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Nation at a Glance

Electoral rolls on the Net by 2004

shimla (PTI): The Election Commission would try to make electoral rolls available on its website before the Lok Sabha elections in 2004.

The electoral rolls for Delhi have already been made available on the Net and efforts are on to cover more states, election commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy said on Tuesday. He was here in connection with the preparations for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections slated for February, 2004.

The ultimate aim of the commission is to have the rolls online with photographs and other details of the voters but it is a long process, Krishnanurthy added.

He was hopeful that the photo identity cards would be provided to most voters before the Assembly elections here.

The commissioner said a fresh round of preparations have begun and it was expected that the percentage of voters with error-free identity cards would increase from 54.76 to about 70 per cent at the time of the election.

Bengal dope gang in police net

vijayawada (PTI): The railway police here have arrested three persons of a five-member gang from West Bengal that was involved in looting passengers by doping them.

A booty of Rs 9.7 lakh was recovered from them. “The gang, which was active on Howrah-Chennai, Howrah-Thiruvananthapuram and Howrah-Pune trains, used to offer passengers eatables laced with the ‘Nitrosun’ drug to make them unconscious,” said superintendent of police K. Raja Ratnam Naidu.

Apart from the cash, the police also recovered cellphones from the gang, Naidu said. The kingpin of the racket is still at large.

The arrested persons have revealed that their leader lured them into doping activities by promising them cash and jewellery. More than 35 such gangs are reportedly operating from Bengal, Naidu said.

The police have also recovered Nitrosun tablets and disposable needles from the gang members. A hunt is on for the two absconding, the superintendent said.

Since August, the railway police have detected 50 such offences and nabbed the members of two inter-state gangs, Naidu added.

Cracker factory blast claims 10

Chennai: At least 10 persons were charred to death and eight injured when a cracker factory near Kandamangalam Villupuram district blew up on Tuesday night, reports our correspondent.

The injured, who suffered over 90 per cent burns, were flung out due to the impact of the explosion. They were admitted in the Pondicherry Government Hospital. The condition of four is serious. This is the third cracker-caused blast in the state in one and half months.

Salman plea

mumbai (PTI): Salman Khan, remanded in judicial custody till October 31 in a hit-and-run case, has urged a sessions court for bail. The plea would come up for hearing on Wednesday. The police have charged the actor with several offences, including culpable homicide, not amounting to murder.

Shivani case

new delhi (PTI): A Delhi court extended by 14 days the judicial custody of R.K. Sharma, former Haryana IG (prisons) and the prime suspect in the Shivani Bhatnagar murder even as Delhi police claimed they had recovered the gold chain stolen from her on the day of the murder.

Three held for theft

Calcutta: Three workers engaged by the Public Works Department (PWD) were arrested for stealing Rs 30,000 and gold ornaments from a bag in David Hare Training College, reports our correspondent. Police said the theft took place when the complainant, Vijaylakshmi Mahanti left her bag in the toilet. When she could not find her bag she contacted the police.

Diamond haul

mumbai (PTI): Customs officials at the international airport here have arrested an Iranian woman for allegedly smuggling diamonds worth Rs 1.98 crore. The diamonds were concealed in plastic jars with mango pickles.

Indians dead

singapore (PTI): Two workers from India, Sukhvir Singh, 25, and Gurinderpal Singh, 27, and one from Bangladesh have died following suspected exposure to toxic fumes at a chemical waste treatment plant here.

Geologists are flocking to Jodhpur and Pali districts in Rajasthan to study the spectacle of falling meteorites. A three-feet crater has been detected at the place where they had fallen, said B.S. Paliwal, head of geology at the Jai Narain Vyas University.


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