Hassan soiree sponsor held
Valves deal: HC orders inquiry
Sweeper death in police station to be probed
Bihar police fail to arrest scam-tainted officials
Tribal front accused of rigging polls

 
 
HASSAN SOIREE SPONSOR HELD 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 7: 
The detective department of Calcutta Police on Saturday arrested the promoter of a soiree and another person for cheating ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan. Deputy commissioner (detective department) Narayan Ghosh said Pradip Saraogi and an aide were picked up from the Strand Road office of a social organisation, Parasar, on the basis of Hassan’s complaint. Saraogi is general secretary of the organisation.

Ghosh said Saraogi sold tickets for a concert by Hassan, which the singer claimed he did not know about nor had given his consent to. Police recovered a large number of tickets, each priced at Rs 2,250, from Saraogi’s office.

According to detectives investigating the case, Saraogi had faxed a letter to Hassan’s Karachi residence, seeking his presence in the city for a felicitation soiree. Hassan arrived in Calcutta and checked into a five-star hotel in south Calcutta. According to the complaint lodged by Hassan late on Friday night, Saraogi issued advertisements of the concert at a south Calcutta auditorium and even sold tickets for it.

Ghosh said Hassan had not given Saraogi or Parasar any go-ahead to sell tickets or advertise a concert in his name. The soiree was to be held on May 6.

“They invited me to the city on the pretext of felicitating me for my contribution to music,” Hassan said. Investigations revealed that the cheque paid to the five-star hotel for Hassan’s stay had bounced. The singer left the city on Saturday.

Saraogi was produced in court and remanded in police custody till May 16. Police are looking for three more of his associates. Police have noted the singer’s Karachi address and contact number. “We will seek his help in our probe,’’ Ghosh said.    


 
 
VALVES DEAL: HC ORDERS INQUIRY 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, May 7: 
The CPM has been caught on the wrong foot on the eve of the civic polls, with Calcutta High Court ordering a CID probe into alleged irregularities in the purchase of “butterfly valves”, worth several lakh of rupees, by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation. The valves are used to control the flow of water in the underground mains.

The court directed the CID on May 2 “to make and complete the investigation at an early date and, preferably, within two months from date of communication of this order.” The order was passed by a division bench of Justices Satyabrata Sinha and M.H.S. Ansari.

The order follows a contempt petition filed by Trinamul Congress councillor Tarak Singh against mayor Prasanta Chatterjee and others for non-compliance of a similar court order, dated August 24,1999, directing the CMC to have the irregularities probed by the CID.

Trinamul leaders demanded the resignation of the mayor and mayor-in-council (waterworks) Archana Bhattacharya, as they felt the court has “found a prima facie case in the whole transaction.” They will go on a sit-in and a fast at the CMC on May 10 to press their demand.    


 
 
SWEEPER DEATH IN POLICE STATION TO BE PROBED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 7: 
The government on Saturday ordered an inquiry into the unnatural death of a sweeper at Swarupnagar police station, in North 24-Parganas, on Thursday night .

The sweeper, Anwar Gazi, 45, was allegedly beaten to death by officer-in-charge Arun Hazra in the police station on suspicion that he had stolen his gold chain. Gazi was rushed to a hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead.

Hazra, who left the police station immediately after Gazi’s death, has been replaced by Tapas Chakraborty. District superintendent of police Kuldeep Singh, however, said Hazra’s transfer was overdue and his replacement had nothing to do with the incident

Anwar’s relatives have lodged an FIR saying he was beaten to death in the police station. They alleged that policemen poured poison down Anwar’s throat to make his death appear a suicide.

Singh said the district police was probing the death on the basis of the complaint. “Proper action will be taken against the OC if he is found guilty.” The SP said Anwar had a liquor problem. “He had been ill for the past few days and may have committed suicide by consuming poison,” he said.    


 
 
BIHAR POLICE FAIL TO ARREST SCAM-TAINTED OFFICIALS 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Ranchi, May 6: 
Police have failed to arrest even one of the 23 officials of the Bihar Rural Engineering Organisation against whom FIRs had been filed at various police stations two weeks ago. The officials were charged with defalcating state funds to the tune of Rs 4.5 crore.

The police are now waiting for the mandatory 40 days after the date of the filing of FIRs to elapse so that they can move court for attachment of the property of the accused.

In April, Ranchi deputy commissioner Sukhdeo Singh had recommended filing of FIRs and institution of criminal proceedings against 23 officials of the Rural Engineering Organisation based in Ranchi and Khunti subdivisions. This move followed inquiries which revealed that although construction of many rural roads had either just begun or were still underway, work completion certificates had been issued by these officials to facilitate largescale withdrawal of funds from state treasuries. While directing the department to stop work on the projects, Singh also instructed the treasuries to stop all payments of bills.

Following this recommendation, the state government instructed the department to proceed against 23 officials. It asked the district administration to monitor the arrests of the accused.

Sources said as soon as FIRs were lodged at various police stations on April 24, all the 23 officials rushed to Patna to lobby against the move to suspend them.

The sources said the file recommending suspension of the 23 officials against whom FIRs have been filed is reported to be missing. Moreover, the errant officials have gone underground in Patna and are lobbying with the state government for the immediate transfer of Sukhdeo Singh for exposing the scam.

The sources claimed all these officials are in regular contact with their families in Ranchi and are allegedly tampering with vital official documents, which are being removed from the Rural Engineering Organisation offices in Ranchi and Khunti.    


 
 
TRIBAL FRONT ACCUSED OF RIGGING POLLS 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Agartala, May 6: 
A letter purportedly written by a conscientious voter and inserted into a ballot box during elections to Tripura’s Autonomous District Council has given the ruling Left Front ammunition to take on the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura. The letter, “discovered” during counting of votes polled in Demcherra-Kachucherra constituency, states, “Dear countrymen and honourable government, I have been forced to cast my vote in favour of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura at the point of the gun. This is an uncivilised practice and every effort should be made to curb it.”

Counting officials handed over the letter to returning officer and Kailasahar subdivisional officer Pramatha Ranjan Bhattacharyya yesterday. The latter disclosed the contents of the letter today. Instances of rigging were also “brought to light” by officials engaged in counting of votes polled in Pekuarjala-Janmejaynagar constituency. “IPFT activists inserted ballot papers into the boxes in a hurry, leaving tell-tale signs for all to see,” said CPM leader Dulal Sen. CPM counting agents claimed to have pointed out the “irregularities” to returning officer and Bishalgarh subdivisional officer Subhas Debnath, but he allegedly ignored it. In Raima constituency under Gandacherra subdivision of South Tripura, counting officials found 10,514 votes, 197 more than the number of voters who exercised their franchise. The returning officer allegedly overruled objections from IPFT counting agents and declared CPM nominee Lalit Tripura elected. Both the IPFT and the Left Front have been accusing each other of making a farce of the elections. In a statement late last night, the Left Front attributed the IPFT’s victory in the elections to a “terror campaign” and largescale rigging in collusion with National Liberation Front of Tripura militants. “A key organisation like the Autonomous District Council has been taken over by NLFT militants,” it said.

The Left Front also charged the BJP, the Trinamul Congress and the Janata Dal (United) combine with abetting militancy by boycotting the polls. Former chief minister Samir Ranjan Barman blamed the Left Front, saying, “It is the outcome of wrong policies.”    


 
 
 

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