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Pranab Mukherjee quits as Finance Minister

NEW DELHI: A sentimental Pranab Mukherjee today said he is leaving his job as Finance Minister to "embark on a new journey".

Before leaving to tender his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mukherjee said, "I stand ready to embark on a new journey".

In his last message as Finance Minister to the media, he said, he felt honoured and humbled on his nomination as a candidate to contest in the presidential election by UPA-II, supported by SP, BSP, JD(U), Shiv Sena, CPM , Forward Bloc and some other parties.

"Yet, standing on the brink of such an honour, I will also feel a pinch of sentiments at the thought of leaving behind my life as a political activist, spanning over four decades," he told reporters covering him regularly in his North Block office.

He said, while not every decision of his might have been right, "but I have taken those decisions keeping in view the interest of the people". — PTI


Virbhadra Singh resigns from Union Cabinet

NEW DELHI: Union Minister Virbhadra Singh today resigned in the wake of a Himachal Pradesh court framing corruption charges against him.

Singh, a former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, quit on moral grounds after being slapped with charges of conspiracy and corruption in a 23-year-old case, sources close to him said.

The 78-year-old Union Minister for Small, Micro and Medium Industries handed over his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi last evening and had dismissed as "concocted" the evidence against him in the infamous CD case.

"The evidence is concocted. The CD has not been authenticated. They have not compared my voice," he had said.

Asked yesterday whether he would resign, he said, "I don't care for my office at all. I don't want to embarrass my party and the Prime Minister. As and when the occasion arises, certainly I will take appropriate action".

Asked about the resignation, AICC general secretary in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Birender Singh said the party had not asked him to resign and if anything has been done, it would have been done on his own by the Minister.

The resignation of Singh, a five-time Chief Minister, has come just a few months ahead of the Assembly elections in his native state.

The state is currently being run by the BJP. — PTIBack



NIA to grill 26/11 plotter Abu Jundal

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to take custody of and question LeT terrorist Syed Zabiuddin alias Abu Jundal, who was arrested by Delhi Police.

Jundal has admitted to playing an active role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. He has told the Delhi Police during interrogation that he had worked in close coordination with terror mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

During his interrogation, Jundal confessed to his role in the country's worst terror attack and admitted that he was present in the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) control room in Karachi and was giving direction to the 10 terrorists who carried out the strike.

Jundal took a particular name and his specific task in executing the 26/11 attack. The interrogators suspect that this person was an ISI officer who was closely involved in executing the terror strike.

After November 26, 2008, Jundal, a native of Beed district in Maharashtra, stayed in Pakistan for sometime before leaving to Saudi Arabia where he was working as a teacher.

He has at least 10 aliases and the first tip-off about his presence in Saudi Arabia was given by a terrorist who was arrested in connection with the Jama Masjid blast. Jundal also stayed for sometime in Bangladesh.

Sources said Jundal's voice sample is being sent for matching with those which were intercepted by the security agencies during the attack. Back




LeT planning more attacks, warns Assam DGP

New Delhi: In what may call for strengthening the security mechanism, fresh intelligence input received by the authorities in Assam have warned that insurgent outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is planning to carry out more attacks in Odisha and Northeastern states.

Reports on Tuesday, claimed that the latest intelligence inputs were received by the Assam Police, which immediately shared it with the central agencies, who immediately informed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) about the latest security threats.

The input created ripples in the MHA and all the agencies have been put on maximum alert and the MHA has also asked the state governments in Orissa and Assam to take immediate precautionary measures.

Assam Director General of Police Jayanta Narayan Choudhury told reporters that the state’s police is in touch with their counterparts in the bordering states to curb growing insurgent activities along the border.

Interestingly, Assam Police was also the first one to alert the authorities that LeT was planning to trigger off explosions in Puri in Orissa during the Rath Yatra festival as well as in Mumbai.Back




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