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Coalgate: 5 firms booked, raids on

New Delhi: CBI today registered cases against five companies and unknown government officials as part of its probe into alleged irregularities in allocation of coal blocks and carried out searches across 10 cities.

According to CBI spokesperson, five FIRs have been filed against five companies and unknown government officials for alleged cheating.

The agency sleuths were also conducting searches at 30 places in ten cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, Hyderabad, Dhanbad and Nagpur, the spokesperson said.

The filing of FIRs comes three months after registration of a Preliminary Enquiry into the coal scam by the agency on the directions of the Central Vigilance Commission.

During the Preliminary Enquiry, the CBI was informed by the Coal ministry officials that it had issued show cause notices to some of the firms which were allocated the mines for explaining the delay in conducting the mining work.

Some of the firms, which were allocated coal blocks in 2005, were yet to start mining, official sources said.




Chinese Defence Minister in India

New Delhi: Defence Ministers of India and China today began their delegation-level talks during which the two sides are expected to take a decision on resuming military exercises stalled since 2010.

During the talks with Defence Minister A K Antony, Gen Liang Guanglie, who is the first Chinese Defence Minister to visit India in eight years, is expected to address New Delhi's concerns over Chinese military infrastructure build-up along the border and discuss more Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

Gen Liang is in India at a time when the two Asian giants are competing vigourously to gain a foothold across the continent for resources.

He had arrived in Mumbai on Sunday on a five-day visit to the country.

Before the official meeting started, the Chinese Defence Minister thanked his Indian counterpart for the "good arrangements" made during his visit to Mumbai and Agra.




SL-India standoff on Lankan pilgrims

Thanjavur: Nearly 150 Sri Lankan nationals, including Sinhalese, on a pilgrimage to a famous Christian shrine near were forced to cut short their trip and head back home after some pro-Tamil outfits staged protest against them.

The Sri Lankans comprising both Sinhalese and Tamils had arrived at the Poondi Madha shrine, on Sunday for the two-day annual festival.

Activists of Naam Tamizhar Iyakkam headed by film director Seeman, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and P Nedumaran-led Tamizhar Desiya Poduvudamai Katchi, who came to know about the presence of Sinhalese people, staged a demonstration asking them to go back, police said.

The pilgrims said they attend the festival every year and offered to return to Sri Lanka to avoid further trouble, they said.

The small group of protesters, known for their pro-LTTE leanings, dispersed after the brief stir and no case was registered, police said.





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