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Tatra deal: CBI raids BEML offices in Bangalore

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April 04, 2012

18:29  SC begins plea against Chidambaram in 2G case:  

The Supreme Court today began hearing the plea forinvestigating the alleged role of Home Minister P Chidambaram  in the 2G spectrum scam with an NGOclaiming that he was in the know of all developments relating to fixation of price for allocation of radio waves. 


The bench of justices G S Singhvi and S Radhakrishana, which was reconstituted after the retirement of Justice A KGanguly, took up the plea of an NGO, which approached the apex court after the trial court had given a clean chit to Chidambaram.


The Court also directed CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department to file a status report to update it on their probe in the 2G spectrum allocation case within three weeks.

18:08  Adarsh scam: Tiwari, Pathak remanded to custody till April 12:  

Former Maharashtra Urban Development Principal Secretary, Ramanand Tiwari and ex-BMC Chief Jairaj Pathak were today remanded to CBI custody till April 12 by a special court here for their alleged role in the multi-crore Adarsh Housing scam.Both bureaucrats were arrested yesterday by the CBI after they were questioned in connection with the scam. 


CBI today informed the court that Tiwari, during his tenure as Principal Secretary of Urban Development, had made correspondence with Ministry of Environment and Forests seeking NOC for development of Adarsh Housing Society although the land for the same purpose had not been allotted till then (when the correspondence was made), CBI submitted.

17:53  'Charu Khandal is paralysed indefinitely':  On March 25, Charu Khandal had a near fatal accident when an alleged drunk driver rammed his car into the autorickshaw she and her friends were in. Charu, who was in the visual effects team of Ra.One, had been celebrating her National award win, when disaster struck.'s Nishi Tiwari visited Charu's family in Kokilaben Ambani hospital.  Read
17:45  CBI may question BEML chief:  

On the alleged involvement of agents and lobbyists in placement of orders for the Tatra trucks, state-owned BEML chief V R S Natarajan has said, "In last 26 years, from 1986 onwards, BEML assembled manufactured, supplied 7,000 Tatra trucks. All of them have been done on single nomination basis, single inquiry basis.


"This type of equipment nobody in world makes, because of its superior technological features. When I am the single vendor and there is no competition, there is no influence required,' he said.


The name of Tatra and Bharat Earth Movers Limited was taken by the Army in a press release issued by it on March 5, alleging that retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh had offered a bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Limited.

17:43  Tatra deal: CBI raids BEML offices in Bangalore:  

The Tatra truck deal came under scrutiny after General VK Singh claimed that he was offered a Rs 14 crore bribe to clear it. The Vectra Group holds a majority stake in Czech-based Tatra which makes trucks for the armed forces. 


Tatra chief Ravi Rishi, named as an accused in the CBI's FIR in alleged irregularities in purchase of Tatra trucks for the Army, has been questioned four times so far by the CBI. Rishi has termed the allegations against him as unfortunate, saying the trucks were sold through public sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Limited.

17:40  Tatra deal: CBI raids BEML offices in Bangalore:  Just in: The CBI raids the BEML office in Bangalore and seizes all records of the Tatra trucks deal. BEML chief VRS Natrajan may also be questioned. The CBI is also scrutinising whether BEML was in fact aware of Vectra.
17:35  Come, kill me like you did Osama: Saeed taunts US:  

Back to the big bounty story yesterday.

A combative Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief, today dared the US to carry out a military raid against him like the one that killed Osama bin
Laden, saying he was not hiding and would inform the Americans himself about his whereabouts. Saeed made the remarks while addressing a news conference with other leaders of the Defa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) at Flashman Hotel in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, located a short distance from the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters. 


This is his first press conference after American administration offered a reward of 10 million dollars for him on Monday. He even taunted the US to give him the bounty offered for him under the Rewards for Justice programme, saying he would inform American authorities about his whereabouts. 

17:33  Football hijab ban 'could be lifted':  

In other news, football's rule-making body, the International Football Association Board is testing out a new hijab design which may result in the overturning of a ban on headscarves in international women's football matches. Critics say the ban - on the grounds of health and safety - prevents some Muslim women from being able to play at the top level.



17:31  Olympic officials killed in theatre bombing in Somalia:  In Somalia, the country's Olympic committee and football heads are among 10 people killed in a suicide blast in Mogadishu. Read
17:24  Anti Shekhar Gupta rants on Twitter:  

Piyush Kulshreshtha @thinkerspad  The disclaimer he gave at the beginning of the report suggestsShekhar Gupta knew the risk it carries. Since it bombed must resign now.


Dr Manmohan Singh @PM0India (obviously, this is not the PM) Shekhar Gupta is a Baniya. Now I hand over to Aakar Patel from here. 


Arvind Kejriwal @AKParivartan  Indian Express under Ram Nath Goenka vs Indian Express under Shekhar Gupta.


Vinod Sharma @vinod_sharma  At one time Shekhar Gupta could barely afford a scooter. Who is richer today, he or AJ?

17:14  Nobel Laureate Grass attacks holy cow Israel in new poem:  

In a poem that has drawn angry reactions in Germany, Nobel Prize-winning author Gunter Grass has published a new poem criticizing Israel's policies against Iran. Historically, Grass has been outspoken in his political views, but many believe the author has now broken a taboo.


Read the report on Speigelonline.

17:11  On Twitter:  Raheel Khursheed @Raheelk  Meanwhile in Pakistan: 'O Pencho, bas ye coup hi hamari pehchan thee, ispe bhi Indians apna najayaz kabza kar rahein hain!' - Gen Kayani
17:05  Sir Salman may attend Hay Festival:  

Salman Rushdie will be promoting his forthcoming memoir, which documents his years in hiding after Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini called for his death over publication of his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses. His last festival date, at an event in Jaipur, India in January, was cancelled following reports of a planned assassination attempt by Islamic extremists.


Read the report on the Telegraph.

16:51  Army and the C word: How to read between the denials:  

Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister AK Antony have rubbished The Indian Expressreport that talked of "non-notified' army unit movements "towards Delhi' on the night of 16 January, which had the defence ministry seriously worried. The problem with their denials is that we don't know what they are denying. None of the facts are being denied.

Read the Firstpost report.

16:46  Bhanwari Devi murder accused move home:  

The Rajasthan High Court was today apprised that Mahipal Maderna and Malkhan Singh Bishnoi, accused in the abduction and murder of nurse Bhanwari Devi, have been shifted from the Jodhpur Central Jail to prisons in Jaipur and Ajmer respectively. 

Both of them were taken for their respective destinations this morning amidst tight police security from Jodhpur jail, where they had been lodged since December. The CBI had made a plea to the High Court that both be shifted to other jails of the state citing their attempts to influence the witnesses and other accused in the case which was affecting the investigations.

16:24  On Twitter:  

Bipasha Basu @bipsluvurself  Ipl begins! I love CSK bcoz of Mahi N I love MI bcoz am frm Mumbai!Torn apart today! Who do I cheer for?


Life is tough.

16:21  Holidaying doc couple who locked up maid arrested:  

The doctor couple accused of leaving a 13-year-old help locked up in their Dwarka flat for the duration of their foreign trip were denied anticipatory bail on Tuesday even as their counsel claimed Sanjay and Sumita Verma had been present in the country since late last week, contrary to police's claims.


The Vermas' counsel told court that the girl in question is not a minor, was provided with a duplicate key and proper rations, and the nature of her work was not hazardous, but additional sessions judge IS Mehta rejected the application on the grounds that the girl was 13 years old and rescued after "four days of confinement from the flat, empty stomach and without food."


The court also noted that leaving the minor locked in the house was "inhuman conduct" and the nature of her work needed to be investigated.

16:14  Holidaying doc couple who locked up maid arrested:  Some good news here... The doctor couple who locked up their maid and went on a holiday to Thailand has been arrested. Yesterday, the court denied them anticipatory bail.
16:11  Three reads from the New York Times:  

Angered by unsafe city, Gurgaon women call for a 'Girlcott'  Read


What does Indias poverty line actually measure? Read


Karnataka bans most scientists from tiger parks, jeopardizing years of research


15:54  PIL against next Army chief over J&K fake encounter:  

Headlines Today says a 60-page petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army Chief. The PIL has been signed by ex-servicemen, journalists and ex-bureaucrats. The PIL charges Singh with being involved in the Jammu and Kashmir fake encounter case.

15:45  US massacre gunman furious at being teased:  The maniac who shot dead seven people at a US university was an expelled student furious that classmates had 'teased' him over his poor English, police said yesterday. Korean-born One Goh, 43, was also angry at being kicked out for 'behavioural problems'. The Sun has the story.
15:41  Car bomb misses Iraq police chief convoy, kills 5 in Iraq:  

More on terror and terrorism: A car bomb targeting a local police chief missed him Wednesday but killed five people and wounded 15 in a Sunni town north of Baghdad, said Iraqi officials.


15:36  Assam on high alert ahead of ULFA Raising Day:  

The Central Government has alerted Assam and adjoining states in the run-up to United Liberation Front of Assam's (ULFA) Raising Day on April 7. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an advisory to the Assam Government and the neighbouring states to be on alert in the run-up to the ULFA Raising Day.

The Centre has inputs that anti-talk factions of ULFA may try to create blockades/law and order situations in the area as their leaders have directed their cadres to execute plans to create disturbances and disrupt normal life in the region.

As a precaution, security forces in the area have also been kept on alert to thwart any plans by ULFA.

15:21  BJP on IE report: No room for sponsored stories:  

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing the media on the Indian Express story says:

The equilibrium between the government and the army must be restored and the PM must take a pro-active role to stop the controversy.

He says the army is a victim of lack of leadership and governance and the relationship between the army and the government is at an all-time row.

He says one muse ensure there is no room for sponsored stories.

15:09  Also in pics: Tornadoes rip through Dallas area neighbourhoods :  Tornadoes tore through the Dallas area on Tuesday, tearing roofs off homes, tossing trucks into the air and leaving flattened tractor trailers strewn along highways and parking lots. The Guardian has the pictures.
15:06  Black and white images of the time before Kuwait struck oil:  On Foreign Policy's Once upon a time in... series, Kuwait before oil was discovered. See the slideshow.
14:59  Death wish: How did the US become the land of the school murder?:  

As yet another student opens fire on his former classmates, Jeremy Laurance asks if such atrocities share an underlying cause. On the Independent. Read


And watch/read: We need to talk about Kevin.

14:55  James Murdoch quits as BSkyB boss to spare blushes:  

In world news:  Rupert Murdoch's son says he didn't want to become 'lightning rod' for criticism of satellite broadcaster. Read the Guaridan report.


Pictured: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch

14:48  Pratap Bhanu Mehta's letter to Sonia Gandhi in the IE:  

Madam President of the Congress,

I recognise that it is presumptuous to write to you like this. Your health has been a matter of great public concern. We hope that you have emerged from that battle triumphant, and that your reservoirs of strength have stood you in good stead. But many citizens are deeply worried about the direction in which the Congress party is taking the country.


More    (The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi)

14:43  The science of genius:  

Interesting read and no, it has nothing to do with the IE report or the Hafiz Saeed  bounty.


Bob Dylan. Ludwig van Beethoven. William Shakespeare. Steve Jobs. These are historical figures of staggering creative genius that we often think of as freaks of nature. That their creative talent is a God-given gift, or some biological mutation that only affects a handful of special people. But new research is beginning to shed light on the science behind creativity and imagination. As it turns out, anyone can be creative.


14:38  On Twitter:  Ramesh Srivats @rameshsrivats  Next Indian Express scoop - Major tank movement reported in Chennai. See
14:31  Abducted Italian may be released on Thursday :  The decision on the release of the Italian  Paolo Bosusco will be taken on Thursday, say the negotiators.  
14:29  Orissa govt-Maoist abductors fresh talks at 6 pm:  Update: Fresh talks between the Orissa govt and Naxal negotiators at 6 pm today. The negotiators say their decision on the course of action will depend upon the government's standpoint. After a day's break, talks resumed between the  government and Maoist negotiators for release of the Italian captive while the state Assembly unanimously appealed to the kidnappers of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka to free him. The appeal comes a day before the deadline fixed by the ultras expires.
14:20  Do you find Beckham's 'bulge' offensive? :  David's H&M underwear advert is defended by Watchdog following complaints that it was 'offensive. Read/See on the Daily Mail.
14:15  On Twitter:  

Brahma Chellaney  @Chellaney  Pak govt has been paralyzed by all-powerful military. Indian govt is paralyzed despite marginalizing military. Now come coup hallucinations.  


Sajid Bhombal  @SajidBhombal Coup not possible in India because civilians control traffic in d capital / Something Pak civilians should learn :) 


Sidin Vadukut @sidin  Woke up this morning to some mysterious movements. Concerned.


Excerpts of Bilawal Bhutto's 'scorching' speech on his grandfather's 'judicial murder'. On the Express Tribune.

14:02  On the 33rd death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto:  

On the morning of April 4, 1979, the military dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq hanged to death Pakistan's first popularly elected Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Today is the 33rd anniversary of what turned out to be perhaps one of the gravest judicial and dictatorial crimes in the history of the troubled nation of Pakistan.


On the Dawn.

13:59  Darul's new fatwa: Women can't run beauty parlours:  

Islamic seminary Darul Ulum Deoband has issued a fatwa against beauty parlours saying running such a place is against the Sharia Law. 

The fatwa was issued in response to a question posed before the Darul Uloom asking whether the profession of running beauty parlours by Muslim women is justified by the law according to the Shariat. T

The dictat said Muslim women are not permitted to practice this profession under Shariat. "Women are not allowed to run beauty parlours as it is against the norms of parda," Mufti Arif of Darul Ulum Deoband said. 

13:55  The edtiorial on the HIndu on Zardari's India visit:  

If Asif Ali Zardari's visit this Sunday -- the first by a democratic leader of Pakistan since Zulfikar Ali Bhutto travelled to Simla in 1972 -- is an indication of the opportunities that lie ahead on the bilateral front, the $10 million price placed by the US on Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed's head is a reminder of the enormous challenges still remaining.

For New Delhi, wisdom lies in not allowing national exultation over the American bounty to colour its expectations of this private -- but significant -- presidential visit. Read

13:51  Bilawal asks SC to apologise for Zulfiqar's 'judicial murder':  

Launching a scathing attack on the Supreme Court, Pakistan's ruling PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has asked it to apologise for the "role it played in
the judicial murder" of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and to ensure there are no "double standards" in the contempt case against Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Bilawal (23), the nominal Chairman of PPP, made the remarks during a strongly-worded speech he delivered at an event at the Bhutto family's stronghold of Naudero in Sindh province late last night to mark the death anniversary of former President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He said the time had come for the PPP to "finally get the justice we deserve in the eyes of history."

13:48  By the way, there's just one nuclear sub that's been commissioned today -- the INS Chakra. The Russian-origin nuclear-powered submarine Chakra was formerly called the Akula II class Nerpa.
13:43  Defence analyst Commodore (retired) C Uday Bhaskar further added: "The fact that you could offer this kind of interpretation, and of course, it is a very very carefully written report. It has many caveats and many nuances. But the hint seems to be because of all the controversies that are now associated with the army chief, the date of birth controversy, the fact that this was moved into the Supreme Court on January 16, and more recently the controversy of the letter written by the army chief to the defence minister which has been 'leaked' by one section of media seems to suggest all is not well."
13:42  'IE story reflection of civil-military relations in India':  

Reacting to news of army units moving towards the national capital in January, defence analyst Commodore (retired) C Uday Bhaskar today said it was a reflection of the state of civil military relations in India.


The way in which this story was reported in the national daily, giving its entire front page to this particular, so called attempt by the army to move two units and intimidate, that seems to be nuanced hint in the story, is perhaps the reflection of civil military relations in India and the way in which the media is playing a role, said Bhaskar.


Bhaskar further linked the developments to the recent controversies between the army chief and the government, suggesting that all was not well.

13:30  From a silent hill, these men defend India's skies:  

Far from civilian populations, facing the onslaught of weather, terrain and a hostile neighbour in the distance, the young men at one of the Indian Air Force's most strategic locations near the Line of Control say life is hard, but say they would not have it any other way.'s Archana Masih reports from a place near the Pakistan border.



13:27  Exclusive! $20 bn Rafale deal was manipulated, says MP:  

'There is an evaluation committee which is involved in these matters. The committee comprises six persons and there are persons from the armed forces and also the finance wing. My information suggests that two persons in this committee have allegedly manipulated this deal,' MV Mysura Reddy, member of the parliamentary defence standing committee, tells's Vicky Nanjappa.


13:24  On Twitter:  

nitin gokhale @nitingokhale  Just read Indian Express & thought had read this story somewhere earlier. Searched & found this! So much for the scoop. Read

13:20  On Twitter:  TP @canarytrap Interesting Coincidence: Alleged #coup story appears on same day when SC is slated to hear two petitions agnst PC's role in 2G #Raisina Hill

Reactions to the Indian Express report:

Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar: "The points raised in the report have already been clarified by the Army...such exercises are conducted by the Army from time to time."

Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju: The report was "highly irresponsible and anti-national".

13:11  Why is the Army Chief silent on the IE report?:  

Why is Indian Army Chief Gen V K Singh silent on the Indian Express 'coup' story?

VK Singh is Nepal to attend a regional seminar on natural disaster management and humanitarian assistance. The seminar is being organised with a view to develop a common regional perspective on plan, management and implementation among the armies in the region. Gen Singh, who is leading a three member delegation, will meet his Nepalese counterpart Chhatra Man Singh Gurung later today. Gen Singh will tomorrow address the concluding session of the seminar chaired by the Nepalese army chief.

12:57  India to miss its own defense spending target:  

Another report on the armed forces...

India will miss its own target of buying 70% of its defense equipment locally over the next decade due to a lack of local capability combined with bureaucracy and corruption, according to a new report by information provider IHS Jane's.

Instead it will likely only be able to remain at current levels of 30%, meaning some $137 billion of the $195 billion India plans to spend on defense equipment between 2013 and 2022 will go to foreign firms.


Read the WSJ report

12:55  What next for Subhash Ghai:  

The high court had also referred to a CAG report which stated that the land ought to have been valued at Rs 31.20 crores as opposed to the Rs three crores valuation done by MFSCDC.


The high court had also directed Ghai and Whistling Woods to vacate 14.5 acre of land immediately which shall be resumed by the state government and the remaining 5.5 acres, where the institute is constructed, would be taken over by the government on July 31, 2014, after all the ongoing courses at the film institute are completed. 


The high court had also restrained Whistling Woods from granting admissions to students for courses which go beyond 2014.

12:49  HC on Ghai: Land unduly given to blue-eyed boy:  

Details of the report on the HC order on Subhash Ghai.

In a setback to film producer Subhash Ghai, the Supreme Court today upheld the Bombay High Court order quashing the 20 acre land allotted to his film
institute in Filmcity. The court also pulled up former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for allotting the land in 2004, saying the CM cannot bend or bypass rules to give away government land. 

"One cannot be treated as blue-eyed boy for which chief minister can bend or bypass rules to give away the land of the state," the bench said.

The apex court further said that they there is lack of transparency in the allotment of land as many CMs prior to Deshmukh had not cleared the project.
"The state government has given land to its blue-eyed boy for a paltry sum of money," the bench said. "You are a great film maker, but there are greater film
makers also. Why you have been chosen? There must be transparency," the bench observed.

12:44  Don't question patriotism of our soldiers: Antony:  At the press conference today, Antony also said that the armed forces personnel were "true patriots" and "don't question the patriotism of the soldiers
who are dying in the frontiers of the country." "I am proud of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard," he said.
12:40  Should India relax its visa rules?:  

Also on the WSJ:

"So Eurowailers, Ameriwhiners, I hope you have a tough time getting an Indian visa; I have always had a tough time getting yours." So tweeted Indian writer Jerry Pinto late last week. The feisty Mr. Pinto was reacting to a column by writer and politician Shashi Tharoor, who was arguing that India's bureaucratic and unfriendly visa procedures were damaging its image abroad.


12:37  Indian Express under fire for overplaying Army exercises:  

The Indian Express says its front-page story today says nothing more than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government was worried in January by the movement of a mechanized army unit and paratroopers toward New Delhi because it had not been informed.

But the paper's decision to splash the story over its entire front page with the editor-in-chief's byline and words like "spooked' and "alarm bells' in the headline is likely to impart the impression on readers that this was much more than a regular breakdown in communication.


Read what the WSJ has to say.

12:33  Troop movement standard procedure: Army:  The army, meanwhile, has said that the movement of the two units, a mechanised infantry unit and a paratrooper unit, were operational practices carried out as per their standard operating procedures.
12:31  Detailed reply on IE report on April 9:  The government will give a detailed reply on the IE report on April 9. Antony adds: I request that the honour and dignity of the army is not undermined.
12:28  Antony: Armed forces will never undermine democracy:  Defence Minister AK Antony's statement onthe Indian Express report: Indian armed forces will do nothing to undermine democracy and reports about coup are absolutely baseless.
12:25  The Arc of the India-US Partnership:  

Today, the India-US relationship is a transformed one with the change in Indian thinking about America being the most important element. Being 'pro-American' is not a stigma any longer whether in politics or business.

The wider public accepts that establishing good relations with America is a desirable objective. Pragmatic thinking in India supports the inclination of the government to bring India and the US closer, though not at the cost of becoming subservient to the latter. Read

12:18  India commissions first nuclear submarine:  

India today inducted the Russian-origin nuclear-powered submarine 'Nerpa' into the Navy, joining the elite league of nations having such sophisticated warships. 

Defence Minister A K Antony formally commissioned the Akula II class Nerpa, rechristened 'INS Chakra', into the Navy at the Ship Building Complex here. 

"INS Chakra will ensure security and sovereignty of the country," Antony said after commissioning the vessel. India has earlier leased and operated a Charlie Class Russian nuclear submarine from 1988 for training its personnel on such warships.

With the induction of INS Chakra, India has joined the elite group of nations with nuclear-power submarines after a gap of two decades. With INS Chakra and the indigenous INS Arihant expected to start operational patrols soon, India will soon have two nuclear submarines guarding its vast maritime  undaries.

12:12  The PM on Hafiz Saeed: All those who are engaged in terrorist acts against India have to be brought to book.
12:00  PM: Indian Express report alarmist:  The Prime Minister dubs the media report of army troops being moved to Delhi as alarmist and says it should not be taken at face value. The PM said that the Army Chief's office is an exalted office and nothing should be done to lower its dignity.

The Orissa Assembly passes an unanimous resolution seeking the immediate release of the tribal MLA and the Italian who were aducted by Maoists last week.

And if a resolution is not passed, the two won't be released?

11:48  Nuclear submarine INS Chakra, has been inducted into the Navy 
11:46  SC upholds Bombay HC order quashing land allotted to film producer Subhash Ghai for his film institute.

And one of your many discovery moments of the day...

Satyendranath Tagore became the first Indian ICS Officer in 1863. However Surendranath Banerjee became the first Indian to pass ICS.


11:38  Govind Narain, one of the last surviving ICS officers, dead:  

Govind Narain, one of the last surviving ICS officers and who was the Home Secretary during Bangladesh war, passed away in the capital, his family saidtoday. Narain, 95, a Padma Vibhushan awardee, breath his last at his residence in Chattarpur in South Delhi last night due to old age. He had refused to be admitted in a hospital and died peacefully at home, his family said. 


Born on May 5, 1916, Oxford-educated Narain joined the ICS in 1939 and went on to become country's Home and Defence Secretaries later. Narain, who worked under Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi, was the Home Secretary from 1971 to 1973 and was one of the top officers instrumental in planning the Bangladesh war and setting up of Mukti Bahini.

11:34  11 swine flu deaths in Maharashtra:  There have been 11 swine flu deaths in Maharashtra this year of a total of 24 deaths in India, with over 330 people testing positive in six states. A 35-year-old man died in Nashik today. However, unlike 2009, when swine flu reached almost-epidemic proportions, the vaccine is available at private hospitals as well. Doctors have advised against self-medication.
11:29  Baseless! Army dismisses Night of January 16 report :  

And here's the impact of the Indian Express report on the Defence Ministry.

The MoD was today dismissive about the report that the Army moved two units
towards Delhi in January without informing the government, saying such exercises are conducted from time to time. "The points raised in the report have already been clarified by the Army...such exercises are conducted by the
Army from time to time," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said in a statement. He also dubbed the report as "baseless and incorrect".

According to a newspaper report, the central intelligence agencies reported that on the night of January 16, an unexpected - and non-notified - movement by a key military unit from the mechanised infantry based in Hisar in the direction of the capital. Another unit - identified as a large element of the 50th Para Brigade based at Agra - was also moving towards Delhi, the report said.
According to the report, the Army had said that the exercise was to check effectiveness in fog.

11:26  JuD to challenge US bounty on Hafiz Saeed in court :  

Banned terror outfit Jamaat-ud Dawa has expressed anger as India welcomed the US announcement of a 10 million dollar reward on its chief Hafiz Saeed, and has said that it will initiate legal consultations to determine if it can challenge the bounty in international courts.  

"Our legal experts will soon meet to consider if it is possible, we will use this option, though we don't take this seriously,' JuD Information Secretary Hafiz Muhammad Masood said.  

Masood, however, did not explicitly say whether the JuD would also challenge the decision in an American court.  

"We don't expect justice from them. For Americans, they consider a person innocent unless proven guilty, but for Muslims, they think of them as guilty unless proven innocent,' The Express Tribune quoted Masood, as saying.  

According to the report, law expert Ahmer Bilal Soofi said that the JuD would have to move an American court if it wants to challenge the decision.  

11:20  Incidentally, Night of January 16th, is a play written by Ayn Rand, inspired by the death of the "Match King", Ivar Kreuger. First produced under a different name in 1934, it takes place entirely in a court room and is centered on a murder trial.
11:14  Pak pays no heed, raises Hafiz Saeed's security:  

Pakistan strengthened security at the residence of Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed in Lahore a day after the US announced a $10 million bounty for the man accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Besides nine policemen from Punjab Police deployed at Saeed's two-storey at E Block of Jouhar Town, the JuD posted more armed volunteers to ensure foolproof security.

JuD leaders said they had not sought extra security from law enforcement agencies to protect Saeed and his brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki, for whom the US offered a two million dollar reward.

11:11  France arrests Islamist suspects in fresh raids:  

Police in France have conducted new raids on Islamist suspects in the wake of the multiple killings by gunman Mohamed Merah. At least eight people were arrested as police conducted operations in Marseille, Roubaix, Carpentras and a number of other locations. Thirteen people arrested in raids last week face terrorism charges.

Read the bbc report

11:05  Why isn't there a price on their heads?:  

And here's what the Daily Mail has on the terror story.

India's top ten most wanted terror suspects are still at large. Read

11:03  A quick run-through of the headlines this morning...:  

Osama had key role in 26/11, Abbottabad proof shows (Hindustan Times)
Evidence points to Osama bin Laden having played a key role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. All this was unearthed by US Special Forces last May when they killed him in his Abbottabad hideout. Read


Also on the HT...

Pakistan pays no heed, raises Hafiz Saeed's security
Pakistan strengthened security at Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed's Lahore home a day after the US announced a $10 million bounty for the man accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai. Read

10:57  How do you hunt a man roaming free?:  

Reverberations on the big story yesterday: The US bounty on 26/11 Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed. Read Kanchan Gupta's column in the Pioneer.


10:55  The Indian Express story appeared in Rediff 3 WEEKS AGO!:  

Now, here's something you should know. Three weeks before the The Indian Express published its front page story on mysterious army movements published the story!

India's elite Parachute Brigade, based in Agra, has of late practised two quick manoeuvres designed to test its readiness for quick armed intervention in India's immediate neighbourhood. READ

10:52  The January night Raisina Hill was spooked:  

If you haven't, read the front page story on the Indian Express.

This is a story you would tell with extreme care and caution. But it so starkly characterises the current state of top-level politico-military relations that it is a folly to keep it under wraps, as the entire establishment has tried to do for a full 11 weeks now.


10:37  23 Indian fishermen arrested, boats seized in Pak:  Twenty-three Indian fishermen were arrested and four of their boats seized for fishing "illegally" in Pakistani territorial waters, an official has said. The Indian fishermen were arrested after being warned twice that they had entered into Pakistan's territorial waters and were fishing there illegally, a spokesman for the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency said yesterday.
10:35  Cash, gold, silver donations pour in at Shirdi temple:  

The Shri Saibaba Samadhi temple has received Rs 3.9 crore in the form of cash donations during the Ram Navmi festival that was celebrated last week. The devotees also donated 696 grammes of gold and three kg of silver ornaments during the festival.

The temple trust also earned a revenue of Rs 60 lakh through the sale of prasadam, sources from Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust added.

Four lakh devotees from different parts of the country, including Mumbai, Nagpur, Nanded, Chalisgaon had poured in large numbers to take part in the festival. A New Delhi-based devotee, who did not reveal his name, donated a crown made of gold worth Rs 15 lakh to Shri Saibaba on that day.

10:31  With Wisconsin, Romney past the half-way mark:  

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney made a clean sweep today as he comfortably won the primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington DC, tightening his grip on the party's nomination.

Romney's win in all the three Republican primaries put him past the half way mark to the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the party's nomination to challenge incumbent Barack Obama during the November presidential elections.

"Thank you, Wisconsin! And Maryland! And Washington, DC! We have won a great victory tonight in our campaign to restore the promise of America," the 65-year-old Romney said in his victory speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

10:29  Stock markets open negative:  

Good morning and welcome to today's edition of News As It Happens. The day doesn't seem to have opened well in the markets, with the BSE Sensex taking a tumble in the morning trade, by almost 104 points, as funds and retail investors booked profits after recent gains amidweakening trend on other Asian bourses.  

The 30-share barometer, which had gained nearly 540 points in the previous three sessions, fell by 103.91 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 17,493.51 with metal, banking, capital goods, realty and consumer durable sector stocks coming under pressure.

The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty also shed 34.05 points, or 0.63 per cent, to 5,324.45.

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