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Friday, 31 August 2012

PM meets Zardari, pushes for quick conclusion of 26/11 trial

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PM meets Zardari, pushes for quick conclusion of 26/11 trial
Clean Media Correspondent


Tehran , August 30 (CMC) Pushing Pakistan to act against India-directed terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday told President Asif Ali Zardari that expeditious conclusion
of the Mumbai terror attack trial in that country will be a "major" Confidence Building Measure in bilateral relations. During a meeting between the two leaders which lasted more than half-an-hour, Singh underlined India's terrorism-related concerns.
The Prime Minister "underlined our terrorism-related concerns. He pressed for an expeditious conclusion in 26/11 trial and said action take in this sphere (terrorism) would be a major CBM," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said briefing reporters on the Singh-Zardari meeting on the sidelines of the
16th NAM summit here.
Singh was accompanied by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and other senior officials while Zardari had his son Bilawal Bhutto, Foreign Affairs Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Interior Minister Rehman Malik in his team.
Singh told Zardari that action in Mumbai attack trial in Pakistan will be a major CBM, help in bridging the trust deficit and build public support for the kind of relationship India would like to see between the two nations.

Zardari reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister to visit Pakistan and Singh responded thanking him for the gracious invitation. "The Prime Minister said he attached great importance to normalising relations with Pakistan and that he would like to visit that country at a suitable time that is to say, he would
like a well prepared visit," Mathai said.

Reiterating India's desire for peaceful cooperative relations with Pakistan, Prime Minister Singh said there is a need to proceed in a "step-by-step, graduated" approach given the complexity of bilateral relationship it has with that country.

Mathai said Zardari reiterated his country's commitment to bring to justice those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack. The President agreed that terrorism posed a continuing threat to peace and security and referred in this regard to some of the difficulties faced in his own country, he said.

The meeting came a day after the Indian Supreme Court upheld LeT terrorist Ajmal Kasab's death sentence in the Mumbai terror attack case, strengthening India's case for action against others involved in the 26/11 strike in which 166 people were killed

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Narendra Modi faces Congress ire over remark on malnutrition

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Narendra Modi faces Congress ire over remark on malnutrition 
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Aug 30 (CMC) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has landed himself in a controversy by his comment on malnutrition, blaming 'beauty-conscious' girls. Grabbing the opportunity, the Congress has slammed Modi saying his focus has always been on GDP and not on health.
"It is clear that health is not a priority in Gujarat. He talks only about GDP. Narendra Modi has been unsuccessful in dealing with education and health," Congress leader Jagdambika Pal said.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid said, "I don't know what was the need to make this comment. There are more serious issues which need to be dealt with in Gujarat."
Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modhwadia said Modi's statement was an inuslt to women. "This statement is not only a joke on woman but also an insult to the women of Gujarat. The most anaemic women are tribals and tell me from where are they beauty conscious? The government is not looking after them, there is very little expenditure on women," Modhwadia said.
Congress leader Girija Vyas demanded that Modi takes back his words. "He should take back his words. This statement is making a joke of girls as well as poverty," Vyas said.
The BJP hit back saying the Congress was afraid of Modi. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, ""The whole medical fraternity is discussing the presence of anaemia in the not so poor sections of the society. They are discussing various reasons. But Congress has a phobia for Modi. That is why when they listen to the name of Modi, they criticise. I can only pity the Congress because wherever they go, they are afraid of him and that is why they criticise him," Javadekar said.
Modi is making headlines over a controversial statement to The Wall Street Journal. He linked the state's malnutrition to vegetarianism and figure-conscious girls.
"Gujarat is by and large a vegetarian state. And secondly, Gujarat is also a middle-class state. The middle-class is more beauty-conscious than health-conscious – that is a challenge. If a mother tells her daughter to have milk, they'll have a fight. She'll tell her mother, 'I won't drink milk. I'll get fat'," Modi said in the interview.
Modi parried a question whether he sees himself as a future prime minister, saying he was concentrating on Gujarat. "I can't think beyond that," he said.
In the interview, Modi also ruled out an apology for the 2002 Gujarat riots. "One only has to ask for forgiveness if one is guilty of a crime. If you think it's such a big crime, why should the culprit be forgiven? Just because Modi is a chief minister, why should he be forgiven? I think Modi should get the biggest punishment possible if he is guilty. And the world should know there isn't any tolerance for these kind of political leaders," Modi said.

Two IAF helicopters collide midair in Gujarat, 6 killed

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Two IAF helicopters collide midair in Gujarat, 6 killed
Clean Media Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Aug 30 (CMC) Two helicopters of Indian Air Force collided midair in Gujarat on Thursday killing six Air Force personnel, according to IAF sources.

According to reports, the midair collision happened near Sarmat village in Jamnagar district.

There is no immediate report of any other casualty.

More details are awaited.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Ex-BJP minister Kodnani among 32 convicted in Naroda riots

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Ex-BJP minister Kodnani among 32 convicted in Naroda riots
Clean Media Correspondent

 Ahmedabad August 29 (CMC) Maya Kodnani, BJP MLA and a former minister in Narendra Modi government, and a Bajrang Dal leader were among the 32 people convicted today by a special court on charges of conspiracy and murder in the Naroda Patiya case in which 97 Muslims were burnt alive during 2002 Gujarat riots.

Kodnani, a three-time MLA from Naroda area who was considered to be close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is the first woman to be convicted in a post-Godhra riots case.

She and Babu Bajrangi were held guilty under sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of IPC and the prosecution sought the maximum punishment of death sentence for all the convicts.
The 57-year-old MLA broke down in court as Additional Principal Judge Jyotsna Yagnik read out her verdict in which she also acquitted 29 other accused.
The court, which heard arguments on the quantum of sentence, will decide on the punishment on August 31.

Kodnani and the other accused, who have been on bail, were taken into custody and shifted to Sabarmati Jail.

The Congress latched on to the verdict to target Modi with party leader Digvijay Singh saying that it "has been proved now that BJP's minister and officials were involved in the Gujarat riots. Everything that happened was at the behest of Narendra Modi."

Law Minister Salman Khurshid said that the judgement enhances faith of the people in the legal system.

While the BJP downplayed the conviction of its MLA saying it was legal process and it doesn't do "politics on judicial verdicts", the Gujarat government was quick to distance itself from Kodnani saying she was not a Minister when the riots took place and dismissed demand for Modi's resignation.

"Congress demands CM's resignation in everything, or attempts to link him with anything. If this is the barometer, then those who have been convicted in the past and are ministers in the central government should also resign," Gujarat government spokesman Jaynarayan Vyas.

Kodnani was arrested in March 2009 when she was the minister following a probe by Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team and had to resign from the post.

She became an MLA for the first time in 1998 and won elections twice later from that constituency. She was made Minister of State for Women and Child Development in the Modi government in 2007, believed to be at the behest of L K Advani. She was the first Sindhi leader to become a minister in Gujarat since the state was founded in 1960. 

'Gold price to hit Rs 32,000 by Diwali'

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'Gold price to hit Rs 32,000 by Diwali'
Clean Media Correspondent

Mumbai, Aug 29 (CMC) Gold price is likely to hit a record high of over Rs 32,000 per 10 grams during Diwali due to rising tensions in West Asia, Bombay Bullion Association (BBA) said.
"Prices of gold may hit new highs around Diwali as rising tensions in West Asia may increase demand for the metal as a safe haven investment. Civil war in Syria and geopolitical tensions in Iran are major factors pushing up gold prices despite the fall in physical retail demand for the metal in India, China and many other countries," BBA President and Riddhisiddhi Bullions Managing Director Prithviraj Kothari said in a release here today.

Strong possibility of the US announcing a third round of quantitative easing to boost the economy may also drive overseas gold prices up to USD 1,800 an ounce, Kothari added.

Gold prices have been consolidating since the beginning of the year as the market is waiting for the US

Federal Reserve to undertake a third round of quantitative easing.
Indian investors expect RBI to announce stimulus measures at its meeting in September to boost the fragile economic recovery. "In such a scenario, we expect gold to cross over Rs 32,000 by Diwali," Kothari said.

Today, MCX gold for October delivery was at Rs 30,929 per 10 grams, while the international spot gold was ruling at USD 1667.69 an ounce.

Ruling high prices, weak monsoon, macroeconomic uncertainty and high inflation, which has reduced the disposable surplus income of the middle class, have hit demand for gold, which could drag down the country's imports to around 700 tonnes, Kothari said.

"Demand from the rural areas, which is around 70 percent of the total demand, will be sluggish due to poor rainfall."

According to the World Gold Council, India imported 969 tonnes of gold in 2011.

There may be a slight revival in demand as the wedding and

festival season commences from early September.
"It looks like there may be a pick up in demand, but compared to last year it will still be lower by up to 50 percent," said Kothari.

Assam government declares bandhs illegal

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Assam government declares bandhs illegal
Clean Media Correspondent

GUWAHATI, Aug 29 (CMC) With the Centre worried over some organisations trying to stoke social tension by calling bandhs in Assam where continuing violence has claimed 88 lives, the state government today officially declared all shutdowns as illegal. 

Ninety per cent of violence in the state was due to frequent bandh calls which have also crippled the economy, government spokesman and senior minister Nilomoni Sen Deka told reporters here after the decision against bandhs was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. 

"I appeal to civil societies and NGOs not to call bandhs which disrupt public life," he said. 

Meanwhile, the army, assisting the civil administration in violence-hit districts, would be used for seizing illegal arms. 

"The army is out and is helping us. It has been given full powers to seize illegal arms and ammunition and I believe we will get results very soon," Gogoi said. 

The army has been put in action in Chirang and Bongaigaon districts and would soon conduct similar operations in the other districts, he said. 

The army, engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the state, was requisitioned by the state government from July 25 to assist the civil administration in quelling violence in lower Assam. 

Tension prevailed in the affected districts following widespread violence in different parts of the state during yesterday's bandh called by the All Assam Minority Students' Union with security forces maintaining a strict vigil, official sources said. 

Night curfew was continuing in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts, they said. 

Indefinite curfew was also clamped in Tezpur in Sonitpur district from 5 pm following assault of a local journalist.

Gujarat riot verdict: Congress slams Narendra Modi, BJP dismissive

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Gujarat riot verdict: Congress slams Narendra Modi, BJP dismissive
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi/ Ahemdabad, Aug 29 (CMC) The conviction of a former BJP Minister and 31 others in Naroda Patiya riot case of Gujarat on Wednesday gave a handle to Congress to slam Chief Minister Narendra Modi and demand his resignation but BJP rejected it while downplaying the issue.

"It has been proved now that BJP's minister and officials were involved in the Gujarat riots. Everything that happened was at the behest of Narendra Modi," Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh told reporters here.

Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid also attacked Modi in a veiled manner after a special court in Ahmedabad convicted 32 people, including BJP MLA and former minister Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, on charges of murder and conspiracy in the 10-year-old case in which 90 people from minority community were killed.

"The kind of arguments that have been put forth to defend the indefensible positions, both morally and politically, I think for that a very clear verdict has come," Khurshid said while welcoming the verdict.

Congress MP Jagdambika Pal demanded Modi's resignation.

Gujarat government distanced itself from Kodnani saying she was not a minister when the incident occurred and rejected the demand for Modi's resignation.

"Congress demands CM's resignation in everything, or attempts to link him with anything. If this is the barometer, then those who have been convicted in the past and are ministers in the central government should also resign," Gujarat government spokesman Jaynarayan Vyas.

Commenting on the judgement, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said, "this is just the first court's verdict in the case. This is a legal process. We don't do politics on judicial verdicts".

Asked about Kodnani, he said she had resigned immediately after the chargesheet was filed.

On whether her involvement in riots shows complicity of Gujarat government, Javadekar said, "I don't think so".

26/11 Mumbai terror attacks: Supreme Court upholds death sentence for Ajmal Kasab

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26/11 Mumbai terror attacks: Supreme Court upholds death sentence for Ajmal Kasab
Clean Media Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Aug 29 (CMC) The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the plea of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case and upheld the death penalty for the killer.

The Bombay high court had upheld the trial court's verdict to award death sentence to Kasab, the lone surviving gunman who was part of the 10-member fidayeen team that attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad dismissed the plea of 25-year-old Kasab challenging his conviction and death sentence confirmed by the Bombay high court.

The bench rejected his contention that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case. The bench also observed that the failure of government to provide him an advocate at the pre-trial stage did not vitiate trial court proceedings against him.

It also held that the confessional statement given by Kasab, which he retracted during trial, was very much voluntary except a very small portion.

Kasab was convicted of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the nation, Section 302 of IPC (murder) and terror related provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The HC had agreed with the trial court that the case against Kasab fell in the rarest of rare category and upheld the decision to award death penalty to the Pakistani terrorist.

After receiving his petition from the high-security Arthur Road prison challenging the HC judgment, the Supreme Court in July last year had called for trial court records and appointed senior advocate Raju Ramachandran and advocate Gaurav Agrawal as amicus curiae to assist in preparing Kasab's defence in compliance with requirements of fair trial.

The state had engaged senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam and senior prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam to see that no stone was left unturned in getting the capital sentence kept intact by the apex court.

The trial court had also found Kasab guilty on 19 counts under IPC, Arms Act, Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act, Foreigners Act, Passport Act and Railway Act.

Kasab and his nine fellow jihadis had attacked CST railway station, Cama Hospital, Vinoli Chaupati junction, Oberoi Hotel, Taj Hotel, Nariman House and Leopold Cafe, resulting in killing of 166 people and injuring 238 others.

While Kasab was captured alive, the other terrorists in his group were killed by security forces during the counter-terror operations.

The apex court also upheld the acquittal of two Indians, who were alleged to be co-conspirators in the Mumbai terror attack case.

The trial court and Bombay high court had also given a clean chit to Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in the case.

The bench held that evidence showed that the conspiracy and planning of the 26/11 carnage was hatched in Pakistan.

Reacting to the verdict, senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who was appointed by the apex court as amicus curiae to defend Kasab, said, "I bow down to the apex court verdict."

The bench had reserved its verdict on April 25 after a marathon hearing, spanning over two-and-a-half months of arguments by the prosecution and defence counsel in the case.

Kasab, during arguments in the apex court, had contended that he was not given a free and fair trial and that he was not part of any larger conspiracy for waging war against India.

He had told the bench that his right against self-incrimination as well as his right to get himself adequately represented by a counsel to defend himself in the case had been violated during the trial.

The apex court had stayed Kasab's death sentence on October 10, last year.

In the special leave petition (SLP) against the Bombay High Court judgement, which confirmed his death sentence, Kasab had claimed he was brainwashed like a "robot" into committing the crime in the name of "God" and pleaded that he did not deserve the death penalty keeping in view his young age.

Kasab, who is lodged in Arthur Road Prison in Mumbai, had filed the SLP through the jail authorities.

He was sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court on May 6, 2010.

The Bombay high court had upheld on February 21 last year the trial court's order of death sentence to the Pakistani terrorist for the "brutal and diabolical" attacks aimed at "destabilizing" the government here.

Political parties seek early execution of Kasab after SC verdict

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Political parties seek early execution of Kasab after SC verdict
Clean Media Correspondent

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI, Aug 29 (CMC) The Supreme Court verdict upholding the death sentence of Ajmal Kasab in 26/11 Mumbai attacks case on Wednesday led to a vociferous demand for execution of the Pakistani terrorist at the earliest from parties, kin of the victims and other quarters in the country. 

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said government, on its part, will ensure that if Kasab files a mercy plea, it is disposed of in minimum time and asked Pakistan to punish other perpetrators who have taken shelter on its soil. 

"...Now, he should be given complete sentence quickly. Punishment should be executed quickly," Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said reacting to the Supreme Court verdict on Kasab's appeal against his conviction and sentence. 

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "Those who wage war against the country and kill innocents deserve no mercy.... Kasab should be hanged without any delay ... enough of 'biryani' for him." 

Describing Pakistan as "a terror factory", he said the government "must take all steps to destroy" terror infrastructure and sought a separate set of laws to deal with terror-related cases. 

"No leniency should be shown against this kind of a terrorist. They have tried to destroy the peace of the nation, so he (Kasab) should be hanged as fast as possible," Naqvi said. 

Law minister Salman Khurshid described the judgement as "inevitable" and rejected suggestions of delay in the final verdict saying a country governed by rule of law cannot mete out street justice. 

"I had seen the Bombay high court judgement. It was very, very complicated judgement for the judiciary to have given. They must have worked very hard on it. That's been upheld by the Supreme Court. I think most people who do analysis of law would say this was an inevitable endorsement that would have come," he told reporters in Delhi. 

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who led the case against Kasab during the trial process, said the death sentence awarded to Kasab should be executed as soon as possible so that it gives a strong signal to the terrorists that law takes stern action against such acts. 

He also demanded that the prosecution against perpetrators of the 2008 terror strikes should now be expedited in Pakistan. 

"The (prosecution in Pakistan) should not delay the trial on the ground that India has to furnish evidence because conspiracy behind the terror attacks was hatched in Pakistan and it is for them to prove the same," Nikam said, adding the apex court in India has also held that criminal conspiracy behind the attacks was hatched in Pakistan. 

Eknath Ombale, the brother of assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Ombale who died fighting terrorists during the 26/11 terror attacks, said if Afzal Guru had been hanged 10 years ago, then 26/11 and 13/7 incidents would not have happened. 

"We are very happy with the verdict. We are now waiting for it to be implemented," he said. 

"The truth has come out before the world. I request the government to implement the sentence," he mentioned. 

"Had Afzal Guru been hanged 10 years ago, maybe 26/11 and 13/7 wouldn't have happened," he said. 

"All Indians are awaiting the moment when Kasab will be hanged," Ombale said. 

The Mumbai Crime Branch, which probed the 26/11 terror attack case, termed the veridct as "important milestone" in fight against terrorism. 

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who defended Kasab in the apex court as amicus curiae, said he "bows" to the ruling. 

"I bow to the verdict of the court. As amicus curiae, I was given an opportunity to advance every convincing arguments, I could.... Let us all take pride in our judicial system," he said. 

Hailing the verdict, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said that he will ask the Centre to ensure that it is implemented as soon as possible. 

"The entire international community was watching the outcome of the case," the minister told reporters. "Our agencies were successful in highlighting the role of terror outfits like LeT," he said. 

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad dismissed the plea of 25-year-old Kasab challenging his conviction and death sentence confirmed by the Bombay high court. 

The bench rejected his contention that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case.

Coalgate: Sonia Gandhi says attack, BJP steps up war, CAG stays out

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Coalgate: Sonia Gandhi says attack, BJP steps up war, CAG stays out 
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Aug 28 (CMC) It now appears to be a fight to the finish between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As the BJP continued to paralyse Parliament for over a week on Tuesday over the coal blocks allocation, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi asked her MPs to be ready for a street fight. And this, even as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) refused to join a public debate over the issue.
In another twist, the war of words was transformed to a war of letter as both the parties released letters attacking the claims made by each other.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday adopted a tough stance against the Opposition as she urged her MPs to fight the "intemperate criticism and negative politics of the BJP" accusing it of "holding Parliament to ransom".
She further said, "I condemn the words being used by the Leader of the Opposition. We must effectively go out and rebut and repel them in the upcoming elections. Blackmail has become its political bread and butter. Their belief is our way or no way."
The UPA chairperson condemned the Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj for her choice of words at a press conference she held along with party colleague Arun Jaitley.
Attacking the Congress over the CAG report on coal blocks allocations, Sushma had said, "Inhe mota maal mila hai (The Congress has earned massive profits on the deal). Value of coal was at an all-time high. Everyone was desperate to get their hands on the mines. The Congress didn't want to adopt a direct route for allocation, they played a cunning game."
Sonia said, "This is the handiwork of the BJP which shows scant respect for democracy. We must effectively go out and rebut and repel them in the upcoming elections."
"BJP's belief is our way or no way. We are prepared to debate. But blackmail has become the political bread and butter of the BJP," she added.
However, the BJP also stuck to its tough stand, even without the support of key allies, the JD(U) and the Akali Dal, gearing up for a straight fight in three state elections in Gujarat, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, probably believing that ‘corrupt Prime Minister’ is the perfect election slogan.
Hitting back at the Congress, the BJP said that Sonia Gandhi should refrain from talking about negative politics as Congress itself had used words like 'coffin chor' (thief) for George Fernandes.
"We don't need lessons from her," said Rudy.
Venkaiah Naidu said, "Congress should stop its doublespeak."
"Why didn't Sonia find those comments of Congress leaders undemocratic where they called George Fernandes 'coffin chor'?" he asked.
The leaders added that the BJP was firm on its stand and would not let Parliament function. "We won't let the House function. We appeal to all parties to join us in this," said Naidu.
Later, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj fired another salvo at the Congress saying that the ruling party got 'Mota Maal' (kickbacks) from Karnataka's Reddy brothers too. Sushma had on Monday alleged that Congress party had received hefty kickbacks in the coal blocks allocation.
"Laloo Yadav wants to know as to who got 'Mota Maal' from Reddy Bros? I would like to inform him and the country that the Mota Maal from Reddy Bros has also gone to the Congress Party. All the Mines were allotted to them by the Congress Government on the recommendations of the Congress Chief Minister. I demand that all documents related to the recommendations and allotment to Reddy Bros be made public. The country will then know the truth as to who got them the monetary benefits and who made recommendations for them. All the facts should be placed before the nation," Sushma tweeted on Tuesday.
This came even as there were reports that the Congress party was likely to serve legal notice to Swaraj for her remarks in coalgate.
Meanwhile, the BJP, in another attack on the Congress, alleged that Prime Minister’s Office had favoured Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay by allotting two coal blocks to a company on his request.
The BJP produced a letter purportedly written by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay on February 5, 2008 seeking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's "personal intervention" in an application for two coal blocks.
"I would like to bring to your kind notice that M/s SKS Ispat and Power Limited have applied for two coal blocks for their steel plants in the state of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand... I shall be grateful for your personal intervention in this matter," Sahay states in his letter.
In its response, PMO wrote to Secretary, Ministry of Coal to take "appropriate action" on Sahay's plea, the BJP claimed.
"Please find enclosed for action as appropriate a copy of a letter dates 5/2/07 submitted to the Prime Minister by Subodh Kant Sahai...... along with a note regarding allotment of two coal blocks to M/s SKS Ispat and Power Limited for their steel plants in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand," the purported letter from PMO to Secretary, Coal, said.
While the BJP claimed the two coal blocks were allotted just a day after (February 6, 2008) Sahay wrote the letter to the PM, the date mentioned in the PMO letter's text is February 5, 2007, as quoted above.
The BJP alleged that no mining has been done in the two coal blocks allotted on Sahay's request.
The party dared the Congress to prove that the letters by Sahay and the PMO are fake.
There was a "black gold (coal) rush" during UPA regime and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was "eager" to oblige," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, demanding cancellation of all 142 coal blocks allotted during the UPA rule.
Alleging that the BJP is not telling the truth, Sahay, in his reply, said he is innocent and the Delhi High Court has cleared him in this matter. "BJP must respect the Delhi High Court judgement," he said.
Amidst the war of words and the war of letters between the Congress and the BJP, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) refused to join a public debate on its report on the coal blocks allocation.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the auditing body said, "Being a Constitutional authority, the C&AG (Vinod Rai) feels that it would be improper on his part to join a public debate on this issue."
The statement further said that the CAG would clarify on the report at the appropriate forum when required.
The statement said the CAG office had been getting repeated calls from the media for reactions to the news stories on the allocation of coal blocks and augmentation of coal production presented in Parliament on August 17 and subsequent clarifications in this regard.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Coal allocations made for hefty bribes, says BJP

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Coal allocations made for hefty bribes, says BJP
Clean Media Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (CMC) Rebuffing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's defence, BJP on Monday further ramped up its offensive over coalgate, with its leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj accusing Congress of allocating coal mines in return for mega bribes.

"Mota maal mila hai Congress ko" (Congress got big bucks)," Swaraj said, escalating the confrontation which has jammed Parliament and triggered speculation that the monsoon session could be adjourned sine die.

Swaraj along with Arun Jaitley, her counterpart in Rajya Sabha, was responding to the PM's 32-point statement where he rejected the charge of resignation by denying any wrongdoing in the allocation of coal mines and disputing CAG's estimate of gains for private players.

"Congress has got a fat sum from coal block allocation, that is why this delay (in amending the laws) was caused. My charge is that huge revenue was generated but it did not go to the government and went to the Congress party," Swaraj said.

Her "mota maal" charge was confirmation that the party, unfazed by government's criticism for holding up Parliament or lack of support from non-Congress players, is in no mood to step down from its "maximalist" demand for the PM's resignation.

Asked about the reluctance of other parties to back their demand that PM needs to quit, Jaitley said, "We don't stand alone, and on corruption even if we have to fight alone, it will be a majestic isolation."

He also said Congress was directly linked to alleged bribery. "If an impartial probe is conducted, I can say with full responsibility as leader of opposition that Congress will be in the dock along with the government," he said.

Jaitley's assertion about the party's readiness to risk isolation came on a day when JD(U) appeared to be rallying behind the senior NDA partner in the offensive, and pointed to a strategy to keep the issue of corruption alive in the run-up to the coming polls in Gujarat and Haryana where the party will be pitted against Congress.

This was the reason why party did not seem perturbed when speculation swirled that government could consider seeking a trust vote to find a way out of the gridlock in Parliament and bolster its political stock. "Let them try it. They can manipulate numbers. But we will turn the contest into a referendum on corruption," Jaitley said before the government denied any such move.

In their press conference, Swaraj and Jaitley brushed aside the PM's attempt to pin part of the blame for Coalgate on opposition-ruled states. "While the PM started off by saying that he takes responsibility, the fact is that he has blamed everyone except himself," Jaitley said.

He accused the PM of attacking "constitutionalism and constitutional authority (CAG). He said Singh's reply was an attack on parliamentary democracy. "UPA tries to subvert constitutional authority and when it does not succeed it attacks the authority... It is a defiance of ethics in governance and polity," Jaitley said.

He also argued that coal being a major mineral, states had little role in deciding the policy of its allocation, and that their views were disregarded by the Centre in any case in 2006 when the government decided to amend the law to facilitate auctions.

Jaitley also attacked the government for citing the imperative of growth to defend allocations without bidding, saying, "If the purpose behind allocation of coal mines was saving time, getting more GDP growth, and power generation it has been defeated... Mining has been negligible in these 142 mines. Between 2004 and 2012, their contribution to GDP growth has been nil."

He also stressed that while 70 coal blocks were allotted between 1994 and 2006 -- and most of these were for public sector units -- 142 blocks have been allotted from 2006 onwards. Demanding the scrapping of the allocations, he said, "Besides loss to the exchequer, the rational for cancellation of these 142 blocks is that nobody should be allowed to enjoy the fruits of a corrupt allotment at the cost of public exchequer."

Follow Guj model to improve country's management: Modi to PM

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Follow Guj model to improve country's management: Modi to PM
Clean Media Correspondent

Gandhinagar, Aug 28 (CMC) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi advised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday to follow the state government's development model to improve the management of the country. Referring to Gujarat Congress' aggressive 'disha badlo, dasha badlo' (change direction to change condition) campaign, Modi said, "Lots of advertisements are coming up, spreading a miscampaign by a few, who want to change the disha and dasha of Gujarat". "Gujarat has progressed at a very rapid pace and the Prime Minister should take up the 'disha' of Gujarat to change the 'dasha' of the country," Modi said. Yesterday, Modi had slammed the Congress for what he called the country's mismanagement. Modi was speaking at a school girls' chess competition organised by the Sports Authority of Gujarat, Gujarat Chess Association and NIIT, where a new record was created as more than 3,950 women chess players from all over the state participated for the game under one roof. Out of those, who participated in the event, 148 were visually-impaired. "People have been advising me that I should be holding election meeting instead of such chess competitions, when elections are three to four months away. But I think of the development of Gujarat and that is the reason I believe in organising such events," Modi said. "Chess develops minds, instills patience and removes stress. We have decided that more and more girls should play this game," Modi said. BJP veteran leader L K Advani, who skipped Parliament session for the function said, "Though parliament is going on, I have decided to attend the chess function organised by the Gujarat government". "I would like to tell you that the scene where more than 3,950 women are participating in the chess game under one roof is very great and all its credit should go to chief minister Narendra Modi," Advani said. Five times World champion Vishwanathan Anand, who was also present at the function, said would give all his support to Gujarat government as it had determined to promote chess in the state.

Naxal commander having reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head arrested

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Dyhu ehfM;k laoknnkrk

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Monday, 27 August 2012

PM had no option but to speak in pandemonium-Karat

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iz/kkuearzh ds ikl ‘kksjxqy esa Hkk”k.k nsus ds flok; dksbZ pkjk ugha Fkk&dkjkr
Dyhu ehfM;k laoknnkrk

jkaph] 27 vxLr %lh,elh% ekdik ds jk”Vzh; egklfpo izdk’k dkjkr us vkt iz/kkuearzh Mk- eueksgu flag ds Hkktik lkalnksa ds gaxkes ds chp yksdlHkk esa dks;yk ?kksVkys ij viuk c;ku i<+us dks mfpr crkrs gq, dgk fd blds vykok muds ikl dksbZ vkSj pkjk ugha FkkA
  ekDlZoknh dE;qfuLV ikVhZ ds jk”Vzh; egklfpo izdk’k dkjkr us vkt ;gka ,d laoknnkrk lEesyu esa dgk fd iz/kkuearzh Mk- eueksgu flag us yksdlHkk esa Hkkjh ‘kksj’kjkcs ds chp dks;yk ?kksVkys ij viuk c;ku i<+ dj dqN xyr ugha fd;k D;ksafd blds vykok bl eqn~ns ij laln esa viuh ckr j[kus dk muds ikl dksbZ fodYi ugha FkkA
 KkrO; gS fd iz/kkuearzh Mk- eueksgu falag us vkt yksdlHkk esa Hkktik ds lkalnksa ds Hkkjh ‘kksjxqy ds chp gh dks;yk Cykd vkoaVu ?kksVkys ij fu;arzd ,oa egkys[kk ijh{kd dh fjiksVZ ij viuk c;ku i<+k vkSj fjiksVZ esa fd;s x;s ?kkVs ds nkos dks fljs ls [kkfjt dj fn;kA
  dkjkr us Hkktik ds laln dh dk;Zokgh esa O;o/kku Mkyus dks vuqfpr crkrs gq, dgk fd mudh ikVhZ vkSj mlds lg;ksxh okeiaFkh ny ‘kq: ls bl eqn~ns ij laln esa cgl ds i{k esa jgs gSaA
  ;g iwNs tkus ij fd Hkktik us iz/kkuearzh ds bl rjg laln esa c;ku i<+us dks vuqfpr crk;k gS] dkjkr us dgk fd og bl ckr ls lger ugha gSaA
  dkjkr us dgk fd ns’k esa dks;yk [knkuksa dks futh daifu;ksa ds gkFkksa esa cspus dk dke Hkktik ds usr`Ro okyh jktx ljdkj vkSj dkaxzsl ds usr`Ro okyh laizx ljdkj nksuksa ds gh dky esa gqvk gSA ,sls esa bl futhdj.k esa gq, ?kksVkys ds fy, nksuksa gh xBca/ku vkSj izeq[k :Ik ls dkaxzsl vkSj Hkktik nksuksa gh ftEesnkj gSaA 
    mUgksaus vkjksi yxk;k fd okLro esa ,d yk[k] 86 gtkj djksM+ #i;s ds bl dks;yk Cykd vkoaVu ?kksVkys ds fy, dkaxzsl ds lkFk iwoZorhZ jktx ljdkj Hkh nks”kh gSA blh dkj.k ls Hkktik bl eqn~ns ij laln esa cgl ugha pkgrh gSA
  mUgksaus dgk fd ekdik rFkk mlds vU; okeiaFkh lg;ksxh dks;yk ds [kuu ds futhdj.k ds gh f[kykQ gSaA

BJP is wrong in disrupting the Parliament-Prakash Karat

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Hkktik laln dh dk;Zokgh ckf/kr dj Bhd ugha dj jgh] llan pyuh pkfg,& dkjkr
Dyhu ehfM;k laoknnkrk

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jkaph dh ,dfnolh; ;krzk ij ;gka vk;s ekdik usrk izdk’k dkjkr us ;gka ,d laoknnkrk lEesyu esa nks Vwd dgk fd fiNys ,d lIrkg ls laln dh dk;Zokgh u pyus nsdj Hkkjrh; turk ikVhZ us Bhd ugha fd;k gSA
   mUgksaus nkok fd;k f dbl eqn~ns ij Hkktik lHkh jktuhfrd nyksa ls vyx Fkyx iM+ x;h gS vkSj dksbZ Hkh jktuhfrd ny mlds lkFk ugha [kM+k gSA
  tn ;w vkSj vdkyh ny ds #[k dh vksj ladsr djrs gq, dkjkr us dgk fd jktx ds lg;ksxh ny Hkh bl eqn~ns ij Hkktik ds lkFk ugha [kM+s gSaA
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  dkjkr us dgk fd laln ds ekulwu lrz ds igys fnu gh fu;arzd ,oa egkys[kk ijh{kd %lh,th% dh dks;yk ?kksVkys ij vk;h fjikVZ ds ckn ls gh mudh ikVhZ lesr lHkh okeiaFkh ny bl eqn~ns ij laln esa cgl ds i{k/kj jgs gSa ysfdu Hkktik us vius eu eqrkfcd laln dh dk;Zokgh esa O;o/kku MkykA
  mUgksaus vkjksi yxk;k fd okLro esa ,d yk[k] 86 gtkj djksM+ #i;s ds bl dks;yk Cykd vkoaVu ?kksVkys ds fy, dkaxzsl ds lkFk iwoZorhZ jktx ljdkj Hkh nks”kh gSA blh dkj.k ls Hkktik bl eqn~ns ij laln esa cgl ugha pkgrh gSA
  mUgksaus dgk fd ekdik rFkk mlds vU; okeiaFkh lg;ksxh dks;yk ds [kuu ds futhdj.k ds gh f[kykQ gSa fygktk dks;yk Cykdksa dk ns’k esa vkoaVu fufonk ds tfj;s fd;k tk;s vFkok mudk vkoaVu igys vkvks] igys ikvks dh uhfr ds vk/kkj ij fd;k tk;s] blls mudh ikVhZ ds fy, dksbZ [kkl QdZ ugha iM+rk gSA


J'khand minister Satyanand Jha Batul says ready to undergo DNA test

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J'khand minister says ready to undergo DNA test



Clean Media Correspondent

Ranchi, Aug 27 (CMC)  Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Satyanand Jha on Monday said he was ready to undergo a DNA test to prove that he was not the father of the child of a primary school teacher, who has also claimed that she was married to him. 

Jha here today to Clean Media that a conspiracy has been hatched by his political rivals to malign his image and he would retire from politics if found guilty. 

"If Soni Devi can prove that I married her and fathered her child, I will resign from the ministership and retire from politics," Jha said. 

"I am ready to undergo a DNA test to prove that her claims are false," he added. Jha, however, accepted that he knew Soni as a BJP worker. But claimed her allegations were baseless. 

"The birth certificate of her child shows Bhupen Chaudhary as the father. Even her voter ID, ration card and college register bears Bhupen's name as her husband," Jha said. 

Soni Devi, a primary school teacher, had on August 18 alleged before the media in Dumka that she has been separated from her former husband since 1994 and had "married" Jha a few years later and has a four-year-old son from the "second marriage". 

"I had been a BJP worker and know Satyanand Jha for last 20 years," Soni said. Asked if she has any proof to prove her allegations against Jha, she said a DNA test would prove her claims. 

She had in September last year also raised the issue before quickly retracting after the minister denied the allegations then. 

Pakistani PM faces SC, seeks time to write Swiss letter

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Pakistani PM faces SC, seeks time to write Swiss letter
Clean Media Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Aug 27 (CMC) Facing a show-cause notice for failing to implement a Supreme Court order, Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday sought more time to write to Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. 

Ashraf requested the court to give him four to six weeks to write the letter to Swiss authorities, reported Dawn. 

"I need time to understand the matter... as it involves certain legal and constitutional points," Ashraf told the court. He also pleaded that the show-cause notice be withdrawn. 

"I need enough time from the court to seek the assistance of constitutional and legal experts," he said. 

Jostled by crowds, Ashraf waved before stepping inside the court building. 

A five-judge special bench comprising Justices Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Gulzar Ahmed and Muhammad Ather Saeed is hearing the case. 

The apex court had issued the notice August 8. 

The order said it was unfortunate that the prime minister had failed to implement the court's directives. 

The court had on July 25 given Ashraf time till August 8 to write to Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Zardari. 

Ashraf's predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was disqualified by the court for contempt after he refused to accept the court's orders. 

Accused of graft, Zardari was granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in 2007 by then president Pervez Musharraf to facilitate his return home from exile, and primarily that of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. 

Zardari and Bhutto were suspected of using Swiss accounts to launder about $12 million in alleged bribes paid by companies seeking customs inspection contracts in the 1990s. 

The NRO that granted immunity to politicians and bureaucrats in corruption cases was struck down by the Supreme Court as void in 2009. 

The apex court in January ordered Gilani to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen cases against Zardari. 

Gilani was convicted on April 26 of contempt of court, and was disqualified as prime minister as well as parliament member June 19.

Gold hits record high on global rally, weak rupee

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Gold hits record high on global rally, weak rupee








Clean Media Correspondent

Mumbai, Aug 27 (CMC) India's benchmark October gold contract extended gains on Monday morning to hit a record high of 31,077 rupees per 10 grams, following a rally in the world markets and on a weak rupee.

International spot gold rose to the loftiest level since mid-April on Monday, extending strong gains from last week as expectations for further monetary easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve kept sentiment buoyant.

However, a price rise is set to trim India's gold consumption, and subsequently imports, in the peak festive season.

Coalgate: PM makes statement in Lok Sabha amid BJP uproar, questions CAG observations

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Coalgate: PM makes statement in Lok Sabha amid BJP uproar, questions CAG observationsClean Media Correspondent
New Delhi, Aug 27 (CMC) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a statement on coal block allocation in Parliament on Monday in the wake of the CAG report, which has been used by opposition to attack him. 
The PM read out his statement amid slogan shouting by the BJP members.
Manmohan Singh defended the government and said the allegations levelled by CAG are baseless.
I wish to say that any allegations of impropriety are without basis and unsupported by the facts, said the PM.
The observations of the CAG are clearly disputable, he said.
The PM's statement, which was also released on the twitter account of PMO, said, "I once again appeal to the opposition to let the House function. Let the country judge where the truth lies." 
The PM said he takes full responsibility for decisions of coal ministry whose charge was with him during the period assessed by CAG.
Later, addressing mediamen outside Parliament, the PM said that the govt will challenge the CAG observations when it comes up in the parliamentary accounts committee. 
The Prime Minister, who is under attack over the allocation during 2005-2009 when he held the coal portfolio, has been waiting to make a statement since last week but could not do so because of disruption caused by opposition, mainly BJP. 
The BJP has been demanding that the Prime Minister first tender his resignation over the issue. 

Parliament adjourned again; LS Speaker calls all-party meet

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Parliament adjourned again; LS Speaker calls all-party meet
Clean Media Correspondent

New Delhi, Aug 27 (CMC) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make a statement on coal block allocation in Parliament on Monday in the wake of the CAG report if given a chance, which has been used by the Opposition to attack him. Singh will make the statement in both the Houses, government sources said.

Monsoon session stares at washout

Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till 12 pm and called an all-party meeting to break the deadlock in Parliament over coal blocks allocation issue.

On the other hand, the NDA meet scheduled on Monday morning was postponed as JD (U) and Akali Dal, key allies in NDA, were reportedly in favour of discussion on coal blocks allocation issue.
The Prime Minister, who is under attack over the allocation during 2005-2009 when he held the coal portfolio, has been waiting to make a statement since last week but could not do so because of disruption caused by Opposition, mainly BJP.

He is expected to rebut charges levelled in the CAG report contending that there were "inaccuracies" in the "misleading" assessment of loss of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore, sources said.

The thrust of the PM's response is likely to be that Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand, all ruled by non-UPA governments, had opposed in 2005 the Centre's move to bring a legislation on auction process.

The delay in coal block allocation was one of the charges made by the CAG.

Singh had last week said that he "can give satisfactory answers to all issues being raised".

Contesting the CAG's contention that private firms gained to the tune of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore in coal block allocation between 2005 and 2009, Singh is expected to assert that it reflects "inaccuracies" in the report.

The Prime Minister is expected to say that the CAG has computed on the basis of allocation of 57 mines but out of these, 31 coal blocks belong to the period prior to 2006.

He will assert that the amount of loss projected by CAG was "misleading" as calculations had been done on the basis of Coal India prices and private players have different cost parameters, the sources said.

However, accusing UPA government of being "arrogant and despotic", BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the onus is on Prime Minister Minister Manmohan Singh to accept the responsibility for the "arbitrary and discretionary" allocation of 142 coal blocks.

In hard hitting comments, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also said the Prime Minister's Office should be judged by standards "much harsher" than those which would apply to ministers like A Raja who had to resign over the controversial 2G spectrum license allocation.

Jaitley on Sunday said suggestions to debate the issue only in Parliament "will put a lid on one of the greatest scandals in Indian history."

"It has been suggested that since the Prime Minister himself was the coal minister, we should assume that this decision was fair. The Prime Minister’s office is a sacred institution in Indian democracy. It has to be judged by standards much harsher than those which would apply to Ministers(Telecom) like Shri A Raja," Jaitley said in an article released by the BJP.

The BJP leader said that a debate is an essential ingredient of Parliament but so is accountability.

Jaitley said that if the process of allocation by the Prime Minister as a coal minister "smacks of arbitrariness it shakes our national conscience. The onus is now on the Prime Minister to accept the responsibility for what has happened."

"Suggestions that the issue should be debated only in the Parliament will put a lid on one of the greatest scandals in Indian history. We, in the Opposition, are not interested in merely the issue being talked out through a one-day debate in Parliament", he added.

In the article, titled "The Allocation of 142 Coal Blocks", Jaitley said "The arbitrary and discretionary allocation of 142 coal blocks is the latest albatross round the neck of the UPA Government. The arrogant and despotic government did not realise when the allocations were made that it would be held accountable for each of these coal block allocations."

On the other hand, the government on Sunday night hit back at the BJP for defending obstruction in Parliament over CAG report on coal blocks allocation, saying the opposition was running away from discussion as it feared that the debate will boomerang on them.

"During their (NDA) regime one can walk in with the recommendations of the state government and walk out with coal block allocations. UPA changed that through transparent process of ascertaining eligibility of captive blocks for cement steel and power plants," Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told Clean Media.

Ridiculing BJP leader Arun Jaitley's contention justifying disruption of Parliament proceedings by terming it as a "rarest of rare cases", Bansal said that from day one of the last Lok Sabha when UPA came to power, obstruction has become the order of the day.

"Obstruction has not been an exception. It has now become a norm. And after making the reckless demand of resignation of the Prime Minister, the BJP did not realise what lay in the matter and that is why they are running away from the discussion." he said.

He also lamented that the main opposition was "totally oblivious" of the role and relevance of Parliament, and were making obstructions when a heavy legislative agenda was before Parliament including some anti-corruption bills.