A T E S T N E W S
Taj Corridor case: HC dismisses petitions against Mayawati
LUCKNOW: In a major relief for former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati, the Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed petitions against her in the Taj Corridor case.
The Lucknow bench of the court also dismissed the petitions against her cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui.
Passing the order, the bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and Ashwani Kumar Singh said all petitions were devoid of merit and were accordingly being dismissed.
BSP leader and Mayawati’s counsel Satish Chandra Mishra termed the petitions filed in the case as “politically motivated” and pursued with “malafide intention“.
“There are no offences against Mayawati in the Taj Corridor case,” he told reporters here after the court delivered a 74-page verdict.
The bench had on September 12 reserved its judgement on the PILs seeking direction for initiation of proceedings of criminal case against Mr. Mayawati and Mr. Siddiqui.
The special CBI court had in June 2007 dropped proceedings against Ms Mayawati and Mr. Siddiqui for lack of prosecution sanction, which was not granted by the then Governor.
After this, three PILs were filed in 2009 challenging the decision of the CBI court. Later three more PILs were filed in this connection.
Mahesh Jethmalani attacks
BJP's national executive
MUMBAI: BJP chief Nitin Gadkari on Monday came under attack from senior leader and lawyer Mahesh
Jethmalani, who resigned from the national executive, saying he would not continue in the party’s highest decision-making body as long as he was its president.
Mahesh Jethmalani’s decision came nearly a fortnight after his father and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani asked
Gadkari to quit the post and not to seek a second term in office in the wake of allegations against him.
“I do not deem it morally and intellectually appropriate to continue to serve on the party’s national executive as long as you are the president,” Jethmalani said in a brief, single sentence letter to
Gadkari is in the line of Opposition fire following media reports about dubious funding of his company Purti Sugar and Power.
Ram Jethmalani had also attacked Gadkari about a fortnight ago, saying he should quit in the interest of the party and his own.
“In the interest of the party, in his own interest, he should get out of the fray now and he must give the position to somebody who inspires greater confidence. He should not aspire for a second term,” Ram Jethmalani had said.
Maintaining that Gadkari’s continuance weakened the party’s position, Jethmalani said, “Obviously, there is suspicion about his integrity and in the interest of the party and his own interest he must get out of this position.
“It weakens the party position. In the coming elections we are fighting against corruption and we have to have a man of absolute impeccable integrity,” he had said.
Yuvraj, Harbhajan return to Test team; Raina dropped
MUMBAI: Yuvraj Singh on Monday staged a remarkable comeback to the Test fold, while struggling off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also returned from wilderness as India named a 15-member squad for the first two Tests against England starting November 15.
The 30-year-old, who fought back after being diagnosed with a rare germ cell cancer last year, forced his way back into the squad after commendable performances in the domestic circuit.
Harbhajan also got the nod from the new selection panel headed by former Test cricketer Sandeep Patil more than a year after his last appearance in a five-day game.
There were no major surprises by the selectors, who dropped Suresh Raina to accommodate
Yuvraj, while Harbhajan made his way at the expense of injured leg-spinner Piyush
Sachin Tendulkar, the seniormost member of the squad, will provide solidity in an otherwise inexperienced middle-order line-up, which will also have the in form Virat
Kohli. Cheteshwar Pujara and Yuvraj will be the others in the middle order.
Tamil Nadu opener Murali Vijay was also named in the squad as a reserve opener though the selectors retained the experienced duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir despite both of them going through a form slump for a long time.
Vijay replaced S Badrinath, who featured in the last Test against New Zealand in August.
Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, whose fitness was under the scanner after he limped off the field during a Ranji Trophy match on Sunday, has also been retained apparently after getting the physio's nod. Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma are the two other pacers in the squad.
The team has seven specialist batsmen, three pacers, three spinners and one wicketkeeper batsman in skipper Mahendra Singh
The series starts in Ahmedabad from November 15, followed by the second Test in Mumbai (from November 23 to 27). The third Test is scheduled in Kolkata (December 5 to 9) and the final match will be played in Nagpur from December 13 to 17.
It is an emotional comeback for Yuvraj, who made his international return during the World Twenty20 Championships in Sri Lanka in September.
The all-rounder then went on to impress one and all with his fine performance in the Duleep Trophy for North Zone.
His 208 against Central Zone was followed by a 59 and a five-for against England for India A at the Brabourne Stadium last week, proving that he was fit for the rigours of five-day cricket.
Harbhajan, on the other, went wicketless in his 21 overs for Punjab against Hyderabad in Mohali but did reasonably well during a county stint for Surrey before this.
The presence of Vijay in the squad puts pressure on Sehwag and Gambhir to perform since Ajinkya Rahane is already in the side and can perform the role of an opener.
In the spin department, the selectors have opted for two off-spinners in R Ashwin and
Harbhajan, while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha adds variety in the absence of any leg-spinner.
Squad for first and second Tests:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Sachin
Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan
Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Zaheer Khan. — PTI
Varsity system not producing well-educated graduates: Tharoor
NEW DELHI: The university system was not producing “well-educated” graduates to meet needs of Indian companies, giving an opportunity to firms to enter the sector in the “guise” of training, Minister of State for Higher Education Shashi Tharoor on Monday said.
He also said that the national education policy in the past has been out of step with the times.
“The major problem remains that our national education policy in the past has remained out of step with the time. Whereas countries in the Middle-East and China are going out of their way to woo foreign universities to set up campuses in their countries, India turned away many academic suitors who have come calling in recent years,” he said.
Speaking at a two-day Higher Education Summit, Tharoor said, “Companies are entering the higher education space in the guise of training. Our University system simply is not producing well educated graduates to meet the needs of Indian companies today.”
The HRD Minister said there will be no need for many Indian students to go abroad to study if good higher education institutes were set up in the country. “We will also work towards putting our reform agenda back on track,” he said.
Tharoor said there is a proposal to establish 50 centres for research in frontier areas of science, design innovation centres, innovation centres in different universities and also research parts of the IITs and other technical institutions.
“If finally established, it would transform the research environment in our country,” he said.
Tharoor favoured expediting setting up of National Mission for teachers and recommendations of the Narayana Murthy Committee and the Kakodkar Committee besides increasing the spending of 2 per cent on research.
The minister said with the ranks of educated unemployed in the country swelling in the absence of adequate employment opportunities, there is possibility of their falling prey to the activities of terrorists and Maoists.
“We must give them a better chance of employment through more and improved educational possibilities. My message is it is time to let a thousand educational flowers bloom,” he said.
He said even though India with 621 universities and 33,500 colleges has one of the largest network of higher education institutes across the world and second in terms of student enrolment, our gross enrolment ratio of 18.8 per cent in 2011 is still less than the world average of 26 per cent.
He said there was need to develop higher levels of education and skill development and an environment must be created in which not only the economy grows rapidly but also enhances good quality employment.
Tharoor said as India aims to grow at 8.2 to 8.5 per cent GDP, the country needs to invest in education and help improve the quality of education.
Referring to a few world-class institutes like IIT’s and IIMs and some colleges, the Minister said, “These are still islands in a sea of mediocrity”.
Citing a UGC survey of 1,471 colleges and 111 universities, he said 73 per cent of the colleges and 68 per cent of the universities are found to be of medium or low quality.
He also said that a FICCI survey has revealed in 2009 that 64 per cent employers are “somewhat satisfied” with the quality of new graduates coming out of engineering institutes.
The minister lamented that spending on education is only 1.22 per cent of GDP, against USA’s 3.1 per cent or South Korea’s 2.4 per cent. He also said that the student-teacher ratio in India was 26:1 against the global average of 15:1.
He said the rapid expansion of higher education sector has also led to shortage of faculty. — PTI
Campaigning in US polls ends tonight
WASHINGTON: With the US presidential elections just a day away, campaigning will end tonight, bringing down the curtain on several months of high voltage exchange of words between US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Continuing with their hectic election campaigning as in the past few days, both the candidates are scheduled to address a series of meetings crisscrossing the battleground States, beginning early in the morning till late in the night.
Obama, 51, and the First Lady Michelle, are scheduled to return to their home town of Chicago, which is also their campaign headquarters, post mid-night, after holding meetings in Wisconsin and Ohio.
Obama would end his election campaign in Des Moines, Iowa.
Michelle Obama will deliver remarks in North Carolina and Florida before introducing the President at his final campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa.
"The First Lady will remind the American people about how far the nation has come over the last four years and will encourage supporters to help get every last supporter to the polls on Election Day," the Obama campaign said.
Joe Biden, the Vice President, would address rallies in Virginia where he will make the case that it's time to finish what the Obama Administration had started.