L A T E S T      N E W S

Reddy justifies massive hike in petrol price,
says no rollback for now

NEW DELHI: In the wake of widespread opposition to the steep hike in petrol prices, the government on Friday said it will watch the situation for a few days before deciding on any rollback.

Sharing concerns of the common man, Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said the decision to hike petrol price was taken by the oil companies, but the government is conscious of the "sense of disturbance" caused by it among the consumers.

"The government cannot remain indifferent to the people's feelings," he told reporters here amid an uproar over the steepest ever hike of Rs 7.50 a litre in petrol price announced on May 23.

Besides the Opposition parties, the allies of the ruling UPA have also opposed the steep hike.

He said while the decision to increase the price was "harsh and unpleasant", the huge hike was warranted according to the oil marketing companies.

"We will watch the situation for a few days", before taking a definite view on any rollback, he said.

He said the oil marketing companies have to deal with the double trend of increase in the crude oil prices and that the current falling trend was not stable.

Asked about the meeting of Empowered Group of Ministers on diesel price, he said he was urging for a meeting to decide on "diesel, LPG and kerosene prices".



Yeddyurappa pitches for Modi as PM candidate

BANGALORE: Showering encomiums on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for good governance, Karnataka BJP strongman BS Yeddyurappa on Friday said the ongoing party national executive at Mumbai should deliberate on promoting him as Prime Ministerial candidate, among other issues. "The national executive should deliberate on the issues rocking Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan and promote Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate," he said.

"According to a survey, Modi is the most popular leader of the country and the party must think on these lines and take decisions," said Yeddyurapa, who had recently pushed the first BJP government in the South into a crisis of survival.

"Modi is popular because he has done great work in Gujarat and made the state number one in the country," he said.

The Lingayat strongman, however, said Modi could not be compared to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and veteran BJP leader LK Advani.

He declined to comment on the resignation of Modi's bete noire Sanjay Joshi from the BJP National Executive.

Yeddyurappa, who is sulking over the party central leadership for 'sidelining' him, said he could not attend the National Executive due to pending court cases, but would go tomorrow if possible.

"I could not attend the BJP National Executive meet due to some cases filed against me in Lokayukta court. If possible I will go tomorrow,"

He had earlier made it clear he would not attend the BJP meet. Incidentally, he has not missed a single BJP executive meeting in the last two decades.

Yeddyurappa had triggered the recent crisis with nine ministers loyal to him submitting their resignations, insisting on change of leadership of chief minister Sadananda Gowda amid speculation that he might split the party. He, however, said he had decided to quit the party but deferred his decision. PTIBack



Jagan Mohan Reddy appears before CBI team

HYDERABAD: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Hyderabad on Friday began questioning YSR Congress Party leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy in the illegal assets case amid speculations that he would be arrested.

Jagan, as the young leader is popularly known, reached Dilkusha Guest House, the camp office of the CBI, amid tight security at 10.30am. A team of CBI officials led by joint director VV Lakshminarayana began questioning him.

Jagan was seen entering the guest house with a smile on his face and greeting the officials with folded hands. He was accompanied by Alla Nani, the Congress legislator from Eluru, and some close aides.

The usually busy Raj Bhavan Road, where the guest house is located, has been sealed by police. 

Hyderabad is virtually under police siege with deployment of forces at several places to avert any law and order problems in the event of Jagan's arrest. Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people have been imposed in the city and other parts of the state.

Dozens of Jagan supporters were arrested by the police in various districts since Thursday night as they were heading for the state capital.

This is the first time since the CBI registered a case of assets disproportionate to income against Jagan and 71 others in August last year that Jagan has appeared before the investigating agency.

The MP from Kadapa has appeared before the CBI a day after excise minister Mopidevi Venkataramana was arrested in the same case.

Police have made elaborate security arrangements around the guest house, where Jagan is being questioned about the investments made into his companies by the firms which allegedly received land, licenses and other concessions from the government when his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy was the chief minister.

Rajasekhara Reddy died in a chopper crash in September 2009.

The CBI, which has so far filed three charge sheets in the case, alleged that Jagan conspired with his father to dole out favours to certain companies under quid pro quo arrangement.

The federal agency is questioning Jagan three days before he is scheduled to appear before a CBI special court.

He is likely to be questioned in the presence of Venkataramana, who was arrested Thursday for his role in issuing orders as minister for infrastructure and investment in the YSR cabinet, leading industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and bureaucrat KV Brahmananda Reddy. All the three are currently in CBI custody. IANS




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