The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Naidu minister quits over graft

hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh panchayati raj minister P. Srinivas Reddy, at the centre of a storm over stationery purchase scandal in his department, resigned on Thursday, reports our special correspondent.

Investigations revealed that his relatives used his clout to make superintendent engineers of the department purchase items worth crores of rupees. Chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has forwarded Reddy’s resignation to Governer C. Rangarajan.

Reddy’s resignation came hours after he defended himself at a press conference. Although he had met Naidu on Wednesday night to explain his stand, Reddy had no choice but to resign following vigilance raids on officials of his department and their confessional statements.

Earlier, officials of the anti-corruption bureau raided the residence and office of the superintendent engineer of the panchayati raj department in Kurnool and seized cash and jewellery worth Rs 1 crore. Similar raids were conducted on several other engineers of the department over the last two days on Naidu’s instructions.

It may be recalled that a relative of the minister had billed the department stationery worth Rs 32 crore by compelling superintendent engineers of all the zones to make purchases for nearly the “next 15 years”.

This is the second instance of financial irregularity during the Naidu regime after the scholarship scam in which Rs 82 crore was released to bogus educational institutions. However, no minister was blamed for that scandal.

CBI move to extradite Andersen

new delhi (PTI): Days after a Bhopal court turned down the CBI’s plea for diluting charges against former Union Carbide chairman Warren Andersen in the Bhopal gas tragedy case, the agency said extradition proceedings against the accused would be initiated soon.

“We will be soon be going back to the government and seek permission for initiating extradition proceedings under Section 304 (culpable homicide),” said CBI director P.C. Sharma.

The CBI has filed chargesheets against 12 people, who include Anderson, two foreign companies and nine Indian citizens. While charges against nine of them were diluted from culpable homicide to negligence in the Supreme Court, the CBI had decided to change the charges of Anderson from Section 304 to Section 304-A (death due to negligence). This was rejected by the Bhopal court.

he Bhopal court had rejected CBI’s application for dilution of charges against Anderson saying: “There is no sense in reducing the charges since Andersen, who has been declared an absconder and against whom a permanent arrest warrant has been issued, has not appeared in any court.”

Population panel meet

calcutta: The first full meeting of the 46-member West Bengal population commission was held at Writers’ Buildings on Thursday, nine months after it was formed.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who is chairman of the commission, said a nine-member working group will be constituted soon to finalise a five-year plan of action for population control in the state. “Stress will be on public awareness and an integrated approach, involving panchayats, municipalities, NGOs, the media, students, and self-help groups for women,” Bhattacharjee said.

Jailer suspended

gorakhpur (PTI): The Uttar Pradesh government has suspended Gorakhpur senior jail superintendent R.N. Upadhyay for allegedly providing telephone facilities to a mafia don when he was posted at Naini jail. A state government probe found that Upadhyay had provided telephone facilities to jailed don Babloo Srivastava for making STD and ISD calls from his office phone.

Test-tube triplets

dehra dun (PTI): A woman on Thursday gave birth to test-tube triplets at a hospital here, doctors said. The babies —two girls and a boy — were in good health, Dr Pratibh Saini, under whose supervision the test-tube children were born, said in a statement.

E-courts for metros

new delhi (PTI): E-courts will be established in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai by the end of next year to facilitate filing of complaints in courts and payment of court fees and stamp duties by credit cards, a government release said.

LS security chief

new delhi (PTI): Lok Sabha security chief A.R. Maheepathi, whose prompt action during the December 13 attack on Parliament helped save many lives, died on Thursday following a brief illness. A senior IPS officer, 48-year-old Maheepathi is survived by his wife and two children.

Bofors case

new delhi (PTI): Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, one of the accused in the Bofors payoff case, on Thursday denied the CBI charge that he acted as a middleman for Swedish firm AB Bofors. “It is false for the CBI to claim that I have acted as an agent for Bofors. ” Quattrocchi said in a statement.

Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, has been conferred with the Officier de la Legion D’honneur (Officer of the Legion of Honour) by the French government for his contribution to space research.

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