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Chidambaram may head EGoM on telecom

NEW DELHI: Home minister P Chidambaram may head the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on the allocation of telecom spectrum, which was reconstituted on Friday after Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar declined to head it.

Official sources said Chidambaram's name tops the list of ministers who
will be part of the EGoM from whose chairmanship Pawar recused earlier this week citing attempts to drag him into controversies.

Pawar's name does not figure as a member of the reconstituted ministerial panel. Defence minister A K Antony, telecom minister Kapil Sibal, I&B minister Ambika Soni, law minister Salman Khurshid, minister of state in Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia continue to be members of the EGoM.

Sources said no date for the meeting of the EGoM has been fixed yet.

The EGoM was last week reconstituted after Pranab Mukherjee, who was heading it, resigned as finance minister to contest the Presidential elections. Pawar was named as the new Chairman of the ministerial panel and a meeting fixed for July 2.

But Pawar first postponed the meeting of the EGoM, which had last met on June 5, and then approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recusing himself.

The EGoM is to decide on a minimum or base price for auction of telecom spectrum or airwaves. The Supreme Court, which in February cancelled 122 telecom licences issued during the tenure of the then telecom minister A Raja in 2008, and asked the government to complete spectrum auction by August 31. — PTI




DA case against Mayawati quashed

New Delhi: In a major relief to former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, the Supreme Court on Friday quashed criminal proceedings against her in the disproportionate assets case.

The SC pronounced the verdict while hearing on BSP supremo Mayawati's plea, challenging the CBI probe in an alleged disproportionate assets case against her.

According to reports, the SC claimed CBI's action against Mayawati as 'unwarranted'. The Apex Court rapped the CBI stating that the probe against the BSP cheif lacked direction.

Mayawati had filed a petition in May 2008 seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against her in the DA case, lodged by the CBI over eight years ago. She had alleged it was an act of political vendetta against her.

A bench headed by P Sathasivam had reserved its judgment on May 1 after two-hour-long hearing during which the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister had accused the CBI of "fixing" the DA case against her, a charge refuted by the agency.

Mayawati had said the bench should direct the CBI to consider the aspect of order passed by the Income Tax Tribunal holding that her income was genuine and the order had also been upheld by the Delhi High Court.

The CBI had said there was "ample evidence" to show that she had amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income.

Mayawati had claimed she had received the money as donations from party workers.

Questioning Mayawati's assets, the CBI had said her declared assets of Rs one crore in 2003 had gone up to Rs 50 crore in 2007.

The CBI, in its last affidavit filed on September 13, 2011, had alleged there was a "criminal nexus" between Mayawati and her relatives and the disproportionate assets case against her cannot be closed on the basis of conclusions arrived at by the Income Tax Department.

The agency had rejected Mayawati's stand that the DA case should come to an end after the income tax authorities accepted her income tax assessments.




Delhi gets pre-monsoon showers

New Delhi: After enduring through one of the hottest summer seasons, Delhiites woke up to pre-monsoon showers on Friday.

The slight drizzle accompanied by pleasant cloudy weather conditions has brought welcome respite to the residents of Delhi-NCR. The maximum temperature would also see a substantial dip today after yesterday’s high of 41 deg Celsius, which was five degrees above normal.

Although pre-monsoon showers have reached Delhi, actual monsoon is expected to begin only by Sunday or Monday, the Indian Meteorological Department said.

However, owning to the slow progress of the rain bearing clouds over Uttar Pradesh and because the last two predictions by IMD have not been accurate, it remains to be seen whether monsoon reaches Delhi by the weekend.

Monsoon generally arrives in Delhi on June 29 every year, but this year it is yet to provide relief to the citizens of the metropolis.




HC to hear PIL in Pinki Pramanik case

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court will hear a PIL filed by RS Chattopadhyay against violation of athlete Pinki Pramanik`s human rights on Friday.

The retired middle distance runner arrested on June 14 has been accused of being male and of allegedly raping a live-in partner, a 30-year-old estranged woman.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission has also directed the home, health and police departments to inquire into the alleged `inhuman torture` on Pramanik in police and jail custody and submit a report within two weeks.





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