L A T E S T      N E W S

Kejriwal orders probe into gas price hike issue, 
names Moily, Deora

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Government on Tuesday ordered the filing of criminal cases against Union minister Veerappa Moily, former minister Murli Deora, Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani and others following complaints of irregularities in pricing of natural gas in the KG basin.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi Government has been asked to probe the matter based on a complaint filed by former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subrmanian, Admiral Tahiliani, former Navy Chief and eminent lawyer Kamini Jaiswal besides a former Expenditure Secretary.

“Today we have asked the ACB to probe the case. We are filing a criminal case against Murli Deora. FIRs are being filed against Moily, Mukesh Ambani former DG of Hydrocarbons V K Sibal, Reliance Industries Ltd and others,” he said addressing a press conference here.

Without explaining whether the Delhi Government has jurisdiction to probe the case, Kejriwal alleged that Reliance Industries Ltd was benefited as Oil Ministry decided to hike the natural gas price to USD 8 per million British thermal unit as against current USD 4.2 from April 1.

He alleged that RIL did not produce adequate gas from eastern offshore KG basin block so as to put pressure on the government to hike the price. Reliance did not offer any immediate comments on the issue.

Union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily however, rejected Kejriwal’s allegations, saying price of petroleum products was fixed according to expert advice.

The government has already approved a proposal to price domestic gas at an average of international gas hub prices and actual cost of importing gas in its liquid form into India.

The Chief Minister said hiking the price of natural gas will have a “cascading effect” on the economy as rates of transportation, power production, fertilisers and food items will go up significantly. “I am writing to Prime Minister and the Oil Minister to kept the decision in abeyance pending the probe. I will also request PM to direct all ministries to cooperate with the probe,” Kejriwal said.

He said the complaint alleged “collusion between some Union ministers and Reliance Industries Ltd” that purportedly resulted in the decision to double the gas price from April 1. - PTI









Cong expels six Andhra Pradesh MPs opposing Telangana 

NEW DELHI: Cracking the whip, Congress today expelled six Lok Sabha MPs from Andhra Pradesh who opposed creation of Telangana and had given a notice of no-confidence motion against the government.

The MPs expelled by Congress president Sonia Gandhi are Sabbam Hari, G V Harsha Kumar, V Arun Kumar, L Rajagopal, R Sambasiva Rao and A Sai Pratap.

"Congress president Sonia Gandhi has approved the decision of the disciplinary committee of the AICC to expel the six MPs from Andhra Pradesh with immediate effect," said AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi in a press release.

The move comes days after the Union Cabinet cleared the proposal for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana.

There have been indications from the government that the bill on Telangana will be brought before Parliament in a couple of days.

Sabbam Hari and some other members had given a notice of no-confidence motion against the government a few days back.

Hari has also threatened self-immolation if the state is bifurcated.

With the decision to expel the MPs, Congress apparently seeks to send a strong message to party members including Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy who are fiercely opposing creation of Telangana even as the party has made up its mind on the issue.

Both the party and the government have repeatedly reiterated their commitment to creation of the separate state.

Meanwhile, contrary to earlier expectations, the Telangana bill will now be introduced in Lok Sabha first instead of Rajya Sabha with the government seeking a fresh recommendation from the President after the Upper House secretariat has held it as a money bill.

Sources said the move comes after questions were raised over the constitutionality of introducing the bill first in the Upper House. - PTI









US Ambassador to meet Modi

Washington: US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell plans to meet Narendra Modi, signalling a shift in America’s stand towards the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in connection with 2002 Gujarat riots.

“We can confirm the appointment (between Modi and Powell),” a State Department spokesperson told PTI. The request to meet Modi has been made by Powell herself, but the spokesperson did not comment on the possible date of the meeting, which is expected to take place in Ahmedabad this month.

“This is part of our concerted outreach to senior political and business leaders which began in November to highlight the US-India relationship,” the spokesperson said.

The go-ahead, just before the announcement of general elections in a few weeks from now, seems to have been taken after intensive debate within the various wings of the Obama Administration — the White House and the State Department in particular — with crucial inputs from the members of the Congress, and the influential leaders of the corporate sector, the US India Business Council in particular.

The Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP)-US president Chandrakant Patel welcomed the decision taken by the Obama Administration in this regard.

“We highly appreciate the decision taken by US President Barack Obama, and Secretary of State John Kerry. This would further help in strengthening of Indo-US relationship,” Patel said.

“Modi is the most popular leader of the country right now. Given that he has been given clean chit by all the courts in India, it was not fair on the part of the US to not to have relationship with Modi,” Patel said.

In 2005, the US State Department had revoked a visa that Modi had for travelling to the US in the wake of the 2002 riots in Gujarat. — PTI









India back in Olympic fold as IOC revokes IOA's suspension 

NEW DELHI: More than a year after being shunted out of the Olympic movement due to tainted officials, India was on Tuesday welcomed back by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) within days of conducting a fresh election in the IOA.

The IOC lifted the 14-month old ban on India after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) barred charge-framed officials from its fresh election held on Sunday in which World Squash Federation chief and younger brother of BCCI boss N. Srinivasan, N. Ramachandran, was elected as the president.

“The IOC has informed us through telephone that the ban on India has been lifted,” newly-elected IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta told PTI.

The decision comes after the IOC’s three observers for the elections left Indian shores “satisfied with the IOA elections promising to submit a “favourable report to the IOC President.”

Jerome Poivey, IOC’s head of institutional relations, event went on to state that the amended IOA constitution was one of the best in the world and it should be implemented fully.

All India Tennis Association (AITA) chief Anil Khanna was elected Treasurer in the polls which marked the exit of corruption-tainted Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot from the IOA.

It all started 14 months ago when on December 4, 2012, the IOC suspended the IOA for adhering to the government’s Sports Code and for allowing tainted persons to take part in the election process.

In an act of defiance, IOA went ahead with the polls next day. The world body refused to recognise Chautala and his team of office bearers.

The IOC later proposed a meeting with the IOA and government representatives but maintained that the Indian body must hold its elections solely under Olympic Charter to return to the Olympic fold.

After three postponements and controversy over the participation of two members representing the suspended IOA, the meeting took place on May 15 last at Lausanne, Switzerland with Sports Minister Jitendra Singh and Beijing Olympics gold winner shooter Abhinav Bindra attending it.

The IOC issued the roadmap for India’s return to the Olympic fold, asking IOA to amend its constitution before July 15 and elect new office bearers by September 1 last, both under the supervision of the world body. On August 15 last year, IOC stated that tainted persons will no longer be eligible to contest IOA elections.

But, a defiant IOA refused to implement the provision, saying that it had to follow the law of the land. The IOA even proposed to dilute the contentious clause, saying the chargesheet clause must apply only to convicted persons.

But the IOC shot down any compromise formula and asked the IOA to sack “charge-framed” officials through constitutional amendments by October 31 and conduct fresh elections by December 15 last. The IOC later agreed to IOA’s proposal to hold elections on Tuesday after IOA agreed to bar charge-framed persons from contesting the polls. — PTI












Iran successfully test-fires 2 missiles 

TEHRAN: Iran said today it has "successfully tested" two missiles on the eve of the 35th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The new generation of ballistic missile with a fragmentation warhead, and a Bina laser-guided surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missile, have been successfully tested," Defence Minister Hossein Dehgan said.

Iran has pursued military self-sufficiency since 1992. It produces tanks, jet fighters, submarines and warships, as well as weapons for these systems. From time to time it announces technological breakthroughs, most of which cannot be independently verified.

The report did not say if the missiles were new designs, but the term “new generation” suggests that they were upgrades of existing ones.

It said the ballistic missile had radar-evading capabilities, but did not give a name. It said the second missile was called Bina, or “Insightful,” and was laser-guided. It said it could be fired from the ground or from aircraft.

Iran already has surface-to-surface missiles with a range of about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the region.

Both Israel and the U.S. are at odds with Iran over its nuclear program and they have not ruled out a military option against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities. - AFP









Quake jolts China’s Xinjiang

BEIJING: A 5.4-magnitude earthquake hit a county of China’s north-western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday.

The epicenter, with a depth of 11 km, was monitored at about 36.1 degrees north latitude and 82.4 degrees east longitude, the China Earthquake Networks Center said in a statement.

It was followed by another 3.7-magnitude quake with a depth of 9 minutes later.

The quake jolted the region’s Yutian County in the prefecture of Hotan, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. - PTI










Proteas fans slam CSA for agreeing to ICC 'power' proposal

JOHANNESBURG: South African cricket fans have slammed Cricket South Africa (CSA) for agreeing to a proposal to put Australia, England and India in charge of world cricket. CSA voted in favour of the ICC's proposals effectively placing Australia, England and India in charge of the game, following which the board approved wide-ranging structural and governance reforms despite complaints that they place too much power in the hands of the 'Big Three'.

According to Sport24, although South Africa had previously opposed the reforms, but, in an 11th hour decision, CSA made a shock about-turn in favour at Singapore on Saturday, leading to angry fans hitting out at the board and calling them 'bunch of losers', 'gutless', 'pathetic pussy cats' and 'spineless sellouts'.

A fan called for the 'stoning' of 'incompetent' CSA president Chris Nenzani for his 'betrayal', while another slammed the CSA for making political appointments that are incapable of making decisions in the interest of the game.

Man fans were livid at what they believed to be a supposed exchange of heavy cash for the CSA turnaround, and said that the board is only interested in the money and not the game of cricket, which is a shame given that they had lived through the days of apartheid and isolation and had managed to survive. - ANI 











Another youth from north-east attacked

NEW DELHI: In a fresh case of a north-eastern youth being attacked in the national Capital, a 22-year-old Manipuri man was stabbed by some unidentified men in south Delhi's Mehrauli area in the wee hours today.

The man identified as Ksupsikren was stabbed in his stomach and has been admitted to a hospital in Saket, police said, adding he is out of danger now.

A group of men waylaid the victim when he was returning home from work around 4 AM, they said.

"Prima facie it seems to be a case of robbery. The men tried to snatch his mobile and when he resisted, they stabbed him and fled from the spot," a police official said.

Senior police officials are on the spot and a manhunt has been launched to nab the culprits, police said.

The incident comes two days after two youths from Manipur were allegedly beaten with sticks in Ambedkar Nagar area of south Delhi on Sunday night.

A youth from Arunachal Pradesh recently died after he was allegedly assaulted by some shopkeepers in Lajpat Nagar area.

A 14-year-old Manipuri girl was raped in south Delhi's Munirka area last week. — 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 |