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Jail term for ex-CM

Gangtok, Aug. 9: Sikkim High Court today sentenced three-term chief minister of the state, Nar Bahadur Bhandari, to jail for a month on corruption charges, upholding a conviction order passed by a CBI court.

The sentence of simple imprisonment of six months passed by the lower court on October 25, 2008, was reduced to a month with a fine of Rs 5,000 by acting Chief Justice S.P. Wangdi.

Bhandari, now 70, has been asked by the judge to surrender before the special judge (Prevention of Corruption Act) by 10.30am tomorrow.

Bhandari, seizing the opportunity to score political points and public sympathy, said after the verdict that he was not going to appeal and would serve out the sentence. Bhandari is now the Congress’ state unit chief.

Bhandari said he was upset with the Congress high command in Delhi because it had done nothing to rein in the CBI, which was prosecuting him. “It is a conspiracy of the Congress party that controls the CBI that has landed me in this situation. I can also launch a regional party once I serve out the sentence,” Bhandari said today.

But sources said Bhandari would make the “best of the situation” tomorrow at the time of his surrender and try to get “as much publicity as possible to gain the sympathy of the people”.

Tiger carcass

Calcutta: Forest officials and fishermen in the Sunderbans on Tuesday found the carcass of a full-grown tiger near Dobanki forest, about 120km from Calcutta.

Its right leg was bitten off probably by a crocodile when it had gone to the Dobanki river bank to drink water. The carcass has been taken to the Bonny camp for post-mortem.

A forest official said the carcass was first located by the fishermen who informed some personnel who were patrolling the area.

Roerich estate

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of a 1996 Karnataka law that took over in public interest the estate of actress Devika Rani Roerich and her husband Svetoslav Roerich soon after their deaths.

The state had invoked the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, to take over the Roerichs’ surplus agricultural land and also passed the Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate (Acquisition & Transfer) Act, 1996, to take over the famed Tataguni Estate near Bangalore.

A registered company, Ms K.T. Plantations Pvt Ltd, had claimed that Roerich sold it 141.25 acres by way of a registered sale deed dated March 23, 1991, and sought exemption from the Land Reforms Act.

Jaya school plan

Chennai: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the implementation of the Uniform School Education System, embarrassing the Jayalalithaa government which had tried to scrap the DMK-initiated move and offering relief to over a crore students.

“The state should not change its stand merely because the other political party has come to power. The agenda of an individual or a political party should not be subversive of the rule of law,” the court said.

DMK chief M. Karunanidhi termed the verdict a “well-deserved slap” for the government.

Adarsh report

New Delhi: Three former chiefs of the army and the navy, a Congress leader in Maharashtra, bureaucrats and armed forces officers subverted laws, edged out juniors and used soldier-welfare as a ruse to be direct beneficiaries in Mumbai’s Adarsh building scam, the Comptroller and Auditor General has said.

The report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday names General Deepak Kapoor (the immediate predecessor of the current army chief), General N. C. Vij, Admiral Madhvendhra Singh, Congress MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, former principal and deputy secretaries in Maharashtra’s urban development department, Ramanand Tiwari and P.V. Deshmukh, former Mumbai collector I.A. Kundan and former municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak. The report accuses them of “cronyism” to get clearances and flouting environmental, security and land allotment norms.

Suit against Kahn

New York (Reuters): Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted a housekeeper in a “violent and sadistic attack” in his hotel suite in Manhattan in May, a civil lawsuit filed on Monday alleges.

The lawsuit, which follows criminal charges against Kahn, repeats the version of events that Nafissatou Diallo, the woman who accused him, has given since she revealed her identity in media interviews last month.


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