Monk’s diary leads police to murky trail
Shibpur teachers on JU protest path
Mamata clarion call for mega Midnapore meet
Santaldih fire sparks power cuts
Russian rule to spot a stone before it galls
Court lifts eviction cloud on Waldorf
Click for cassettes, get set for ‘liquid’ discs
Soren strikes soft chord
Congress to stand by Laloo in Jharkhand

Calcutta, Aug. 4 
A diary found in the cell of Sureshwar Das, the Iskcon monk who committed suicide in Presidency jail on Thursday, is leading the police on a murky trail from Albert Road to Mayapur.

On Friday, the police started a case against the eight monks whose names were mentioned in Das’ diary. All eight are members of the governing body commission, and have been accused by the deceased monk of “hatching a conspiracy” against him and his friends in the order.

Deputy commissioner of police, detective department, Narayan Ghosh said the Hastings police have registered a case of “abetment to commit suicide” and conspiracy against the senior monks who were held responsible by the monk in the suicide note. “The case was registered on the basis of a complaint by the jail authority,” Ghosh added.

While seven of the monks are from Mayapur, one is based in the city office of Iskcon. The power struggle between the Mayapur and Calcutta branches of the order had divided the monks.

Das, 54, was jailed after being charged with the rape of a 38-year-old woman at the Gurusaday Road office of Iskcon in July.

The woman, a widow, was allegedly raped by Das when she went to the Iskcon office to collect her husband’s pension.

“Das is a victim of a conspiracy by the governing body commission members,” alleged Iskcon vice-president Swattik Das.

He also said they will move the Supreme Court seeking justice and demanding that the truth regarding the conspiracy and the rape case be revealed.

According to the diary, Das, along with his followers belonging to the Iskcon Revival Movement in the city office, had filed a case challenging the leadership of Mayapur.

“They said in the suit that some gurus of the Mayapur branch were indulging in illegal activities,” the police disclosed.

Iskcon officials said they will also file a petition before the state human rights commission “seeking justice”.

State minister for jail, Biswanath Chowdhury, said his department has also ordered a probe into the incident to unravel the mystery of the monk’s death. “We are waiting for the post-mortem report and will then inform the human rights commission about the case,” he added.

Rajarhat status

A division bench of Calcutta High Court has directed the government to submit a report regarding the environmental status of the Rajarhat township, says our legal reporter. Responding to a PIL filed by environmentalist Subhas Dutta, the bench, presided by Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice Barin Ghosh, asked the government housing department to inform the court whether the environment department had cleared the township project.

Lawyers’ strike off: Normal functioning of Calcutta High Court is likely to resume from Monday after agitating lawyers, in a meeting on Friday, decided to attend court. About 6,000 advocates had started ceasework from July 31, protesting against the inaction of the authorities in filling up of vacancies in judges’ posts. At the meeting, the Bar Association condemned the Chief Justice for not attaching importance to the lawyers’ grievances.    

Calcutta, Aug. 4 
After Jadavpur, Shibpur. A work-to-rule agitation by teachers of the Bengal Engineering College at Shibpur has disrupted normal academic life on the campus.

Students of the college, on Friday, urged the authorities to “take immediate steps” to resolve the impasse. They have also decided to send a delegation to state higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty, seeking his intervention in the matter.

Teachers under the banner of the Bengal Engineering College Deemed University (BECUDTA) have launched a movement from July 27 demanding “pay revision” and “implementation of retirement benefits”.

A mass sit-in-demonstration is being organised by the teachers everyday during the lunch-break in front of vice-chancellor Amal Jyoti Sengupta’s chamber. They are also boycotting all examination duties including question-paper setting, invigilation and evaluation of answer scripts.

Expressing concern over the agitation, Sengupta said: “We are sympathetic towards the teachers’ demands and we have already discussed them with the state government. But all of them cannot be conceded as the college has to get a clearance from the All India Council of Technical Education first.”

But Arup Sarkar, BECDUTA general secretary, said both the state government and the AICTE were responsible for not clearing their dues even seven years after the college became a deemed university.

Khadi closure: All establishments of Khadi Gramodyog will remain closed on August 9 due to a bandh by West Bengal Khadi Mission to protest “negligence and internal disruption of khadi village industry”.    

Calcutta, Aug. 4 
Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is determined to go ahead with the rally slated for Wednesday at Chamkaitala in Midnapore district, despite “threats” from the CPM.

Chamkaitala, earlier a Trinamul stronghold, is now controlled by the CPM. Located strategically between the three districts of Midnapore, Bankura and Hooghly, it is also the Assembly constituency of minister of state for transport Susanta Ghosh.

The rally is aimed at reassuring Trinamul supporters in the area whose houses had been attacked and looted by CPM activists. Accusing Ghosh of leading the attacks against Trinamul supporters in the area, Trinamul spokesperson Pankaj Banerjee said people will pour in from neighbouring districts to attend the rally ignoring “threats issued by the CPM, warning us not to stage the rally”.

“The CPM held a rally barely four kilometres from Chamkaitala on August 2 and has lined up another one in Chamkaitala on August 11. All they want to do is disrupt our August 9 rally and that’s exactly why are determined to make it a success,” said Banerjee.

The Trinamul spokesperson also pointed out that the Left Front, in its meeting held on Thursday, had asked the state government to be on the alert to curb violence. “This clearly shows that there is utter lawlessness in West Bengal, and the police and the administration have failed to tackle it,” said Banerjee, adding that deputy chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya had lost the right to retain the police portfolio.

Banerjee lashed out at chief minister Jyoti Basu and Bhattacharya for “not visiting Nanoor where eight persons had been lynched though they never seem to tire of rushing off to Delhi”.

Cong threat: Leader of the Congress party in Calcutta Municipal Corporation, Sailen Dasgupta, on Friday threatened to ‘review’ the party’s decision to extend unconditional support to the Trinamul Congress-BJP board if attempts to woo Congress councillors continued. Trinamul is now two short of gaining an absolute majority in the board. Dasgupta’s observation came in the wake of some Congress councillors switching over to Trinamul.

, the most recent defector being Binda Kumar.

Dasgupta said he found it difficult to explain the defections to the state party leadership as well as the Congress high command. “We had honoured the Trinamul’s victory in the civic polls by abstaining ourselves from the mayoral election. We, thereafter, decided to extend our support to the new board without any condition. Even then, the Trinamul is indulging in horse-trading at our expense. We will be forced to re-consider our stand if this trend continues,” he asserted.

Dasgupta, today, met the mayor and expressed his displeasure on the Trinamul’s role to woo Cogress councillors. He told the mayor to stop the trading immediately otherwise he would disclose everything before the general people.

However, mayor Subrata Mukherjee denied the charges of horse-trading. “We are not asking any councillor to leave the Congress and join us. If any one joins our party voluntarily, he or she is welcome,” Mukherjee said.

Dasgupta said that he would talk to the Congress high command on Saturday. “I will tell them about my step to reconsider our decision to support Trinamul,” he added.

Shamima Khatun, the Congress councillor of ward no 77 alleged that Trinamul had sent three persons with a proposal to join their party. “Three known persons from the Trinamul came to my residence and offer me the post for Borough no 9 chairman. I refused them. Once, these people offered me the mayor-in-council chair, ” Khatun added.    

Calcutta, Aug. 4 
The State Electricity Board’s power plant at Santaldih in Purulia district was shut down on Friday morning after a fire gutted the “cable tray” of units 1 and 2.

SEB chairman G.D. Gautama, said no one was injured and the fire had been doused. “We had to desynchronise the two units which were generating about 140 MW,” he said.

Units 3 and 4 of the Santaldih plant are also not in operation. While one is shut for repairs, the other is being overhauled.

As a result of the shut-down of the Santaldih plant, SEB-served areas suffered intermittent power cuts on Friday. The shortfall in the districts rose to about 70 MW by the evening, SEB sources said.

“It will take two or three days to restart the units 1 and 2 as some vital cables have been burnt,” Gautama said.    

Calcutta, Aug. 4 
Doctors can now determine whether a person will suffer from gall stones even before they are formed in the kidneys or bladder, thanks to a method devised by Russian physician and author V.A. Galkin, head of the internal diseases department, Moscow Medical Academy.

According to Galkin, who was in the city to deliver a couple of lectures, the clue lies in a person’s bile. “The juices are normally dark in colour; if the colour is light, then it is a strong indicator. To determine this, an analysis of the gastric juices by naso-gastric suction has to be done.”

All-India joint secretary, Indian Medical Association, Subhas Chakraborty said this test would be “very useful for those with a history of gastritis, oesophagitis, duodonitis and hepatitis — all conditions leading to stone formation.”

Galkin’s visit to Calcutta, arranged by the Russian consulate and the IMA, comes at a time when the incidence of such cases has gone up among the urban population in India.

Sedentary work, comfortable lifestyles, and parasite infections are the main reasons why a growing number of city-dwellers is suffering from gall stone formation in the kidneys and bladder.

During his two lectures at the Institute of Post-Graduate Medicine and Research and Maniktala ESI Hospital, the professor explained that women suffer from gall stones as a result of endocrine gland secretions, and not because of red meat consumption.

“Women between 40 and 45 are most susceptible to stone formation because of the changes brought about by these secretions,” he said.

About 30 per cent of the world’s population is affected by gall stone formation and allied problems, he said. “India and neighbouring countries have another problem: stone formation due to parasites like roundworm and hookworm. An attack by these parasites leads to inflammation of the intestines, affecting the gall bladder and resulting in stones,” he added.

Train schedule: Kanchenjungha Express is being terminated at New Jalpaiguri station, instead of Guwahati, from Friday. According to Eastern Railways sources, the decision was taken because railway tracks between New Bongaigaon and Guwahati stations have been washed away by heavy rain.

Bank robbery: Four armed dacoits on Friday robbed Rs 6.35 lakh from the Rajarhat branch of Allahabad Bank. The gang took only 20 minutes to complete the operation. Police officers expressed surprise that none of the bank employees switched on the alarm. A probe is on to trace the gangsters and to see whether any bank employee was involved.    

Calcutta, Aug. 4 
Waldorf, the second oldest Chinese restaurant in town, got a new lease of life on Friday with Calcutta High Court staying a lower court eviction order “permanently”.

A two-judge bench, in a significant verdict, allowed the appeal of the Waldorf restaurant management and stayed the lower court’s order for eviction of the premises permanently.

In May, promoters eyeing the prime property on Park Street, had moved court and got an eviction notice served on the eatery.

The management appealed against the eviction order and got a four-day stay which got two-three extensions subsequently and Waldorf stayed in business.

Friday’s landmark judgement will not only gladden the hearts of those with a yen for Chinese fare, but will also save the jobs of the 100-odd employees of the restaurant who had been living in fear of impending unemployment.

“I always had immense faith in the judicial system,” said Waldorf partner Charles Mantosh.

Nur Mohammed, one of the oldest among the restaurant staff and area secretary of the Citu-led union, said: “The judges have saved a heritage restaurant of Calcutta and also our lives.”

Restaurant manager held: The police on Friday arrested Peter Chhu, the manager of Mandarin, a popular restaurant on Sarat Bose Road. A police officer said eight cooking-gas cylinders were being used in the kitchen. “This is illegal and also a potential fire hazard, which could endanger the lives of customers,” he said.    

Calcutta, Aug. 4 
Want to procure Bon Jovi’s latest chartbusting album Crush or the soundtrack of Abhishek Bachchan’s Refugee without leaving home? No problem. Now, your favourite music album is at your fingertips.

Integrating pre-existing “brick-and-mortar infrastructure” with “the click of a mouse”, RPG’s MusicWorld Entertainment Ltd, the country’s largest music retail chain, launched, an e-commerce venture, to facilitate online music shopping.

Inaugurating the site at the Park Street store on Friday, Sanjiv Goenka, vice-chairman of the RPG group, said: “The strategic intent of this venture is to create, grow and dominate the music e-tailing business.”, developed by, houses 25,000 titles, over two lakh songs and has 35,000 web pages. Customers can buy music from the site through Visa and MasterCard, cheques and drafts to start with, while other cards and pre-paid options will be added on later.

This is, however, just a sampling of the treat in store for the city’s music buffs. Enthused by the overwhelming success of its Park Street store, MusicWorld is planning a second city outlet in south Calcutta.

And then, there is ‘liquid’ or made-to-order music. If things go according to plan, Calcutta will host the liquid music launch enabling a customer to step into MusicWorld and get a CD “custom-burnt” with digitised titles of his choice.

Both Goenka and MusicWorld chief executive K. Dasaratharaman agreed that a logical evolution of the e-tailing venture is the concept of liquid music, likely to kick off with HMV titles.

“Yes, the technology is very much there,” admitted Dasaratharaman, “and we are perhaps looking at a scenario where files more advanced than MP3 will be available to enable the music labels to digitise their stuff. Then of course, all the other logistics of copyright protection and royalty pattern for part reproduction must be worked out.”

Man run over: Seikh Sahabuddin, 25, was run over by a private bus at 2.30 pm on SN Banerjee Road on Friday, says a staff reporter. Eye-witnesses said he was standing on the footboard and leaning out of the door, when he suddenly lost his grip and fell. The police have impounded the bus and arrested the driver.    

Patna, Aug. 4 
As struggle for the chief minister’s post in the proposed Jharkhand state gathers steam, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren, who is leading the race for the top slot, today struck an emotional chord in defense of his candidature. He said depriving him of the post would tantamount to insulting popular “Jharkhandi sentiments.”

Speaking to The Telegraph from New Delhi, Soren said he would not have to exert any pressure on the Centre for the realisation of the “average Jharkhandi dream” (of making him the chief minister). Mincing no words on his claim to the chief minister’s post, Soren said, “When I try to visualise the person occupying the chief minister’s chair, the image of an old, bearded man stooping under the burden of the region’s development comes to my mind. The man resembles me.’’ The self-styled messiah of the Jharkhandis had a chequered run in the last two decades of the statehood movement following allegations of bribery and indictment in a murder case. “I was spit upon and exploited by the parties I relied on. During the Congress regime, I was involved in a scandal and the RJD used me in their game of numbers,’’ said Soren, recalling his years of struggle. “But now all Jharkhand and non-Jharkhand parties are claiming credit for the passage of the statehood Bill,” Soren added.

The JMM chief was instrumental in uniting the Jharkhand factions on the eve of the February Assembly polls.

Although the BJP had virtually hijacked the statehood issue, Soren put up a last- minute fight by purging the party of deadwood and giving it a fresh lease of life. The united JMM managed to salvage lost ground by wresting 12 seats. The NDA, which was desperate to counter pro-Laloo Yadav forces, included JMM(S) as a constituent. But a section of BJP leaders in the capital feel that the NDA may dump the JMM now that it is in a “relatively comfortable position” in the 81-member Jharkhand house. They said Soren was not a consensus candidate even in the JMM because of the chargesheet against him. “There will be no fresh polls. The new House, comprising of elected members, will chose its leader,’’ he claimed.    

Ranchi, Aug. 4 
The Congress today said it would not seek fresh elections but go along with the RJD and even extend support to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha to stay in political limelight in the new Jharkhand state.

Dismissing rumours that it was planning to bring in amendments to the Jharkhand Bill to stall the creation of a new state, Congress MP and Jharkhand Regional Congress (JRCC) president Thomas Hansda today promised that the Congress would ensure safe passage of the Bihar State Reorganisation Bill in the Rajya Sabha without clamouring for any amendments.

Talking to newspersons here, Hansda said the Congress had no intention of withdrawing support to the Rabri Devi government in the state or asking its ministers to quit the Cabinet following passage of the Bill.

Hansda said such an action was unwarranted as the new state was likely to be formed next month and all Congress ministers in the state Cabinet would have to automatically quit their seats.

However, Hansda stressed that the Congress would stake its claim in association with like- minded parties to form the first government in the new state.

Conceding that the Congress with just 11 legislators in the new state was far short of the required majority, Hansda said his party had no other option but continue its present alliance with the RJD.

Former MP hails Bill

Veteran trade union leader and former CPI MP, A.K. Roy, one of the co-founders of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha along with Shibu Soren and late B.B Mahato, took a trip down the memory lane reminicising “60 eventful years of the statehood movement, ”adds our Dhanbad correspondent.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Roy said the passage of the Bihar State Reorganisation Bill, 2000 in the Lok Sabha marked an “auspicious beginning but not the end of the journey.’’

“After six decades of struggle, we have been able to achieve only the Rajya (state) and not the Raj (power),” Roy said adding that the tribals of the region would have to fight for “empowerment.”

He alleged that those who were opposed to the movement have become “champions overnight.” But he was optimistic that if “power was vested on the tribals, Jharkhand would become one of the ideal states in the country given its rich cultural and natural resources.”

Hundreds of tribals took to streets yesterday celebrating the passage of the Bill.

Baliapur, the “samadhi sthal (memorial ground)” of founder leader B.B. Mahato and Tundi, where Shibu Soren spent many years as an outlaw in the jungles, wore a festive look since the morning. Soren ran a parallel administration from Tundi in the early Seventies.

While the mood was upbeat in the JMM camp, BJP workers thronged the streets claiming credit for the passage of the Bill.

The Congress, on the other hand, dubbed it as “the fruition of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi’s dream.” Senior Congress leader Vijay Kumar Singh said Dhanbad should made the capital of the proposed state “given its historical importance in the statehood movement.’’

National general secretary of the Samata Party Raj Kishore Mahato, son of late B.B. Mahato, also hailed the Bill and hoped “statehood” would expedite development of the region.

Murderer held


Jamshedpur, Aug 4: One Sushil Kumar Majhi alias Sunil Marandi, one of the East Singhbhum’s dreaded “killer siblings,” was arrested today by the district police.

Majhi, who was arrested near the Keenan Stadium, was charged with the murder of a local truck driver, Pramod Singh, . who was shot dead at Transport Nagar in Mango on July 26.

In his confessional statement, Majhi said a day before the murder he had an altercation with some of the victim’s colleagues at Mango. The youth also confessed that he and his brothers — Dulal and Subhir — have been involved in four other cases, including the murder of a forest ranger at Jhinkpani.

Custody deaths: A case under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code was lodged against the Ghagidih jail authorities today by the Parsudih police. The officer in-charge of the police station charged the jail administration with dereliction of duty leading to the death of three inmates in 1988 and 1992.    


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