Tip-off sends police on fresh kidnap raid
Youth shot in Chitpore
CM seeks private aid in research
Flyovers to food joints
Karat on dissent-control mission
Trinamul shrugs off �norms� for NDA-return
Ghising warns of hill unrest

Calcutta, July 28: 
Undeterred by Friday night�s failed attempt to net the kidnappers of Parthapratim Roy Burman and rescue the shoe magnate, the CID on Saturday night launched another major raid, once again on the southern fringes of the city. The CID had received a fresh tip-off about the abductors� possible hideout.

On Friday night the police had raided Topsia, Tiljala, New Garia and Kalikapur after being tipped off that Manoj Singh, who has a series of kidnappings to his credit, was possibly hiding in the Garia area along with Roy Burman and some of his gang members.

About 50 policemen combed the area for over five hours and picked up seven criminals, none of whom either belonged to the Manoj Singh gang or was connected to the kidnapping.

The �biggest fish� to be picked up was Malcolm, a contract killer who is believed to have had a hand in over a dozen murders. Though he could not shed any fresh light on the abduction, he did tell the police that he had heard in his circles that Manoj Singh was behind it.

Based on a few �nuggets� provided by other criminals, and a fresh tip-off by Tiljala �titan� Mohammad Tasleem, alias Chunnu, the police decided to repeat Friday night�s raids.

�We believe that Roy Burman along with his abductors are either in the city or its whereabouts,� a CID official said. �Roy Burman was injured and I do not think it was possible for him to have travelled in that condition too far away from the spot of kidnapping.�

Despite the run of �bad luck�, the official was optimistic about a breakthrough in Saturday night�s raid. Indicating that contact had been established with the abductors, the official said: �We know that Roy Burman is alive. It is just a matter of time before we get him out of the abductors� clutches.�

The police have not ruled out the possibility of the shoe magnate having been removed to a hide-out in the Asansol-Dhanbad coal belt area. The district police has been told to keep an eye on anything fishy. Officers suspect that Jitendra Singh, who has been involved in a series of abductions in the Asansol area in the last few months, might be behind the abduction. �Singh escaped from police custody after shooting a constable, while being taken to court. He has been absconding since then,� a senior official said.

Police said Sheikh Vinod was interrogated in jail for any possible clues to the kidnapping. Vinod is understood to be monitoring his gang now led by Malcolm from jail. �Vinod�s gang is facing a cash crunch. They were looking for a big catch. There is a distinct possibility of his involvement as well,� a CID official said on Saturday evening.


Calcutta, July 28: 
A youth was shot dead at Raja Manindra Road, in the Chitpore police station area, late on Friday. He was identified as Arun Roy, a resident of Dum Dum.

Roy, 21, was shot when along with his friend Soma Das, he had gone to visit the widow of a friend, Chandan Mondal, who was murdered on July 5. Soma told the police that Roy was speaking to an acquaintance outside Mondal�s house, when she heard a gunshot. She saw Roy lying in front of the house. He was pronounced dead at RG Kar Hospital.

Fatal mishap: Dilip Chatterjee, a Hindustan Aeronautics employee, was killed when he was knocked down by a truck near Chiriamore on Saturday.


Calcutta, July 28: 
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Saturday invited the private sector to help conduct medical research jointly with government organisations and institutions.

Speaking at the five-day annual function of the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan, Bhattacharjee said collaborations would widen the scope of research and increase the possibility of discovering remedies of common illnesses.

The chief minister�s proposal comes two days after health minister Suryakanta Mishra invited the private sector, specifically the Ramakrishna Mission, to provide undergraduate medical education to meet the shortage of doctors in the state.

The invitation to the private sector comes on a day when a successful breakthrough was achieved in the treatment of corneal ulcers caused by fungal infections by the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology in collaboration with a private sector pharmaceutical company. The new eyedrops can benefit up to four lakh Indians suffering from this ailment every year.

AIDS treatment

Around 55 AIDS patients enlisted with the recently-formed Kolkata Network of Positive Persons (KNP Plus) will receive a triple-combination therapy, costing between Rs 1,300 and Rs 1,400 a month.

Hyderabad-based Aurobinda Pharma will provide the anti-retroviral medicine through the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a forum of sex-workers involved in HIV interventions.

The treatment will help reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 80 per cent.

Body found: The decomposed body of Krishna Basu, 50, was found on Saturday in a flat in Teghoria, near Baguiati. She used to stay alone in the apartment.


Calcutta, July 28: 
Transports of �gastronomical pleasure� is the promise that the adverts announcing �100 nos. flyover� hold for us.

At a press meet to unravel the mystery behind the slogan �Now Kolkata will move�, the launch of an eatery chain, Flyover, was announced by ILAM Systems. �Now Kolkata will move towards unlimited gastronomic pleasure� is the ad line for the next phase of the teaser campaign. The company has set a target of 100 outlets in five years.

The first restaurant, set to open in August near Ultadanga, will offer both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items.

The campaign evoked a lot of interest. �We were called in by the Calcutta Police, but they let us go ahead,� said general manger Kaushik Banerjee. ILAM even received 83 applications from construction majors for the �tender�.


Calcutta, July 28: 
Determined to stem the increasing inner-party dissent in North 24-Parganas, the CPM has roped in politburo member Prakash Karat to address a meeting in the district tomorrow.

Karat addressed the general body meeting of the district unit just before the Assembly polls, but that did not put an end to the inner-party divide.

The CPM leadership has issued a whip to all 61 members of the district committee, secretaries of 10 zonal committees and heads of the local and branch committees to attend tomorrow�s meeting without fail. CPM leaders say the party top brass is attaching much importance to Karat�s meeting as it may help broker peace between rival factions.

One faction is led by Amitava Bose and Amitava Nandy, and the other by transport minister Subhas Chakraborty. Rivalry between them reached a peak after the Bose-Nandy faction demanded that Chakraborty be punished for his alleged involvement in the Salt Lake stadium episode.

But the party�s state leadership has not yet responded to their plea. The state leadership has realised that the Bose-Nandy faction will continue its tirade and try to convince the party to initiate a move against Chakraborty.

The state leadership hopes Karat will be able to take the sting out of the Bose-Nandy faction.

But no senior leader will be present at Karat�s meeting tomorrow. Both CPM state secretary Anil Biswas and politburo member Biman Bose will be busy attending condolence meetings of Sailen Dasgupta in North Bengal and Birbhum respectively.

For the past few years, the state leadership had been trying to end factionalism in the North 24-Parganas unit. The state leadership had also formed a five-member high-powered committee comprising former chief minister Jyoti Basu, Sailen Dasgupta, Anil Biswas and Biman Bose to address the issue. But the committee failed to resolve the crisis.

Karat is expected to try and convince the district members not to involve themselves in factionalism as it would harm the party as a whole. Instead, they are to devote themselves to Marxist ideologies and prepare for the Panchayat elections scheduled for 2003.


Calcutta, July 28: 
Trinamul Congress has no intention of following the BJP�s diktat to ensure its return to the NDA as specified by party president Jana Krishnamurthi at the BJP�s national executive meeting in Delhi yesterday.

Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee, who was authorised by the party to take a final decision on the matter and act according to the situation, has ruled out the possibility of making any formal request to the BJP leadership seeking re-admission to the Central coalition.

�We have not been officially informed about any norms for re-joining the NDA. Our party is not hankering after power or Cabinet portfolios. We have authorised our leader Mamata Banerjee to take a decision on the issue at the appropriate time,� Pankaj Banerjee, leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, said.

State Trinamul leaders do not regard Krishnamurthi�s assertion as that of the NDA. �He may have expressed his personal opinion. Other NDA constituents may not share his view,� an important Trinamul functionary and close aide of Mamata said, in an obvious reference to the feelers earlier received from former defence minister and NDA convener George Fernandes.

Trinamul MPs also do not ascribe much importance to the BJP president�s remarks. �Krishnamurthi is the president of one of the NDA partners and cannot have the final say in the matter. A decision will be taken only by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the NDA convener,� Trinamul MP Bikram Sarkar said.

Sources said Mamata is not very keen to return to the NDA in view of the recent �mishandling of some major issues by the BJP�s apex leadership�.

She feels the US-64 scam, failure of the Agra summit and Samajwadi Party MP Phoolan Devi�s murder will adversely affect the saffron party�s political fortunes. She has told her close associates that it will be prudent to defer decision on a return to the NDA till the Uttar Pradesh elections are over.

The Trinamul leader also has a lurking suspicion that the BJP hawks are not interested in her party�s return to the NDA as she will never compromise on the principles of secularism.

The BJP hardliners, on their part, did not like the way Mamata refused to maintain party-to-party relations with them and only described Prime Minister Vajpayee as �our leader�.

State BJP leaders are elated over Krishnamurthi�s observation, saying it has vindicated their stand. Tapan Sikdar, Union minister of state for telecommunications, felt Mamata would have to send �a written application� if she wanted to return to the NDA.

Muzaffar Khan, state BJP vice-president, also fully supported Krishnamurthi�s remarks, saying the NDA partners should not be allowed to violate rules and norms to suit their political convenience. �Trinamul Congress, too, must make sure that it will strictly adhere to the NDA rules if the party intends to rejoin it,� he said.


Siliguri, July 28: 
In his first public address after the attempt on his life in February, Subash Ghising asked his supporters to brace themselves for unrest in the hills.

He warned on Friday � the 13th anniversary of the Gorkhaland Martyr�s Day � that �external forces� were at work trying to alter the geo-political situation in the Darjeeling region.

�The future of the region is at stake and within July 2002, India�s writ will no longer prevail in the region,� Ghising told a gathering at the Darjeeling Mall.

�The geo-political situation of the region has reached this state, thanks to the step-motherly attitude of the Centre and the state government. This region will ultimately give itself to another country. It may either be Pakistan or Bangladesh. No one can tell for sure as of now.�

He said he was giving up all demands for a separate statehood while only last summer, he had revived the demand for Gorkhaland.

�The times have now changed and it is too late for the Centre to create either Gorkhaland or grant a Sixth Scheduled status to the Darjeeling hills. We are withdrawing all our demands.

�The Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council is no longer alive. We had accepted the hill council on an experimental basis, but it was a mere eyewash by the Centre and the state government after a 28-month struggle for Gorkhaland. The then Union home minister, Buta Singh, had wanted us to run it on a trial basis. But now we have even decided to sell the DGHC House at Salt Lake in Calcutta. This apart, I have asked the party�s sitting MLAs to return to the hills, as there will be no political activities in the hills from now on. There will also be no further elections to the DGHC.�

He blamed the state machinery for harbouring the masterminds behind the February 10 attack on him.

�The state government has wilfully given protection to the masterminds behind my attack. And has practically done everything within its powers to make the Hill Council defunct,�he said.

Dacoit killed

A member of a dacoit gang was killed at Chakoakheti village in Jalpaiguri yesterday, a PTI report quoting police sources said.

A gang of eight dacoits, the sources added, had entered a house and started looting ornaments.

When the dacoits demanded cash, the houseowner told them that it was in his son�s room. After the dacoits entered the room in search of the money, the son killed one of the dacoits with a spear. The dacoits later beheaded the deceased dacoit and took away his body, the sources added.


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