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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Ishrat case: CBI gives clean chit to Modi aide Amit Shah
Ahmedabad, May 7
Citing insufficient evidence, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi's close aide and Gujarat's former Home Minister Amit Shah in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004. "There is no sufficient evidence against Amit Shah. Hence, the CBI has not chargesheeted him," CBI inspector Vishwas Kumar Meena said in an affidavit filed before the special CBI court. "It is most respectfully submitted that Shah was not named in the FIR of the case.

INS Vikramaditya is now operational: Navy Chief
New Delhi, May 7
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan today announced that the country’s sea-borne aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, was now fully operational and integrated with the western Naval fleet based in Mumbai. The 44,500-tonne Russian-origin carrier is based at Karwar, south of Goa.


EARLIER STORIES



Assam violence
CM to snap ties with BPF if charges proved
Bhangarpar (Assam), May 7
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said his government will break the alliance with the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) if allegations of the Hagra Mohilary-led party's involvement in killing Muslims were found to be true. "I will severe ties with the BPF if they are actually involved in killing the Muslims. I will not even take more than 5 minutes to do so,” Gogoi told reporters after meeting the victims of Narayanguri and Hagrabari villages here.

Assam CM Tarun Gogoi consoles a violence victim. pti

SC redefines separation of powers of 3 govt branches
New Delhi, May 7
The Supreme Court today enunciated seven principles to identify the ‘Lakshman rekha’ that separated the powers of the three organs of the state — Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. A five-member Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha held that separation of powers was based on the principles of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution. Accordingly, breach of judicial power would amount to negation of equality under Article 14 and as a consequence the SC and high courts had the power to invalidate laws on this basis.

Cong keeps options open, doesn’t rule out UPA-III
New Delhi, May 7
 With one phase left to decide the future political course of the country, the Congress today exuded confidence of faring well above everyone’s expectations and indicated that all post-poll options were open. The indications came from top party strategists monitoring election trends as phases go by. All of them believe the Congress has recovered lost ground in the last four phases of polling and the results could be “surprising” as evident from BJP’s desperate measures such its PM nominee Narendra Modi’s “deliberate casteist misinterpretation of Priyanka Gandhi’s low (neech) level of politics” barb on Modi.

A reunion with a difference
Regimental reunions are an integral part of military culture that bonds the old with the young, boosts camaraderie and strengthens tradition. While reunions are generally associated with a single regiment, there was one with a difference that was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan this week. First, it was hosted by the President, Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces and second, it was a reunion of officers who had serves as aide-de-camp (ADC) to the Presidents, who come from all three services and different regiments.

House panel raps IGNOU for closing community colleges
New Delhi, May 7
Unhappy over unreasonable closure of close to 500 community colleges by IGNOU, a parliamentary committee has recommended an independent probe into reasons for such closure which affected the academic careers of thousands of students. The parliamentary standing committee on HRD in its report on the functioning of IGNOU has also raised serious questions over the appointment by HRD Ministry of Prof M. Aslam as the then acting V-C of the IGNOU and called for an inquiry into the matter.

Air Chief given demo of DRDO’s new projects
Chandigarh, May 7
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha (second from left) and Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory Director Dr Manjit Singh (second from right) at TBRL ranges at Ramgarh on Wednesday. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha today visited the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) ranges at Ramgarh near Chandigarh today for technical discussions and review of the joint collaborative projects being undertaken by the TBRL and the Air Force.


Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha (second from left) and Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory Director Dr Manjit Singh (second from right) at TBRL ranges at Ramgarh on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph






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Ishrat case: CBI gives clean chit to Modi aide Amit Shah

Ahmedabad, May 7
Citing insufficient evidence, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi's close aide and Gujarat's former Home Minister Amit Shah in the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004.

"There is no sufficient evidence against Amit Shah. Hence, the CBI has not chargesheeted him," CBI inspector Vishwas Kumar Meena said in an affidavit filed before the special CBI court. "It is most respectfully submitted that Shah was not named in the FIR of the case. The CBI has also not named him in the chargesheet as an accused," he said.

The premier investigating agency also sought dismissal of the plea by Gopinath Pillai, father of Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, who was among those killed with Ishrat, to arraign Shah and the Ahmedabad police commissioner KR Kaushik in the case.

Pillai had cited the resignation letter of DG Vanzara, suspended IPS officer and an accused in the Ishrat Jahan case, in support of his petition. Vanzara, once considered close to Modi, had last September announced his resignation from the IPS, accusing the state government of not protecting police officers jailed in connection with alleged staged encounter cases. He had then claimed those officers had "simply implemented the conscious policy" of the state government.

Several allegedly fake encounters of claimed terrorists, including those of Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati, had taken place when Amit Shah was Minister of State for Home. Shah, an accused in both cases, is presently out on bail. In his resignation letter, Vanzara had targeted Shah, whom he described as an "evil" influence on Modi.

The CBI, in its affidavit today, said, "The said resignation letter contains general allegations and does not provide concrete information about the role of Shah in this offence. After receiving the letter, the CBI examined Vanzara in jail. However, he has not disclosed any further details during his examinations."

Apart from giving a clean chit to Shah, BJP general secretary and Modi's pointsman in the key battleground state of Uttar Pradesh, the CBI also said there was no evidence against Kaushik to show his involvement in the encounter and so he was made a witness in the case.

In two earlier chargesheets, the CBI included seven Gujarat cops, including IPS officer PP Pandey and DG Vanjara, and four IB officials for illegal custody, conspiracy and murder. — Agencies

The fake encounter

  • Mumbra college girl Ishrat (19), Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed in an encounter with the Gujarat Police on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004
  • The policemen claimed they had been told by the Intelligence Bureau that the four were terrorists planning to assassinate Gujarat CM Narendra Modi
  • The CBI told a special court it did not find "sufficient evidence to arraign Amit Shah (then MoS for Home) and retired IPS officer KR Kaushik as accused" in the case

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INS Vikramaditya is now operational: Navy Chief
Tribune News Service


A MiG 29-K fighter jet takes off from INS Vikramaditya. A Tribune photo

New Delhi, May 7
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan today announced that the country’s sea-borne aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, was now fully operational and integrated with the western Naval fleet based in Mumbai. The 44,500-tonne Russian-origin carrier is based at Karwar, south of Goa.

Dhowan made the announcement on a routine visit to the Southern Naval Command at Kochi in Kerala. The Navy Chief said: “INS Vikramaditya is operationally deployed with MiG 29-Ks integrated with the carrier.”

The warship, costing $2.35 billion, arrived in India in December last year, almost five years after its original delivery deadline of December 2008. Russia had offered the warship to India in 1995 with the clause that New Delhi was to pay for the refit.

Since December, Indian Naval pilots were being trained for on-deck landing and take-off. “Resistor-E” system aids pilots and guides the fighter jet in autopilot mode. It takes the jet just 30 metre away from the warship after which the pilot takes over for a final landing. It is the first-ever such facility onboard an Indian naval warship.

All this is handled by the “Resistor-E”, which comprises a microwave landing system, precision approach radar and a beacon. This is like an instrument-aided landing system (ILS) installed at airports, which allow operations in all weather conditions. An array of sensors, radars and communication aids, the Vikramaditya is capable of detecting threats within 500 km of air space. Besides the fighter jets, the Kamov-28 and Kamov-31 helicopters specialising in anti-submarine warfare pick out under-sea threats.

The INS Vikramditya will augment the Navy’s stated blue-water aspirations and a role in protection of sea lines of communication (SLOCs) passing through the Indian Ocean and will be the second carrier after ageing re-fitted INS Viraat.

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Assam violence
CM to snap ties with BPF if charges proved

Bhangarpar (Assam), May 7
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said his government will break the alliance with the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) if allegations of the Hagra Mohilary-led party's involvement in killing Muslims were found to be true. "I will severe ties with the BPF if they are actually involved in killing the Muslims. I will not even take more than 5 minutes to do so,” Gogoi told reporters after meeting the victims of Narayanguri and Hagrabari villages here.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the incidents and the state government is separately inquiring the massacre, he said.

On demand for dissolving the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD), Gogoi said: “I cannot comment on that as it was created by the Centre and is a Constitutional issue.” The Chief Minister termed the killings by Bodo militants as "inhuman, barbaric and uncivilised".

“We will take all possible steps to arrest the culprits. People have given us some names and a few have already been arrested," he said.

Gogoi also said the state government would take care of all children whose parents were killed by the Bodos.

Earlier, victims urged Gogoi to dissolve the BTAD.

Meanwhile, five bodies fished out today from Beki River that flows from Baksa district, are yet to be identified and includes that of a 10-year-old girl bearing bullet injuries on her head. With the recovery of the bodies the violence toll has mounted to 41, sources said. — PTI

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SC redefines separation of powers of 3 govt branches
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 7
The Supreme Court today enunciated seven principles to identify the ‘Lakshman rekha’ that separated the powers of the three organs of the state — Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. A five-member Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha held that separation of powers was based on the principles of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution. Accordingly, breach of judicial power would amount to negation of equality under Article 14 and as a consequence the SC and high courts had the power to invalidate laws on this basis.

“Independence of courts from the Executive and Legislature is fundamental to the rule of law and one of the basic tenets of Indian Constitution. Separation of judicial power is a significant constitutional principle,” the SC clarified. The other judges on the Bench were Justices HL Dattu, CK Prasad, Madan B Lokur and MY Eqbal.

The court came out with the observations under the heading “summary of separation of powers doctrine under the Indian Constitution” in its 158-page verdict in a water dispute case involving Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Mullaperiyar dam.

After devoting more than 30 pages to cite earlier rulings in dozens of cases and of the top courts in other countries on the subject, the Bench said the constitutional scheme in India “is not different from the constitutions of the countries which contain express provision for separation of powers.” It said the doctrine would apply to the final judgments of courts.

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Cong keeps options open, doesn’t rule out UPA-III
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
With one phase left to decide the future political course of the country, the Congress today exuded confidence of faring well above everyone’s expectations and indicated that all post-poll options were open.

The indications came from top party strategists monitoring election trends as phases go by. All of them believe the Congress has recovered lost ground in the last four phases of polling and the results could be “surprising” as evident from BJP’s desperate measures such its PM nominee Narendra Modi’s “deliberate casteist misinterpretation of Priyanka Gandhi’s low (neech) level of politics” barb on Modi. The “options open” talk is critical as it follows Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s statement on May 4 that the Congress won’t support any front as it would get the numbers necessary for government formation.

But Congress insiders said Rahul’s statement was strategic and meant to underline the pre-eminence of Congress vis-ŕ-vis the Third Front. “He was telling people not to be deluded by any front as there was none. He was telling them to vote for the Congress,” said leaders. Asked if Rahul didn’t mean the Congress would sit in the Opposition in case its numbers fall below expectations, a top strategist said, “It would be better to sit in the Opposition if we don’t have the numbers but that would depend on the pressure brought on us by secular parties to keep Modi out.” On the issue of former PM Rajiv Gandhi deciding to sit in the Opposition in 1989 after Congress tally dropped to around 180 something after the previous 400, Congress strategists said, “That was a mighty drop but this time if our numbers drop from 206 to say 130, that would not be such a major drop. Also there is a larger national interest at stake here. We genuinely believe Modi is a danger to the idea of India and needs to be kept out.” Positive of getting 100 plus, Congress strategists believe that the NDA can form the government if it crosses the 220 mark which is not very easy. “If the single largest party fails to form the government and we believe we can offer a credible alternative, we can do that. Much will depend on the performance of regional parties. If regional parties inimical to Modi bag 150 seats and we get around 130 it would not be impossible to see a Congress government or a new version of UPA 3 which would have allies not present in UPA 1 and 2. Parties will be willing to come to us,” said party leaders.

Results could be surprising: Party strategists

  • Top party strategists monitoring election trends believe the Congress has recovered lost ground in the last four phases of polling and the results could be "surprising"
  • The "options open" talk is critical as it follows Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's statement on May 4 that the Congress won't support any front as it would get the numbers necessary for government formation

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MATTERS MILITARY
A reunion with a difference



President Pranab Mukherjee addresses serving and retired officers during the first official reunion of ADCs to the President in Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Regimental reunions are an integral part of military culture that bonds the old with the young, boosts camaraderie and strengthens tradition. While reunions are generally associated with a single regiment, there was one with a difference that was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan this week. First, it was hosted by the President, Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces and second, it was a reunion of officers who had serves as aide-de-camp (ADC) to the Presidents, who come from all three services and different regiments.

The first such official reunion saw officers converging on Raisina Hill from not just across country but from the US, Australia, UK, Egypt and the UAE. The event was attended by the past and present ADCs representing the time of all the Presidencies since Independence. Rear Adm Kirpal Singh (Retd.), ADC to C. Rajagopalachari and Air Marshal MM Sinha (Retd), ADC to Dr Rajendra Prasad were amongst the oldest former ADCs present. Lt Gen Rameshwar Yadav, Director General Infantry, and Lt Gen SK Gadeock, Commandant, Staff College, Wellington, were the senior most serving former ADCs.

Packing a punch for Navy

After being in the doldrums for quite a while over a series of mishaps and consequent changes at its helm, the Navy now appears to be sailing on the high tide. After its largest warship, the recently inducted aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, becoming fully operational, the Navy is set to commission its most powerful indigenously built destroyer, INS Kolkata. Navy sources said the ship could be commissioned in about a month’s time. Constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited INS Kolkata is the lead ship of the three guided-missile destroyers being built under Project 15A. The ship was also in the news recentlty when a gas leak during trials killed a naval officer. Its sister ship, INS Kochi is expected to be commissioned in October, while the third ship, INS Chennai would join the Navy mid next year.

Band of brothers

In a rare instance, two brothers, both of whom have risen to the rank of Air Marshal, have been posted at Air Headquarters at the same time. Air Marshal SBP Sinha, has taken over as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, while his elder brother, Air Marshal BBP Sinha was already serving as the Director General (Works and Services) at the Air HQs. While the deputy chief, a fighter pilot with experience on the Hunter, MiG-21, Mirage 2000 and Su-30MKI, will be associated with acquisitions and combat capability, his brother would be overseeing the IAF’s infrastructure and allied facilities. There have been several instances in the armed forces, especially the army, where siblings have made it to the top echelon.

(Vijay Mohan)

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House panel raps IGNOU for closing community colleges
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
Unhappy over unreasonable closure of close to 500 community colleges by IGNOU, a parliamentary committee has recommended an independent probe into reasons for such closure which affected the academic careers of thousands of students. The parliamentary standing committee on HRD in its report on the functioning of IGNOU has also raised serious questions over the appointment by HRD Ministry of Prof M. Aslam as the then acting V-C of the IGNOU and called for an inquiry into the matter.

Though this appointment was against the IGNOU Act 1985 which says the senior most Pro Vice Chancellor should take over as acting V-C in the event of a permanent V-C retiring, Prof Aslam, the report says, was made acting VC after the expiry of the term of previous V-C on October 20, 2011.

At that time Prof Aslam was senior most professor among the Directors of Schools at IGNOU. He was not the senior most Pro V-C who should have been appointed as per the IGNOU Act 1985. If that was less, Aslam was later made permanent V-C till he retired on July 31, 2012; this despite his appointment being challenged in the court.

Closure of community colleges by IGNOU however attracts maximum attention of the parliamentary panel which wondered why the scheme started in 2009 was wrapped up in its fledgling years with students who were enrolled left in the lurch.

Such colleges were set up by IGNOU by signing MOUs after they called for expressions of interests from registered institutions interested in opening community colleges. Colleges were set up in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Delhi and their representatives informed the parliament panel that admissions were to start from 2010-2011.

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Air Chief given demo of DRDO’s new projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha today visited the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) ranges at Ramgarh near Chandigarh today for technical discussions and review of the joint collaborative projects being undertaken by the TBRL and the Air Force. He was briefed about the activities and facilities at TRBL by its director, Dr Manjit Singh and presentations were made on the new projects taken up by TBRL, that include development of fuses for air armament, high calibre bomb, deep earth penetrator and the jet propulsion system for RTRS National Test facility.

The Air Chief was also shown experimental trials on Flux Compression Generator. TRBL is a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

Earlier, on his arrival at Chandigarh, he was received by Air officer Commanding, 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD), Air Cmde AK Barik and was presented a guard of honour. He was briefed on the operational and administrative aspects of the Chandigarh Air Force Station that includes 12 Wing, an operational transport base and the lifeline to the northern Himalayan region, and 3 BRD that carries out repair, overhaul and maintenance of helicopters.

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