Secretary CS Sangitrao.

All of them allegedly facilitated conversion of the society from a six-storey building for Kargil War veterans to a tower housing powerful politicians and bureaucrats. 

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More time for replying to show-cause notice
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 28
Accepting a request from the Adarsh Housing Society, the Environment Ministry today extended, till January 4, the last date for filing response to a show-cause notice served on it and made it clear that it would be the last chance.

The controversial Mumbai society, accused of violating green laws in the construction of the 31-storey building, had requested the ministry yesterday to postpone the hearing scheduled for December 29, citing the inordinate flight delays caused because of the “unprecedented weather conditions” and also due to non-availability of the counsels appearing on its behalf.

“As regards the request on postponement of hearing, the matter has been examined in the ministry for providing natural justice and it has been decided to accept your request and postpone the hearing for January 4, 2011, at 12 noon,” the ministry said in its order.

This would be the final hearing on the notice served by the ministry to the society asking why its building at Colaba should not be demolished for allegedly violating green laws.

“This is the last and final opportunity given to you for hearing and no further request shall be entertained for any further postponement or extension of time and the ministry shall issue the final orders on the show-cause notice based on the facts and the documents available on record,” the ministry said.

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Pesky calls: No relief till Feb 1

New Delhi, December 28
Mobile subscribers will now have to wait for some more time to get relief from unsolicited calls and messages, as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has postponed the January deadline to bring an end to such marketing to February 1.

The date has been advanced due to security-related issues.

“Telemarketers Registration shall commence from January 15, 2011 and other provisions shall come into force from February 1, 2011," TRAI said. The regulator added that with regard to security audit of the website and other processes involved, it is necessary to re-determine the dates for implementation of the aforesaid regulations.

On December 1, TRAI had come out with guidelines on unsolicited telemarketing calls and messages - to be implemented from January 1, 2011. The guidelines mandated a hefty penalty of up to Rs 2.50 lakh for violation of telemarketing guidelines, which could be followed by blocking repeat offenders' connections. A different set of numbers starting with '70' will be issued to telemarketers to help unregistered subscribers identify commercial calls and decide whether to accept or reject such calls.

The subscriber can now choose to be listed under the "fully blocked" category -- which is akin to the 'Do Not Call' Registry -- or the "partially blocked" category, in that case he/she will only receive SMSes in the categories chosen by him/her. — PTI

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DRDO’s eye in the sky ready 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 28
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today said its indigenously designed and developed aerostat system, capable of picking up communication signals for surveillance, was ready.

The aerostat is like a balloon that carries intercepting equipment. The trial concluded last week. It included surveillance all over Agra and interception of variety of communications. The balloon was stationed one km in the air and it intercepted a variety of communications, said the DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta. The system has been designed, developed and integrated by the Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra, a laboratory under the DRDO.

The aerostat offers a 360-degree movement and visual freedom. It carries a thermal camera for surveillance during night and in low-visibility conditions. The electronic intelligence payload carries a communication system for capturing and analysing all types of signals in air.

Health monitoring of aerostat and simultaneous command and controlling of payload from ground control station has been demonstrated. The system will be useful for three services, paramilitary forces as well as have civilian applications, including disaster management. This milestone comes in the wake of new generation high altitude aerostats/airships that will be developed by the DRDO.

The ADRDE has developed and supplied various types of parachutes for wide range of applications viz. paradropping men, weapons, combat vehicles, stores etc, braking of fighter aircraft and recovery of payloads pertaining to missiles, UAV and space missions.

Over the last few years, ADRDE has diversified in the field of lighter than Air (LTA) technologies and developed small and medium size aerostats.

What is it?

The aerostat is like a balloon that carries intercepting equipment. The electronic payload carries a system for capturing and analysing all types of communications in air.

Why is it better?

It offers a 360-degree movement and visual freedom. A thermal camera for surveillance during night and in low-visibility conditions adds to the advantages.

Who’ll benefit?

The system would be useful for three services, paramilitary forces as well as have civilian applications including disaster management.

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Govt releases 50 lakh tonne of wheat, rice 

New Delhi, December 28
To combat rising food inflation, the government today decided to release 50 lakh tonnes additional wheat and rice stocks to states for poor families. Allotment of food grain will also serve a complementary function of freeing godowns for new crops.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, met on Tuesday to review the prices of daily essential commodities and decided to extend the ban on pulses exports and allow duty-free imports of pulses till March 2012. The meeting was held in the backdrop of high prices of vegetables, especially onion, tomato and garlic. Food inflation rose to double digit 12.13 per cent for the week ended December 11 from 9.46 per cent of the previous week. According to annual inflation data, rice prices increased by 1.4 per cent, while wheat declined by 5.14 per cent. — TNS

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Bureaucrat sparks row as PC visits Maoist bastion

Nagpur, December 28
As Union Home Minister P Chidambaram reviewed security operations in Maoist stronghold of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra, a state bureaucrat courted controversy alleging that such "high profile" visits would not yield any "results" or solve Naxal problem.

Gadchiroli's Additional District Collector Rajendra Kanpadhe also flayed the Centre's anti-naxal strategies and said the state police should decide whether or not paramilitary forces are required to deal with Maoist menace. "Such high-profile visits will not yield any results or solve the naxal problem. If you hold a meeting in air-conditioned room and visit the naxal-affected areas in choppers, how do you know the ground realities," he told reporters in Gadchiroli, about 200 km from here.

Kanpadhe, who is the deputy collector, is also holding charge of additional collector. He is from Maharashtra Administrative Service.

Chidambaram, who is the first Union Home Minister to visit Gadchiroli, where Central paramilitary forces have been deployed to counter the naxal threat, flew in to review the anti-naxal operations in the district and to assess the preparedness of security forces deployed there.

The 57-year-old Kanpadhe, who is known in official circles for his stinging criticism of anti-naxal strategies and anti-government stance, said, "Paramilitary forces should immediately be removed and if necessary they should be called only after local police requires their help. — PTI

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PC: Naxals have fortified position 

Nagpur, December 28
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today visited the Maoist stronghold of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra after which he said the Naxals of late have strengthened their position that led to rise in incidents of violence.

As Chidambaram, who became the first Union Home Minister to visit the Maoist-infested district, reviewed the anti-Naxal operations, a state bureaucrat courted controversy alleging that such “high profile” visits would not yield any “results” or solve Naxal problem.

Gadchiroli's Additional District Collector Rajendra Kanpadhe also flayed the Centre's anti-Naxal strategies and said the state police should decide whether or not paramilitary forces were required to deal with the Maoist menace. Gadchiroli is surrounded by the Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

After winding up a day-long tour of the district, Chidambaram told reporters here that the Naxals have enhanced their strength and were carrying out more violence, be it a blast or indiscriminate firing, at a place and date chosen by them.

He said the security forces needed to be alert all the time and careful in crossing roads and bridges while undertaking the anti-Naxal operations.

Chidambaram held a closed-door meeting with high-ranking officials in Gadchiroli to assess the preparedness of the security forces in tackling the Naxal menace. — PTI

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Violence mars Sena-BJP bandh in Pune
Shiv Kumar/TNS

Mumbai, December 28
More than 50 persons were injured and a dozen transport buses were set on fire during the Pune bandh sponsored by the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today. The bandh was called after the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine which controls the Pune Municipal Corporation removed the statue of Shivaji's teacher Dadoji Konddev from Lal Mahal, the palace of the Maratha chieftain.

Since early this morning, scores of protesters descended on the streets of Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and hill stations of Lonavla-Khandala and blocked roads and forcibly shut down shops. Buses were also set on fire. However, the police cracked down on protesters and a semblance of normalcy was restored by afternoon, said Joint Commissioner of Police.

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HC order to seal Sanjay Dutt’s property

Mumbai, December 28
The Bombay High Court passed an order today to seal actor Sanjay Dutt's property in Mumbai after producer Shakeel Noorani dragged the actor to court over losses incurred due to the actor abandoning his film “Jaan Ki Baazi” midway. Noorani, who first launched “Jaan Ki Baazi” in 2002 with Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra, has claimed that he received Rs 2 crore from Dutt, which includes Rs 50 lakh paid to him as a signing amount.

Noorani’s lawyer said, “The film is 50 per cent complete because Dutt failed to give dates for the rest of the shoot, costing the producer losses worth 1.5 crore.” He further said, “Unless Dutt pays up within 30 days, Noorani will have the right to auction the star's residence in Mumbai’s posh Pali Hill area and his office in Santa Cruz.” — ANI

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Govt mulls new norms for land acquisition 

Mangalore, December 28
Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily today said the Centre would introduce a new law to set guidelines on acquisition of farmland for industrial and other commercial purposes and ensure that lands are purchased at prevailing market value.

The draft law had been prepared and it would be placed before Parliament during the coming budget session, Moily told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

“We are attempting to bring about a change in the process of land acquisition for industry and other commercial purposes. Our concern is that the farmer should not be put into any kind of discomfort when such land is acquired,” he said. Moily said the Union Government would take a suitable decision on Telangana issue after the Sri Krishna Commission submits its report.— PTI

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BRIEFLY

Chennai police summons Lalit Modi in IPL case
CHENNAI:
The Chennai police on Tuesday summoned suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi and six others for questioning in the first week of January in connection with a case of alleged misappropriation of funds filed by BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan. Besides Modi, others summoned by the Central Crime Branch Police are Kunal Dasgupta, Venu Nair, Andrew Georgio, Seamus O’brien, Harish Krishnamachar and Ajay Verma, a senior police official said. Srinivasan had lodged a complaint against Modi charging him with misappropriation of Rs 470 crore, mainly in alloting media rights and free commercial rights. — PTI

CWG scam: Kalmadi aides quizzed
NEW DELHI:
The CBI on Tuesday questioned Commonwealth Games Organising Committee secretary general Lalit Bhanot and Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi’s political advisor Manoj Bhore in connection with three cases of corruption in Games’ projects. Sources said the CBI could arrest some more persons in the coming days. CBI sources said that both Kalmadi and Bhanot had been evasive to their queries and did not share many documents related with the deals that are being probed. — TNS

Binayak’s mother to move court
KOLKATA:
The ailing mother of Binayak Sen, sentenced to life on sedition charges by a Chhattisgarh court, said she would move the high court and, if needed, the Supreme Court, to undo the “injustice” meted out to her son. Anasua Sen (84) told reporters that she was also prepared to write to the President, the Prime Minister or the Congress president for the release of her doctor-activist son. Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh (Cong) also criticised the Chhattisgarh court’s punishing Dr Binayak Sen on the charges of sedition. — TNS

Buddhadeb replies to PC letter
Kolkata:
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today replied to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's letter, which had asked the state government to disarm the CPM cadres in the state.
“The letter has been sent to the Home Minister and the contents of the letter will be disclosed at the right time,”  Bhattacharjee said. When told that a channel has been running reports based on what it claims to be the contents of the letter, Bhattacharjee said, “I have seen the channel, but there is no truth in it.” Bhattacharjee had earlier taken a swipe at Chidambaram, saying that the union minister had written the letter only to please the Trinamool Congress.— PTI 

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