Friday, April 30, 2010

Desam criticises AP indifference

The Telugu Desam president, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, criticised the government for its failure to come to the rescue of farmers hit by unseasonal rains and hailstorm.

Mr Naidu, who met party leaders from Ranga Reddy, Kurnool, Anantapur, Mahbubnagar and Krishna districts, said it was unfortunate that even ministers did not call on the victims of hailstorm. “The indifference of the Central and state governments has affected the agriculture sector hard in the state. Farmers have been facing a series of natural calamities, but the government did not come to their rescue,” he alleged.

The TD also took exception to comments made against the party leader by the TRS chief, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The former minister, Mr T. Srinivas Yadav, hit back at the TRS chief for calling Mr Naidu a sikhandi (eunuch). “KCR’s family is sikhandi. What is the TRS chief’s contribution to Telangana? If he is so committed to the region he should field the kin of those dead in the Telangana agitation,” Mr Yadav said.

Udita goes back to school

Udita Goswami’s film, Chase, is on the brink of release, but what has the actress all geared up is the graduation course that she is doing. Udita, who started her modelling career at the age of sixteen, quit studies midway. A friend of the actress revealed, “She is now doing her commerce
graduation course through correspondence and has even been attending classes for the same. Udita devotes three hours to her class
Udita has bigger plans for the future too. Once she obtains her commerce degree, she intends to pursue an MBA. She feels that most actresses, in a bid to focus on their showbiz careers, given up studying, but she did not want to be the same.
However, the source reveals that Udita is determined to go ahead with her academic pursuits as she wants to set a good example for her children in the future. “She doesn’t want to be embarrassed when they ask her about how she fared in academics,” said the source.
Udita was to go to New York Academy for the acting course initially. But the plan has been postponed now. She wants to complete her graduation first.

SRK played host to Barbara Mori

Barbara Mori, who is in Mumbai, is letting her hair down. The actress is having a great time hobnobbing with other stars of Bollywood.
Barbara and her brother Kentaro Mori visited Shah Rukh Khan’s Bandra home recently. Hrithik Roshan was present too. They all had a blast watching the IPL finals. In fact, Shah Rukh and Hrithik were rejoicing every time their favourite team scored a four or a sixer. Once the match was over, it was party time. Shah Rukh played a perfect host to good friend Hrithik and Barbara. The actor saw to it that the Kites actress was made to feel at home. Barbara, along with her brother Kentaro, had ball of a time till the early hours of the morning,” said a source.
When contacted Barbara Mori confirmed the story and said, “It was a pleasure meeting Shah Rukh Khan. He was a gracious host and even though I do not follow the game, I really enjoyed myself.”

HC seeks info from top cop on action taken on TV channels

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday sought to know from the Hyderabad city police commissioner the action he has initiated against TV news channels for their repeated telecast of crime-based programmes and visuals containing violence and obscenity, despite court orders.
Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy was dealing with a petition filed by Mr V. V.S.S. Kameswara Rao, a practising advocate, seeking a direction to restrain all Telugu news channels from telecasting violent sequences, visuals, tele-serials based on crime events and also abusive speeches.

The court had earlier granted stay on telecast of the programmes, which created panic in the minds of the people. The court also asked channels not to telecast or hold debates which are of little help to the people.
The court directed the city police commissioner to see that the provisions of Rule 6 of the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994 are strictly complied with by the TV channels.

Justice Nagarjuna Reddy directed the police commissioner to file an action taken report by June 14 and extended stay orders.

Case against CM adjourned

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing of a writ of quo warranto filed against the continuation of Mr K. Rosaiah as Chief Minister.
Mr Voggu Murali and five other selected excise constables filed the writ contending that Mr Rosaiah was not competent to hold the office of Chief Minister as he was not elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party prior to his appointment on September 3, 2009 and even subsequently.

When the petition came up before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Nisar Ahmad Kakru and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar, the advocate- general Mr D.V. Seetharama Murthy, took serious exception and said the writ was an abuse of process of law and has nothing to do with the relief of writ of quo warranto against the Chief Minister.
He told the court that similar writs filed earlier were dismissed by the court.

The bench asked the petitioner’s counsel, Mr P.V. Krishnaiah, to point out necessary provisions of law and not to make it a political issue. He said that the CLP had authorised the AICC chief to select the leader of the CLP instead of electing any person as the leader and as per the liberty given by the CLP this was informed to the Governor through the PCC president. He contended that this was illegal and against the Constitution. The case is posted for hearing after the vacation.

Centre suspends DRT presiding officer

The Centre has suspended the presiding officer of the Hyderabad Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) Mr D. Gopala Krishana. Sources in the judiciary revealed that the Union ministry of finance on Thursday issued suspension order. Mr Jacob Daniel presiding officer of the DRT Chennai, will hold additional charge of the Hyderabad zone.

Mr Gopala Krishna was suspended in the backdrop of several writ petitions filed against his functioning and the Central government had referred the matter pertaining to the allegations to the debt recovery appellate tribunal of Chennai for inquiry into the issue, sources added.

HC quashes cases against Chamundi

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thurday quashed criminal proceedings pending against Mr Chamundeswarnath, former secretary of the Andhra Cricket Association.
Mr N. Venkat Rao, a native of Guntur district had lodged a complaint against Mr Chamundeswarnath alleging that he had tampered with the bylaws and records of the association. The Nagarampalem police registered a case against Mr Chamundeswarnath. The former ACA secretary challenged the action before the court and Justice Gopalakrishna Tamada quashed the proceedings.

HC refuses to enter Speaker’s domain

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Nisar Ahmad Kakru and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition filed seeking a direction to the AP Assembly Speaker to disclose the reasons for delay in accepting the resignations of MLAs recently.

Mr K. Parthasaradhi Reddy, an advocate filed the writ seeking a direction to declare the action of the Speaker in keeping the resignations of MLAs pending for a period of one-and-a-half months without taking any actions as unconstitutional. The bench observed that it will not intervene in matters which under the jurisdiction of the Speaker.

City to be on alert, says DGP

The director-general of police, Mr R.R. Girish Kumar, on Thursday said the security sensitisation programmes would continue in the city for the next few days in the wake of the red alerts issued by the Centre.
The DGP said this at the inauguration of the automated red light violation system at the Cyberabad commisionerate which would enable the traffic police to identify violators and despatch challans to their homes with video evidence of the rule violation.
The DGP also inaugurated the online “Know your case’s status” on the commissionerate’s website, which enables citizens to pursue the status by subscribing to the format or by SMSing the police station’s name and case number to 9490100100.
Meanwhile, the city police commissioner, Mr A.K. Khan, briefed the Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, and the home minister, Ms P. Sabita Indra Reddy, about the security sensitisation programmes and precautionary measures being taken.
The city security wing on Thursday organised a sensitisation programme at Goshamahal at which it discussed with managements of malls, business establishments, theatres and security agencies about the measures that must be adopted to prevent any untoward incident. The police had sent decoys and observed that some of the establishments have not been conducting proper checks. Participants were shown explosives and ingredients of IEDs so that they can identify these things if found. The police listed 31 precautionary measures which the participants were apprised of.

Inter II results today, only grades on website

The results of Intermediate second year exams will be released at 11.30am on Friday. Though the official website will only reveal the grades, students can know their marks by calling 1255225 from anywhere in the state (without STD code) from BSNL landlines and mobiles.

BSNL users can also know marks through SMS by typing interhall ticket number> and send to 55352. For other mobile users, they should type inter or IPE2 hall ticket number> and send to 56300 or 56505 or AP12hall ticket number> to 57777. For inter vocational results IPEV2 hall ticket number> to 56300 or 56505.

The results can be checked on Parishkaram Call Centre (e-Seva) by dialling 1100 from any BSNL fixed line in the state, e-Seva centres in the twin cities and Rajiv e-seva centres in other places of the state.
Students can check results (only grades) through IVRS:

* Airtel users by dialing 543212222 or52800
* Vodafone users by dialing 56730
* Idea users by dialing 5545678
* Tata users by dialing 12971
* Reliance users by dialing 56566 or 56300999
* All users by dialing 505101018 or 585101096 or 543217 or 52345 or 58888
* Tata docomo users by dialing 54321234

The results will be hosted on the following websites
*, www.billpay

Cops don’t keep track of illegal immigrants

The city police and revenue departments have no mechanism to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan in the city.
The foreigners’ branch and Pakistan cell in the Special Branch of the city police deal only with legal immigrants who come to them for registration.
The police acts against illegal immigrants only based on specific information or inputs.
It is suspected that thousands of Bangladeshis are illegally residing in the city and have obtained ration cards, passports and driving licences. They may get registered in the on-going Census and get unique ID cards too.
The BJP leader, Mr N.V.S. Prabhakar, alleged that around one lakh Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals are staying illegally in the state and are trying to enrol as Indian citizens during the ongoing Census.
“The government should appoint an IAS officer to supervise this and ensure that no foreigner enlists as an Indian citizen,” he said.
An official of city police disputed the figure. “How did the BJP leader arrive at this figure?” he asked.
“It is true that they are in good numbers and are staying illegally after sneaking in from the porous Bangladeshi borders,” he said.
“To identify them is a difficult task as they mingled with the locals.”
He stressed that the police acts when it is informed of the presence of illegals.
The Task Force last year arrested up to 40 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. In a single case around 25 Bangladeshi illegals were arrested after the August 25, 2008, twin blasts. Last week, the court ordered expulsion of a brother-sister pair of Bangladeshi illegals who were found during investigations into the blasts.

India, Pak back to the future

After a suspense-breaking dialogue here between the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and his Pakistan counterpart, Mr Yousaf Raza Gilani, that lasted over an hour on Thursday, it has been decided that the foreign ministers and the foreign secretaries of the two countries would lay the groundwork “as early as possible” in an effort to “normalise” relations, and to “work effectively to enlarge the constituency of peace in both countries”.

Meeting for a substantive conversation with Mr Gilani for the first time since the Sharm el-Sheikh talks last July which raised a controversy in India, Dr Singh made it plain that there was a lack of mutual trust in the relationship between the two countries.

Asked if the Singh-Gilani engagement in the Bhutanese capital did not amount to a resumption of the comprehensive dialogue process that Pakistan has insistently demanded, the foreign secretary, Ms Nirupama Rao, who briefed the media, said she would not be drawn into categorising the discussion between the two Prime Ministers.

“We are not getting stuck on nomenclature. The process is aimed at building more trust,” she said. Responding to a question, the foreign secretary said the Pakistan Prime Minister did not raise the allegation of India assisting anti-Pakistan terrorists in Balochistan. In his press briefing on Thursday’s talks, the Pakistan foreign minister, Mr Shah Mehmood Qureshi, confirmed this. The mention of this theme in the joint statement issued at Sharm el-Sheikh had raised hackles in India.

Dr Singh told Mr Gilani that terrorism aimed at India from Pakistani soil, the rise of infiltration in Kashmir, and the slow progress in Pakistan on the trial of those who planned and executed the 26/11 Mumbai attacks had been a stumbling block.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weight and watch for Kats

Katrina Kaif is in a mood to experiment. After the crisp cotton saree clad look in Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti, the actress will be seen in a very glamorous role in Karan Johar’s Dostana 2.
She has already lost oodles of weight and is looking even more stunning in her new avatar. In spite of her glamour, Katrina has always been simple in her presentation. Her last film Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani saw her as a simple small town girl.
But Dostana 2 promises to be a hugely different. The actress isn’t very keen on revealing much though. When asked about the film she only said, “There’s a long time before that project begins. I haven’t even started working on it yet, how can I talk about it?”
Karan Johar is known to present his heroines in their glamourous best. From Kajol to Preity Zinta, Kareena, Rani and most recently Priyanka Chopra, every one has added a lot of oomph factor to his films. When asked whether Katrina too would follow her predecessor and do a bikini scene for the sequel, she replied, “No, I don’t think so.”
Her fans have always been curious to see her in a bikini. Whether or not the wait is over for them, only time can tell. But Karan Johar is a man who’s known to convince his heroines. On the other hand Katrina continues to be elusive about the subject. “Every film is different. And all I focus on at the moment is to work hard to entertain my fans. I can’t control a film’s fate. Though I always believe that if a product is good it will always be appreciated,” she said.

9 rapists sentenced to life

A fast track court at Kothagudem has convicted 14 accused in a gang rape case where they shot the video on mobile phone and telecast it on the local cable TV network.

Nine of the accused have been sentenced for life imprisonment, one for 10 years, and four for five-year rigorous imprisonment. The Kothagudem Fast-Track Court Additional Sessions Judge, Ms Vijaya Lakshmi, passed the verdict on Monday.

In 2007, a minor girl was raped and blackmailed by circulating the obscene photographs of rape. The victim was threatened not to reveal though she had been sexually assaulted since February 17, 2007. However, she disclosed the crime only on January 5, 2009.

A case was registered with Kottagudem two-town police station of Khammam district against the 14 accused. The case was booked under the Information Technology Act apart from rape and other IPC sections. The accused are in the jail on remand since then.
The then Khammam superintendent of police and now Eluru DIG, Mr Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagawat, said, “the accused made a power point presentation of the rape photos and telecast them on the TV.”

The nine accused convicted for life have been identified as Amar, 24 , Raju, 28, Vamsi, 24, Raj Kamal, 19, Sudhakar, 26, Mahamood, 24, Muktyal, 46, Sultan, 23, and Baba, 21. The accused were convicted for gang-rape and under Section 66 of the IT Act. Another accused Md Ramjan, 22, was sentenced for 10 years for helping the rapists. Four other accused identified as P. Phani Kumar, 26, Nagaraju, 29, G. Madhu and K. Little Babu were sentenced for five years.

SHRC seeks report on company closure

The SHRC on Wednesday directed the joint commissioner of labour of Ranga Reddy district to submit a report by May 11 in response to a petition filed by the employees of a battery manufacturing unit that abruptly closed its Moula Ali unit on April 24. The employees alleged that the factory management was trying to get rid of the employees so that it could sell the land, which the previous management acquired at subsidised rate from the government.

The petition alleged the joint commissioner was delaying action on their complaint. An employee of the company, said the unit sought a stay from the court barring employees from protesting near the company’s premises. “Some of the employees took VRS and left, some were threatened by the management,” he said.

Now, KCR warns of inferno

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti president, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao, on Wednesday warned that Telangana region would turn into an inferno if the government tries to suppress T-movement.

Mr Rao, addressing the 15,000 delegates assembled at a private function hall in Secunderabad on the occasion of the party’s 9th anniversary celebrations, said,“ If Telangana is denied there will be a civil war.”

Accusing the Congress, TD, PR and CPM of ditching Telangana people, he said henceforth TRS would go it alone strengthening its base from grass root-level. “We will not merge with any party. The TRS will lead the Telangana movement and achieve statehood. We have had alliance with the Congress and Telugu Desam in the past, but they ditched us,” he recalled.

Mr Chandrasekhar Rao called Mr Chandrababu Naidu a power hungry sikandi (eunuch) scared of the TRS, and said the PCC president, Mr D. Srinivas, was spineless, as he did not submit a report to the Srikrishna committee despite being a Telangana man.

Mr Rao, women leaders and mother of the late Srikant Chari, who ended his life for the cause of Telangana, became emotional when a youth sang a song in praise of the martyr.

Cops sanitise suspect areas

Policemen are conducting frisking operations on an unprecedented scale and intensified searches in areas like Begum Bazaar and crowded malls following Centre’s warning that terrorists may strike in the city.
Police also carried out anti-sabotage checks. Begum Bazaar seems to be the focus of the police search. The police is sanitising the area, going from shop to shop as part of their checks. They raided several cyber cafe’s in Saifabad and Abids following inputs that the terror suspects were using them to communicate with their handlers in Pakistan. Hard disks seized from the computers at the cyber cafe’s will be sent for forensic analysis, police sources said.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of Police, Mr R.R. Girish Kumar, held a high-level review meeting with top officials of the intelligence department and city police following the alert.
The Intelligence IG, Mr M. Mahendar Reddy, counter Intelligence officials and Octopus officials took part in the meeting.
Mr Girish Kumar asked officials to be on alert and take necessary measures.
The DGP also asked the police of other cities in the state to be on alert.
“In view of the recent attacks at Pune and Bengaluru, we are taking some steps. There is no specific threat to the city,” the police commissioner, Mr A.K. Khan, said.
Mr Khan appealed to people to be on alert while in crowded areas. “Don’t panic over rumors. Inform police about suspicious persons and objects and abandoned vehicles,” Mr Khan said.
“We have been given a message that terror strikes are most likely to occur in Hyderabad shortly,” a senior city police official said, adding, “We have conducted frisking at malls, Imax theatre, prominent and vital installations and at railway stations.” Senior police officers have informed the bomb disposal squad to be extra alert for the next three days in the wake of terror alert.

LeT terrorists may hit city, warns Centre

The Centre has warned the state government that terrorists may strike in the city. According to an intelligence alert put out by the Centre, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorists trained in Pakistan have entered the city and could set off bombs in busy market areas.

Sources said the Intelligence Bureau issued the alert based on intercepts of communication from across the border with terrorists in India.

The city police has gone on high alert. Personnel from Octopus, the anti-terror commando force, 18 teams of the City Security Wing, units from the Intelligence Security Wing and Railway Protection Force are pressed into service to spot the terrorists.

Task Force sleuths and bomb disposal teams were also deployed, sources said. All the officials of city police were put on standby.

Foreign nationals trying to enrol as Indian citizens: BJP

The BJP's Andhra Pradesh unit on Wednesday alleged that over one lakh Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, who were staying illegally in the state, were trying to enrol themselves as Indian citizens during the on-going Census drive.

Speaking to reporters here, party spokesperson N. V. S. Prabhakar demanded appointment of an IAS officer to supervise the Census exercise and ensure that no foreigners could enlist as Indian citizens, particularly in the old city areas.

During the Census, the government should take steps to weed out anti-nationals and illegal migrants staying in the state, Mr. Prabhakar said.

Hyderabad has become a den for terrorists and illegal activities due to an inept police force, he alleged.

Vicar alias Vicaruddin, a terror suspect from the city, is missing for last three years and police were not able to track him, he said, adding there was no coordination between counter-intelligence personnel and Octopus, an anti-terrorist cell.

I may turn director too in few years: Akshay Kumar

He had written “Namastey London”, turned producer with his Hari Om Productions and has of course acted in umpteen actioners and comedies. Now Bollywood star Akshay Kumar says he may wield the megaphone as well after a few years.

“I wrote ‘Namastey London’ I had given the concept of ‘Waqt -- The Race Against Time’ I don’t sit and write a story. I meet people and if their stories touch me, I try putting them on the big screen. In ‘Namastey London’, the character is real. He is a friend of mine from Jalandhar. It happened to him,” Akshay told IANS in an interview.

Talking about his directorial plans, he said: “As of now, no. But you never know. Three years back, if you would have asked me whether I will produce a film, I would have said no. But then I became a producer...anything can happen in this industry. After three-four years, I might direct a film as well.”

Akshay’s next film “Housefull” releases Friday and director Sajid Khan presents him as “the world’s unluckiest guy”. But the actor says he has been quite lucky in real life.

“I have been lucky with my life. I made a good career. I didn’t have any godfather in the industry. Whatever I have achieved in life is because of my luck and a little bit of hard work,” Akshay told IANS.

“I am playing a very unlucky man in the film. He believes his luck will change when he finds true love and gets married. So he starts searching for the right girl. It’s total entertainment,” the actor said.

Shot in Britain, Italy, Hong Kong and India, the film also stars Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta, Jiah Khan, Arjun Rampal and Riteish Deshmukh. Akshay says he’s never given a thought to why most comedies are multi-starrers.

“I never sat down to analyse why it’s like that, but a lot of people want two, three actors together when they make comedies. Nowadays when you are doing a comedy, you are not a hero, you become a character. That’s the best part about doing a comedy. You have to act not only as a hero but also as a comedian and as an entertainer. There may be more points in it, so they choose to make it a multi-starrer,” said Akshay.

From his first film “Saugandh” (1991) to “Housefull”, Akshay has come a long way and in his almost two decades-long journey he has tried every genre, but feels he still has cope to explore.

“There are a few genres, which people can actually do. But these genres, be it comedy or tragedy, are so vast that more you explore it, you realise there is something you have yet to do. Comedy has different angles, romance has different angles; so it’s never ending. I would like to do a horror comedy,” said Akshay.

He is known for doing all stunts himself. Asked if he ever felt scared, he said: “I fear doing every stunt. I think one should fear because then you take double care of your safety. There is a good fear and a bad fear. There is a good fear with me, which tells me to do the stunts but safely.”

Kushboo thanks Supreme Court

Reacting to the Supreme Court verdict dismissing all cases against her, a relieved Kushboo said, “If you are honest and if you are fighting for justice, then whatever political or money power anybody has, there is a law to protect the normal citizen and my case has proved it.”

The actor, who fought in the courts for four and half years, told PTI that she was grateful to the Supreme Court and all the “people and friends who have stood by me all these years.”

An IANS report said that the actor stood by her comments on pre-marital sex and live-in relationships. “When you look around, every celebrity is pinned down for no rhyme or reason and that is quite a harassment,” Kushboo told NDTV in an interview. “I knew what I had's not an easy task for a woman to stand alone and say ‘I believe in what I have spoken,” she added.

Film industry hails decision

Chennai Bureau adds:

The Tamil film industry and people from various other forums hailed the Supreme Court's ruling to dismiss all the cases against Kushboo. Actors, writers and feminists welcomed the decision, terming it a victory for freedom of expression. Writer-journalist Gnani said that by quashing the cases against the actor, the court has upheld one's right to speak.

“People have different perspectives. A society can prosper only if it gives space for healthy discussion. People should encourage pluralistic views,” he said, adding that he did not disagree with the actor's view.

Concurring with him, writer Sivasankari said the protests against Kushboo were needless and the court's decision to dismiss the cases would discourage people to create an uproar over one's personal views.

“There is no need for such cases. She has been unduly harassed for so many years. And a whole section of society blamed her views while there are more pressing issues to attend to,” she said.

While welcoming the Supreme Court's decision, actor Rohini said people who were in the limelight should keep in mind the sentiments of large sections of society and give a balance to their views. Kala, dance master and a close friend of Kushboo, expressed her happiness over the decision.

Congratulating Kushboo on winning the cases, actor Parthiban said it was unfair to harass women and sue them for their personal opinions.

Supreme Court quashes criminal proceedings against Kushboo

In a big relief to actor Kushboo, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside a Madras High Court judgment directing the chief metropolitan magistrate, Egmore, to conduct a joint trial of the 23 defamation complaints filed in various places in Tamil Nadu for her alleged remarks on pre-marital sex.

A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B.S. Chauhan allowed Ms. Kushboo's appeal against the April 30, 2008 judgment. The judgment had ordered consolidation of all cases for a joint trial and disposal of the complaints filed by Ms. Kanniammal and others in six months.

Ms. Kushboo said that in a survey conducted by India Today in September 2005 on ‘pre-marital sex,' she expressed her views on the need for teaching the younger generation sexology either in educational institutions or by parents.

However, she said, certain groups having political affiliation, in view of a by-election in October/November 2005, started a vilification campaign against her solely for achieving political mileage and publicity. Objecting to her statement in the magazine, 23 complaints were filed against her under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (criminal defamation) in various places to harass and victimise her.

Ms. Kushboo argued that the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression could not be impinged upon by vested interests which had unleashed a campaign of systematic complaints.

The Supreme Court accepted her contentions and quashed the criminal proceedings pending against her.

It had stayed these proceedings in May 2008.

No phone talks recorded: CBDT

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has clarified that it has not recorded any telephone conversations of influential businessmen, politicians and advertising professionals as alleged in a section of the media.

In a press release, the CBDT said:

“A section of the media has reported communication between the Income-Tax Department and Central Bureau of Investigation regarding records of telephone conversations between a person by the name of Nira Radia and others.

“The Central Board of Direct Taxes has clarified that the Income-Tax Department has not recorded any telephone conversation of influential businessmen, politicians and advertising professionals as alleged.

“It is further clarified that the Income-Tax Department does not intercept telephonic conversations except as authorised under the law. The provision is used in rare and exceptional cases of suspected tax fraud/evasion involving security of the state. The procedure, as prescribed under the law, is strictly followed in all such cases.”

“My son got bullet for a glass of water”, recalls 26/11 victim

Fifty-year-old Jamuna Waghela, who escaped death by a whisker on the fateful night of 26/11, recalls with horror how her young son was shot dead after serving a glass of water to gun-wielding Ajmal Kasab and wants the Pakistani terrorist hanged without delay.

“Why has Kasab been kept alive? He should not be shown any mercy and hanged without delay,” says an angry Jamuna as she waits for justice to be done to her family five days from now when the anti-terror court is to pronounce its verdict in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case.

“What has he (Kasab) gained from killing my son? Why they (terrorists) do all this? He killed my son for giving a glass of water?” asks a livid Jamuna fighting back tears.

According to police, Jamuna’s son Thakur Wagela (32), a sweeper at government-run GT Hospital in south Mumbai, was shot dead by Kasab at his hut located in a lane near Cama Hospital.

On November 26, 2008, Kasab and his accomplice Abu Ismail, along with eight others, came from Pakistan by sea and struck terror at various places including Taj Mahal Hotel, Nariman House, Oberoi hotel and CST terminus, killing 166 people and injuring many more.

Kasab fatally injured Thakur before walking into Cama Hospital where he exchanged fire with security personnel.

Later, outside the hospital he shot dead the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, DIG Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar.

“At 10 pm, I was standing outside my house while my son and grandson were having dinner. Two persons (Kasab and Ismail) came dashing down the lane outside and one of them, later identified as Ajmal Kasab, stopped near my house when I asked him what he wanted,” recounted Jamuna.

“His associate immediately opened fire at me but luckily the bullets did not hit me. I hid behind a hut as Kasab walked up to my son and asked for water,” said Jamuna, whose husband Budhai (60) too is a sweeper at GT hospital.

“I could see my son offer Kasab a glass of water with trembling hands. The terrorist gulped it down and coolly shot at my son who slumped to the ground as I watched helplessly in horror,” she said clutching Thakur’s photo.

She, however, thanks God for the little mercy shown to her. “Kasab did not see my grandson or he would have got killed too.”

“The whole night I was not informed about my son’s death and told he was undergoing treatment. The next day, when I went to the hospital, I found him dead,” recalls Jamuna.

“My son’s innocent face still haunts me. I get up every night thinking somebody has broken into my house. I feel scared to even sit outside my house late in the evening,” she says.

Thakur has left behind his wife and three children.

Though his wife has been given a sweeper’s job at GT Hospital and a flat in Sion in central Mumbai by the state government their welfare is a source of constant worry, Jamuna added.

For the BJP it is always win-win, whatever the outcome

No matter what the situation or turn of political events, the Bharatiya Janata Party has made it a habit to say it has emerged victorious. It was no different on Wednesday, the day after the Opposition-sponsored cut motions were voted upon and negatived.

The voting figures (289 for the government and 201 in favour of the cut motions) have established that the BJP, which has a strength of 115 in the Lok Sabha, managed the presence of only 110 members — Ramakant Yadav was in jail and could not come and Baliram Kashyap was too ill to attend, while Makhan Singh Solanki (Madhya Pradesh), Sadanand Gowda and S. Pakkirappa (both from Karnataka) absented themselves for unconvincing reasons.

Incidentally, Mr. Pakkirappa is a cousin of Sriramulu, one of the three powerful and cash-rich Bellary brothers. His absence immediately gave rise to speculation that the Congress could be up to some tricks to destabilise the Yeddyurappa government, which earlier found itself in difficulty when the Bellary brothers had come close to doing exactly this.

There were apparently three abstentions from the National Democratic Alliance ranks — two from the Janata Dal (United) and one from the Shiv Sena — taking the total of NDA absentees to 8, including the BJP, but not counting the two JMM votes, of which one (that of Shibu Soren) went against the Opposition and the other was not cast as Kameshwar Baitha is in jail.

The United Progressive Alliance too had three absentees, one each from the ranks of the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Trinamool Congress, parliamentary sources said. But the UPA “made up” the loss through the addition of 20-odd BSP votes and one from the JMM.

The failure of the BJP and the NDA to keep their own flock together, however, did not prevent Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj from claiming a “positive political fallout” for the party.

It “exposed” the UPA government to be in a minority as the government scored 289 votes, crossing the mid-way mark mostly with BSP help. This, the BJP argued, showed up the UPA as being a “non-stable minority government,” an argument that was immediately dismissed by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal as “specious” for, the votes in favour of the government were well past the mid-way mark of 273.

The BJP drew comfort also from the “expose” of “misuse” of the Central Bureau of Investigation by the government. Ms. Swaraj alleged that the government had used the CBI to arm-twist the Hindi heartland parties of Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad and Mayawati, all of whom had one criminal case or another pending against them. However, she did acknowledge that these three parties — the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the BSP — were technically still UPA supporters even if they were otherwise hostile to the Congress.

And, of course, as a direct result of the voting, the BJP had to bring down its own coalition government in Jharkhand. Another positive fallout?

Manmohan, Gilani meeting is good for region: U.S .

On the eve of a crucial meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani, the US said that it encourages such development which is good for the region.

Dr. Singh and Mr. Gilani are scheduled to meet today on the sidelines of the on going 16th SAARC Summit in Thimphu, the Capital of Bhutan.

“We have encouraged the leaders of Pakistan and India, to restore, direct dialogue that has been characteristic of the relation between those two countries within the last few years. We’re encouraged that they are taking steps to do that,” Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley told reporters.

“I think we always think that when leaders of countries, you know, particularly countries with the history of -- the unique history of India and Pakistan -- any time they can get together for high-level, constructive dialogue, that is good for the region, and we support it,” Mr. Crowley said in response to a question.

Noting that the US is having its own strategic dialogue with both India and Pakistan and is planning for the next round of discussions with India in the next few weeks, Mr. Crowley said the United States has always encouraged the two South Asian countries that they need to restore a high-level dialogue that they have had in the not-too-distant past.

“You know, there have been significant steps by both countries, restore dialogue, both at the leader level and lower levels, and we certainly encourage that,” Mr. Crowley said.

When asked about the SAARC Summit, where Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake is attending the meet as an observer, Mr. Crowley said this is one of a number of important structures that is there, across the broader Asia region.

“We think they’re important. We encourage them. And, as you see, both with, Secretary Blake’s appearance at the SAARC, you know, the secretary is committed to strengthen the United States’ ties to other structures, like ASEAN, this is an indication of our ongoing and deepening commitment to the region,” Mr. Crowley said.

TRS not to have alliance with any party

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao has said that he will not forge alliances with any other party in future elections as he cannot trust any of them.

Recalling his “bitter memories” of alliance with the Congress and the Telugu Desam in the past, Mr. Rao expressed confidence that the party would grow as a major force independent of others in the coming days. He was addressing a meeting to mark the ninth anniversary celebration of the TRS here on Wednesday. About 3,000 delegates attended the meeting held at a function hall in Secunderabad.

25 resolutions passed

A significant feature of the meeting was the passage of twenty five resolutions on different problems facing Telangana. Mr. Rao himself moved a resolution demanding that the construction of tail pond for Dummugudem project be withdrawn as it was aimed to divert Godavari water to Krishna basin. Several leaders spoke on the resolutions that would be submitted to the government.

The TRS chief dismissed reports that the party would merge with Congress and blamed the press for indulging in speculation. He said he had only stated in reply to a question by presspersons recently that the issue of merger with any other party was a big decision requiring the mandate of the TRS general body. Neither he nor even the polit bureau was competent to take a decision on this issue. Mr. Rao said the “power hungry” TDP was scared of the TRS and resorted to “match fixing” with the Congress in the recent budget session of the Assembly. He criticised TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu for lacking the “face” to show to the public for two-and-a-half months when the State encountered agitations for and against Telangana.

Repeating his threat of civil war if the Srikrishna Committee did not respond positively to the demand for separate Telangana, he clarified that it did not mean taking to guns. What he actually meant was it would lead to a situation of lawlessness on account of the anguish of the people of Telangana. However, he said there was no reason to anticipate negative outcome from the panel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jayalalithaa demands Raja’s dismissal

AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Wednesday demanded the dismissal of Union IT and Telecom Minister A. Raja over the alleged multi-crore 2G spectrum telephony scam.

In a statement here, she said CBI official, Vineet Agarwal, who had investigated the case but was subsequently transferred, should be brought back to continue the probe.

The CBI inquiry into the spectrum scam was necessitated following “a serious indictment” by the Central Vigilance Commission, she said.

The Comptroller and Auditor General had, in its report too, concluded that the faulty procedures adopted by Mr. Raja in the sale of 2G spectrum had caused a loss of at least Rs. 26,000 crore to the government, Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

The Delhi High Court, hearing a case relating to the sale of 2G spectrum had observed the first-cum-first—served procedure adopted by Raja was akin to the “sale of cinema tickets”, she said.

Mr. Raja had openly flouted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s written directions to take the PM’s clearance before embarking on the sale of 2G spectrum, she alleged.

In spite of so much “damning evidence” Raja was not only allowed to continue in office but also the CBI officer probing the case had been transferred, the AIADMK chief said.

The Congress chose to sacrifice Shashi Tharoor in the IPL controversy, which was a private issue, but when it came to Mr. Raja, who had been accused of causing enormous loss to the government, he was allowed to continue, she added.

Gujarat IPS officer held in Sohrabuddin encounter case

Deputy Commissioner of Police Abhay Chudasama was on Wednesday arrested in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case, the fourth IPS officer to be taken into custody in the fake encounter episode.

CBI DIG P. Kandaswamy said they have arrested Chudasama, the city crime branch DCP. He is accused of conspiring to kill Sheikh.

In 2005 he was posted superintendent of police in Valsad district in south Gujarat.

This is the first arrest by CBI after the Supreme Court handed over the inquiry to investigating agency on January 12, 2010 to probe into the alleged fake encounter of Sheik and bumping off his wife Kauserbi and an accomplice.

Sheikh was allegedly killed by Gujarat Police with the help of their Andhra Pradesh counterparts in November 2005 claiming that he was planning to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

DIG D.G. Vanzara, Raj Kumar Pandian of Gujarat cadre and Dinesh M.N. of Rajasthan cadre along with 11 other policemen are behind bars in the case.

CBI had registered a case in February against Gujarat Police officials under various sections of IPC including criminal conspiracy, murder and kidnapping.

The State CID, which had earlier investigated and arrested 14 policemen including three IPS officers had filed a charge sheet against them in the court.

The case has turned to be a major embarrassment for the Narendra Modi government in the Supreme Court which slammed the Gujarat government’s probe saying there were factual discrepancies in ATRs and the charge sheet.

The court had asked CBI to probe if there was any larger conspiracy to the killings and submit the report in six months.

BJP pulls out of Soren govt. in Jharkhand

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s four-month honeymoon with Shibu Soren ended abruptly today with the party withdrawing support to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led government, a day after the Jharkhand Chief Minister sided with the UPA in the Lok Sabha.

A meeting of the BJP top brass, headed by party chief Nitin Gadkari, decided to withdraw support immediately giving indications that the new experiment in Ranchi has floundered.

“The BJP Parliamentary Board has decided to withdraw support immediately to the Shibu Soren government. He (Soren) has behaved in a very dubious manner and voted with the government during the cut motion. BJP has taken very serious note of this betrayal and dubious conduct,” senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar told reporters here.

New equations in Jharkhand appeared to be in the offing with AICC in—charge of the state K. Keshav Rao saying, “There is nobody untouchable in politics....(We were) never averse to it (forming a government with JMM). After all we contested the election there to form a government. In politics there is no last word.”

BJP leader and Jharkhand Deputy Chief Minister Raghubar Das will submit a letter to the state governor withdrawing support to the JMM-led government later in the day.

“The Deputy Chief Minister and all BJP ministers in the Jharkhand government will also submit their resignations to the governor,” Mr. Kumar said.

Mr. Kumar, who along with former party president Rajnath Singh was part of the negotiations with Soren just four months ago to form a government, refused to comment on whether BJP’s coalition experiment has failed in the state.

With elections to the state legislature throwing up a hung assembly, BJP had formed a coalition government with Soren.

In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, BJP and JMM have 18 seats each, Congress 14, RJD 5, JVM 11, ASJU 5, JD(U) 2, CPI(ML) 1 and others and independents six. One member is nominated

Bebo to play Smita Patil

There were reports that maverick director Madhur Bhandarkar’s upcoming film, starring Kareena Kapoor was based on the life of Hollywood celebrity Marilyn Monroe. However, a source close to Madhur recently revealed that the late actress Smita Patil was the source of inspiration for the director.

“Madhur has always admired her body of work and always wanted to make a film on her life — a biopic of sorts. Interestingly, Madhur had uploaded one of Smita’s pictures on his Facebook account. He has even asked her husband, Raj Babbar for permission, who instantly agreed to Madhur’s request,” said our source.

When contacted, Madhur laughed off these reports as mere rumours. “What is this? Sometimes people say I’m making a film based on Marilyn Monroe’s life and now they say it’s inspired by Smita Patil. There’s no truth to this. Wait and watch for more,” he said.

Shekar to act with Ashutosh in a film

It’s not just Ashutosh Gowarikar who will be seen making his acting comeback with Vivek Agnihotri’s Bollywood remake of 12 Man Army. Buzz has it that now Shekhar Kapur has been roped in to play the lead role in the film.

“Vivek has finalised names like Om Puri, Paresh Rawal, Ashutosh Gowarikar and now Shekhar Kapur. He wants to have 12 different actors in his remake of the 1957 Hollywood classic. He is said to have even approached Ajay Devgn for one of the key roles. Vivek has been working on the subject since the last four years but he put the project on hold when he decided to make Goal with John Abraham and Bipasha Basu,” said a source.

Vijayashanti calls Chiru comedian

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti MP, Ms Vijayashanti, described the Praja Rajyam Party as “Public Rejected Party”.

“We do not recognise him as a leader. Chiranjeevi is behaving like a comedian. He duped the people of Telangana and will dupe the people of Andhra region too,” she said.

Reacting to Mr Chiranjeevi’s verbal assault against the TRS chief, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao, she said Mr Chiranjeevi has lost his support base and people do not have faith in him anymore.

“On the face he pretends to do Gandhigiri, but he promotes goondagiri. He has let loose his women party leaders to attack opponents,” she alleged.

Referring to Mr Chiranjeevi’s call for Samajika Telangana, she asked the PR chief why he does not talk about Samajika Andhra and Samajika Rayalaseema. “He should remember that he lost to a woman in the Assembly elections whereas I won from Medak Parliamentary constituency. He is no match for me,” she said.

Meanwhile, mega arrangements are being made for the 10th anniversary celebrations of the TRS on Wednesday. Though the anniversary is on Tuesday, the party leadership postponed the celebrations to Wednesday in view of the Bharat Hartal.

RIL sour over AP’s oil deals

The state’s decision to set up the AP Gas Infrastructure Corporation and enter the exploration business along with ONGC, British Gas and Oil India has not gone down well with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), sources said.

Government officials, on the other hand, mooted a proposal to partner with any consortium that gets city gas projects in open bidding. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Board, in a phased manner, has been calling for bids in urban areas of the state and several players like Indian Oil Corporation and Adani are competing for the projects.

“The state’s nominal equity is a gesture and commitment for speedy clearances and land acquisition wherever necessary,” an infrastructure official said adding that the ultimate objective was to ensure city gas to all 43 identified municipalities.

Hyderabad parks too choke on polluted air

Walkers beware! City parks that are considered to be the lungs of the city are not as pristine as we would expect. They are recording respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) and total suspended particulate matter (TSPM) above permissible levels.

If you are not breathing easily as you walk along the Necklace Road or visit Lumbini or NTR Park, it is because the Buddha Purnima Project Area has been reporting monthly average RSPM ranging between 83 to 93 and TSPM of around 260 to 270 micrograms per cubic metre, according to the AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB).

This is much above the permissible levels in these sensitive zones. The normal levels in sensitive areas should be less than 60 RSPM and 100 TSPM as per the new national ambient air quality standards.

Despite steps taken by the forest department, pollution is rising in Nehru Zoological Park at Bahadurpua and Kasu Brahmananda Reddy Park at Banjara Hills.

An APPCB official says that the lowest levels of pollution in the city are recorded in the University of Hyderabad and Rajendranagar Agricultural University areas.

“Even in these areas sometimes the pollution levels come close to the permissible levels. KBR Park and Nehru Zoological Park, which are in sensitive zones, are reporting increasing levels of particulate matter.”

The Kurnool-Bengaluru National Highway that passes near the Nehru Zoological Park is the biggest source of pollution. Forest officials are hoping that once the Outer Ring Road is completed, the density of vehicles on this road will come down.

The Nehru Zoological Park curator, Mr Sarvanand, says, “We took several measures to reduce pollution. We hiked the car entry fee from Rs 200 to Rs 500. Earlier, around 600 to 700 cars used to be brought into the zoo. Now the number has come down to 200 to 250.”

Congress, TRS clash at Patham

Praja Patham turned into a high voltage event at Yaradapalli village under Shankarapatnam mandal with Telangana joint action committee (JAC) leaders and Congress activists indulged in a free for all before being arrested on Monday.

As pro-Telangana leaders and activists tried to prevent Manakondur MLA A. Mohan of the Congress from attending the gram sabha, the Congress workers also resisted their attempts with equal gusto.

Both sides entered into verbal duels and then resorted to scuffles.

According to sources, when TRS and JAC activists rushed towards the MLA, his supporters too swung into action and prevented them from coming near Mr Mohan. Efforts by police to separate warring sides proved futile for a while.

Enraged by the violent protests by TRS men, Mr Mohan launched a tirade against the TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao using harsh words.

Reacting to the demands by TRS leaders that he resign from his post, the Congress MLA questioned them why Mr KCR and MLC Naradasu Laxman Rao had not quit their posts. “What did Rajender achieve by resigning time and again?” he said.

Heated exchange between the two sides deteriorated into an outright hurling of expletives against each other forcing the police to take the protesters as well as Congressmen into custody.

KCR fumes over DS candidacy

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao, launched a scathing attack against the APCC president, Mr D. Srinivas, for the latter’s attempts to contest the bypolls from Nizamabad Assembly constituency and for his failure to submit a petition to the Srikrishna panel in support of Telangana.

“Mr Srinivas shamelessly plans to contest from Nizamabad. Let’s see if he gets votes or cow dung (peda) on his face. I requested him to submit a memorandum to the Srikrishna panel but he excused himself saying he is the president of the Congress for the entire state. He showed his true colours,” Mr Rao fumed.

Mr Rao was speaking at a function to welcome the TD and PR leaders from Sircilla and Karimnagar including the Karimnagar ex-ZP vice chairman, Mr Laxma Reddy into the TRS.

He did not spare other party leaders either. He attacked the TD chief, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, for trying to lead the Telangana TD and the Andhra Telugu Desam, the Praja Rajyam chief, Mr K. Chiranjeevi, the Congress MP, Mr Lagdapati Rajagopal, and the TD ex-MLA, Mr T. Srinivas Yadav, for their anti-Telangana stance. He also criticised other Telangana leaders from other parties for taking back their resignation.

“I told them several times not to get scared over the resignation. If they had resigned like the Andhra leaders did, Telangana would have been a reality by now.”

CM concerned over MCI scam impact

The Centre has asked the state not to allow admissions for the additional seats sanctioned by the tainted Medical Council of India (MCI) chairman, Mr Ketan Desai, in three private medical colleges.

The medical education minister, Mr P. Sudarshan Reddy, told mediapersons that the MCI has decided not to allow admissions for the additional seats in the NRI Medical College (Guntur), NBN Medical College (Mahbubnagar) and the MNR College (Sanga Reddy).

The minister also said the Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, had made enquiries about the MCI graft scandal and its impact on the state at a review meeting held here on Tuesday.

The CM also decided to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the important issue of handing over 15 per cent medical seats to the national pool.

The state has been avoiding joining the national pool to which 15 per cent seats in MBBS and post graduation courses from the state colleges should be given. The state has almost 4,000 medical and dental seats. In return, students from the state will be permitted to appear for the national medical test conducted by the AIIMS for admission into premier institutes. J&K and Andhra Pradesh are yet to surrender seats to the national pool.

Tirumala chief priest gets memo

The chief priest of Tirumala temple, Mr Ramana Dikshitulu, was served a memo for calling on the business tycoon, Mr Mukesh Ambani, and his family members at their guest house at Tirumala and giving them ashirwachan on April 20.

The deputy executive officer (temple), Mr Gopalakrishna, directed the chief priest to explain his actions within 15 days.

Though the memo was issued three days ago, the information was out only on Tuesday.

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) executive officer, Mr I.Y.R. Krishna Rao, took the matter seriously after Mr Dikshitulu’s actions caused a furore.

Earlier, Mr Dikshitulu was in soup for performing a yagam at Tirumala seeking divine intervention to make the Kadapa MP, Mr Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the chief minister following the demise of his father, Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy.

Injured cop given HIV+ blood

A police constable in Rajahmundry contracted the deadly HIV after he was given “infected” blood following a road mishap.

The owner of a blood bank has been booked and arrested in the case after a probe revealed that the blood had been donated by a HIV-positive donor.

The constable, posted at the III Town police station in Rajahmundry, was involved in a motorcycle mishap on the night of April 25.

He had suffered an injury to his head and was bleeding profusely. As he slipped into a coma, he was taken to the government general hospital at Rajahmundry. Later he was shifted to Abhaya Emergency Hospital for better treatment. Doctors at the hospital had asked for two units of blood from a licensed blood bank — Jagruti Blood Bank.

It is learnt that the injured constable was given some of the blood. Here the constable had tested negative for HIV.

However, when the doctors informed his family members that his surgery would cost nearly Rs 2 lakh, they decided to take him to another hospital — Swatantra Hospital.

He was then given the remaining of the blood. This time when the doctors tested his blood samples, it came back as HIV positive.

Enraged at the development, the family members of the constable ransacked the Jagruti Blood Bank on Monday.

The blood bank’s owner and pathologist, Dr G. Nageswara Rao, was booked under Sections 269 and 336 of the IPC for criminal negligence and also under the provisions of the AP Transplantation of Human Organs Act.

The Rajahmundry revenue divisional officer,
Ch. Vinay Mohan, seized the blood bank and its records.

During a probe on Tuesday, it was found that the donor of the blood was a HIV positive patient.

Pallam Raju’s aunt murdered in city

The Union minister of state for defence, Mr Pallam Raju’s aunt, Susheela Kumari, was found murdered in her apartment at Punjagutta here on Tuesday.

Susheela Kumari, 73, a widow, used to stay alone on the first floor of the Lotus Apartments located behind NIMS hospital at Punjagutta. She was Mr Raju’s paternal uncle’s wife. Her two daughters stay in America.

According Bhagwan Das, the watchman of the apartment, two persons aged about 25 had come to the apartment at about 2.30 pm. Around 6 pm Das went up stairs and noticed the door open. On venturing inside, he found Susheela lying dead in the kitchen.

He alerted the police who reached the spot and collected clues from the scene of offence. It is learnt that the body bore injuries on neck and hands.

“We registered a murder for gain case and started investigation,” said the city police commissioner, Mr A.K. Khan. Police arrived at the conclusion as gold ornaments went missing from the house.

Meanwhile, Punjagutta police registered a case under Section 302 (murder case) of the IPC and are investigating.

A.P. bypolls: row in Congress

Congress leaders from Telangana are divided over the issue of contesting the byelections to 12 Assembly constituencies as a section of the party cadre has strong reservations over the suggestions of some senior leaders that they should not enter the poll fray.


Congress Working Committee member K. Keshava Rao, among others, had suggested at a meeting of party seniors that the Congress take note of the sentiments of the people of Telangana and refrain from fielding candidates for the vacant seats.

Several aspirants, pinning hopes on the byelections, are accusing the seniors of trying to indirectly help the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

They dared the seniors to approach the high command and air their views. They are confident that in multi-cornered contests, the party would benefit.

“Every time elections are held in the region, they are toeing the TRS' line. As a national party, the Congress must contest the elections. Though the party is weak in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, that has never refrained it from putting up candidates in successive elections,” former APSRTC chairman Gone Prakash questioned.

The two-day tour of Nizamabad Urban constituency by Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president D. Srinivas has also evoked curiosity whether he was testing the ground to enter the fray.

But pressure is building on him from his constituents to contest.

It is understood that former Minister Md. Ali Shabbir, having lost the race for the Legislative Council seat, now wants to contest the bypolls from Yellareddy.

Another former Minister G. Vinod is eyeing the Chennur seat, while J. Ratnakar Rao wants the ticket for his son from Korutla.

Left-TDP’s bandh affects normal life in AP

The bandh called by Telugu Desam and Left parties against the government’s failure to check price rise badly affected normal life in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday.

Leaders and activists of the opposition parties held demonstrations in towns and villages across the State and also staged sit-in in front of depots of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC).

Passengers had a tough time as APSRTC suspended its services in cities including Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and also in several other districts.

Shops and other business establishments remained closed at various places in the state, while the educational institutions were on vacation.

CPI state secretary K Narayana and CPI(M) State secretary B V Raghavulu led the protest at the busy RTC Cross Roads Junction in Hyderabad, bringing traffic to a grinding halt.

Police took the two leaders and scores of Left activists into custody and shifted them to the police station at Gosha Mahal locality. Telugu Desam Chief N Chandrababu Naidu met the Left leaders there.

Failure of the Congress governments at the Centre and in Andhra Pradesh to keep the prices of essential commodities under control has made life difficult for common people, Mr. Naidu alleged.

Bandh affects normal life in UP, Orissa

Rail services were disrupted in many parts of Uttar Pradesh today and three buses torched in the state capital during a nation-wide bandh called by the Left and non-BJP parties to protest government’s “failure” to check price rise.

Scores of SP activists were detained in Allahabad while trying to disrupt rail traffic.More than 50 SP workers gathered at the Prayag railway station at around 5 AM in the morning and squatted on the tracks, obstructing the movement of Lucknow-bound GangaGomati Express, police said.

The agitating SP workers were detained by GRP personnel following which the train could leave the station at 6 AM, half-an-hour behind schedule.

In the state capital, three buses were set ablaze allegedly by Samajwadi Party workers.

While the SP workers torched two buses in Krishna Nagar and Ashiyana areas in the wee hours, another was set ablaze in front of Vidhan Bhawan building, they said.

The SP workers also stopped trains at several places in the state including Lucknow and Pratapgarh, the sources said, adding that some people were detained in this connection.

RLD and CPI workers took out a procession and staged dharna at Hazratganj crossing in Lucknow disrupting traffic movement.

In Ghaziabad, Samajwadi Party workers stopped the Lucknow—bound Shatabdi at the railway station for around 20 minutes. Some trains on way to Delhi were also blocked, railway sources said.

Daily commuters between Meerut and Delhi were stranded as private buses were not plying on the stretch.

In Modinagar, Lok Dal leader and Chairman Modinagar Nagar Palika Sudesh Sharma along with his supporters blocked traffic.

Authorities have made tight security arrangements in view of the bandh.

ADG (Law and Order) Brij Lal said around 2700 PAC personnel have been sent to different districts to ensure law and order.

Bandh disrupts normal life in Orissa

Normal life was thrown out of gear in Orissa during the 12-hour shutdown called by Left and other parties and supported by ruling BJD in the state against Centre’s alleged failure to check price rise.

Vehicular movement was paralysed across the state as bandh supporters blocked national highways, state highways and other roads, putting a halt to plying of passenger buses, trucks, taxis and autorickshaws, police sources said.

Rail services were also affected as trains were stopped at different stations for a brief period, they said.

Security was tightened throughout the state with deployment of about 2000 security personnel in various places to deal with any eventuality during the strike called by seven non—Congress and non—BJP political parties in the state.

In the state capital, shops, business establishments and commercial outfits remained closed during the bandh.

The strike affected work in Central government offices, public sector units including NALCO, post offices and banks as bandh supporters resorted to picketing and prevented staff from entering their offices, sources said.

Work was also affected in East Cost Railway (ECoR) headquarters due to picketing by bandh supporters, but emergency arrangements had been made by railway authorities to maintain basic functioning, an official said.

The shutdown also affected normal life in various places like Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Balasore, Puri, Balangir, Baripada and Khurda.

Bandh disrupts normal life in West Bengal, Kerala

Train services in the State were disrupted and are running 30-65 minutes late on Tuesday on account of the picketing by the LDF activists in support of the nation-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal called by 13 Opposition parties to protest against the price rise.

The bus services of the state-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation are also not plying since the hartal began at 6 a.m. Only the stay services of Attingal and Kattakada depots in the capital district operated. No untoward incident had been reported.

A KSRTC official said the services could not be operated as per schedule due to poor turnout of the drivers and conductors. “We will operate services with police protection once the staff arrive. Instructions had been given to this effect, he added.

The arrival and departure of the trains had been delayed on account of the picketing in Parasala, Thiruvananthapuram. Varkala, Kollam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam railway stations, a railway official said. Several trains were held up on account of the picketing that commenced after 6 a.m.

In Thiruvananthapuram Central, the agitators picketed the Thiruvanathapuram-Kozhikode Jan Shatabdi Express that was to depart from here at 6 a.m. The train finally left from here after a delay of 65 minutes.

However, the Parasuram Express bound for Mangalore was able to depart from here at 6.30 a.m. But, the train got stranded in Varkala due to picketing. The railways had to cancel some passenger trains, including the Kollam Passenger, on account of the stir.

Long distance commuters staying in the suburbs and far-flung areas and who had to proceed in mail and express trains later in the day were seen in the station before the hartal commenced. Those who arrived in the station in the trains were also stranded as autorickshaws and taxies are not plying. Many had to depend on two-wheelers.

PTI adds

Air and rail services were hit and normal life disrupted in the city and elsewhere in West Bengal as the 12-hour nationwide strike called by Left and some other non-BJP opposition parties to protest Centre’s “failure” to check price rise got underway.

Two train passengers were injured as a clash broke out between the passengers of Ganga Sagar Express and bandh supporters at Pandua station in Hoogly district this morning.

Abdul Razzak and Shanti Devi were injured when they along with other passengers tried to stop bandh supporters from stopping the train and putting up a banner.

The bandh shut businesses and disrupted transport services by road, rail and flight operations. Metro railways spokesperson said their services were normal.

Airport sources said ten out of 25 domestic and international flights took off this morning. While fights of Air-India, Jet Airways and Jetlite took off as scheduled in the morning, services of other private airlines were badly hit with many passengers stranded at the airport.

CPI(M)’s workers’s union CITU affiliated-Airports Authority of India Employees Union office-bearers had said that they would impose strike in the airport.

Eastern Railway spokesperson told PTI that due obstructions put up by bandh supporters at several stations, train services were disrupted at Howrah and Sealdah division.

Long-distance trains were stranded at various stations as bandh supporters sat on the railway tracks.

The streets in Kolkata wore a deserted look with state-run buses, private vehicles, taxis, auto-rickshaws remaining off the road since 6 am as the bandh began. Shops and educational institutions were closed, officials said.

Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said the bandh has been a spontaneous protest against price rise.

Leader of the Opposition and senior Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee said the Left Front government itself had failed to control price rise and take action against hoarding and black marketing in the state.

State Transport Minister Ranjit Kundu said buses and trams would run if drivers and conductors report for duty. “I cannot give any assurance. It depends on the employees and do not feel any extra arrangement needs to be made,” he said.

The SUCI(C), a Left opposition in West Bengal and Trinamool Congress poll-partner, has called a 24-hour nationwide bandh today.

Trinamool Congress, Congress and BJP have opposed the bandh.

Struggle against UPA's economic policies will continue: Mayawati

Support on cut motion and the CBI case are unrelated'

Notwithstanding her support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government on the cut motion on the Finance Bill in Parliament, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Tuesday made it clear that there would be no let-up in her party's opposition to the Centre on the price rise issue.

Ms. Mayawati also rubbished speculation here on Tuesday that her move was influenced by the Central Bureau of Investigation agreeing to review the disproportionate assets case against her.

“The Taj Corridor and the disproportionate assets cases were filed against me when the NDA [National Democratic Alliance] government was in power at the Centre. Moreover, after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BSP decided to give unconditional outside support to the UPA government. The decision to support the UPA government on the cut motion and the CBI case are unrelated,” she said.

The Chief Minister said her decision was influenced by the need to prevent communal forces from returning to power at the Centre. “Logically, the BSP should have voted against the UPA government, but since it would have paved the way for communal forces to return to power it was decided to oppose the cut motion.”

Until Monday, the talk was that the BSP would support the UPA by abstaining from the Lok Sabha. Sources said the BSP chief reworked her strategy and decided on open support following reports that the Samajwadi Party would “disrupt the House proceedings.”

On the issue of price rise, Ms. Mayawati lashed out at the Centre, accusing it of guarding the “interests of the capitalist class and the rich, who have prospered at the cost of the poor and the downtrodden.”

Indicating that the struggle against the UPA government would continue, she stressed the need for the Centre to change its economic policies for the betterment of the people.

In Uttar Pradesh, the BSP and the Congress are engaged in a struggle of political ascendancy in view of the 2012 Assembly elections.

While the ongoing Congress yatras in the State have targeted the Mayawati government, she said the BSP considered the Congress its number one political adversary and that Tuesday's decision had not diluted her stand against the Centre.

Rajasthan Royals says it's transparent

Rajasthan Royals (RR) said in statement that the current shareholders of Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt. Ltd are Emerging Media IPL Ltd (Manoj Badale — 32.4 %), Tresco International Ltd (Suresh Chellaram family —44.2%), Blue Water Estate Ltd (Lachlan Murdoch — 11.7%) and Kuki Investments Ltd (Raj Kundra & family — 11.7%). It has also said that it signed the franchise agreement with the IPL on April 14, four days before the start of the DLF-IPL season one on April 18, 2008.

A BCCI official said changes in the ownership of the franchise had to be placed before the IPL Governing Council for approval and this had not happened and “in the document we have, we find only the name of Manoj Badale. The franchise agreement signed [on April 14] has the names of Fraser Castellino and Ranjit Bharthakur.”

Clarifying “certain misconceptions about the franchise which have been raised through the media,” the RR explained that the structure was completely transparent and in accordance with the regulatory guidelines. The corporate structure was established in accordance with the details provided in the bid submission shortly after the bid. “It was not established prior to the bid, as we obviously did not know if the bid would be successful.”

“No sufficient time”

“Moreover, the time allotted between the Invitation to Tender (December 27, 2007), and the bid submission date (January 23, 2008) would not have allowed sufficient time to incorporate the intended structure with an Indian entity. The investors agreed to submit the bid using a consortium led by the U.K.-based Emerging Media (IPL) Ltd. The other entities in the consortium were disclosed in the bid submission documents.

“Subsequently, on March 8, 2008, an Indian company Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt. Ltd was incorporated as detailed in the bid submission. We then executed the franchise agreement on April 14, 2008. The ownership of the consortium did not change between the award of the bid on January 23, 2008 and the signing of the franchise agreement on April 14, 2008."

NRI doctor shot dead by colleague

An Indian-origin doctor at the Yale School of Medicine was shot dead by a Chinese colleague, who also tried to kill the victim's pregnant wife, the police said.

Vajinder Toor (34) was shot multiple times in the parking lot outside his condominium in the New Haven suburb on Monday. The police have charged Dr. Toor's former colleague Lishan Wang in the killing.

Dr. Wang (44) was a former colleague of Dr. Toor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn. He also fired at Dr. Toor's pregnant wife, but she was not wounded.

IPL can survive on its own: Dhoni

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday sought to steer clear of the raging IPL controversy, but said the high-profile Twenty20 league has the capability to survive on its own.

Dhoni refused to dwell into the specifics of the raging controversy but hoped that things would be sorted out in time before the start of the next season.

“IPL as a brand can survive on its own. But you have to come up with some innovative ideas every time to make it better. No individual but few brains will work together to pull off sensational ideas,” Dhoni said.

“I don’t know what exactly is going to happen as there were quite a few allegations. It’s up to the authorities to see what’s happening because now everyone is into it right from the Income Tax to the IPL Governing Council. They will come up with something really good for everyone that nothing wrong is really happening,” he said.

He also refused to speculate on the fate of IPL without its now-suspended chairman Lalit Modi.

“Lalit was part of it for the first three seasons. We have grown ... every season we came up with something better.

Don’t know what exactly will happen (without him),” he told NDTV.

Asked about the unconfirmed reports of match-fixing in IPL, Dhoni said such allegations should be handled carefully, but any wrongdoer should be punished.

“It is the worst allegation against a cricketer. If there is anything suspect or anything else, it should be handled in a very careful way. Cricketers should be punished ... game should be clean. Match-fixing earns a big time bad name for you,” he said.

MEA confirms arrest of official on spying charges

The External Affairs Ministry has acknowledged the arrest of one of its officials posted in Islamabad on charges of spying for Pakistan. “We have reason to believe an official at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had been passing on information to Pakistan intelligence agencies. The matter is currently under investigation. The official is co-operating with our investigations and enquiries are on,’’ Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told newspersons here on Tuesday.

Officials, however, declined to answer any more queries on grounds of national security.

Colleagues recalled the alleged spy Madhuri Gupta as a dynamic official who had put in nearly three decades of service and hoped her arrest was a mistake.

A Second Secretary at the High Commission, Gupta specialised in Urdu and was entrusted with translating Pakistani periodicals and newspapers in that language into English. Sources maintained that the official had been under surveillance for some time.

SAARC leaders to project "green and happy South Asia "

Heads of eight South Asian countries, including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will on Wednesday seek a joint initiative to tackle climate change threats and also boost trade and regional cooperation among SAARC nations that more often than not do not see eye to eye with each other on most issues.

As the 16th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference gets under way in this serene and pollution-free capital city of Bhutan the summit's key theme "Towards a Green and Happy South Asia" seems only apt.

Seeking a fresh approach to global climate talks the SAARC leaders will pitch for observer status to the bloc at the Mexico conference on global warming later this year. This will enable the eight South Asian nations - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan besides India - to express their concerns collectively and effectively, an Indian official told IANS.

The next global climate talks after Copenhagen in September last are likely to be held in Cancun in Mexico in December.

The Thimphu summit also marks the silver jubilee celebration of SAARC that was formed in Bangladesh in December 1985 with the aim of eradicating poverty and improving the living standard of 1.5 billion people of the region through mutual cooperation.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna hoped that the dialogue on climate change would be carried in a "meaningful manner" at the summit.

A pact on climate will help in exchanging practices and knowledge, capacity building and transfer of eco-friendly technology in areas like coastal zone management, wildlife conservation and environmental impact assessment studies.

The eight nations are also expected to sign an agreement to promote trade cooperation among the member countries. The pact will enhance collaboration in services like health, hospitality, communications, information technology and air traffic and enable the realisation of the region?s immense potential in these services.

Another highlight of the summit is the inauguration of the Permanent Secretariat of the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) with initial capital of $ 300 million to support socio-economic projects in the region.

Ahead of leaving for Thimphu, Dr. Singh asked SAARC to see how it can play its rightful role in the changing world.

"The winds of change are blowing across the world. South Asia cannot be immune to the trend of greater integration, both at the regional and global levels," he said.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

KCR hits out at passport officials

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao, demanded that the Central government order an inquiry into alleged mismanagement and rampant corruption in the Regional Passport Office in Hyderabad and take remedial measures immediately.

He sought a separate RPO at Karimnagar to cater to the northern Telangana districts.

In a letter to the Union minister for external affairs, Mr S.M. Krishna, he alleged that only influential people managed to get their passport in a day while the common man had to struggle all night, sleep on the footpath for a token and wait for days to get a passport.

“There appears to be a namesake public relations officer and he is totally out of touch with the public and their grievances. The helpline numbers never function and there is no response to complaints sent through emails. Brokers rule the roost and charge Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 for services,” he alleged.

“The RPO officials are ill-mannered. Applicants complain that RPO officials are rude,” he added.

“Despite so much of technological progress, it is astounding to note the pathetic state of affairs at the RPO. I request you to appoint a senior and experienced administrator to probe the mismanagement of RPO, Hyderabad, and also initiate necessary process of reengineering,” he said. The TRS chief said that though the RPO in Hyderabad is considered the second largest passport office in the country after Mumbai, the state of affairs in this office is unprofessional and irresponsible, giving sleepless nights to passport applicants.

Tollywood undecided on cut in stars’ remuneration

The executive council of the Movie Artistes’ Association (MAA) of the Telugu film industry met on Monday to discuss the cost-cutting measures and cut in remuneration of the stars.

However, film personalities doubt if fee cut will be implemented as there is no unity among producers and many stars are kith and kin of top film producers.

Telugu film producers’ council has been proposing a 50 per cent cut in star remunerations since the past one week and has asked the MAA to discuss the matter before taking the final decision.

Several actors, including Balakrishna, Murali Mohan and Tarun, gathered at Jayabheri Club in Madhapur to discuss the issue.Stars and representatives of the MAA refused to divulge details of the discussions to the media after the meeting.

Producers claim that since more than 60 per cent of the film’s production cost is spent on fees, the actors should take pay cuts to save the crisis-ridden industry. “Stars like Junior NTR charge Rs 7 crore per film. Directors like Puri Jagannath and Rajamouli charge not less than Rs 5 crore. We get money on loan to make movies and the film is shot for more than a year. If the movie bombs, we go bankrupt. It is time, the fees are reduced substantially,” said a producer.

However, not a single Tollywood actor has declared that he is willing to take pay cut to reduce budget strain on the producer.

“The film industry tried to cut the fees of stars about a decade ago. But it didn’t work out as there was no unity among producers. Small producers are scared of stars and pay them whatever they demand. I doubt if it will be implemented at all,” said Jayasudha, MLA and vice-president of MAA.

A Filmnagar source said a few directors might pay the stars the same amount even if the producers’ council wants otherwise.

Parents fault channels for ‘negative’ telecasts

Parents of children contesting in a TV reality show have turned tables on television news channels.

They alleged that the electronic media had “humiliated” their kids by telecasting visuals with negative overtones.

The parents were deposing before the State Human Rights Commission on a petition filed by three social activists that the TV channels had violated child rights by conducting reality shows involving children.

The parents, felt that mere participation in the TV reality show was not tantamount to violation of child rights, instead they found fault with the visuals that were telecast by TV channels.

Ms Valli, mother of a child participant Gopi, said, “The repeated telecast of visuals during news programmes is more humiliating than the allegations of child rights violations.”

The parents insisted that their children were pursuing dance as an art form, and the TV programmes were not affecting them negatively.

They told the SHRC chairman, Justice B. Subhashan Reddy, that they found nothing wrong or derogatory with the format of the dance show in which their children took part.

Justice Reddy said, “I will club your petition with that of the social activists for the next hearing on April 28.”

Seven-year-old Geethika, a celebrity figure on the dance show, told mediapersons outside the SHRC office that the social activists should focus on the plight of streetchildren. “Our costumes are not indecent,” she said.

Bomb scare at Satyam theatre

There was tension in Ameerpet when bomb disposal squad personnel swooped down on the premises of Satyam theatre and scanned it for an hour on Monday evening after an unidentified caller told the police that a bomb was planted in the theatre.

However, the call turned out to be a hoax as the bomb squad scanned the premises and found no explosives.

The bomb squad in-charge, Mr Naga Sai, said the police control room intimated them about the call at around 6 pm.

“The sniffer dogs and explosive detectors were pressed into service. We declared the area safe after a thorough search for one hour yielded no trace of explosives,” he said.

Terror only issue with Pak: SM

The external affairs minister, Mr S.M. Krishna, on Monday said a meeting between the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and his Pakistani counterpart, Mr Yousaf Raza Gilani, on the sidelines of the two-day 16th Saarc summit had always been in the air.

The spirit of it was to keep up bilateral contacts at a high level even if no concrete forward movement on key questions was expected. A sense of engagement might be better than its absence, he observed.

Responding to a question on whether India would agree to hand over Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured after the 26/11 Mumbai attack, to Pakistan following the demand to that effect made by the Pakistan’s interior minister, Mr Rahman Malik, the external affairs minister said, “Late last night I received the six dossiers forwarded by Pakistan, and have not had the time to apply my mind. The decision would naturally be taken after due consultation among the various arms of the government. However, the Kasab trial is in an advanced stage in India. We should complete our own process first before taking a call on other matters.”

A high-level source noted that the dossiers from Islamabad were a response to the material India had sent them earlier, and related to the trial of the Pakistani conspirators of 26/11.

He indicated that “terrorism” was the only issue of substance to talk to the Pakistan Prime Minister about at this stage.

It is understood top Indian officials and ambassadors in the region are unable to grasp the reasons for holding a bilateral meeting with the Pakistan Prime Minister at this stage.

Those who deal with Pakistan on a regular basis best understand the futility of engagement at the highest level at the current juncture, sources said.

Asked if agreeing to meet Mr Gilani in Thimpu amounted to Dr Singh accepting the contours of the Pakistani “roadmap” for resumption of the composite dialogue process suspended by India after the attacks on Mumbai in November 2008, a leading source said, “It is too early to go that far. We do need to understand first how far Pakistan wishes to advance the relationship, and whether it is capable of taking the necessary steps.”

The Pakistan “roadmap” was enunciated at a meeting of the foreign secretaries of the two countries on February 25.

It envisaged a meeting between the two Prime Ministers, taking advantage of their presence at the Saarc summit.

Court summons Shoaib for ‘selling’ invitations

A Pakistani court on Monday summoned cricketer Shoaib Malik to appear before it on May 3 in connection with a petition that alleged he had “sold” invitation cards for a reception to celebrate his wedding to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza.

The additional sessions judge, Mr Malik Rafiq, of the court in Lahore admitted the petition filed by a man named Mr Safdar Ali, who alleged the cricketer was selling invitation cards for his “walima” (reception) on April 27 for Rs 15,000 each. The judge listed the matter for hearing on May 3 and directed Shoaib to appear before him on that date. Mr Ali, who described himself as a fan of Shoaib, said he had taken leave from work on April 27 to witness the walima. “But then I found out that Shoaib is selling invitation cards for the event for Rs 15,000. He has hurt thousands of fans with his actions. He had made his wedding a business,” Mr Ali alleged.

In a separate development, a man named Mr Hasan Sheraz filed another petition in the Lahore High Court in which he alleged that Shoaib had violated a ban on serving more than one dish at marriage functions and the government’s order for such events to be concluded by 10 pm. Mr Sheraz further alleged that a ban on using decorative lights at wedding functions had also been violated during a reception hosted for Shoaib and Sania in the cricketer’s hometown of Sialkot last night.

“Cricketer Shaoib Malik has committed both violations. The reception in honour of the couple at Sialkot hockey stadium continued till midnight and decorative lights were used in abundance,” Mr Sheraz contended. He asked the court to penalise Shoaib for flouting the government’s orders. The government of Punjab province last year imposed a bar on serving more than one dish at wedding functions as part of a series of austerity measures.

Nagam backs TRS talk of violence over T-state

The Telugu Desam Telangana forum on Monday warned that if Telangana is not achieved through peaceful means violence cannot be ruled out. The forum also admitted that there was injustice to Telangana region in water sharing even during the TD rule.

The forum convenor, Dr Nagam Janardhan Reddy, said this would be the last war for a separate Telangana. “Those who sacrificed their seats for Telangana should be re-elected in the bypolls. The PCC chief, Mr D. Srinivas should reconsider his decision to contest from Nizamabad,” he remarked.

Dr Reddy said that the present Telangana agitation was going on in a democratic and peaceful manner and if a separate state is not carved out there would be violence, they said.

“We have told this to the Srikrishna committee. In the 1969 Telangana agitations, several youth were killed by police bullets. But in the present agitation, youth are committing suicide. Subsequently, violence cannot be ruled out if T-state is not formed,” he said.

In another startling admission, Dr Janardhan Reddy admitted that Telangana suffered injustice even during the TD rule in allocation of river waters. “We will present a strong case before Srikrishna panel again on the need for separate Telangana,” he added.

The TD leaders denied that they had backed out on the resignation issue saying they would still stick to it. “There will be an impact only if everyone resigns. The TD MLAs are ready to quit even today if others join. The TRS resignation had led to only bypolls,” he said.

TRS eyed union with Congress

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief, Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s admission that at one time an idea was mooted by some party leaders to merge the TRS with the Congress in lieu of Telangana created ripples in political circles.

The TRS chief told a TV channel that the issue was discussed in the party and there were divergent views.

“If it is mooted again, I cannot take the decision alone. I have to consult other party leaders and workers. I did tell the UPA chairperson Mrs Sonia Gandhi that I would work with her. But Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy’s opposition to Telangana nullified all these things,” he said.

He added that many party leaders disapproved of the merger saying the party should undo the wrongs done to the region. “We had diametrically opposite views,” he said.

The TRS chief’s statement unnerved some party men. “There is no need for merger of the TRS with the Congress. The TRS has established its identity and it is the only party which has become a symbol of Telangana struggle. Such statements create confusion and will be advantageous to the Congress,” a senior TRS leader said.

Meanwhile, preparations are on for the TRS foundation day celebrations on April 28. Mr Rao is reportedly planning to announce a road map to keep up the Telangana tempo till the Srikrishna panel submits its report by the year end.

Sources in the party said Mr Rao would undertake a whirlwind tour of Telangana districts for bypolls. Mr Rao is planning to launch a fullscale attack on the CPI(M) and the Praja Rajyam.

Amin new chief of IPL

Mr Lalit Modi, the face of the IPL over the last three years, will cease to remain so following his suspension on Sunday night and the elevation of board vice-president Mr Chirayu Amin as interim chairman of the league.

The BCCI president, Mr Shashank Manohar, waited for the conclusion of IPL-3 before suspending him and issuing him a show-cause notice.

“While we rejoice and celebrate the great success of IPL Season 3, the alleged acts of individual misdemeanours of Mr Modi, chairman IPL and vice-president BCCI, have brought a bad name to the administration of cricket and the game itself,” Mr Manohar said.

“The charges basically are with regard to the initial bids of Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab. And the second allegation is in regard to the broadcasting deal,” Mr Manohar said. “The third allegation is with regard to the bid-rigging of the two new franchisees. The fourth allegation is with regard to the Internet rights. The fifth is with regard to the behavioural pattern of Modi,” Mr Manohar said.

Meanwhile, Mr Modi put up a brave face maintaining that he was still chairman of the T20 league.

Shoaib summoned for 'selling' invite

A Pakistani court on Monday summoned cricketer Shoaib Malik to appear before it on May 3 in connection with a petition that alleged he had "sold" invitation cards for a reception to celebrate his wedding to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza.

The additional sessions judge Malik Rafiq of the court in Lahore admitted the petition filed by a man named Safdar Ali, who alleged the cricketer was selling invitation cards for his 'walima' (reception) on April 27 for Rs 15,000 (about $200) each.

The judge listed the matter for hearing on May 3 and directed Shoaib to appear before him on that date. Ali, who described himself as a fan of Shoaib, said he had taken leave from work on April 27 to witness the walima.

"But then I found out that Shoaib is selling invitation cards for the event for Rs 15,000. He has hurt thousands of fans with his actions. He had made his wedding a business," Ali alleged. In a separate development, a man named Hasan Sheraz filed another petition in the Lahore High Court in which he alleged that Shoaib had violated a ban on serving more than one dish at marriage functions and the government’s order for such events to be concluded by 10 pm.

Sheraz further alleged that a ban on using decorative lights at wedding functions had also been violated during a reception hosted for Shoaib and Sania in the cricketer’s hometown of Sialkot last night.

"Cricketer Shaoib Malik has committed both violations. The reception in honour of the couple at Sialkot hockey stadium continued till midnight and decorative lights were used in abundance," Sheraz contended.

He asked the court to penalise Shoaib for flouting the government's orders. The government of Punjab province last year imposed a bar on serving more than one dish at wedding functions as part of a series of austerity measures. The federal government recently imposed strict restrictions of the use of electricity as the country is grappling with a crippling energy shortage.

Akki is Twinkle’s real life hero

Akshay Kumar came to wife Twinkle Khanna’s rescue recently. Twinkle, who was in Milan for a shopping trip, was stranded there due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland as her flight was cancelled. A distressed Twinkle promptly turned to hubby Akshay for help.

Akshay, who was in Vancouver for the shoot of Anees Bazmee’s Thank You, ran from pillar to post to make sure that she reached Mumbai safely. He promptly made arrangements for five connecting flights that ensured Twinkle landed in Mumbai safely,” said our source.

Big B in Tagore adaptation

If all goes well, Amitabh Bachchan may be seen working in a film, whose story is penned by Rabindranath Tagore. The project is going to be helmed by Bengali superstar, Prasonjeet, the son of yesteryear matinee idol, Biswajeet. While the father made it big in Bollywood in the sixties, the son who had followed his father’s footsteps with Meet Mere Man Ke had no such luck. However, he did shine in the Bengali film industry with several hit films to his credit.

Now, after a span of 20 years, Prasonjeet is making a comeback to Bollywood. But this time, as a filmmaker. “Prasonjeet is all set to make a film on Rabindranath Tagore’s story. And he approached Bollywood superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, for the lead role as he felt no one else fits the bill better,” said a source.

When contacted, Prasonjeet confirmed the story, but refused to divulge any details. “The film is to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the Nobel Laureate. Amitabh Bachchan is just apt for Rabindranath Tagore’s story that I am going to adapt in the film. I don’t want to reveal much at this point of time.”
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