Adarsh Scam
CBI raids premises of Adarsh accused
n Searches in M'rashtra, Bihar
n Summons for questioning to be issued soon

A CBI team carries out searches at the Adarsh Housing Society complex in Mumbai on SundayMumbai, January 30

The CBI today conducted searches in Maharashtra and Bihar at the premises of four accused in the Adarsh housing scam, including a retired Army officer, a Congress leader and a former state government official, and will soon issue notices for summoning them for questioning.

A CBI team carries out searches at the Adarsh Housing Society complex in Mumbai on Sunday. — PTI

Fight against measles enters critical phase
Jharkand launches ‘catch-up’ campaign
India is ready to enter the most critical phase of its fight against measles, the respiratory disease whose prevalence is eroding the country’s hard-earned child health gains and pushing back the reduction of the infant mortality rate which is the fourth Millennium Development Goal.

Jantar Mantar
Fresh insight on Cabinet reshuffle
It has been over a week since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reshuffled his council of ministers, but it continues to be a subject of animated discussions in the corridors of power in Delhi. A fresh insight is now on offer.





Adarsh Scam
CBI raids premises of Adarsh accused
n Searches in M'rashtra, Bihar
n Summons for questioning to be issued soon

Mumbai, January 30
The CBI today conducted searches in Maharashtra and Bihar at the premises of four accused in the Adarsh housing scam, including a retired Army officer, a Congress leader and a former state government official, and will soon issue notices for summoning them for questioning.

The searches were conducted at the residences of the society's general secretary RC Thakur, retired Brigadier MM Wanchoo and Congress leader KL Gidwani and former Principal Secretary of the Urban Development Department, Ramanand Tiwari, in the two states.

The office of the Adarsh society located in posh Colaba here was also searched. The searches were carried out a day after the CBI filed an FIR against 13 persons, including former Maharastra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and some retired senior Army officials for their alleged involvement in the scam.

"Thakur, Wanchoo and Gidwani were not present at the premises when the searches were conducted. We are likely to issue notices to the trio summoning them for questioning," a senior CBI official said.

While searches at Thakur's residences in Bihar, Nagpur and Thane are over, the operations at Tiwari's house in Mumbai continued till late in the evening.

Wanchoo's house in Pune and Gidwani's house at Worli in central Mumbai were also searched, the official added.

According to CBI sources, Thakur, Wanchoo and Gidwani were allegedly the prime movers in building the society, the sources said.

Thakur was the then sub-divisional officer at the Defence Estate Office of Mumbai while Gidwani, a former Congress MLC, was the chief promoter of the society.

The CBI sources said that computers, laptops and some documents were seized from the premises which would be analysed by the sleuths.

The electronic items would be sent to Hyderabad and Delhi for examination of the hard disk. Tiwari, who was recently suspended by the Maharashtra Government as Information Commissioner, has been accused of misusing his official power and passing letters in favour of the society. His son Onkar Tiwari has a flat in the building.

Apart from Chavan and the four accused, the FIR also names retired Lt General PK Rampal, Major Generals AR Kumar and TK Kaul, Subash Lala, the then Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and Brig RC Sharma (retd).

The FIR has been filed under various sections of the IPC, including criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery and showing forged document as genuine, besides sections pertaining to the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Chavan, who had to quit as the CM last year after it was found that his family members also owned flats in the society, was the Revenue <inister between 2001-2003 and had dealt with files pertaining to the ownership of the land.

The FIR also named Pradeep Vyas, the then collector of Mumbai who is alleged to have cleared names of 71 persons in the society of which several were not eligible. His wife Seema Vyas is alleged to have a flat in the society. The agency had registered a preliminary inquiry into the scam in November last year.

Two former Army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen NC Vij and ex-Navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh owned flats in the building. However, the former top chiefs have claimed that they have now surrendered the flats.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had on January 16 ordered demolition of the building within three months, holding it as "unauthorised" and built in violation of the spirit of coastal regulations.

Late in the evening, the CBI began searches at the residence of former Deputy Secretary P V Deshmukh.

Deshmukh was the Deputy Secretary in the Maharashtra Urban Development Ministry when the scam took place. He was one of the accused in the FIR registered by the CBI yesterday. — PTI



Fight against measles enters critical phase
Jharkand launches ‘catch-up’ campaign
Aditi Tandon writes from Ranchi

India is ready to enter the most critical phase of its fight against measles, the respiratory disease whose prevalence is eroding the country’s hard-earned child health gains and pushing back the reduction of the infant mortality rate which is the fourth Millennium Development Goal. Three out of every four children in the world who died of measles last year were from India. Our reported annual mortality from measles ranges from 50,000 to one lakh.

Tomorrow onwards through the entire months February and March, the government will be closely watching the culmination of its ambitious Measles catch-up campaign which began in November last year to administer a second dose of the Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) to children left uncovered by the first dose administered during routine immunisation at 9 to 12 months of age.

The pilot campaign seeks to cover 13.4 crore children aged nine months to 10 years in the 14 most high-risk states (where the first MCV dose coverage is under 80 per cent) and will enter its last leg tomorrow as the remaining among the vulnerable states cover their respective target populations over the next two months. Jharkhand will take the lead here by rolling out the MCV second dose from tomorrow.

Through the month, it hopes to immunise eight lakh children in the five districts chosen for the pilot project. Close to 40,000 anganwari workers from the state have been roped in for the mammoth exercise during which Jharkhand expects 100 per cent coverage, Maoist infestation notwithstanding.

“During the first week of the campaign, we will cover school children after which we will have outreach camps and door-to-door coverage. Technical support is being offered by UNICEF,” Aradhna Patnaik, Director, National Rural Health Mission, Jharkhand, today told The Tribune correspondent in Ranchi.

Tripura will accompany Jharkhand in the campaign launch tomorrow while Nagaland, Gujarat and Meghalaya will roll it out from February 7, February 23 and March 20, respectively. The high-risk states that have already wound up their measles catch-up include Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana (five districts), Rajasthan, Manipur, Bihar, Chhattisgarh (nine districts) and Madhya Pradesh. From April, the project is expected to be scaled up. India contributes 75 per cent to the measles burden of Southeast Asia, the only WHO region which has failed to reduce measles deaths under the 2005 World Health Assembly pledge of reducing global measles mortality by 90 per cent until 2010.

It was then that the Assembly recommended a second dose of MCV for improved global measles immunisation. India went slow, acting only in November last year, and in the process squandering global gains. “Southeast Asia reduced measles deaths by just 46 per cent while the world reduced the same by 90 per cent. It saw 1, 64, 000 measles deaths last year-over 75 per cent of these were in India. Measles second dose is critical for improved population immunity because the first dose administered at 9 months is just 85 per cent effective. The second given beyond 12 months is 95 per cent effective,” Dr Debashish Roy, WHO specialist for SE Asia told The Tribune, reiterating vaccine safety.



The New Literary Belle
Vandana Shukla writes about the new emerging literary scene of India after attending the sixth Jaipur Literature Festival, held from Jan 21-25

They started their writing career in post liberalization era. Far more adventurous in terms of style and genre, less derivative and more experimental in their own voices, they carry confidence of a growing economy. These young, well-travelled, well dressed authors inhabiting multi cultural milieu do not believe in italicizing Hindustani words for a global English audience. Like their well- tonned up bodies, they do not allow unwanted flab in their books. These writers have not waited, greying, for the muse to reveal a magnum opus to them. They write about their here and now for a global audience, reclaiming English as their own. These thirty something magicians of written word, made their presence felt at JLF.

Romancing Sepia
Tishani Doshi

Poet of the much celebrated collection titled 'Countries of the Body', 2006 , for which she was given Forward Poetry Prize and was invited to poetry galas at Hay Festival, dancer with the troupe of late choreographe Chandralekha, journalist, and author of 'The Pleasure Seekers', defies everything one would associate with a serious author. She writes a popular blog on cricket Hit or Miss, and is working on the biography of cricketer Muttiah Murlitharan. In the first meeting she could be mistaken for a fashion model. Read her debut novel and you would admire her eye for detail scanning mosaic of human emotions; places, movements, beginnings and ends of these movements taken up by-lovers, wanderers, adventurers and their memories and exiles, that has gone into making the book.

The Pleasure Seekers is a gentle, funny and highly readable tribute to her parents' marriage. Her Welsh mother and Indian father are fictionalised as Sian Jones, the beautiful gap-toothed girl from North Wales working at a London office in the 60s, and Babo, the naive boy from Madras, new in town, who to the consternation of his family falls head over heels in love with Sian. Doshi has no qualms writing about her parents' love life. She likes to travel through the time her parents and grand parents lived their love life and youth. The portrayal of her grand parents, once soft- hearted lovers turned into authoritative parents fiercely opposing unsuitable match of their son Babo, makes the reader identify with the simple realities of life. The book published by Bloomsbury has won several honours.

Blockbuster with a heart
Jaishree Misra

Has written bestsellers, and books that became controversial and were eventually banned. She is smart enough to know that the small town reader, who does not get his/her stories written in English, would still like her narrative to be taken to the global audience. She writes these tales for English publications, which have the infrastructure to translate her stories in regional languages, to sell it back to the small town audience. Her autobiographical debut novel, Ancient Promises, a tale of pain and loneliness of coming to terms with marriage, fictionalized though, became a 'blockbuster with heart.' It was published and sold worldwide by Penguin UK and became a major bestseller in India.

Subsequent books include Accidents Like Love and Marriage , Afterwards and The Little Book of Romance. A historical novel based on the life of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi was published by Penguin in December 2007 and was soon banned by the Uttar Pradesh state government. In 2009, Misra signed a three- book deal with Avon, the commercial fiction imprint of Harper Collins UK. The first of these books, called Secrets and Lies, was published in June 2009 while the next in the series, Secrets and Sins was released in July 2010. Secrets and Lies appeared on the Heatseekers list in Britain's Bookseller magazine's best-seller lists in the summer of 2009. Mishra is also a special educationist, with Charles Wallace scholarship.

Wall Street Babyji
Abha Dawesar

Born of Kannada and Punjabi parents, a Delhiite, who had a highly stressful job at Wall Street in 2000, an accomplished painter with a few successful shows in New York, wrote two books in succession, utilizing time that lay in between signing of contract of her first book and its final publication, which was five long years. A literary journey for this Harvard Graduate began with `The Three Of Us' in 2000, she came out with her second, `Babyji', after five years which fetched some awards. With her politically- correct sounding latest title Family Values, you cannot undermine her capacity to experiment. She knows the pulse of what her readers demand.

Her previous novel 'That Summer in Paris' is sprinkled with technology, gadgets, geeks and of course the beauty of Paris, with its food streets, art galleries and people, readers would relate to. It revolves around Prem Rustum, an ageing literary luminary of Indian origin in America, his friendship with a fellow stalwart of a writer, the French Pascal, and his attraction to a budding writer on a fellowship in Paris, Maya. Rustum follows Maya to Paris, of course keeping a tab on her through E-mails. The book takes readers through a number of absorbing situations. To get true portrayal of an older man in love, Abha interviewed a lot of aged men on their personal lives to get Rustum right. She used photographs, blogs and all other technological assistance required to lend the book a real feel. The book released by Random House in India is a great success.

Non fictional miracle
Sonia Faleiro

Was barely in her graduate school when she started writing her first novel, The Girl, which was published by Penguin Viking in 2005. She studied history at St Stephen's College, New Delhi, and was noticed for her brilliance in writing skills.

She was reporting for India Today and Tehelka magazine. It was during her reporting days, when she met Leela, a beautiful and charismatic bar dancer with a story to tell that her second book was conceptualized. Leela introduced Sonia to the underworld of Bombay's dance bars: a world of glamorous women, of fierce love, sex and violence, of customers and gangsters, of police, prostitutes and pimps.

Leela's pride and independence faced its greatest test when the bars were closed down by ambitious politicians under the garb of morality. Thus came Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Bars (Penguin, India, 2010), a work of narrative non- fiction, based on five years of her research in Bombay's dance bars, Beautiful Thing was declared Subcontinental Book of the Year 2010 by Time Out magazine, and was described as 'One of the most original works of non-fiction from India in years.' Sonia has contributed to several anthologies, among them AIDS Sutra: Hidden Stories from India. The Guardian described her essay in AIDS Sutra as 'urgent and stark.' Fiction is not the only genre that sells well, many well reaserched books about India, and its fascinating mozaic sell like hot cakes.



Missing change agents
Despite tall claims made by some of the emerging literary agents of Indian origin, all the authors writing in English listed here have found publishers through foreign agents.

Since David Godwin made forays into Indian writer's wonderland, by discovering Booker Award winner Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai, literary agents from the first world have been making a beeline for the young writers of the third world. In the last few years a few indigenous agents have come up; Red Ink, a literary agency at Bahri Sons in Khan Market, New Delhi, Osian's The Art Foundation, and Banglore based Jacaranda Press to name a few. With emergence of professional agents, Indian writers writing in English have begun to get the price they deserve. Language publishers, on the other hand, in the absence of agents are known to pay meagre royalties on their titles - sometimes as low as five per cent on the cover price. Moreover, since royalties are calculated on the number of copies sold, authors are often left guessing about how many copies of his or her work have actually been sold, to tally it with the amount dished out by the publisher as annual royalty.

Currently an established author is given between 10 and 20 per cent of the royalties by well- established publishing houses. Writers have to part with an affixed amount for an agent's services, which is, in fact a pittance, considering that they leave very few hassles for the authors to deal with. Not all publishers offer an advance for writing a book, certainly not to the first timers, but, when they do, the amount is sizeable.

Foreign agents can be contacted through their web-sites. They often ask for first chapter of a book to sample writing.. 



Money Reads
The Bagpiper’s at JLF
The Bagpiper’s at JLF

If only geeks could turn a literary festival into success, Kolkata- with its bhadralok would host something like JLF. This year's organiser of JLF, Penguin Books India, is eyeing a growing English speaking middle class, which will result in a phenomenal 35 percent growth in the publishing industry. John Makinson, global CEO, Penguin, admitted of Penguin's move to print in other languages of India, by way of translations, keeping 83 million young of this country in mind, who would be buying books . JLF is turned into a success, because it has emerged from a need felt by people, initiated by lovers of Indian culture like Faith Singh. And, smart thinking behind it, that keeps bureaucracy and politics at arm's distance, capitalising on packaging, networking and marketing a concept, which is liked by people. Or, why would people buy a cup of tea for Rs 50 at all the four cafes at the venue! They know, this money will be well utilised.



Lit-Fest —worldwide

The ancient tradition of holding shastrarth notwithstanding, according to Sanskrit scholar Sheldon Pollock, tradition of literary festivals in India dates back to 12th century at Kalyana in North Karnataka. At the southernmost tip of India, at Kovalam, the much talked about though not very successful Kovalam Literary Festival has been organized for the last three years in the month of October. Hay Festival was introduced in Kerala only in Nov 2010. Amid suicide attacks and bomb blasts Karachi is going to host its first international literary festival this year. Galle Literary Festival has received many flacks from various forums alleging that the Sri Lankan government is suppressing voices of dissent at the festival. Many forums have appealed to boycott it, and several celebrated authors have refrained from attending Galle Festival, now in its fifth year. Hay Festival of literature and arts at Hay on Wye, Powys, Wales organized at different locations in Wales, including schools, for ten days in the month of May- June remains one of the most celebrated literary festivals.



Women on Top

The news- print may not have allowed them to break the glass ceiling, in publishing industry it is women who occupy decision-making positions which has resulted in commissioning books in a spectrum of new areas - from homoeroticism to the lives of ordinary people. Many women publishers who run independent units, like Urvashi Butalia (Zubaan), Ritu Menon ( Women Unlimited) , Mandira Sen (Stree), Arpita Das (Yoda Press), and Indu Chandrashekhar (Tulika), had worked with major publishing houses, but left because of lack of visibility in an industry where men controlled levers of power. This has changed in the last decade.

Kali For Women (started in 1984 later closed down due to differences between co- founders Butalia and Menon) brought a visible difference in the way books were produced in India. Now, majority of global publishing houses are also headed by women. This has made a visible difference in the risk taking capacity of the publishing industry which is becoming more experimental. Many women publishers have also done pioneering work in translations. Gita Dharmarajan of Katha has been focusing on translations of regional literature, and Chandra Chari and Uma Iyengar, who are now running The Book Review, a periodical devoted to reviews, have extended it as an imprint by developing a list of translations.



Jantar Mantar
Fresh insight on Cabinet reshuffle
Anita Katyal

It has been over a week since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reshuffled his council of ministers, but it continues to be a subject of animated discussions in the corridors of power in Delhi. A fresh insight is now on offer. The joke is that former bureaucrat and present Janata Dal (U) MP NK Singh had a say in this matter. After all, all the ministers about whom he had spoken disparagingly on the infamous Radia tapes — Kamal Nath, Murli Deora and Praful Patel — have been moved out of their old ministries and given lighter responsibilities.

Rahul meets media on his terms

Although Congress General Secretary and Nehru-Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi never interacts with the press in Delhi, he always makes it a point to meet mediapersons while travelling. These press conferences are conducted on his own terms. On his trip to Maharashtra last week, he decided to meet the local press early in the morning, even though journalists are not known to be early birds given their late working hours. In fact, most politicians make sure that their press briefings are held in the afternoon in order to get a full house. Gandhi knows that journalists will make that special effort to wake up early for his media interactions. Unlike other politicians, he does not tailor his schedule to suit the convenience of the media.



Naxal woman commander held
A Naxal woman commander wanted in more than 45 cases of murder, arson and looting in Madhya Pradesh was arrested on Sunday from Lanji area in Balaghat district, close to the Chhattisgarh border. Jhinia Pusam (32) was wanted for the 1999 murder of former Madhya Pradesh Transport Minister Lakhiram Kaware. — PTI

Malegaon blast
In the light of a confession by Swami Aseemanand, the CBI will re-examine all evidence in the Malegaon blast case and has decided to depute a special team to the city to conduct a fresh probe in the case. The investigating agency also plans to examine the role of officials of the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad, which had chargesheeted nine persons in the case, and re-visit their investigations into the case. — PTI

PMK, DMK tie up
With elections to the Tamil Nadu assembly round the corner, DMK chief M Karunanidhi today announced that PMK will be part of the DMK-led alliance in the state. Karunanidhi, who arrived here this evening, said he would meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow to discuss the seat-sharing arrangement between Congress and DMK. “PMK, Muslim League, VCK will be in the alliance other than Congress and DMK,” he said. — PTI


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