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2G case: Essar Group promoters Anshuman,
Ravi Ruia chargesheeted

NEW DELHI: Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia were among five persons chargesheeted today by the CBI in a Delhi Court in connection with the 2G Spectrum allocation scam.

Besides Ruias, the CBI also charged Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I P Khaitan.

The agency also named three companies—Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding—as accused in the case.

All of them have been chargesheeted under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.

Meanwhile, Essar group in a statement denied all allegations against its officials and the company.

The 105-page charge sheet containing 398 documents was brought in five trunks before Special Judge O. P. Saini who will take cognisance of the charge sheet on December 17.

The charge sheet named 100 prosecution witnesses. This is the third charge sheet filed by the CBI in the case. —  PTIBack



Pak-based outfit claims responsibility for attack on J&K minister

SRINAGAR: Pakistan-based Jamiatul Mujahideen today claimed responsibility for the attack on Jammu and Kashmir Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar saying it was in retaliation to National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah's advocacy for reopening liquor shops in the Valley.

The "Al Jabbar" squad of the outfit carried out the attack on Sagar last night with the aim of killing the Minister, Jamil Ahmad, spokesman of Jamiat, said in a faxed statement.

"The attack was carried out as a reaction to the shameful statement of Farooq Abdullah for reopening of cinema halls and liquor shops," he said.

He warned of attacks in future on the National Conference and other "pro-India" parties in Kashmir.

One policeman was killed and three others, including a civilian, were injured when militants made an abortive bid on the life of Rural Development Minister in the Nawab Bazaar area in the old city, where he had gone to attend a family function.

Security has been beefed up in Srinagar city as police stepped up random checking of vehicles following the attack. — PTIBack



Ambika Soni accuses Oppn of double standards

NEW DELHI: Accusing the Opposition of "double standards", the government today asked why it was raising the Lokpal issue outside while Parliament was in session.

"In democracy there is a platform for discussion on every issue. Parliament is the best forum for discussion," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters outside Parliament House here.

Opposition leaders yesterday joined the protest of Anna Hazare demanding a strong Lokpal.

"Raising issues outside Parliament shows Opposition's double standards. This is not acceptable," she said, adding that "when we speak outside Parliament, they say it is against parliamentary tradition." Soni said, "We also want strong Lokpal, but it should be discussed in Parliament." Law Minister Salman Khurshid said, "Parliamentary democracy is based on discussion and there should be discussion on every issue."

When asked whether the Opposition did the right thing in discussing the Lokpal issue outside Parliament, Khurshid said "this should also be discussed in Parliament". Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said, "Parliament is supreme. So, they (Opposition) should put forth their views in Parliament which is the right forum". — PTIBack


China to open its first military base abroad in Indian Ocean

BEIJING: In a move that may cause unease in India, China today announced that it would set up its first military base abroad in the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles to "seek supplies and recuperate" facilities for its Navy.

The naval fleet may seek supplies or recuperate at appropriate harbours in Seychelles or other countries as needed during escort missions, Chinese Defence Ministry announced here today.

China has already cemented its foothold in the Indian Ocean by signing contract with the UN-backed International Seabed Authority to gain rights to explore polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in the Indian Ocean over the next 15 years.

The contract awarded this year to a Chinese association exclusive rights to explore a 10,000-square-km of international seabed in the southwest Indian Ocean.

The base in Seychelles is regarded significant by analysts as China is about to launch its first aircraft carrier. It is currently undergoing final trials.

Playing down its significance, Chinese Defence Ministry statement today said it was international practise for naval fleets to re-supply at the closest port of a nearby state during long-distance missions.

Apparently commenting on a recent report that China would establish a military base in Seychelles, it said Chinese naval fleets had re-supply facilities at harbours in Djibouti, Oman and Yemen since China sent its first convoy to the Gulf of Aden in 2008.

The decision to establish its first naval base abroad was taken during Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie's goodwill visit to Seychelles earlier this month. — PTIBack



Lt Gen Sujlana sworn in as PPSC Chairman

CHANDIGARH: Lt Gen (retd) R. S. Sujlana was sworn in as Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) here today.

Governor Shivaraj Patil administered the oath of office to Lt Gen Sujlana as Chairman. The post had been lying vacant since the death of S. K. Sinha.

Four others Amita Pandove, Bhai Rahul Singh Sidhu, Narinder Singh Sangha and Kulbir Singh Sandhu were sworn in as members of the Commission. — PTIBack



Fai claims to have met Indian ministers

Washington: US-based Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai has claimed that he met several Indian ministers on a regular basis during the last two decades of his activities in Washington and had “a channel of communication” opened with the Indian embassy.

Sixty-two-year-old Fai, who last week in a US court pleaded guilty to the federal charges of being an ISI agent, said in a statement that meeting these Indian officials was part of his strategy to communicate with New Delhi. In his statement titled ‘Why Kashmir is Important to Me?’, Fai claims, “During the past 20 years, I along with Ambassador Yusuf Buch, former Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary General and late Ayub Thuker, President, World Kashmir Freedom Movement, have met with various Indian Cabinet Ministers, belonging to the administrations of Prime Ministers Chandra Shekhar, Narasimha Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh."





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