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Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Shettys deny mafia links

Surat (PTI): Parents of film actress Shilpa Shetty — Surendra and Sunanda — allegedly involved in an extortion case, on Saturday claimed they had no underworld links and that it was a ploy to tarnish Shilpa’s image.

Addressing the media, Sunanda said she had to demand Rs 2 crore from the owner of Prafful sarees, Pankaj Agarwal, as he had failed to adhere to a year-long agreement after making the first and only payment of Rs 4 lakh. She had to make a subsequent demand by sending a legal notice.

She said they belonged to a civilised family and had no criminal links. “This is a ploy to tarnish the image of my daughter and the matter has mentally affected all the members of the family,” she said.

A case has been filed against the couple and underworld don Fazlur Rehman for allegedly extorting money from Agarwal. According to police, the Shettys had “hired” a gangster to recover some amount which Agarwal reportedly owed their daughter as payment for featuring in an advertisement.

“We tried to settle the deal with Agarwal before he falsely implicated us,” Sunanda claimed. “Agarwal had made three calls in April to me in Kashmir where I was accompanying Shilpa for a film shoot. He finally filed an FIR with police on May 1 alleging that he was being threatened by an underworld gang.”

The Shettys, however, refused to comment on the recorded conversation, saying the matter was sub-judice and “we are definitely innocent and will rely on the judiciary to prove our innocence”. As per a Gujarat High Court directive, Surendra was on Friday interrogated by Umra police here for his alleged complicity in the case.

10 prisoners flee Bihar jail

Supual (PTI): Ten prisoners escaped from a sub-jail here by scaling the boundary wall after instigating violence and injuring two security staff, officials said.

The incident took place on Friday in Birpur, 35 km from Nirmali, where Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and chief minister Rabri Devi were attending a foundation laying ceremony of a rail bridge.

Sources said the prisoners went on a rampage to protest the death of a fellow inmate, Mohammad Tajimuddin, at a jail hospital and additional forces could not be deployed to control the situation as a large number of security personnel were at Nirmali.

Inspector-general of prisons Ravi Kant said in Patna that the Central jail superintendent, Bhagalpur, Nawal Prasad Singh, has been asked to probe the incident.

America visa and job salve

Washington (PTI): American lawmakers and officials have allayed India’s apprehensions over curbs on outsourcing of jobs from the US to India as also on issuance of visas to its professionals.

A delegation of Indo-US parliamentary forum was assured by US Congress members and officials that any damage to India from restrictions on outsourcing will be limited. The assurance comes in the backdrop of reports that several states will press ahead with laws to ban outsourcing of jobs due to unemployment and discontent at home.

Fodder scam

Ranchi (pti): The cbi has filed chargesheets against Congress mp rajo Singh in connection with the fodder scam cases. Sources said Singh was chargesheeted in two cases pertaining to withdrawal of Rs 187 crore and Rs 39 crore from the Doranda and Chaibasa coffers respectively.

NGO fined

Cuttack (pti): Orissa High Court has rejected a petition seeking a stay on the transfer of IAS officer u.s. bhatia from the post of chairman of Orissa Mining Corporation and slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner, Dalit Mukti Andolan, an NGO. The court said the plea could not be construed as a PIL.

1 killed in clash

Ranchi: One person was killed and one seriously hurt in a forest under Burwadih police station in Latehar district of Jharkhand when police opened fire on a mob which attacked divisional forest officer Sanjay Tiwari, reports our correspondent. Tiwari was on an inspection tour to probe illegal felling of trees.

FIR against MP

Chapra (pti): An fir has been lodged against Samata Party mp prabhunath Singh and his supporters for allegedly assaulting an engineer, police said. Superintending engineer of Chapra electrical circle Dinesh Rai alleged that he was assaulted in the presence of the MP on Friday.

Smuggler held

Jaipur (pti): Police claimed to have arrested an antique smuggler operating as a handicraft dealer. “A huge racket in smuggling of antique items is likely to be busted now,” police superintendent Anand Srivastava said.


A Rajasthan-based NGO will manufacture knee braces invented by President A.P.J. abdul Kalam for the disabled. Kalam has granted permission for the project to Narayan Seva Sansthan that read about the invention in his autobiography Wings of Fire.

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