The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Ex-PM families’ security curtailed

new delhi: The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, which restricts security cover for the families of former prime ministers to a year after they leave office, was passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, reports our correspondent.

The security, that will depend on intelligence assessment of the threat perception to the person concerned, will continue if there is fear of assassination or attack.

The Bill lays down that protection to the immediate family members of former prime ministers will be for three months. Even this will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The changes have been made because of the enormous manpower and money spent annually on protecting not just the former prime ministers but also their family members.

Minister of state for home I.D. Swamy, who introduced the Bill, said there was a shortage of SPG personnel. The total expenditure on the SPG so far has been Rs 556 crore. Every year, Rs 75 crore is spent on the protection group.

SC laments slow trials

new delhi: The Hinduja brothers’ bail plea on Thursday made the Supreme Court lament over the “slow process of criminal trials” in the country in general and the Bofors case in particular, reports our legal correspondent.

When Ram Jethmalani, senior counsel for the three Hinduja brothers — Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand — pointed out to the court how the case has dragged on for over 13 years now, the bench observed that “criminal trial in India is a slow-motion picture”.

A division bench of Justices M.B. Shah and Arun Kumar, however, fixed February 27 for further hearing on the bail plea of the Hindujas, seeking a direction from the court that all the three brothers be allowed to go abroad simultaneously. Earlier, the apex court had ordered that one of the brothers should remain in India whenever the other two or one of them goes abroad.

Replying to Justice Shah on the accused persons’ promise that no stay of trial proceedings would be sought, Jethmalani said the brothers had “scrupulously” kept their promises and had never sought a stay of the trial.

However, after the accused brothers were discharged from the case by Delhi High Court, they sought stay of the trial at a much later stage when the CBI’s appeal against quashing of charges against them came up for hearing in the apex court.

Flames scald effigy burners

Mysore (PTI): In a freak incident, four Janata Dal leaders were injured when flames from an effigy they were burning leapt on them.

Former MLA Vedantha Hemmige, former MLC Puttasidda Shetty and three other leaders of the Akhila Bharata Janata Dal were burning an effigy as part of a demonstration against the state government’s “failure” to solve the problems of the common man and condemning VHP leader Praveen Togadia’s “communal speeches” when the accident occurred. A youth was holding the effigy when another threw petrol on it, spreading the fire.

Suitcase sentence

hong kong (PTI): An Indian national was convicted of smuggling a Pakistani national, hidden in a suitcase, into Hong Kong and sentenced to 16 months in prison. Singh had tried to enter Hong Kong on 26 December from the Chinese border city of Shenzhen, officials said.

Bus crash probe

Dehra dun (PTI): An inquiry has been ordered into Tuesday’s bus accident which killed 20 people and injured 60 in Pauri district. The Garhwal additional commissioner has been asked to hold the inquiry. The bus was carrying about 100 persons returning from a marriage party.

SC dismissal rule

new delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has ruled that habitual absence from duty for long periods on several occasions could lead to dismissal from service. Rejecting an appeal by a Delhi police constable, who went on leave but did not respond to notices till he was dismissed, the court supported the disciplinary authority’s view.

Hoteliers’ custody

Ahmedabad (PTI): Three city-based hoteliers, arrested in connection with a sex scandal allegedly involving two Punjab ministers, have been remanded in five days’ police custody.

Bunker deaths

Jammu (PTI): Two armymen of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry died when a bunker collapsed in heavy rainfall near the LoC in Rajouri on Wednesday.Over 4,000 companies from the US, UK, Canada, France, Spain, Brazil, Argentina and other countries are expected to participate in the India Handicrafts and Gifts Fair in New Delhi on February 27. Industry minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the event.

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