L A T E S T      N E W S

PM meets Mayawati ahead of Parliament session

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday reached out to BSP supremo Mayawati ahead of winter session of Parliament, but she remained evasive on her party’s stand on plans by Trinamool Congress to bring a motion against FDI.

Singh hosted a luncheon for Mayawati, whose party is extending outside support to the UPA government.

The meeting came just days after the Prime Minister hosted a dinner for Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The meetings with the two outside supporters of the government are being seen as an effort by the UPA to reach out to Yadav and Mayawati after the Trinamool Congress, having 19 members in the Lok Sabha, pulled out of the UPA.

After the meeting, when Mayawati was asked about her stand on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that her party could bring a no-confidence motion against the government on the FDI issue, she remained evasive.

“I have spoken about this in detail in our party rally in Lucknow on October 9. We will take whatever steps necessary keeping in mind what we had said in that rally,” she said.

“Whenever such a situation crops up, ask us this question but why do you want our response in advance,” she retorted, adding that her party members have authorised her to take a final decision on supporting the UPA. She has, however, not taken a call on the issue so far.

Mayawati played down the meeting with the Prime Minister, which came hours before his dinner meeting with UPA allies on Sunday night.

“The Prime Minister had invited me for lunch as you know we are a political party. And in politics these lunches, dinners and meetings keep happening ... but I think this should not be linked with the Parliament session. I have been meeting (the PM) on occasions ... this is a part of politics,” she said. — PTIBack





Govt to consider multi-member CAG

NEW Delhi: Battered by various CAG reports on alleged scams, government says it is “actively” considering a proposal to make the official auditor a multi-member body. 

Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office V.Narayanasamy says Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has become “more impatient” and he wants that all constitutional bodies to work within their parameters. 

“It (making CAG a multi-member body) is under active consideration. The government is actively considering it,” he told PTI in an interview. 

Narayanasamy was replying to a question about a suggestion by former Comptroller and Auditor General V.K.Shunglu that the post of CAG be made a multi-member body. 

Shunglu suggested that “a three-member body would obtain greater transparency in its operation. One member should possess professional accounting qualifications, Chartered Accountant or its equivalent. This should not seem to exclude an Indian Audits and Accounts Service officer from the triumvirate, who has wide exposure to finance, audit and accounts and best international practices in these areas,” Shunglu had said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. 

Apparently referring to comments made by incumbent CAG Vinod Rai on various occasions, he said, “It is unfortunate (that) the constitutional body in this country is commenting on the government taking some decisions. Of late I have found, CAG is making remarks which are unwarranted. According to me, it is unwarranted and unnecessary. I think, nowadays he (Rai) has become more impatient. That is what I feel from my side. By saying this I am not criticising. I am telling that everybody in the government has to function within the parameters given to them,” Narayanasamy said. 

The minister said the mandate of the CAG is to consider whether the expenditures incurred by the various agencies of the government of India are done properly. 

“In my opinion, the CAG is going beyond its mandate. It is my personal view. Not an official view. Every constitutional body, whether the CAG, CVC or the EC or even for the ministers, we have to work within the framework of the Constitution, under the rules framed by the government of India,” Narayanasamy, who represents Puducherry constituency in Lok Sabha, said. 

He said my request to the CAG is that he should work within its parameters, within the constitutional framework, the duties which have been assigned to him otherwise there would be great injustice. 

When asked about the CAG reports on 2G spectrum and coal blocks allocations claiming irregularities, Mr.Narayanasamy said, “Whether there are irregularities or there is any corruption that has to be looked into by the system given that is the Parliament. CAG report is a draft report. It is submitted before the Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha will forward it to the Public Accounts Committee. The PAC will go into the observations made by the CAG and they have to give their findings. Simply because the CAG says it, it is not final”. 

The minister said the CAG report has to be tested by PAC. 

“They are the body of the Parliament. They will give their report and then only the government can act. The government will not act only on the CAG report. The PAC will examine the report of the CAG. There are thousands of reports submitted by the CAG. They have indicted chief ministers of various states, ministers of various states, officers of various states and Union government. If we go just by the CAG report being made final, no chief minister will continue,” he said. 

The minister echoed his party colleague Digvijay Singh’s comments of seeking a check on reports allegedly being leaked from the CAG office. 

“I saw our Congress general secretary and former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh saying that draft reports are being leaked from CAG. The entire issue is before the reports were submitted they were in public domain. It is under whose custody? Why has it gone to public? Who is responsible for this,” he asked. — PTI Back





BBC's Director-General quits over false child abuse report

LONDON: The Director-General of the BBC, George Entwistle, has resigned a day after it emerged that it’s flagship current affairs program wrongly accused a former Conservative politician in child abuse. 

The news was announced by Entwistle and BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten in a statement outside Broadcasting House on Saturday. 

According to BBC, Entwistle said the “wholly exceptional” events of last week had convinced him to do the “honourable thing” and stand down. 

“When appointed to the role, with 23 years’ experience as a producer and leader at the BBC, I was confident the trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead,” he said. 

“However the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader.” 

Lord Patten said the new acting director general would be Tim Davie, adding that  Entwistle’s resignation was “one of the saddest evenings of my public life“. 

“At the heart of the BBC is its role as a trusted global news organisation,” said Patten. 

“As the editor-in-chief of that news organisation George has very honourably offered us his resignation because of the unacceptable mistakes the unacceptable shoddy journalism which has caused us so much controversy.” 

Following news of the resignation, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “It is a regrettable but the right decision. It is vital that credibility and public trust in this important national institution is restored. It is now crucial that the BBC puts the systems in place to ensure it can make first class news and current affairs programmes.” 

Entwistle’s resignation follows a day of heavy criticism which saw the director general mauled on the Radio 4’s Today programme by John Humphreys, who probed the recently appointed Editor-in-Chief as to why he hadn’t taken more of an interest into the programme’s output, particularly in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. 

Entwistle told Humphreys: “In the light of what has happened here I wish this was referred to me, but it wasn’t. I found out about the film the following day.” 

In a brutal examination of his boss’s failings, Humphrey barked: “So there is no natural curiosity, you wait for somebody to come along to you and say ‘Excuse me director general, but this is happening and you may be interested’?” 

“You don’t look for yourself, you don’t do what everybody else in the country does, read newspapers, listen to everything that’s going on and say ‘What’s happening here?’” 

Labour deputy leader and shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman, on Saturday evening, waded into the row, emphasising that something had gone “badly wrong” at Newsnight. 

“The director general only took over the leadership of the BBC eight weeks ago, but he needs to show decisively that he is addressing the systemic problems which are in evidence here,” she said. 

Throughout the day, pundits and politicians lined up to point out the failings of the programme, its staff and the director general, including a broadside from parliamentary culture select committee chairman John Whittingdale, who slammed the BBC chief’s “extraordinary lack of curiosity” in Newsnight’s investigations. 

During his savaging on the Today programme, Entwistle apologised for Newsnight’s investigation leading to the incorrect “outing” of Lord McAlpine as the senior Tory paedophile, calling the reports “unacceptable”, and announcing he would look into the affair and that he had “taken clear and decisive action to start to find out what happened and put things right”.— PTIBack





BJP's last ditch effort to prevent Yeddyurappa from quitting fails

BANGALORE: A last ditch effort by BJP to prevent BS Yeddyurappa from quitting the party has apparently failed with the former Karnataka chief minister on Sunday sticking to his decision to float a new party on December nine. Yeddyurappa, who was made to step down as the chief minister last year,
virtually shut the doors of negotiations, declaring he has already travelled a lot of distance in moving away from BJP and that there was no change in his plans to launch his new regional party as planned on December nine at a rally at Haveri, some 350 km from here.

BJP leader Arun Jaitely, who arrived here last night, keeping his trouble-shooting mission under wraps, met Yeddyurappa at the residence of an RSS leader and tried to persuade the lingayat strongman to reconsider his decision to bid good bye to the party, BJP sources said.

Though, the sources said Yeddyurappa met Jaitley last night and that he ruled out any reconciliation, the former Chief Minister, however, refused to admit that such a meeting took place.

"There is no change in my plan to launch new party on December nine. Unmindful of whether anyone joins me on that day, I will go ahead with it. There is no question of looking back", Yeddyurappa told reporters at his residence here.

Yeddyurappa, who has been fuming at the BJP leadership at the Centre and in the state for "ill-treatment" meted out to him, said Jaitley was in the city to hold talks with him, but he did not meet him last night.

"I have respect for Jaitley. But there is no question of meeting any one or going back on my decision. I am not leaving BJP out of vengeance. I have certain dreams for Karnataka, which I could not realise when I was in BJP.

"Now I want to realise those dreams of making Karnataka a progressive state," he said.

Yeddyurappa said he banked on the support of people.

The 70-year-old Karnataka leader, who had played a key role in installing the first-ever BJP government in the South, said he was not floating a new political outfit to become chief minister or get any other post.

He also ruled out the possibility of his accepting any position like chief ministership or party presidentship in BJP.

According to the party sources, Jaitley was expected to return to Delhi on Sunday.Back— PTI





Govt serves Rs 5 cr demand notice on Ramdev
trusts for alleged tax evasion

NEW DELHI: The government has slapped a notice of Rs 5 crore demand on trusts run by Ramdev in connection with alleged service tax evasion while organising their yoga camps. 

Claiming that camps undertaken by Patanjali Yoga Peeth and Divya Yoga Trust in Haridwar were commercial activity, the revenue department has raised a demand of Rs 5.14 crore payable on fees collected from individuals for learning Yoga, officials said. 

"The directorate general of central excise intelligence has sent notices for alleged service tax evasion to the tune of Rs 5.14 crore late last month. The demands have been raised for its assessment for period between 2007-08 and 2011-12," a finance ministry official said. 

When contacted, Ramdev's spokesperson S K Tijarawala said the trusts and its activities like conducting yoga camps are exempted from service tax net as they are doing charitable activities for medical relief. 

"Trusts' activities are barred from service tax as it is for the purpose for providing medical relief to poor. We do not have any thing to hide," he contended. 

According to the finance ministry official, the notices were issued late last month after it found substantial documentary evidence that the trusts were avoiding service tax by conducting semi and fully residential yoga camps and calling them charitable in nature and thus claiming exemption. 

"The trusts were taking donations from participants of yoga camps. They were also conducting a residential yoga camps through Swami Shankardev Vanprastha Asharam scheme," the official said. 

The notices, issued to the trusts, also mentioned that the finance ministry is in the process of cancelling the I-T exemption status given to Ramdev trusts. 

Thousands of people participate in the yoga camps conducted across the country by Swami Ramdev and trusts managed by him. 

Ramdev, who is leading a campaign against black money in the country, also manages trusts which manufactures and sells ayurvedic medicines in India and abroad. 

The yoga guru has declared capital of Rs 426.19 crore involving four trusts run by him — Divya Yoga Mandir trust (Rs 249.63 crore), Patanjali Yoga Peeth trust (Rs 164.80 crore), Bharat Swabhiman trust (Rs 9.97 crore) and Acharyakul Shiksha Sansthan (Rs 1.79 crore).— PTI




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |