Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011

Hina Rabbani pays obeisance at Ajmer Dargah Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday paid obeisance at the dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisty here.

Rabbani, who was accompanied by her delegation members, landed at Ghughra helipad near here and was received by District Collector Manju Rajpal and other officials.

After a brief halt at Ajmer circuit house, Khar went to the dargah where she offered a ‘Chadar’ and paid obeisance at Aastana Sharif.

In the visiting register, she expressed her wish to visit the Dargah again.

Hina Rabbani pays obeisance at Ajmer Dargah She stayed at the Dargarh for about 20 minutes.

This morning the Minister also gave a visit to the dargah of famous Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya in New Delhi, where she prayed for peace between the two countries.


July 29, 2011

Karnataka: BSY’s successor to be chosen today Karnataka BJP legislators are all set to elect their new leader on Friday to succeed corruption-tainted Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, who quit yesterday following his indictment in the illegal mining scam by the Lokayukta. The meeting to elect the new leader of the BJP legislative party will be attended by senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh, who will arrive here today.As per reports, the two leaders from the national capital will reach Bangalore in the afternoon. However, there still remains some confusion over the venue where the crucial meeting is to be held.

Today’s meeting has been necessitated by beleaguered Chief Minister’s resignation in the wake of his indictment by the state’s Lokayukta, N Santosh Hegde’s report on illegal mining.

Under intense pressure from all quarters, a defiant Yeddyurappa finally relented and resigned on Thursday.

In a press statement released from his office, the Karnataka CM confirmed that he will put in his papers on July 31.

Yeddyurappa said, “I have decided to tender my resignation as the Chief Minister of Karnataka as per the party’s directions. I have toiled hard for 40 years to build the party from scratch.”

“The month of ‘Ashada’ (considered inauspicious) will be over on July 30. I will be tendering my resignation as Chief Minister on the forenoon of July 31,” he said last night.

“I will continue to work for the development of the party in the state in future also, ” he added.

BJP sources said that Yeddyurappa sent his resignation to BJP president Nitin Gadkari following a meeting with the party high-command late last night. He is also believed to have raised objections over the names of his arch-rivals including Anant Kumar for the chief minister’s post.

He is believed to have told Gadkari that his future in the southern state must be protected.

Karnataka: BSY’s successor to be chosen today Although, BJP seems to be a little relieved with Yeddyurappa’s resignation, the political crisis in the southern state is still not over as the outgoing leader is still adamant on making his close associate Sadanand Gowda the next Chief Minister of Karnataka.

Yeddyurappa made his intentions clear after holding a meeting of his close confidants at his residence to discuss the next course of action.

On Thursday, eight ministers, two MPs and several BJP legislators had gathered at the Race Course residence of Yeddyurappa, who returned to Bangalore this morning after parleys with the BJP leadership in New Delhi which went on till 2 am.

It should be noted that Lokayukta Santosh Hegde had indicted Yeddyurappa for his role in the state’s illegal mining business and alleged that he received kickbacks for favouring mining barons.

Karnataka: BSY’s successor to be chosen today “The illegal mining business has caused a loss of Rs 16,085 crores to the state’s exchequer between 2006 and 2010,” Hegde had said addressing a press conference after submitting a huge 25,228-page long explosive report on illegal mining before chief secretary SV Ranganath.

In damning evidence against the Chief Minister, Justice Hegde had claimed that Yeddyurappa and his family have been beneficiaries of the largesse of mining companies.

“A mining company named the South West Mining Company, owned by Jindals, donated Rs 10 crore to a trust owned by Chief Minister’s family members. The company also purchased one acre of land for Rs 20 crore from the trust far above the guidance value. This makes for an offence under Prevention of Corruption Act,” the Lokayukta said.

The report further alleges that an educational trust run by the Chief Minister’s family allegedly received large sums of money in donations from mining companies.


July 29, 2011

Ready to face bullets: Anna Hazare Delhi: Gandhian activist Anna Hazare on Friday called on the people of the nation to join the struggle for a strong Lokpal Bill. Speaking exclusively to Zee News, Hazare said he was ready to go jail and eve face bullets for the cause.

Hazare had yesterday announced that he would again sit on fast from August 16 as the government has betrayed the nation on the issue of drafting a strong Lokpal Bill. It should be noted that the Union Cabinet had yesterday approved the draft Lokpal Bill but decided to keep the serving Prime Minister and the judiciary out of its ambit.

Slamming the government for betraying the nation, Hazare said the government’s intention to tackle corruption is doubtful. Hazare, whose April 5 indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi united people across the country, said the battle for a strong Lokpal Bill would be the second freedom struggle.

He made it clear that every official needs to come under the ambit of Lokpal.

“This is democracy; the government has to make laws according to people’s wishes,” he said.

“If the nation fails to wake up today, corruption will never end,” he added.

Accusing the government of trying to kill democracy, Hazare said the government should remember that his team is prepared to face a Baba Ramdev like crackdown.

Ready to face bullets: Anna Hazare The anti-graft Lokpal Bill approved by the Union Cabinet yesterday will be introduced in Parliament in the Monsoon Session that begins on August 01.

The nine-member Lokpal will be headed by a former Supreme Court or High Court chief justice, according to the draft legislation.

Half the remaining members will be from the judiciary and the others should be persons of “impeccable integrity” and should have 25 years of experience in the anti-corruption field.

The Prime Minister won’t come under the purview of the Bill during his period in office, but will be covered by it after he leaves the post. The statute of limitations under the Bill is seven years.


July 29, 2011

Kasab appeals against death sentence in SC Delhi: Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist involved in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the death sentence awarded to him.

As per reports, Kasab has filed his appeal with the help of Arthur Road Jail authorities.

His appeal has been sent to the Supreme Court Secretary-General. Once the appeal is processed and numbered by the registry, the Supreme Court will list it for hearing.

Kasab, who in many ways represents the face of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India, was sentenced to the death by a trial court in May 2010 after it found him guilty of 80 offences, including waging war against the nation.

The trial court verdict was upheld by the Mumbai High Court on February 21, 2011.

Kasab, who hails from Faridkot village in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was among the group of terrorists who came from Pakistan by boat and staged 10 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai for three days from 26 November 2008.

Kasab was under instructions from his Pakistani handlers to keep killing until he died, but was captured by police. During interrogation, he revealed that he and the other gunmen had plans to kill 5,000 people and destroy the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Kasab was convicted based on CCTV footage showing him striding across the Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus with an AK-47 and a backpack. While convicting him, the court had ruled that Kasab was guilty of directly killing seven people and a total of 59 with associate Abu Ismail, who was shot dead after running into a police picket at Girgaum Chowpatty.

Kasab appeals against death sentence in SC In the 21 February order upholding Kasab’s death sentence, a two-judge division bench of the High Court comprising justices Ranjana Desai and RV More had observed, “This is rarest of rare matter so he should face capital punishment.”

Highlighting the magnitude of the attack, and extent of planning that went into it, the court considered him “a threat to society.”


July 25, 2011

President owns assets worth Rs 5.6 crore Delhi: Setting a precedent for all those who hold high offices, President Pratibha Patil, Monday, declared her assets.

The President has assets totalling 5 crore 61 lakh 1 thousand 639 rupees. She has Rs 1 lakh 87 thousand 166 rupees in cash. She also owns jewellery worth 31 lakh rupees. Besides these, she owns a house, a farmhouse, and has invested in bonds.

Patil took the decision though the Central Information Commission (CIC) had suggested that it is not mandatory for the President to declare her assets. The CIC made this observation even after assessing that various other functionaries like ministers, judges and election commissioners were making disclosures voluntarily.

Passing the order in this regard, Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi underlined that the commission is not expected to do so, as it is not mandated under the RTI Act.

President owns assets worth Rs 5.6 crore The observation came while hearing a plea of RTI activist Subhash Agarwal, seeking details of the assets of the President and her family.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reminded ministers about the annual declaration of assets along with that of their spouses. Former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar had also written to ministers in this regard on June 02.

More than 600 IAS officers of the 4,000-odd in the service have missed the May 31 deadline for declaration of assets, and the lists of movable and immovable properties of IPS officers are still trickling in.


July 25, 2011

Tie-up with Cong stays but no new ministers: DMK The DMK Sunday announced it would not nominate representatives for berths in the union cabinet left vacant after its tainted ministers resigned, but the alliance with the Congress will continue.

Speaking to reporters after the conclusion of party’s two day executive and general council meeting held in this Tamil Nadu textile town, Karunanidhi said the party will not send replacements for the two ministers, who had resigned, and the status quo will be maintained.

The two slots in the union cabinet fell vacant after the resignations of former communications minister A. Raja and former textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran.

Karunanidhi however stressed that his party’s relationship with Congress is intact.

He said the party is not seeking replacements owing to differences with Congress leaders in the state.

Karunanidhi chaired the executive council meeting Saturday and the general council meeting Sunday at Coimbatore, around 500 km from Chennai.

The two-day deliberations were overshadowed by the shadow boxing indulged by the party factions led by Karunanidhi’s two sons aspiring to be his political heir.

The rivalry between Karunanidhi’s sons – M.K. Alagiri and M.K. Stalin – that surfaced at the party’s council meeting Saturday was visible Sunday as well when a party veteran asked Karunanidhi to name a reliable leader to lead the party in the future.

At this, some started shouting “Thalapathi, Thalapathi (commander),” a sobriquet used for Stalin.

A lunch break was immediately announced.

Alagiri did not attend the post-lunch session.

Asked about this, Karunanidhi said that Alagiri did not boycott the post-lunch session.

At the party’s executive council meeting, supporters of Stalin wanted the party to elevate him which was opposed by members of the Alagiri faction.

The discussion on the succession issue was stopped with Karunanidhi wondering whether he should step down but other senior leaders stating that it was not the time to discuss about leadership change.

On Sunday, the party seemed to close the chapter on the succession issue, at least temporarily, with two resolutions lauding Karunanidhi as the most important leader of the Dravidian movement, saying that his services should continue to lead Tamil Nadu in future.

This, according to party insiders, was a signal to partymen that the talk of Karunanidhi’s succession was premature at this stage.

Tie-up with Cong stays but no new ministers: DMK In his media interaction, Karunanidhi said the party will stick to its inner party election schedule to queries about the leadership changes in the DMK.

The party will not change its leaders to suit media speculation, he said.

However, one of the 25 resolutions passed by the party Sunday was the constitution of a a seven-member committee to suggest ways for the organisational restructuring of the party.

The committee will be headed by party spokesperson and Lok Sabha member T.K.S. Elangovan.

Meanwhile the general council, which met for the first time since the party lost in the state assembly elections held in April, passed 25 resolutions Sunday.

However, none of them discussed the party’s relationship with the Congress or sending DMK’s representatives to the central government to fill the vacant slots.

The party leadership had earlier said the matter would be discussed and decided by the general council.

One of the general council resolutions flayed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for opposing bail for Karunanidhi’s daughter and DMK MP Kanimozhi, who is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail as a co-conspirator in the 2G spectrum scam.

Charging the CBI of acting in a discriminatory manner against Kanimozhi, the DMK said keeping her in jail for such a long time was against the principle of natural justice.

Another resolution hoped that both Raja and Maran would emerge clean on the charges against them.

On the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils, the DMK said that there should be a referendum on providing equal rights for the Tamils there and that India should act to bring the war criminals to book.

The party also called upon the central government to implement the Sethu Samudram ship channel project project at the earliest.

On the proposed anti-graft Lokpal bill, the party said the prime minister should be covered under the anti-graft law.

The DMK’s general council also passed resolutions condemning the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu for foisting what it called false land grab cases against partymen and for not distributing the uniform syllabus text books to school students despite a Supreme Court order.

It also criticised the state government for scrapping a proposal to revive the Upper House in the state.


July 25, 2011

Vastanvi removed as Deoband VC (UP): Darul Uloom Deoband’s Vice Chancellor Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi was on Sunday sacked for praising Narendra Modi five months after the reformist took over the reins of the prominent Islamic seminary.

His remarks on the Gujarat Chief Minister’s development policies and that Muslims should forget the communal riots of 2002 and move on had raised the hackles of the conservatives. His powers were spliced and a three-member inquiry was appointed in February which gave its report today.

“Maulana Vastanvi has been removed from the post of Vice Chancellor by Majlis-e-Shoora (governing council) of the seminary,” said Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani, who was appointed as Acting Vice Chancellor during an emergent meeting of the Shoora on February 23.

Nomani, who is in his 60s, will be the new chief of the 145-year-old Islamic seminary, the country’s largest.

A vote on the ouster of 60-year-old Vastanvi, who is an MBA with a Facebook page in his name, was held in a stormy meeting of the council. While opposing the report, Vastanvi demanded setting up of a new panel, but his plea was turned down by the Shoora.

Crying foul, Vastanvi said he was a victim of conspiracy. “This is injustice and a conspiracy against me.”

He alleged that the report was incomplete and he was removed from the post for opposing it.

The sacked vice-chancellor, who was born in Vastan village of south Gujarat and educated in a madrassa near Surat, said he will neither move court nor protest against the decision. Vastanvi said he will continue as a member of the Shoora. However, his supporters said they would press him to challenge the decision in the highest court.

Vastanvi removed as Deoband VC Nomani said that there were differences among the 14 Shoora members present at the meeting out of the 18. One of the members walked out before the voting while Vastanvi did not cast his ballot. He received four votes in favour and eight against.


July 23, 2011

Dhoni has made a mockery of Test cricket: Kapil

New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s decision to bowl his seam-up stuff during the second day of the Lord`s Test on Friday came under severe criticism from former India captain Kapil Dev, who feels that the current skipper made the mockery of Test cricket.

“Dhoni has made mockery of Test cricket by bowling (himself). This is not acceptable that on the second day of the Test match, you can`t do this,” a release from a news channel quoted Kapil as saying.

Kapil who never minces words was also scathing about Zaheer Khan suffering from hamstring injury.

“Zaheer is responsible for this. He has put the team in trouble. He should have known his fitness and tested his fitness levels before returning to test cricket,” he fumed.

Dhoni has made a mockery of Test cricket: Kapil

“It`s really tough to bowl 20 overs a day in Test cricket.

Zaheer is responsible for this. He has killed the possibility of India winning this Test match,” he added.

Zaheer suffered a hamstring strain in his right thigh on the first day of the Lord`s Test.


July 23, 2011

Now, farmers’ stir set to hit buyers in Noida

Noida: Encouraged by the Allahabad High Court verdict of halting the Noida Extension housing projects, farmers in Noida have now decided to move the judiciary for higher compensation for their land acquired in 2003.
The agitated farmers are demanding higher compensation for land acquired in Sector 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79 and 128.

Kisan Sangarsh Samiti has decided to move the High Court against the Noida Authority on Monday demanding developed land as promised to them by the Noida Development Authority.

A panchayat is also scheduled for today to take a decision on halting the construction of several ongoing projects.

The builders who are likely to be affected are Jaypee Group, Unitech, 3C and Purvanchal Group. All these projects lie on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway.

Hundreds of villagers from Sultanpur on Friday blocked a road construction work to protest against the delay in return of 5 percent developed land as promised to them by the Noida Development Authority.

The villagers blocked the work that was being carried out at Sector 128.

Farmers continued with their agitation at Sector 74 despite authority officials requesting them for a fortnight’s time to work out a solution.

Now, farmers’ stir set to hit buyers in Noida The officials claimed that over Rs 4,500 crore was invested for development of the area that included the construction of Hindon bridge and a highway connecting Greater Noida to Ghaziabad.

It is learnt that farmers from several villages – Magroli, Chaproli, Shahdara, Sultanpur, Asgarpur, Bajitpur, Jhatta Badoli Bangar and Moiyapur – held a panchayat in Shahdara, in which they decided to give two days’ ultimatum to the builders in Sectors 45,46,48 and 93 to either stop work or face agitation.

The Allahabad High Court, on July 20, postponed its verdict on the legality of land acquisition in two villages of the Greater Noida area popularly known as Noida Extension.

The High Court will announce its verdict on July 26 on the plea of farmers and villagers from Roja Yaqubpur and Bisarakh Jalalpur villages, who went to court against the Greater Noida Authority’s decision to acquire their land.

The court has already cancelled land acquisition in some other villages of Greater Noida in earlier judgements.

Home buyers to hold protest rally today

Meanwhile, about 30,000 flat buyers affected by the court’s decision to quash 750 hectares of land acquisition in Noida Extension will hold a protest rally today seeking an immediate solution to their crisis.

They will demand from the local authorities a way out to address the issue.

“We shall give a memorandum to chairman, GNIDA (Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority) demanding an immediate solution to the Noida Extension issue,” Noida Extension Flat Buyers Welfare Association (NEFBWA) President RP Tyagi said.

Earlier this week, NEFBWA had filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court pleading it to hear them before deciding on the land acquisition issue.

At present some more petitions are pending in the High Court, which is likely to announce its decisions next week.

On July 6, the Supreme Court had struck down acquisition of 156 hectares of land by GNIDA in Shahberi village in the area, saying the authorities were “subserving” private builders in the name of public interest. This decision affected about 6,000 home buyers.

Following this, the Allahabad High Court quashed acquisition of 589.13 hectares of land in Patwari and Dewla villages, falling under Dadri tehsil of Gautambuddh Nagar district, by the GNIDA. Builders claimed that the order would affect 20,000 home buyers and 11 projects.

The Noida Extension area is spread over 4,000 acres and an estimated 2.5 lakh houses are being built there. Out of this, about one lakh units have already been sold by builders.

The farmers of villages in Noida Extension have also moved the Allahabad High Court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the acquisition of their lands under emergency provisions by the state government.


July 23, 2011

Relief for Salman Khan: Black buck case deferred

Jodhpur: The Rajasthan High Court on Friday deferred till August 8 the black buck case hearing involving Bollywood actors Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Tabu after defence lawyers sought time.

Counsel RL Jhangid and Mahipal Bishnoyi appeared before the court of Justice RS Chauhan from government’s side. Advocate Hastimal Saraswat represented Salman Khan and other actors.

Superstar Salman Khan alongwith other co-stars had allegedly hunted two black bucks on September 27, 1998 while shooting for the movie titled “Hum Saath Saath Hain”.

On 17 February, 2006, the court of the chief judicial magistrate sentenced Salman Khan to one-year imprisonment. Salman appealed against the verdict in the Sessions Court. The state government had filed an appeal in the High Court stating the sentence was inadequate.