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Won't take legal action against BCCI, says Azharuddin

HYDERABAD: Twelve years after BCCI imposed a life ban on Mohammad Azharduddin from playing cricket, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday set aside the decision of the cricket body. Talking to the media after the verdict, Azharduddin said that he did not want to blame anyone. He also said that
the decision was impotant for him and now his conscience was clear. He also said that he would not take legal action against anybody.

The 49-year-old, who is now a Lok Sabha MP from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, sought to struck a conciliatory note with the body which slapped him with the ban, saying that he would not want to blame anybody for the pain he suffered in the past 12 years.

"It was a long drawn out legal case and it was painful. We fought in the court for 11 years. There were lots of adjournments, changes in the case. But finally the verdict has come and I am happy that the ban has been lifted by the court," Azharuddin told a hastily-called press conference at
his residence in New Delhi.

Asked if he would take any legal action against BCCI, the former captain said, "I am not going to take any legal action against any authority and I don't want to blame anybody for this also. It is about destiny and whatever had to happen has happened. I don't have any complaint."

A bench of justices Ashutosh Mohanta and Krishna Mohan Reddy gave relief to former Indian skipper-turned-politician Azharuddin, allowing his appeal challenging the order of a local court, which had upheld the decision of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The bench lifted the ban agreeing with Azharuddin's counsel K Ramakant Reddy's argument that there was no evidence against the former cricketer that he succumbed to any pressure while playing cricket.

The court also observed that BCCI had proceeded against 49-year-old Azharuddin unilaterally and said the order of the trial court is unsustainable.

The ban was imposed in 2000 by BCCI as per the suggestion of a three-member committee comprising its erstwhile president A C Muthaiah and two vice-presidents Kamal Morarka and K M Ram Prasad in the wake of allegations of match-fixing against Azharuddin.

In a career spanning about 15 years, Azharuddin, known for his stylish batting, had played 334 ODIs and 99 test matches.

Azharuddin later made a foray into politics and had won from Moradabad Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh on a Congress ticket.

Talking to the media after the verdict, Azharduddin said that he did not want to blame anyone. He also said that the decision was impotant for him and now his conscience was clear. He also said that he would not take legal action against anybody. — PTI





Cabinet nod to Rs 31k cr one-time fee on spectrum

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Thursday approved a levy of about Rs 31,000 crore as a one-time fee on spectrum held by incumbent telecom firms such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone in an attempt to create level playing field between old and new operators. 

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the Cabinet had approved of the recommendation of an Empowered Group of Ministers that GSM-based telecom operators be asked to pay for airwaves they hold beyond 4.4 MegaHertz at an auction-determined price, while CDMA carriers pay for holdings beyond 2.5 MHz, for the remaining validity of their permits.GSM operators, holding more than 6.2 MHz of spectrum, will pay a retroactive fee for the airwaves from July 2008. 

Chidambaram said while the price discovered in the auction beginning November 12 will apply for the one-time fee to be charged from incumbent GSM operators, the Department of Telecom (DoT) will work out the basis for the same for CDMA carriers as there are no bidders for CDMA auction now and so there will be no auction determined price. 

“Similar recommendations (of auction determined price being levied) were made for CDMA but there has been subsequent developments since the EGoM meeting that bidders who had evinced interest for CDMA auction have withdrawn from the auction. Therefore there is no auction now for the CDMA,” he said. 

“DoT has been requested to come back to the Cabinet regarding implementation of the decision regarding CDMA,” he added. 

The government had planned to hold two separate auctions for spectrum used by GSM and CDMA-based mobile phone carriers hoping to reap a combined Rs 40,000 crore revenue.It has set a base price of Rs 14,000 crore for 5 MHz of a pan—India GSM spectrum, more than seven times what companies paid in 2008 to get telecom licenses. For CDMA, the base price was set at 1.3 times the GSM airwaves. 

However, no bidder is left in fray for CDMA auction after Tata Teleservices and Videocon Telecommunications withdrew from the sale. 

Chidambaram said licensees “will be given an option to surrender spectrum beyond 4.4 MHz for GSM” if they don’t want the one-time fee.Also, payments can be made in monthly instalments at 9.75 per cent interest rate.— PTI





Don't have prime ministerial ambitions: Advani

NEW DELHI: On his 85th birthday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani on Thursday brushed away suggestions of his wanting to be the party's prime ministerial candidate. "The party and the country have given me so much, it is much more than becoming the prime minister," Advani told reporters.

Advani is known to nurse prime ministerial ambitions and during the 2009 general elections he had gone on a countrywide rath yatra to connect with people.

Among those who went to greet Advani were party chief Nitin Gadkari, who is under attack for alleged financial impropriety in the funding of his Purti Group.

Advani had not gone for the BJP core group meeting on Tuesday to decide on the future of Gadkari in the wake of allegations against him. The party has reposed faith in Gadkari's leadership and said he has done "no legal or moral wrong".

However, Advani supported Gadkari in a blog last month, where he congratulated the BJP chief on saying he was open to a probe. — IANS





Delhi councillor murders daughter, kills self

NEW DELHI: A young Delhi municipal councillor allegedly murdered her one-and-half-year-old daughter before committing suicide in her west Delhi residence, police said today. Satyam Yadav (26), Congress councillor from Nangloi East in North Delhi Municipal Corporation, was found hanging from the
ceiling of her house while her daughter Vanishka was found murdered in her room, they said.

The reason for Yadav, a post graduate, taking the extreme step was not known, a senior police official said, adding they were investigating the matter.

Her husband Pawan Yadav is a teacher in a college. — PTI




Another storm hits NY, New Jersey; flights cancelled

NEW YORK: A new storm brought heavy rains, snow and powerful winds to New York and New Jersey, leaving over 1700 flights cancelled and thousands of residents without power in the US East Coast, which is still reeling under the devastating impact of hurricane Sandy. The National Weather Service said the latest storm, named Athena, was moving northward off the East Coast and would bring a wintry mix of precipitation to areas across the northern mid-Atlantic and northeast.

It forecast wind gusts as high as 60 miles per hour along the coast and snowfall across the New England region of up to 6-10 inches over the next two days.

The agency said apart from rain, minor to moderate coastal flooding is also possible in New Jersey and New York.

The mix of rain and snow, which covered buildings, roads and cars in parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, also led airlines to cancel flights for a day.

According to airline tracking service FlightAware.com, 1710 flights were cancelled, with major cancellations occurring at New Jersey's Newark Airport, New York's LaGuardia and J F K Airport.

The storm threatened to hamper the slow and difficult recovery process underway in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which a week after being ravaged by superstorm Sandy are still struggling to return to normalcy.

With millions already living without power in the wake of Sandy, the new storm left thousands more residents in the region without electricity.

New Jersey's utility company Public Service Electric and Gas said 181,000 customers were still without power due to hurricane Sandy and the number of additional outages due to Athena is about 60,000 statewide.

The company warned that the number of households without power would "undoubtedly" climb.

The northeaster storm also knocked out electricity to roughly 16,000 customers of New York's largest utility company Consolidated Edison.

In all, 80,000 Con Edison customers had no power last evening, up from about 64,000 earlier in the day, according to the company. — PTI




China's ruling party begins crucial meet

Beijing: Amidst calls for better government, China's ruling Communist Party opened a week-long Congress on Thursday to mark the beginning of a once-in-a-decade leadership change with the outgoing President Hu Jintao issuing a stark warning against corruption in the party ranks which he said could prove fatal and may lead to its collapse.

In his work report outlining the decade-long achievement of the party under his leadership, Hu said the Party must make unremitting efforts to combat corruption, promote integrity and stay vigilant against degeneration.

Hu said combating corruption and promoting political integrity, which is a major political issue of great concern to the people, is a clear-cut and long-term political commitment of the Party.

"If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the Party, and even cause the collapse of the Party and the fall of the state," Hu warned in his 41-page keynote report to the Congress attended by 2,270 delegates chosen from all over country.Back




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