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Nation at a Glance

Shilpa plea to spare parents

Bangalore (PTI): Actress Shilpa Shetty has flayed a section of the media for dubbing her parents “villains of the piece” in the extortion scandal and said she would issue a clarification on the issue shortly.

Shilpa’s parents Surendra and Sunanda are being accused of using the underworld to recover the actress’ modelling dues from a Surat-based sari company.

In her first comments on the controversy, Shilpa, who is in the city for a movie shoot, said the media was “victimising” her family. She refused to say anything about the case, pointing out that the matter was subjudice.

But Shilpa said she was upset and deeply hurt by the reports appearing in a section of the media.

Expressing displeasure over media glare on her parents, she said they are law-abiding citizens and should be left alone. Their privacy need to be respected and it was a traumatic time for her, she said.

Surat police had last week claimed “evidence” against Shilpa’s parents. Excerpts of taped phone conversations purportedly between her parents and the underworld were also leaked.

Shilpa’s parents have denied through their lawyer that the family had any connection with the underworld.

London test for Tehelka tapes

New Delhi (PTI): The Phukan Commission probing the Tehelka scandal has ordered the despatch of the tapes to London for forensic examination.

A packet containing notes by some of those who were cross-examined, marking the disputed portions in the tapes, will also be sent to London. However, Justice Phukan refused to name the expert.

“The commission, after perusing the responses filed by the noticees as also the submissions filed by the Union of India, decided that the tapes should be sent to London for examination by forensic experts,” the order said.

The commission will maintain a separate confidential file containing the name of the expert. The name will not be disclosed to any party now, keeping in view “security and other aspects”, Justice Phukan said.

The sealed box containing the tapes will be handed over to the expert by an officer handpicked by the commission.

The commission said steps should be taken by the government so that the sealed box and the packet were not opened by any authority, including customs at the international airport here, and the items were not subjected to magnetic interference.

Train burns again

Ferozepur (PTI): The engine and three bogies of a local train caught fire near here less than a fortnight after the Frontier Mail blaze, but the 400 passengers escaped unhurt.

The fire broke out in the engine of the diesel multiple unit train soon after it left a station. The driver stopped the train on noticing the fire and passengers managed to jump out before the engine and the three adjoining bogies were gutted, officials said. Thirty-eight people had died in the Frontier Mail blaze.

Kalam truce

Patna (PTI): The agitating teachers of Patna University have decided to defer their protest till next week after an appeal by Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi in view of President A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s three-day visit to the state. The teachers have been on a strike for the past 72 hours demanding the arrest of the killers of a professor who was shot dead for refusing to pay extortion money.

Magistrate hunt

Chandigarh (PTI): The CBI has said it was making an “all-out” effort to zero in on an “absconding” judicial magistrate facing corruption charges. Chandigarh judicial magistrate (first class) S.S. Bhardwaj had escaped after the CBI took him into custody during a raid. “We are at it. We have not given up our efforts,” CBI director P.C. Sharma said. “We never expected a person of his position to run away.”

Manager in net

Nagpur (PTI): The CBI has trapped an official of Western Coalfields Ltd while he was taking a bribe of Rs 15,000 from a coal transporter. The sub-area manager was being bribed to award a contract to the transporter. After arresting the manager at his office, the CBI raided his residence, a release said. He has been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Diamond death

Ahmedabad (PTI): Surat police have found the body of a missing diamond broker on Wednesday. Nagji Bhai Patel, 40, from Saurashtra had come to Surat for selling polished diamonds and was reported missing on Monday. The police said he had stocked polished and rough diamonds worth lakhs of rupees in his private locker.

The task force on river interlinking has asked the Indian Space Research Organisation and the National Remote Sensing Agency to map the country’s rivers in order to connect them, task force chairman Suresh Prabhu said.


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