Hit men trail spills out of state
Error gifts Advani Babri break
Faith funds face punishment law
Crorepati Number 1 by Re 1
Calcutta Weather

 
 
HIT MEN TRAIL SPILLS OUT OF STATE 
 
 
FROM PROBIR PRAMANIK
 
Siliguri, Feb. 12: 
As a backlash gathered momentum in the hills of Darjeeling, investigators on the hunt for Subash Ghising’s attackers today traced the trail beyond Bengal’s boundaries.

Intelligence sources today identified the militant killed in the shootout on Saturday as R.B. Singh, a mercenary from Manipur and a former member of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).

The sources said the strike-force was made up of five former NSCN(I-M) rebels and a couple of Maoist guerrillas who were helped by two functionaries of the Chhattray Subba-led militant Gorkhaland Liberation Organisation (GLO).

The men are believed to have escaped to Nepal, where Subba is said to be hiding.

Though police refused to disclose information on the slain guerrilla, they claimed to have made an important breakthrough with the arrests of two people — Dimple Dewan and O.R. Kothwal — who were among the 15 rounded up for questioning.

Police sources said that Dimple, a housewife from Malaguri on Siliguri’s outskirts, and Kothwal, who has been arrested several times for crimes ranging from car-hijacking to drug peddling, were taken into custody on the basis of records of calls made to the mobile phone recovered from the ambush site. Kothwal was picked up from his hideout in Karibari, near Siliguri.

The assailants apparently used the cellphone to keep track of the route being taken by Ghising.

Dimple, who doesn’t have any criminal record, denied that she had a hand in the ambush. “I don’t know what crime I have committed that they have been interrogating me for the past two days,” she told The Telegraph.

Ghising, who met reporters briefly at the Paramount nursing home, said he was recovering from the attack. “I’m fine and making good progress here. I’m satisfied with the doctors who have done an excellent job. I’m more concerned about the condition of the six securitymen who displayed exemplary bravery in fighting the assailants. I would like to appeal to all my supporters in the hills and elsewhere to maintain peace at all costs,” Ghising said.

But angry GNLF supporters ignored the appeal for peace and went on the rampage in Kalim-pong. They ransacked and damaged Subba’s house at Raushi Bazar on the outskirts of Kalimpong town and torched a jeep parked outside.

Another group allegedly fired shots and damaged the house of the Opposition Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL)’s Kalimpong branch committee president, Norden Lama.

The GNLF workers pelted stones at Lama’s house, shouted anti-CPM slogans and threatened DYFI leader Tara Sundas.

“A mob set ablaze an old jeep outside Subba’s residence and damaged his house. ABGL leader Norden Lama’s house was also damaged by a mob, which tried to set ablaze two motorcycles parked outside. But there are no reports of shots being fired. The situation in the town is tense but under control,” a police official said.

Subba has openly challenged Ghising’s authority and had set a deadline of December 31 for the GNLF chief to pull his councillors out of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council or face “dire consequences”. The GNLF suspects Subba to be behind the attempt on Ghising’s life.

Promising to bring the culprits to book “as early as possible”, the government has constituted a special investigating team to probe the attack on Ghising.

Bengal home secretary Sourin Roy said: “We reviewed the situation in the Darjeeling hills and have decided to form a special investigation team comprising officers from the CID, the Darjeeling district police and the Central Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau. The team will be monitored by inspector-general (north Bengal) N.R. Das and the additional director-general (IB),” Roy said. He, however, ruled out a CBI inquiry as demanded by the GNLF.

The home secretary refused to name any group suspected to be behind the ambush.

“We have shortlisted a number of outfits on the suspect list. A mobile phone recovered from the site has given us vital clues about the identities of those involved,” Roy said.

Asked if there was a foreign hand in the attack, the officer added: “We have specific information on certain foreign forces suspected to be behind the incident. They are helping a local militant outfit in the region and are operating from their hideouts in a neighbouring country.”

   

 
 
ERROR GIFTS ADVANI BABRI BREAK 
 
 
OUR BUREAU
 
New Delhi, Feb. 12: 
Two months after the Opposition stalled the winter session of Parliament over the Babri masjid demolition issue, the Allahabad High Court today set aside the notification for the trial of the three ministers, including L.K. Advani, whose resignation the Congress and the Left parties had demanded.

The Lucknow bench of the court ruled that the notification filed by the CBI was “improper and defective”, implying that it was being set aside more on technical grounds.

The bench of Justice Jagdish Bhalla said the government could issue a fresh notification with the permission of the high court if it wanted to.

CBI sources said the judgment was “open to interpretation” and could well mean that the “notification” was curable and the court was not quashing the case.

Officially, the CBI said it had not received a copy of the verdict and was unable to react. It will take some time to find out the ground on which the notification was rejected. Some sleuths involved in the case see the verdict as a temporary setback.

Though the notification was shot down, Justice Bhalla upheld the special CBI court’s verdict that charges be framed against 40 other accused, including then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

The notification mentioned the names of eight accused to be tried, including Advani and two other union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.

It will be interesting to see how the government proceeds. A senior official said it was not necessary for the government to “tell” the CBI what to do. “It is for them to respond and carry forward the case as they think right,” he said.

But sources pointed out that the CBI, which is directly under the Prime Minister, often waits for “indirect signals” from the PMO. Since this case involves Advani, virtually number two in the government hierarchy, they might take steps only after careful consideration.

The court felt that the CBI had gone wrong in not seeking permission from the high court for including the eight names in October 1993 after filing a notification in September to try 41 others. The list of 41 has been reduced to 40 after the death of Vijayaraje Scindia.

Though the court observed that the defect was “curable”, the judgment does take away some sting from the possible Opposition onslaught against the three ministers.

If the CBI is to proceed, it can move the same bench of the high court again to bring in a fresh notification with the eight names. Alternatively, it can approach the Supreme Court, questioning the lower court’s decision to set aside the notification.

   

 
 
FAITH FUNDS FACE PUNISHMENT LAW 
 
 
FROM CHANDAN NANDY
 
New Delhi, Feb. 12: 
The Vajpayee government proposes to replace the toothless Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act with a new legislation which will incorporate stringent penal provisions to prevent “anti-national and fundamentalist activities”.

The home ministry and the banking division of the finance ministry are studying a Cabinet note on the proposed Act. Sources said the L.K. Advani-led Group of Ministers (GoM), which is going to recommend measures to beef up national security, is likely to approve the new legislation.

Under FCRA, it is mandatory for all organisations receiving foreign funds to register with the home ministry and file returns on receipt and expenditure of foreign exchange. But there are no stiff penal clauses if any organisation is found diverting money to build institutions that act as “fronts” for terrorist activities. The existing law has only a provision to cancel the organisation’s registration.

The law scheduled to replace the 1976 Act will propose a maximum punishment of imprisonment ranging from five to seven years as well as fines for such organisations.

“All organisations registered under the FCRA will come under the purview of the proposed legislation and there will be no discrimination. The objective is to stop anti-India and fundamentalist activities,” a senior home ministry official said.

To broadbase and decentralise the new law, the Centre proposes to empower district magistrates to regulate the use of foreign exchange received by NGOs.

All organisations receiving foreign funds will have to register with the collectorates. They will have to submit details of the amount received and names of the donors.

They will also have to obtain “utilisation certificates” from the collectors. The district magistrates will send periodical statements to the home ministry.

District magistrates will also exercise control over the local banks where the foreign contributions are deposited.

For better monitoring, the Cabinet note has suggested that associations operating in the border belts and religious organisations be registered afresh with the home ministry.

“This has been proposed to keep better watch on religious organisations which receive thousands of dollars as foreign contribution which are often channelised for activities other than those the funds were actually meant for,” a senior official said.

Recent home ministry studies have revealed that mosques and madarsas have mushroomed in the border areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. Home ministry reports have pointed to the “growing use” of these mosques and madarsas by ISI agents and other terrorist outfits.

The task force on border management had recommended close surveillance on such institutes as well as preachers and inmates of these places.

   

 
 
CROREPATI NUMBER 1 BY RE 1 
 
 
BY MADHUMITA BHATTACHARYYA
 
Calcutta, Feb. 12: 
He became Indian television’s highest jackpot winner, by all of Re 1. Narendra Verma won Rs 10,000,001 on the sets of Govinda’s gameshow on Sony, squeezing past Harshvardhan Nawate who had won the first crore on STAR’s Kaun Banega Crorepati?

But had Verma held his nerve, he could have doubled his winnings. He chose safe over sorry at the Rs 2-crore question, though, as it turned out later, he did know the right answer.

The 40-year-old civil engineer from Delhi left the Mumbai Film City sets this evening after shooting for the Jeeto Chappar Phaad Ke episode with Rs 10,000,001, a car, an air-conditioner and a PC. He seems to have truly cashed in on the “unlimited knowledge, unlimited paisa” promise of the month-old JCPK.

Verma fielded four questions from Govinda to reach Rs 25,001, before he went “shopping”. With Re 1, Verma chose an AC, before answering four more teasers to get to the Rs 2,00,001 mark. This time, he “bought” a computer for Re 1. Four more correct answers left him with Rs 12,00,001. His next shopping bout got him a Santro.

From Rs 12,00,001 to Rs 10,000,001 with just three questions. “Which of these is not part of Bharatnatyam?” came the question, followed by four options. But Verma, who had been “cool” till then, had too much to lose. A wrong answer, and it would be back to Rs 12,00,001.

There are no lifelines in Jeeto — a show conceived by Calcutta’s Derek O’Brien, whose company KQscore.com provides the questions — but “Dosts”. Having used the two others, Verma just had “Sahi Ya Galat” left. He called for his final Dost.

Moksha is a part of Bharatnatyam, True or False? Verma tossed a mental coin. But he took Govindaji’s advice — Better safe than sorry.

Verma hung up his gloves. “What would your final answer have been?” asked Hero No. 1. “False,” came the reply. Right, but his time was up.

Had Verma been in time, he would have had Rs 20,000,001 in the bank and could have gone “shopping” for questions, not gifts, with the Re 1. If he had tripped at the Rs 3 crore question, he would have just lost Re 1, the cost price. But if he were right, he would have won Rs 1 crore more and gone on, with every correct answer bringing in Rs 1 crore. There’s no ceiling to the final amount — one can keep going forever.

Handing over the check for 1 crore to the man in the hotseat, Govinda called Verma’s wife on stage from the audience. He handed her the “shagun” of Re 1, took her hand, and danced an ecstatic dance to the show’s theme song.

   

 
 
CALCUTTA WEATHER 
 
 
 
 

Temperature

Maximum: 30.5°C (+2)
Minimum: 15.9°C (0)

Rainfall

Nil

Relative humidity

Max: 100%
Min: 32%

Today:

Partly cloudy sky. Possibility of morning mist. Minimum temperature likely to be 16°C
Sunrise: 6.15 am
Sunset: 5.26 pm
   
 

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