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Salman poaching witnesses hostile

Jodhpur (PTI): Two vital prosecution witnesses in the poaching case against Salman Khan have turned hostile in a lower court here.

One of the witnesses, Mahendra Singh, backtracked from his statement in the court of chief judicial magistrate Salim Malik. Singh denied that he earlier told police that he found meat of the black buck, purportedly killed by Salman, in the kitchen of hotel Ashirwad on September 27, 1998.

Singh was declared hostile during cross-examination by actor’s counsel Hastimal Saraswat, the witness denied that he gave any statement to the police or found the wild animal’s meat and blood in the hotel kitchen.

He also denied that the hotel owner, Mohammad Hussain, and three others, Dushyant Banna, Yashpal Banna and Zhanwar Singh, cooked the meat and took the same to hotel Ummed Bhawan, where the actor was staying.

Another witness, Gani Khan, was also declared hostile when he denied telling the police that he had contacted Dushyant Singh regarding hiring of a Gypsy of medical-store owner Arun Yadav for the actor, who allegedly used it for hunting.

“I do not know Yadav and never discussed hiring of an Gypsy with Dushyant. I also do not know if Dushyant made available (any) Gypsy to Salman Khan,” Gani said.

Salman is facing trial on charges of killing protected wild animals in 1998 when he was in Jodhpur for the shooting of Sooraj Barjatya’s Hum Saath Saath Hain.

Funeral fire razes twin villages

Jaipur (PTI): A 22-year-old woman was burnt alive and scores of cattlehead perished in a fire that gutted two villages in Bharatpur district on Tuesday night, official sources said.

The fire reportedly spread in Alipur and Khohra villages from a burning funeral pyre. Fire tenders, including one of the army, brought the fire under control early on Wednesday.

Earlier reports had said that three children were gutted in the fire in Alipur. But deputy inspector-general of police Sudhakar Johari said on phone from Bharatpur that the children had been traced alive but a woman, identified as Rajjo, died in the fire in the same village.

While the fire reduced all houses in Alipur and Khohra to ashes, nearby villages Nawalpura and Babekhar were also affected as the fire spread rapidly due to high-velocity winds.

Johari said medical teams and Red Cross volunteers had reached the villages where senior district administration and police officials were supervising relief measures.

Travel axe on DD cameraman

New Delhi (PTI): A Doordarshan cameraman was suspended after he travelled to 12 countries unauthorisedly and worked for private television firms.

The suspension came after the internal vigilance department of Prasar Bharati conducted an inquiry, a release from the broadcaster said. During the inquiry, Chandershekhar Arora produced his passport which had no mention of his travel abroad. But the vigilance wing found out from the foreign regional registration office that Arora had travelled to 12 countries without informing the office. Prasar Bharati rules require that officials obtain prior written permission for travelling abroad, the release said.

Marad probe

Thiruvananthapuram(PTI): The Kerala government has decided to seek the services of a sitting judge of Kerala High Court to inquire into the recent Marad carnage that left nine persons dead, chief minister A.K. Antony said after a Cabinet meeting.

Hardoi mosque row

Lucknow (PTI): Tension prevailed in Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh following a dispute over constructing a mosque in the collectorate compound, police sources said. Trouble started when some employees of the collectorate started digging work for the construction, which was objected to by members of the other community, who staked claim to the land.

PM visit forgery

Lucknow (PTI): An FIR has been registered against a senior journalist with a local Hindi daily for allegedly forging the signature of the director of information to obtain passes for covering Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s engagements in the city, official sources said on Wednesday. Bhaskar Dubey, who was denied passes as he was not an accredited journalist, forged the signature and obtained passes, they said.

Dalit killers jailed

Munger (PTI): A court has awarded rigorous imprisonment for life to 17 people in connection with massacre of five Dalits in Sheikhpura district 10 years ago. A group of people had killed five Dalits in Kusumba in January 1993 before looting their houses and setting them ablaze following a clash between people belonging to the Dhanuk and Dadhi castes.

Almost 40 per cent of the population of Jalore, Rajasthan, is suffering from premature ageing. A medical officer said scanty rainfall in 2002 has increased the fluoride content in water to 6.8 ppm against the permissible limit of 1.8 ppm, causing the trouble.


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