Delhi moves Bangkok on Rajan recall
Sharad in sick bed after flop show
Upma breakfast for Atal
JMM trio back in the dock
Celeste spoils BJP bash
Tyson live on small screen
Power bill revolt ticks on Patel
Right & Left of sex abuse

 
 
DELHI MOVES BANGKOK ON RAJAN RECALL 
 
 
FROM PRANAY SHARMA
 
New Delhi, Oct. 12: 
After dragging its feet for more than three weeks, India today formally made it known to the Thai authorities that it wanted Mumbai gangster Chhota Rajan back. It has also decided to revoke Rajan’s passport which he had acquired by furnishing “false personal particulars”.

According to home ministry officials, Rajan has been served a show cause notice as to why his passport should not be cancelled. He has been given till Friday to reply after which his passport will be withdrawn.

Delhi is making preparations for both his extradition and deportation — whichever is permissible under the Thai laws. However, deportation is a more likely option since the revocation of his passport now makes Rajan a “stateless person”.

Rajan is at present in Bangkok, recovering from gunshot wounds received when a bid was made on his life in mid-September.

The government’s formal announcement about steps to get Rajan back comes in the wake of critical media reports and speculation about whether the BJP government is at all keen on his extradition or wants to delay the matter to the maximum extent possible.

Delhi’s reluctance in getting Rajan back for trial for a number of charges against him might be because of the help the Indian authorities have been getting from the gangster in nabbing other key members of the Mumbai underworld.

For the ruling BJP, Rajan’s help and cooperation are required to arrest Dawood Ibrahim, the key accused in the Bombay blast case. Dawood and his close associates have reportedly shifted base from Dubai to Karachi.

The ministry of external affairs has informed the Thailand government that preparations for Rajan’s extradition are being made and has requested it to keep him in custody till the formalities are completed.

“In the aftermath of the shooting incident involving Rajendra Sadashiva Nikhalje, also known as Chhota Rajan, the ministry of external affairs has taken prompt and necessary action required in consultation with the home ministry, which is coordinating in this matter,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal said.

“A diplomatic demarche has been made to Thai authorities so that a formal extradition of Chhota Rajan to India is being prepared and will be forwarded to the Thai government shortly along with the other relevant papers,” he added.

Jassal pointed out that South Block is awaiting the other required documents from the Maharastra government. “Our embassy in Thailand has already taken action for revoking his passport issued on the basis of false personal particulars and the Thai authorities have been informed of this,” he said.

He added that a request has also been made to Bangkok to keep Rajan under “provisional arrest” till the formalities of his extradition or deportation are completed.

The Union home ministry said in a statement that extradition papers have been received from the Maharastra police but they “were incomplete in terms of the required legal documentation”. It said the state police agreed to send them “expeditiously” and they were received by North Block only today. “These papers are now being examined,” it added.    


 
 
SHARAD IN SICK BED AFTER FLOP SHOW 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Patna, Oct. 12: 
Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav was rushed to hospital with chest pain after his show-of-strength rally flopped. The rally was meant to score a point over rival Ram Vilas Paswan, who is threatening to split the party.

Hectic lobbying with rebel partymen in an attempt to dissuade them from quitting took a toll on Sharad’s health. He was rushed to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) here after his blood pressure shot up and he complained of chest pain.

Though the ECG done did not hint at any heart ailment, doctors attending on Sharad advised him rest and medicines to control his blood pressure. He left for New Delhi in the evening today.

Since yesterday, Sharad had gone overboard in wooing rebels who had decided to shift over to the Paswan camp. Though one of Sharad’s disgruntled colleagues Mangilal Mandal told him that he would not quit, he did not seem convinced by the JD(U) chief’s arguments. Hence despite promises, organisers made no effort to make the rally any bigger than Paswan’s rally earlier this month.

Paswan in a mammoth rally at the same venue had flayed Sharad for neglecting the organisational issues of the party and had demanded a change in leadership.

“If the party still wants me to be in it, Sharad Yadav should resign from the post of the president and pave the way for a new incumbent,” he said.

After the insipid show, reporters could not elicit Sharad’s views on the poor turnout at the rally as he had already left for the IGIMS for check-up.

Sharad had claimed yesterday that Ramakrishna Hegde would attend the rally. But he did not arrive here today.

Sharad had also claimed that rebel leaders like Captain Jaynarayan Nishad would also join in, but the latter did not turn up either, making it clear that the JD(U) chief was cornered within the party.

The leaders who surrounded Sharad at the rally today included the likes of Ram- jivan Singh, R.K.Yadav and Ganesh Yadav.

Sharad avoided making direct references to Paswan at the rally. Rather, he dwelt on his plans to develop Bihar and called for unity within the party to take up the challenges in the future.

JD(U) circles were rife with speculations that Sharad may finally quit. “The illness may just be a prelude to that,” a party insider said.    


 
 
UPMA BREAKFAST FOR ATAL 
 
 
FROM DEBASHIS BHATTACHARYYA
 
Mumbai, Oct. 12: 
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today started returning to his official routine, reading notes and issuing orders from his hospital bed as he graduated from a “liquid to solid” diet.

Responding to an SOS from the West Bengal government, the Prime Minister, recuperating at Breach Candy hospital after his knee joint replacement surgery, asked the Food Corporation of India to let the state collect as much grain as it wanted “on credit” from its godowns to help feed thousands of marooned people.

Vajpayee also asked the state-run India Petrochemicals Limited to “divert” its entire current production of polythene to West Bengal to help it tide over one of the worst floods to hit the state in recent times.

“The Prime Minister is concerned about the grim flood situation in West Bengal and responded to the state’s requests immediately,” Ashok Tandon, Vajpayee’s media adviser, said.

Railway minister Mamata Banerjee had also been urging the Prime Minister to help the flood-affected people in the state, Tandon said. Vajpayee also asked his officials to send aid to Bangladesh, also reeling under heavy floods. He would send a personal message to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, offering India’s help.

Tandon said the Prime Minister today read several other notes prepared by his makeshift office in Mumbai and gave his approval. “This shows the PMO is functioning effectively in Mumbai.”

Vajpayee was also given the report he had asked about the killing and skinning of a tiger at Hyderabad zoo. The Prime Minster was apparently not satisfied with the report filed by additional director-general (wildlife) S.C. Sharma and asked his officials to seek a clarification.

No files will be put before the Prime Minister at the hospital till Sunday, on advice of doctors, so as not to stress him. “Going through the files is a tedious job,” a Vajpayee aide said, adding officials had started preparing small notes on important jobs for the Prime Minister’s approval at the hospital.

Vajpayee slept soundly last night and breakfasted this morning on upma and coconut water. He had watery dal and boiled rice for lunch, information and technology minister Pramod Mahajan said, quoting a medical bulletin issued by Dr F.E. Udwadi and Dr Chittaranjan Ranawat.

, the New York-based surgeon who operated on Vajpayee on Tuesday.

He was on a “liquid” diet yesterday and had soup and fruit juice only.

The Prime Minister was given “solid” food because he was “doing fine”, a hospital doctor said.

The Prime Minister mostly sat through the day on his bed, reading newspapers and magazines. The catheter attached to him was removed.

He, however, did not take any phonecalls or meet visitors.

Dr Nandu Laud, a consulting orthopaedic surgeon, who had helped Dr Ranawat in the operation, said the Prime Minister was recovering fast and looked cheerful today. He said Vajpayee was expected to stand on his own in two to four weeks and walk with a cane in six weeks.

Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who met Vajpayee on Tuesday evening, said the Prime Minister appeared cool and relaxed and “spoke as if nothing had happened”.

Two of the Prime Minister’s four personal doctors, who accompanied him to Mumbai, were returning tomorrow, satisfied with the pace of his recovery, an aide said.

Mahajan said the Prime Minister might meet few visitors from Saturday.

Vajpayee’s aides said though the Prime Minister’s right knee was also afflicted with osteoarthritis, he had no plans to go for a replacement surgery. Ranawat had called the condition “moderate” and refused to say when Vajpayee would feel the need for surgery on the right knee as well.

Dr Ranawat said he did not operate on both knees simultaneously, considering Vajpayee’s age and medical condition.    


 
 
JMM TRIO BACK IN THE DOCK 
 
 
FROM R. VENKATARAMAN
 
New Delhi, Oct. 12: 
The judgement in the JMM bribery case has opened another Pandora’s box, with the special judge ordering the CBI to initiate proceedings against three JMM members, Shibu Soren, Simon Marandi and Suraj Mandal, under Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which concerns illegal gratification and possessing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income.

The judge, Ajit Bharihoke, said the “immunity” the MPs enjoyed pertained only to their “manner of voting” in Parliament, which did not have anything to do with the unaccounted money found in their accounts.

As Sailendra Mahato had turned approver and was pardoned in the case and his share of bribe money was also confiscated, the judge did not order that proceedings be initiated against him.

When the JMM trial was on, the MPs had approached the Supreme Court with the plea that they enjoyed immunity under Article 105(2) of the Constitution. The apex court held that the bribe takers who voted could not be tried as their “manner of voting” could not be called into question by a court of law.

The judge said the “immunity” granted was only for their act inside the House and the MPs were answerable for the money disproportionate to their known sources of income found in their possession. Bharihoke said the “immunity” granted to the MPs by the apex court was only to prevent any trial against them relating to the motive behind their voting on a motion in Parliament.

“The voting pattern of JMM MPs or their motive behind voting against the no-confidence motion would not be a relevant factor during the new proceedings,” the judge said.

“They do not have immunity under Article 105(2) of the Constitution for offences punishable under Section 13(1)(e) of the PCA” for possessing unaccounted money, Bharihoke added. “Thus, I feel compelled to direct the CBI to register cases” against the other three members, he said.

Bharihoke said “during the course of the case” investigators found Rs 1,62,80,000 in the joint account of the four JMM members. They argued that the money was their “party funds”.

“But it was found to be false and the documents produced were also found to be false,” the judge said. This has attracted Sections 13(2) read with 13(1)(e) of the PCA the judge said, adding “prima facie case of commission of offence punishable” under these provisions “is disclosed from the investigations”.

The order said “if a public servant during the period of his office is found to be in possession of pecuniary resources or disproportionate assets either in his own name or in the name of someone else for which he cannot satisfactorily account, he is guilty of the offence which is punishable under Section 13(2) PCA”.

Rao expulsion cry

The hawks sought P.V. Narasimha Rao’s expulsion from the Congress after his conviction in the JMM bribery case. But party chief Sonia Gandhi has prevailed, pointing out that the Congress should not act against the former Prime Minister until all judicial avenues are exhausted, reports our special correspondent.    


 
 
CELESTE SPOILS BJP BASH 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Oct. 12: 
As the BJP paraded India’s “improving relations with the US” as a prime example of the one-year-old NDA government’s “success” in foreign policy, US ambassador to India Richard Celeste took the sheen off the triumphant assertion.

Celeste, who yesterday called on BJP chief Bangaru Laxman, asked him about his party’s stand on religious freedom and status of Christians in India.

The ambassador’s questions came in the wake of RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan’s Dussehra address last Saturday where he demanded that foreign missionaries be thrown out of the country and foreign “churches” closed down.

The Sangh boss, who alleged that Christian groups were instigating insurgency in the Northeast, had asked Christians in India to prove their “nationalism” by shaking off the “stranglehold” of foreign churches and setting up “swadeshi” ones instead.

Laxman, however, assured Celeste that the BJP was committed to upholding religious freedom as enshrined in the Constitution. He also said the party was not against conversions, provided they did not involve force or inducement.

Asked why the envoy sought fresh clarifications, despite Laxman’s oft-quoted pro-minority assertions, party spokesman Jana Krishnamurthy said: “It is quite natural on the part of both to ask political questions. Information is sought both ways.”

Celeste’s visit was followed by that of two others. Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Hirabayashi and German envoy Heimo Richter also called on Laxman today.

But Krishnamurthy said their purpose was neither to seek a status report on minorities nor the BJP’s attitude towards them. The thrust of the meeting, he explained, was on global economics and business reforms and the need to strengthen relations between the BJP and their respective countries.

The BJP has given a seven-page document to its cadre outlining “talking points” on the achievements of the A.B. Vajpayee government. The document is expected to supply them with the inputs to be used in a countrywide fortnight-long programme starting tomorrow to celebrate the NDA’s one-year in power.

It highlights foreign policy as the “greatest success story” and claims that the end of the first year has seen the “culmination of the consistent efforts to explain India’s essential security concerns to all major powers”.

The proof of this “achievement”, the document points out, lies in the lifting of sanctions which were imposed after the Pokhran nuclear tests.

The document says that even where the sanctions were in place they did not obstruct “close cooperation”. “Leaders of countries who had recalled their ambassadors have recently visited India to strengthen their relations with us. Britain, France and several other countries of the European Union have supported India’s claim for a permanent membership of the Security Council,” the document says.

Among the other “achievements” mentioned are the passage of several Bills. Notable among them are the Eighty-fourth Amendment Bill on seat reservation for SC\STs, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, the State Reorganisation Bill and the IT Bill.

BJP workers have also been asked to peddle economic policy measures on agriculture (kisan credit cards, crop insurance, etc.), empowerment of weaker sections, small-scale and cottage industries, protection to domestic economy, fiscal discipline, disinvestment, decentralisation of power and information technology.    


 
 
TYSON LIVE ON SMALL SCREEN 
 
 
FROM SATISH JOHN
 
Mumbai, Oct. 12: 
Boxing aficionados in India have never had it so good.

As former world champion Mike Tyson squares up to Andrew Golota, Star Movies channel will telecast the bout live from Michigan on October 21.

This is the biggest boxing event to be telecast on Indian air. Sources at Star Network said it was a well-thought- out strategy to use the movie channel to telecast the bout, instead of sport channels. It is expected to pep up the movie channel.

Indian fans are doubly lucky. The mega event will be telecast free here, while American viewers will be charged a suggested retail price for the SET (showtime event television) pay-per-view of US $ 49.95.

The notorious Tyson, with 42 knockouts from 48 fights, will take on Polish born Golata in a 10-round humdinger at 6.30 am at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, which will be repeated at 9.30 pm prime time exclusively for Star Movies.

Both are known for their eccentricities and have had prolific careers, dotted with controversy.

Tyson, Brooklyn’s most famous rags-to-riches story of a boy who fought his way out of the ghettos, is known for his penchant for attracting controversy.

The most famous episode in his extra-curricular activities occurred when he bit off the ear of heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

After being fined US $3 million and revoking his boxing licence, he was reinstated as they found out that professional boxing was the bigger loser.

Later, Tyson was fined US $1,87,5000 after he hit Lou Savarese below the belt in a heavyweight fight in June.

Orlin Norris was another of Tyson’s victims whom he continued to hit even after the bell. The fight was later declared a “no contest”.

If Tyson wins against Golata, he will be just one fight away from Lennox Louis, the current reigning champion in the professional heavyweight division.

If Tyson is known to use underhand tactics, Golota is not far behind. Equipped with a powerful punch, he bit Samoan heavyweight Samson Pou’ha in the shoulder and headbutted Daniel Nicholson. Eight of his 9 bouts were won unanimously.

Tyson realises that the fight against Golota is going to be harder than a title fight. Golota has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

In press briefings, Tyson has sworn that he will make an example of Golota. He has been quoted as saying: “I’m in pain, so I want them to be in pain.” He openly spoke about killing Andrew Golota or anyone else who entered the ring with him.

The highly-anticipated heavyweight fight is promoted by America Presents in association with Hearns Entertainment, Main Events Inc. and Fight and Night, INC.    


 
 
POWER BILL REVOLT TICKS ON PATEL 
 
 
FROM BASANT RAWAT
 
Ahmedabad, Oct. 12: 
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), the BJP’s peasants’ wing, has called upon farmers to stop payment of electricity bills in protest against the steep power tariff hike in the farm sector.

Prafull Sejalia, state president of the BKS, told reporters today he will move a review petition before the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC). “If our demand to reduce tariff is not conceded, we will appeal in high court,” he said.

But before moving high court, the BKS plans to make a representation to the seven-member Cabinet sub-committee set up by chief minister Keshubhai Patel on Wednesday to find ways to reduce the financial burden on farmers.

It has decided to hold a rally at Gandhinagar on October 21 to turn the heat on the government. The state executive and all district-level leaders of BKS will meet in the state capital the following day to chalk out a plan for a statewide movement, Sejalia said.

BJP insiders said if the BKS launches an agitation, it will spell trouble for the ruling party, which was routed in the recent civic and district panchayat elections.

A senior BJP leader admitted that erratic power supply to farmers was one of the reasons behind the BJP’s poor showing. Moreover, with gram panchayat elections round the corner, Patel cannot afford to upset the powerful farmers’ lobby.

But Patel faces a tricky situation since the Gujarat electricity board is legally bound to implement the GERC award.

If the issue is not tackled with care, not only will a resurgent Congress launch an agitation, the BJP’s frontal organisations will take to the streets, which does not augur well for the chief minister whose leadership is being challenged by detractors.    


 
 
RIGHT & LEFT OF SEX ABUSE 
 
 
FROM MONOBINA GUPTA
 
New Delhi, Oct. 12: 
The Red Book says a sexually-harassed woman deserves to be punished if she is on the wrong side of the Left.

A man had masturbated on P.E. Usha in a Calicut bus last year. She had forced the bus to stop and registered a case at the nearest police station.

But her protest was the beginning of the end for Usha, a Grade-I employee of Calicut University. She was brought before the firing line of the CPM’s women’s wing, which seems to reserve its sympathy only for a certain kind of women.

Members of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), the CPM-controlled women’s organisation, piled the blame on Usha. “One of the women members asked why it had happened to me? There were lots of other women. Nothing happened to them,” says Usha.

Usha’s crime: she had spoken up against the CPM on a number of occasions.

The Calicut University staff, whom the CPM holds in its vice-like grip, attacked Usha personally. “They started spreading all kinds of rumours — that she sleeps with men and deserves what she got,” says Rajitha Seelam, a journalist, who had been with Usha in Calicut University.

As her case became known, Usha started getting anonymous phone calls, threatening her and her 11-year-old daughter. “The callers threatened to kidnap my daughter. Pragati spent long hours alone at home and I could not risk her life. So I was forced to quit Calicut,” says Usha.

Mother and daughter had to leave the university campus and started to stay with a friend in Thiruvananthapuram.

The CPM was squaring up with Usha, who had been an active campaigner against its decision to give away university land for cashew plantation. Usha had also raised her voice against the state government’s Mavoor Gwalior Grasim project.

The Grasim project was polluting the river in the region, raising the infant morality rate. Usha and her friends had joined the local residents in opposing the project.

Earlier, Usha had also supported the mess workers’ agitation for minimum wages in Calicut University while the SFI, the CPM students’ wing, along with the university authorities, were against giving the wages.

“The CPM does not like to be opposed, especially in West Bengal and Kerala, where it has put in place a chain of command manned by party functionaries who are out to teach the anti-party elements a lesson they will not forget easily,” says a friend of Usha.

“Chief minister E.K. Nayanar refused to meet me. MP M.A. Baby, at first sympathetic, became silent,” says Usha, who is in the capital, knocking on the doors of the National Commission for Women and the National Human Rights Commission.

She is also looking for a job in Thiruvananthapuram. “But it is very difficult because the CPM has its appointees in every place,” she says.    

 

FRONT PAGE / NATIONAL / EDITORIAL / BUSINESS / THE EAST / SPORTS
ABOUT US /FEEDBACK / ARCHIVE 
 
Maintained by Web Development Company