September 15, 2011
UPA ally Trinamool Congress has slammed the petrol price hike saying it was a unilateral decision by the Centre. The party has written to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee protesting the move. The price of petrol will rise by Rs 3.14 from midnight.
The Uttarakhand High Court today fixed October 12 as the final date of hearing in a cheating case involving yoga guru Ramdev's close aide Balkrishna, who
is accused of using fake educational certificate for procuring a passport.
During the hearing, the court observed that probes to decide Balkrishna's nationality is still going on and the process for cancellation of his passport is yet to be undertaken by the competent authority.
The CBI today opposed the bail plea of Unitech Wireless' MD Sanjay Chandra and Swan Telecom's Director Vinod Goenka in the Supreme Court for their alleged involvement in 2G scam saying that they should not be granted
relief in larger interest of society.
Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval submitted before a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi that they should not be released on bail and the case is at the stage of framing of charges. "In corruption cases, right to liberty of the accused has to be seen in the light of larger public interest," the ASG said explaining the magnitude of the scam.
CNN-IBN says that petrol price will rise by Rs 3.14 per litre tonight. Oil companies say they have no alternative, but to hike the price over the weakening rupee against the dollar. This is the second price hike in four months. No changes in the price of diesel.
Accusing the TMC-led ruling government of creating terror by perpetrating "revenge attacks" on the Left workers, former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today called for reorganising the Left party bases "to accept such challenges".
"We have to accept the challenge and restrengthen ourorganisations with a renewed vigour and we will never surrender under any circumstances. We have to resist all armed attacks on left students,youth and workers in an organised way across the state and itis time that you stand against armed and revenge attacks on left workers," the CPI(M) Politburo member said.
Update on the Orissa floods.
Rains hindered air-dropping of food and relief operations for the second day today as over 1,250 villages remained marooned in the flood-affected
Mahanadi delta in Orissa today. The floods have claimed 20 lives so far. Though flood waters in the Mahanadi river system receded, the current was strong in several areas preventing boats from ferrying relief teams and materials to many marooned villages. Air-dropping of food by helicopters was also hampered in many places due to bad weather.
In pictures on rediff.com: The Orissa floods
Sonia Gandhi holds the Congress Election Committee meet at 10 Janpath. This will be the Congress president's first public appearance after she returned to Delhi from the US, last week, where she underwent surgery for an undisclosed illness. The party will decide the names of candidates for the UP elections.
Sources at 10 Janpath said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called on her to inquire about her health soon after she had returned here on September eight after a month-long stay abroad.
With Amar Singh in and out of popular hotspot Tihar jail, the spotlight is away from DMK MP Kanimozhi.
Today, her father former Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi said she had no role to play in the 2G spectrum allocation scam and was a mere shareholder in Kalaignar TV, owned by his family.
Kalaignar TV, in which Kanimozhi and Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu hold majority shares, is embroiled in a controversy over the transfer of Rs 240 crore from DB Realty, owned scam-accused Shahid Balwa.
After Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, danseuse and Anna Hazare supporter Mallika Sarabhai is also joining the fast bandwagon. She will go on fast from September 17.
It may be recollected that Sarabahi, who had participated in demonstrations in Ahmedabad to support Hazare, has written a critical letter to him after his endorsement of Narendra Modi's rural development. Modi announced he would go on a three-day fast for for peace, harmony and unity in his state.
A 31-year old man has been arrested by the London police in connection with rogue trading that has cost UBS, the Swiss banking giant, an estimated $2bn. Read
Also read: Five infamous rogue traders
US computer firm Apple has withdrawn a mobile phone application called Jewish or Not Jewish from its online store in France, reports bbc.co.uk. The application allowed users to find out whether celebrities and public figures were Jewish or not.
Anti-racism group SOS Racisme said it was illegal because French law did not allow the compilation of personal data without the individuals' consent. Read
CNN-IBN says HuJI operative Amir alias Hafiz masterminded the September 7 Delhi high court blast and the conspiracy was in fact hatched in Jammu and Kashmir with five other people, apart from Amir. The NIA has detained Amir for further questioning.
It may be recollected that within three hours of the Delhi blast, a HuJI email claiming responsibility had surfaced, followed by another mail from the Indian Mujahideen.
With emphasis on 2012 London Olympics, the Sports Authority of India has submitted a proposal to the Sports Ministry urging it to address the
travelling and dietary problems faced by the Indian athletes while training and competing in international events abroad.
SAI Director General Desh Deepak Verma while interacting with the national campers and officials of the National Sports Federations (NSFs) observed that the athletes are not getting proper rest prior to their participation in international competitions.
To overcome the food problem, Indian embassies may be asked through the Ministry of External Affairs to arrange Indian food from the nearest Indian restaurant in proximity of the hotel where Indian teams are being put up.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has expressed dismay and anguish over speculation in the media about his private life and the status of his marriage.
In a message on Twitter, Abdullah said: " Have seen with dismay and anguish the growing tide of speculation in the media about my private life and the status of my marriage. While it''s true my wife and I have separated, speculation about the motives and my future actions are unfounded, untrue."
Abdullah also said reports of his alleged remarriage were concocted and false. "Stories abt my remarriage are completely false, concocted. It's a pity, while repeating these lies, no effort was made to ask me the truth," he tweeted further
"Appeal to the media to please allow me and my family privacy. Am sure you will appreciate that I have not let this affect my work," Abdullah added "It's a pity, while repeating these lies, no effort was made to ask me the truth," he tweeted.
Read: In the Dawn.com, Javed Naqvi's piece on Zakia Jaafri and the Jersey widows.
Read the rediff.com interview with Jafri, slain Congress ex-MP Ehsan Jafri's widow, on the Supreme Court decision in the controversial Gulburg society riots case.
Early this morning, home minister P Chidambaram inaugurating the three-day annual conference of DGPs and IGPs organised by Intelligence Bureau spoke on the bomb blasts, AfPak terror and the Naxal problem. Read his speech.
The Government Railway Police in Bhopal has taken into custody a bag filled with Rs 10 lakh in cash from the AC coach of Bhopal Express in which Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit (Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit's son) was travelling.
According to police, the bag was handed over to the GRP by an attendant of the coach, after Bhopal Express in which Dikshit was travelling from Delhi, arrived here this morning. Initially, it was believed that the bag belonged to
the Congress MP but he denied it saying he had nothing to do with the bag.
Dikshit said that the bag belonged to one of his friends who wanted to buy a flat in Bhopal.
Poor weather forced a Kingfisher Airlines aircraft with AP Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on board to hover for over 45 minutes this morning before it landed safely at Madhurapudi airport in Rajahmundry, giving some anxious moments to the state administration.
The Air Traffic Control at Madhurapudi airport did not give ground clearance for the aircraft from Hyderabad to land at the scheduled time 10.30 am as there was "no clear visibility".
It may be remembered that former AP CM YSR Reddy was killed in a chopper crash in 2009.
The Kannada Film Producers Association has finally got the script right and withdrawn the three-year ban on actress Nikita Thukral. The association says it was wrong to institute the ban. She was accused of creating marital discord in the life of Kannada actor Darshan.
Meanwhile, the bail plea of Darshan, who has been arrested on attempt to murder and domestic violence charges, was rejected by a magistrate's court on Tuesday.
He remains in judicial custody. He has now approached the session's court. His wife Vijayalakshmi, who filed the complaint, later withdrew it stating that her injuries were a result of a fall in the bathroom and not due to Darshan's violent behaviour.
The withdrawal of her statement came in the wake of tremendous pressure exerted on her by film industry biggies and Darshan's family members, it is believed.
NATO and Taliban may be shying away from a peace process but they had no inhibition to trade in barbs and indulging in no hold barred spat, in a burst of virtual conversations. The first salvo was fired by the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF), whose spokesman tweeted:
"Re: Taliban spox on #Kabul attack: the outcome is inevitable. Question is
how much longer will terrorist put innocent Afghans in harm's way?"
The Taliban who, when in rule, barred modern technology, including television and music players fired back. Taliban tweeter Abdulqahar Balk (@ABalkhi) wrote:
"@ISAFmedia i dnt knw.u hve bn pttng thm n 'harm's way' fr da pst 10 yrs.Razd whole vllgs n mrkts.n stil hv da nrve to tlk bout 'harm's way"
(In plain English, it means: I didn't know. You have been putting them in harm's way for the past 10 years. Razed whole villages and markets. And still have the nerve to talk about harms way)
ISAFmedia, which generally provides dry updates in military language on the security situation in Afghanistan, wrote back:
"Really, @abalkhi? Unama reported 80% of civilians causalities are caused by insurgent (your) activities."
Another important story up is that Sonia Gandhi is back at work today. She will attend a Central Election Committee meeting in the capital today, her first meeting since she returned from the US last week. The Congress president had an undisclosed surgery in the US on August 4.
The 4 pm meeting, her first public appearance since the surgery, will be held to finalise tickets for the 2012 UP polls. The Congress had earlier issued a statement saying she would not get back to work till October.
Amar Singh's bail was granted on the condition that he cannot travel abroad. On the 19th he has to apply for regular bail, along with the other accused in the cash-for-votes scam, but does not have to appear in person.
The bail was granted on health grounds -- he underwent a kidney transplant a couple of years ago and his creatinine levels a indicator of poor kidney function -- is very high.
He has been at AIIMS since Monday, where doctors are monitoring his health. The court has asked doctors at AIIMS to provide regular updates. His lawyer argued that Amar Singh has not been kept under hygenic conditions at Tihar and is prone to infection.
He has been in judicial custody for the past nine days.
The court said today that while no special favours can be granted to Amar Singh just because he is a Rajya Sabha MP, he can be granted bail on humanitarian grounds.
Who else is implicated in the cash-for-votes scam? Read it on rediff.com
Sarah Palin, the former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, has been hit by lurid allegations that she had a fling with a basketball player just before she got married and took cocaine while out snowmobiling. Read it in the Telegraph.co.uk
Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy today pleaded before a Delhi court that it should bring on record purported new facts that former Finance Minister P
Chidambaram and former Telecom Minister A Raja had a role in deciding 2G spectrum prices and entry fee.
"The fact that the above named two ministers together decided that the prices of spectrum and entry fee should be lumped together at the 2001 level and decided against the market price of 2007-08 period for the entry fee, is confirmed by the speech of the Prime Minister in Rajya Sabha on February 24, 2011," said Swamy in his application.
The Home Minister said some of these modules are loosely knit under an organisation called Indian Mujahideen and many old cadres of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (have transformed themselves into IM cadres.
"There are other Indian modules that espouse the cause of right-wing religious fundamentalism or separatism," he said while inaugurating the three-day annual conference of DGPs and IGPs organised by Intelligence Bureau.
The Home Minister said no country in the world, including the United States, appears to be entirely immune to the threat of terror. The worst-affected were Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said.
"The epicentre of terror is Afghanistan-Pakistan (region). Four out of five major terrorist groups are based in Pakistan and three of them LeT, JeM and HM continue to target India," Chidambaram said.
Details of what Home Minister P Chidambaram said addressing the country's top police brass in Delhi today...
Terming the two recent blasts in Mumbai and Delhi as a "blot" on the government's record, Chidambaram today said many homegrown modules are active across the country and several of them have acquired the capacity to make bombs. "There are Indian modules too. They seem to have the
capacity to attract radicalised youth to their fold... Many of these modules have acquired the capacity to make bombs," Chidambaram said.
Bad news alert...
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is likely to give the green signal to state-owned oil firms to raise the price of fuel by as much as Rs 3 per litre.
According to reports, the decision to raise the price of petrol is likely to be taken as the rupee versus US dollar equation has touched a two-year low and resulted in the cost of importing crude oil also rising.
State-run oil firms IOC, BPCL and HPCL have reportedly lost Rs.2,450 crore this fiscal on selling petrol -- whose rates were freed from government control in June last year -- below the cost.
Diesel is being sold at a subsidy of Rs 6.05 a litre, kerosene at Rs 23.25 per litre while domestic LPG rates are under-priced by Rs 267 per 14.2-kg cylinder.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a probe today
into the police lathicharge on locals in Nalanda and the immediate suspension of policemen found involved in it.
Over 12 people, including some women, were injured when police lathicharged to disperse a mob which indulged in stone throwing, arson and road blockade near a police station, demanding immediate judicial secretary (Panchayat) Reena Devi missing since August 24 be traced.
The women were brutally assaulted by the policemen when the irate mob gathered near the police station.
On Twitter: Shehrbano Taseer: Woken up with an aching heart. It's been 3 weeks and Shahbaz is still not home.
Shahbaz Taseer, son of late Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, was abducted from the Gulberg area of Lahore in August. Taseer had left his house from Cavalry Ground in his car, for his office around 10:15 am when his car was intercepted by a black SUV and motorbike around 600 yards from the office. Three men dragged Taseer out of the car and took him away.
At the DGPs Conference in Delhi, the IB Chief says the police system is not quick enough in solving cases. Terrorists don't leave a signature behind, which is why police needs to reinvent itself in fighting terrorism.
Home minister P Chidambaram who is also at the conference says since 2006, at least 51 terror modules have been neutralised.
Incidentally, the Delhi high court blast toll now stands at 14 dead.
Delhi received another spell of rains this morning, bringing back cases of waterlogging as well as traffic problems in many parts of the city. The weather station located in Ridge recorded the highest of 24.4 mm between 5:30 pm yesterday and 8:30 am today followed by Ayanagar 15 mm.
Palam recorded four mm and Lodhi Colony had one mm of showers during the same period. According to the weather bureau, the minimum was recorded at 25.6 degree Celsius, one degree above normal, down from yesterday's 27.2 degrees. The maximum was recorded at 36.2 degree Celsius, two degrees above normal, yesterday
Govt plans amnesty scheme for black money (The Times of India)
The scheme will allow corporates and others to declare their unaccounted wealth and bring it back into the economy after paying a "levy". Read
Amar Singh needs psychiatric help, says AIIMS medical report (The Times of India)
The medical reports of the Rajya Sabha MP submitted by AIIMS and Tihar Jail authorities suggested that he needed psychiatric help for his "anxiety". Read
Two terror attacks in two months a blot on govt's record: Chidambaram visits sites (DNA)
Chidambaram said that there was no decline in violence in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra. Read
Inaccurate assets declaration: Panchshil confirms Sharad Pawars lie (DNA)
Panchshil Realty Group on Wednesday admitted that it issued bonus shares to the NCP president. Read
High Court blast case: Suspected HuJI operative detained (DNA)
A man identified as Hilal Amin was detained in J&K's Kishtwar district in connection with Delhi High Court blast. Read
Both Lokpal Bills appear unworkable, CBI to tell panel (The Hindu)
The CBI will tell the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Law, Justice and Personnel that both the civil society's Jan Lokpal Bill and the government's Lokpal Bill appear "unworkable" and will weaken the anti-corruption regime. Read
TN train driver did not stop at red signal: Minister (The Hindu)
Preliminary investigations by the Railways into Tuesday night's train collision near Arakkonam point to an error on the part of the driver of the Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit. Read
Court to decide on framing of charges against Kanimozhi, Raja (Hindustan Times)
A Delhi court is likely to pronounce its order today on framing of charges against 17 accused in the 2G scam including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi. Read
Omar Abdullah divorcing wife of 17 years (The Times of India)
Omar Abdullah and his wife of 17-odd years, Payal Nath, are heading for a split. Payal had continued to live in Delhi with their sons after Omar took over as J&K CM. Read