NEWS IN BRIEF – MAR 31, 2012

1. EC scraps RS elections in Jharkhand : New Delhi/Ranchi: In an

unprecedented move, the Election Commission countermanded the Rajya

Sabha polls in Jharkhand on Friday. In a late-night development, the EC

requested the President to “rescind notification issued for the RS poll in

Jharkhand”. [TOI p1]

2. Cash-for-seats rocks Jharkhand RS polls : NEW DELHI / RANCHI:

The Election Commission (EC) on Friday wrote to the President for

countermanding of the Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand. This followed

the seizure of R2.15 crore from the car of Independent candidate RK

Agarwal’s relative and allegations of horse-trading. The money was seized

by income tax officials from the vehicle of Jamshedpur-based

businessman Suresh Agarwal hours before the voting.[HT p1]

3. RS polls: BJP U-turn, backs JMM nominee : NEW DELHI: Days after

announcing that its legislators would abstain from voting in the Jharkhand

Rajya Sabha election in the wake of the Anshuman Mishra fiasco, the BJP

finally turned around to support Sanjeev Kumar, the candidate of its ally

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), with which it is running a coalition

government in the state.[HT p10]

4. BJP votes for Sanjiv to save JMM from vertical split : New Delhi : An

SOS call from ally JMM, which feared a split in its ranks under influence of

money power, prompted the BJP to bail out its partner from a “possible

defeat’ in the Rajya Sabha polls in Jharkhand. In voting for JMM’s

nominee Sanjiv Kumar, the BJP took a complete U-turn from its earlier

position of abstaining.[Pioneer Daily p5]

5. CAG raps Guj govt for 17,000cr losses : Gandhinagar: The comptroller

and auditor general (CAG) reports for 2009-10 and 2010-11, placed

before the Gujarat assembly on the last day of the budget session on

Friday, tore into the Narendra Modi government on the issue of corruption

by pointing out irregularities causing a cumulative loss of nearly Rs 17,000

crore. [TOI p1]

6. Def min official, wife found dead at home: New Delhi: A deputy

director in the defence ministry and his wife, a classical dancer, were

found dead in mysterious circumstances at their home in Hudco Place,

south Delhi, on Friday afternoon. [TOI p1]

7. General mum on bribe amount : NEW DELHI: In a formal

communication to the CBI on Friday, army chief general VK Singh

confirmed that he was offered bribe by Lt Gen Tejinder Singh but refrained

from specifying the amount. General Singh said he will give more details

soon.[HT p10]

8. ‘Can’t respect Parliament that harbours criminal MPs’: Ghaziabad:

Team Anna member, Arvind Kejriwal, hit back at the privilege notice

served on him for ‘insulting Parliament’ in Ghaziabad on Friday saying that

he can’t respect the institution which harbours 162 MPs with criminal

backgrounds. [TOI p8]

9. SAD, BJP MPs demand abolition of death penalty : New Delhi : The

Shiromani Akali Dal, which had recently vociferously launched a campaign

for clemency to death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana, on Friday

demanded abolition of death penalty terming it the ultimate denial of

human rights.[Pioneer Daily p5]

10. Parliament Insulted by Those Inside, Not Outside: Kejriwal, Team

Anna member says there are some MPs one cannot invite to a

wedding: NEW DELHI : Team Anna leader Arvind Kejriwal remained

defiant in his reply to privilege notices served to him for insulting

Parliament. He asked how he could respect a House which had 162 MPs

with ‘criminal background’. [ET p2]

11. Only 45% of MPs’ funds used during UPA-I, House Panel Also

Unearths Inadmissible Projects, Doubtful Expenditure, Dubious

Payments: New Delhi: In a sharp indictment of the MPs’ local area fund

scheme, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found that of

the Rs 17,891 crore made available to district authorities between 2004-05

and 2008-09, only Rs 8,084 crore, or around 45%, was actually utilized.

[TOI p9]

12. Sack Antony for Tatra scam cover-up: BJP: New Delhi: BJP on Friday

demanded defence minister A K Antony’s resignation, accusing him of

seeking to cover up for three years the alleged scam in the purchase of

“sub-standard” Tatra trucks for the Army. [TOI p9]

13. CBI registers case, searches 4 places : New Delhi :As the CBI today

registered a case on the supply of all-terrain Tatra trucks for the Army, the

government said Defence Minister AK Antony had sanctioned a probe into

“a case relating” to Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) on February 21

this year.[The Tribune p1]

14. Antony should resign : BJP : New Delhi : The BJP on Friday demanded

the resignation of Defence Minister A K Antony, charging him with

patronising corruption, as it intensified its attack on the government over

the alleged bribe offer to the Army Chief for clearance of the Tatra truck

contracts.[IE p9]

15. BJP Guns for Antony on Ifs & Buts, Says he took no action on

Ghulam Nabi Azad’s letter on Tatra; Congress dismisses BJP’s

demand for defence minister’s head: NEW DELHI :BJP has demanded

defence minister AK Antony’s resignation, saying that if it was clear he

was ‘shielding corruption’, he had no right to remain in power. This is the

first time that the party has gunned for Antony since the controversy broke

out over the Army chief ’s allegation that he was offered bribe for

clearance of substandard vehicles for the Army and had told the defence

minister about it. [ET p2]

16. Antony Acted on Azad’s Letter: Defence Ministry: NEW DELHI :

Defence Minister AK Antony on Friday said he had acted on complaints

against defence public sector firm BEML a day after receiving complaints

of irregularities forwarded to him on behalf of Congress president Sonia

Gandhi in October 2009. [ET p2]

17. CBI files Tatra FIR, names PSU officials, UK company, Agency To

Probe Post-1997 Supply, Quizzes Ravi Rishi: NewDelhi:The CBI on

Friday registered an FIR into the Tatra case, alleging a criminal conspiracy

between officials of a defence PSU and a UK-based firm. The CBI will look

into the supply of Tatra trucks to the Army post-1997 — after an MoU was

signed between BEML, the PSU which supplies Tatra trucks to the Army,

and Tatra Sipox (UK) — as they had come across irregularities in the

supply only after that year.[TOI p18]

18. No probe against Lt Gen Suhag, says CBI: New Delhi: The CBI on

Friday said that it would not investigate the complaint forwarded by Army

chief General V K Singh against serving Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag, and that the

agency has returned this complaint. [TOI p16]

19. ‘Devote CMs’ meet to NCTC’, Didi Asks PM To Restrict Agenda To

Discussing States’ Views: New Delhi: Upping her ante further,

Congress’s restive ally, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has now

demanded that the meeting of CMs scheduled for April 16 should

exclusively focus on the contentious issue of the jurisdiction of the

National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). [TOI p12]

20. ‘Judicial Accountability Bill a farce’: New Delhi: A day after the

government managed to get the Judicial Accountability Bill passed in the

Lok Sabha, Team Anna attacked the government for reneging on its

promise to bring judicial corruption within the ambit of the law. [TOI p12]

21. ‘Pressure Centre to Clear CST Dues’, Bihar deputy CM’s letters to 17

states may be a spoiler on GST plan: NEW DELHI : The confrontation

between the Centre and states is likely to intensify with the Empowered

Committee of state finance minister on GST writing to chief ministers of 17

states to pressure the Manmohan Singh government to clear their CST

compensation dues till the new taxation system is introduced, or,

alternatively, restore CST rate to 4%. [ET p3]

22. Gadkari writes to FM over duty on jewellery : NEW DELHI:BJP

president Nitin Gadkari has written to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee

over the “injustice“ shown to the gems and jewellers in the budget. “The

new levy imposed on jewellery would lead to wastage of time in preparing

of documents and fear of inspector raj since most of the traders are not

educated,“ Gadkari said.[HT p10]

23. Morani, Behura exempted from court appearance : New Delhi : The

Special Court hearing the 2G spectrum scam case on Friday granted

exemption to former Union Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura from

court appearance on April 11 and 18 so as to be able to appear before the

Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)..[The Hindu p4]

24. Anna now part of school syllabus: NEW DELHI: Anna Hazare’s

campaign for a jan lokpal bill is now part of school curriculum.

25. Several CBSE-recognised schools here have included a chapter on the

anti-graft activist in their general knowledge textbooks for Classes 7 and 8.

Some have given him the flattering epithet of `India’s second Gandhi’.[HT

p1]

26. UP CM Hits Austerity Path: LUCKNOW : Surprising even his officials,

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has issued orders to cut

down the cars in his fleet from 40 to just eight and also ordered the

specialised hospital operating in his official residence to shut down. [ET

p2]

27. Big food brands hide harmful effects: CSE, ‘Claims Of Zero Trans

Fats Untrue’: New Delhi: Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and

Environment (CSE) has alleged that leading food manufacturers are guilty

of “large scale misbranding and misinformation” by claiming that their food

products contain zero trans fats even though tests show heavy doses of it.

[TOI p1]

28. Tribunal puts POSCO green signal on hold : New Delhi :Days after

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured South Korea that efforts were

under way for an early implementation of the POSCO project in Orissa,

fresh uncertainty has emerged for the steel giant’s plans. [IE p3]

29. 14 State Opposition MLAs Suspended: MUMBAI : The Speaker of

Maharashtra assembly Dilip Walse-Patil suspended 14 opposition MLAs

from Maharashtra assembly for one year on Friday. The MLAs were

suspended for performing a ‘Ganesha Maha-Arti’ inside the house while

assembly proceedings were on.[ET p2]

30. CAG slams BSY govt for irregular land allotments: Bangalore: The

Comptroller and Auditor General has criticized Karnataka BJP strongman

B S Yeddyurappa’s administration for flawed acquisition and allotment of

land for industry. The CAG’s report, tabled in the assembly on Friday,

came a day after a Supreme Court-appointed panel recommended a

probe into alleged kickbacks received by a family firm of the former CM in

return for grant of a mining lease. [TOI p9]

31. Porngate: Ex-minister guilty, 2 others get clean chit: BANGALORE:

The Karnataka Legislature Committee, which probed the infamous porn

viewing scandal has indicted a former minister and recommended his

“admonition“ but gave a clean chit to two others while proposing a ban on

the use of mobiles in the House.[HT p10]

32. ‘Porn was playing, but minister wasn’t watching’ : Bangalore: “The

minister was reading a government order even as a porn clip played out

on his mobile phone. And he had no intention of watching porn.” This was

an observation of a BJP panel in its report which indicted former minister

Laxman Savadi, accused of viewing a porn clip during proceedings in the

state legislative assembly on February 7. [TOI p11]

33. Poll fever in city, CM catches flu,Sheila Won’t Meet Visitors: New

Delhi: At a time when the poll fever is catching up in the city, chief

minister Sheila Dikshit is down with flu. The CM’s office on Friday issued a

statement saying she is having sore throat and has been advised

complete rest during this weekend. [TOI p3]

34. Rawat loyalist wins Rajya Sabha poll : Dehradun : Mahendra Singh

Mahara, a close confidant of Union Minister of State for Parliamentary

Affairs & Agriculture Harish Rawat, fielded by the ruling Congress got

elected to the Rajya Sabha on Friday beating Anil Goyal of the opposition

Bharatiya Janata Party by eight votes in elections held at the Uttarakhand

Vidhan Sabha.[The Hindu p5]

35. Poll symbol row: EC intervenes: New Delhi: The tussle between

Samajwadi Party and J&K Panthers Party over the bicycle as poll symbol

turned bitter on Friday with the latter accusing the Delhi State Election

Commission of favouring SP. [TOI p8]

36. Symbolic victory for SP, Panthers Party: NEW DELHI: The Jammu and

Kashmir National Panthers Party and Samajwadi Party (SP) are still at

loggerheads over the `cycle’ symbol. Both parties want the `cycle’ to be

their symbol in the upcoming MCD elections. On Friday, the State Election

Commission (SEC) gave the final nod to both the Panthers Party and SP

to use `cycle’ as their party symbol, but only in areas where they are not

competing against each other.[HT p6]

LEGAL/CRIME NEWS

37. Govt can’t Arbitrarily Allot Public Wealth: SC : NEW DELHI : The

Supreme Court has ruled that the government and its agencies cannot

alienate public property or issues licences in favour of selected individuals

or companies at its sweet will.[ET p3]

38. Kazmi seeks bail, hearing today: New Delhi: Journalist Syed

Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, arrested for his alleged role in the February 13

bomb attack on an Israeli embassy car in the city, appealed for bail on

Friday. The bail plea, filed in the court of chief metropolitan magistrate

Vinod Yadav, will be heard on Saturday. [TOI p7]

39. Punjab Minister Gets 5-year Jail Term, Bibi Jagir Kaur found guilty of

abduction, wrongful confinement, forceful abortion and conspiracy

in murder of daughter Harpreet: CHANDIGARH : Punjab minister Bibi

Jagir Kaur was sentenced to five years imprisonment by a CBI court in

Patiala on Friday for her role in the mysterious death of her daughter

Harpreet Kaur in 2000. [ET p3]

40. Court to pronounce verdict in Purnia MLA’s murder today : PATNA:

The verdict of the CBI court in the case of the killing of Purnia MLA

Rajkishore Keshri will be pronounced on Saturday. The alleged killer is a

school principal, Rupam Pathak, who is said to have stabbed the four-time

legislator of Purnia, with a kitchen knife in his residence in Purnia’s Sipahi

tola, 280 km east of Patna on January 4, 2011.[HT p10]

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

41. Fai gets 2 yrs in jail for illegally working for ISI : Virginia :Kashmiri

separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai was on Friday sentenced to two years of

imprisonment by a court here for “conspiracy to defraud the US” by

concealing the transfer of at least $3.5 million from Pakistan’s ISI to fund

his illegal lobbying efforts on Kashmir.[HT p10]

42. Suu kyi sees irregularities but vows to go ahead with by-elections :

Yangon : As Myanmar gets ready for historic by-elections in a climate of

unprecedented political openness, the country’s tallest democratic leader,

Aung San Suu Kyi, has highlighted irregularities in the process, and said

that the elections could not be considered ‘free and fair’. However, in a

display of the fine balance she is seeking to strike, the Nobel Laureate

said that her party was ‘determined’ to take the process forward.[The

Hindu p1]