NEWS IN BRIEF – APR 18, 2012

1. Antony acts on Gen’s plaint, fast-tracks arms acquisitions, Border Infra, Rly Lines To Get Boost For Quick Troop Mobility: New Delhi:

With an eye on both China and Pakistan, the government on Tuesday approved a slew of measures to fast-track acquisition of weapons as well as boost infrastructure development along the borders for faster mobility of troops and equipment. [TOI p9]

2. ED files 14 cases in NRHM scam: Lucknow: The Enforcement

Directorate (ED) on Tuesday filed 14 cases in connection with the National

Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam being probed by the CBI. The ED

action will spell fresh trouble for former family welfare minister Babu Singh

Kushwaha and former principal secretary (family welfare) Pradeep Shukla,

apart from over 40 public servants, contractors, businessmen and

politicians. [TOI p9]

3. Nitish, Akhilesh back govt on Ganga,CMs Support Centre To Counter

Civil Society’s Call For Closure Of River Hydel Projects: New Delhi:

The UPA narrowly escaped another ‘Team Anna moment’ at the Prime

Minister-chaired National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) meeting

on Tuesday, with CMs Nitish Kumar and Akhilesh Yadav coming in handy

to counter the agitated civil society representatives, who were demanding

immediate closure of hydroelectric projects on the tributaries of the Ganga

in Uttarakhand. [TOI p10]

4. Adarsh is state govt land: Probe : MUMBAI: The judicial commission

probing the Adarsh scam has ruled that the land on which the housing

society was built belongs to the Maharashtra government and wasn’t

reserved for Kargil war heroes or defence personnel.[HT p1]

5. Judiciary can’t regulate press freedom: Jethmalani: New Delhi:

Former law minister, MP and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on

Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it would be unconstitutional to curtail

or regulate press freedom through judicially evolved guidelines because

Parliament alone was competent to undertake this exercise through

legislative route. [TOI p10]

6. CBI quizzes BEML chief for 8 hrs on Tatra scam: New Delhi:

Chairman and MD of Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) V R S Natarajan

was put through almost eight hours of grueling questioning by the CBI on

Tuesday over the alleged Tatra procurement scam. The agency also

questioned Ravi Rishi, owner of the Vectra group which supplies Tatra

trucks, and V Mohan, a former director of BEML. [TOI p10]

7. CAG indicts ministers for land misuse : MUMBAI: The Comptroller and

Auditor General (CAG) has in a report named education institutes

promoted by five politicians including two former chief ministers for

misusing government land. The country’s top accounting body also rapped

the Maharashtra government for offering unwarranted favours to Lavasa

Corporation’s Rs.2,800 crore hill city residential project near Pune.[HT

p10]

8. Singhvi taken off Cong duty roster, his ex-driver takes CD blame :

New Delhi: Even as the Congress today decided to take spokesman

Abhishek Manu Singhvi off the party office’s duty roster for the time being

in view of the CD controversy, his former driver claimed that he was the

one who had distributed a “distorted” video to take revenge on Singhvi.[IE

p1]

9. Azam khan picks man expelled from SP for Haj panel : Lucknow :In a

surprise move, Uttar Pradesh Minority Welfare Minister Azam Khan has

nominated Khwaja Haleem, who was expelled from the SP by Chief

Minister and state party president Akhilesh Yadav for anti-party activity

last month, as a member of the State Haj Committee.[IE p3]

10. 11 new judges apointed in Allahabad HC : Allahabad :The Allahabad

High Court on Tuesday got 11 new judges, taking its strength up to 82.

According to HC registry officials, all 11 were administered oath of office

by Chief Justice S R Alam on Tuesday. The newly appointed judges

include present HC Registrar Vishnu Chandra Gupta, Mohammad Tahir

(District and Sessions Judge, Allahabad), Mushaffey Ahmed (DSJ,

Bareilly), Arvind Kumar Tripathi (DSJ, Varanasi), Saeed-ur-Zaman-

Siddiqui (Trade Tax Tribunal, Lucknow) and Aditya Nath Singh (Judicial

Training Research Institute, Lucknow).[IE p4]

11. Bhatkal plot to kill Bhagwat : Ahmedabad : Mohd Abrar, the alleged

Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative who was wanted for the 2008

Ahmedabad serial blasts, has reportedly told interrogators from the

Maharashtra Police that Riyaz Bhatkal, alleged to be a top IM mastermind,

had hatched a plot to kill RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.[IE p8]

12. Release MLA today, may withdraw cases against jailed Maoists :

govt : Bhubaneswar :Chances of the release of abducted BJD MLA

Jhina Hikaka from Maoist captivity brightened on Tuesday after the Orissa

government said it would consider withdrawal of cases against Maoists

and Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) activists in suitable instances if

the MLA is released by 5 pm on Wednesday.[IE p8]

13. Petrol price hike can’t wait any longer : OMCs : New Delhi : Fed up

with the Centre’s “indecision” on allowing an increase in fuel prices in the

face of the rising international crude prices, the oil marketing companies

(OMCs) on Tuesday virtually threatened to increase petrol prices by Rs.

8.04 a litre.[The Hindu p1]

14. JMM sticks to Sanjeev Kumar as its RS nominee : Ranchi :The

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) on Tuesday re-nominated Sanjeev Kumar

as its candidate for the May 3 Rajya Sabha elections from the state. The

polls held on March 30 for two seats had been countermanded by the

Election Commission.[IE p4]

15. Gehlot for phone-tapping, Modi wants to mine Sir Creek : CM ideas

lost in the din : New Delhi :Naveen Patnaik argued for a resource tax on

mining companies, Ashok Gehlot wanted the power to tap phones in other

states, and Narendra Modi urged the Centre to exploit the hydrocarbon

reserves in the Sir Creek area. The suggestions offered by chief ministers

at Monday’s meeting on internal security were varied and innovative but

most got lost in the noise around the debate on federalism.

16. CAG slams Maha govt on Lavasa, ‘Project Driven By Pvt Interest’:

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government is under the scanner for lack of

transparency in facilitating planned hill city of Lavasa in state’s Pune

district. The CAG report has slammed the state “for failing to adhere to

regulations, amending existing laws for the project, disturbing the already

ecologically fragile environment and violating green norms’’. [TOI p16]

17. Exodus hits RLD top leader quits : Lucknow : There is trouble in Jat

land and an exodus is gradually building up in the Rashtriya Lok Dal. After

former MP Anuradha Choudhury parted ways with RLD president

Choudhary Ajit Singh on the eve of Lok Sabha elections, citing the alliance

with the Congress as a reason for her departure, it is now senior party

leader and former minister Kokab Hamid who has severed his ties with the

RLD.[AA p2]

18. Vibrant Gujarat just a myth, says Congress, With An Eye On State

Polls, Party Launches Attack: New Delhi:With an eye on the Gujarat

assembly election due at the end of the year, Congress is preparing to

chip away at chief minister Narendra Modi’s development plank by

challenging the “vibrant Gujarat” slogan. [TOI p19]

19. SP deploys MP Nanda to woo Didi on Prez polls: Kolkata: Former

West Bengal fisheries minister and Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha MP

from UP Kiranmoy Nanda called on CM Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday to

discuss fielding a non-Congress, non-BJP candidate for the polls with

support from like-minded regional partners.[TOI p13]

20. TOP BJP leaders attend meet with RSS gen secy : New Delhi : The BJP

top brass on Tuesday met RSS general secretary Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi

to discuss issues, including recent Assembly poll debacle, Rajya Sabha

seat row in Jharkhand including party’s earlier decision to back an

independent candidate rather than field its own and organisational

matters.[AA p2]

21. Saini’s appointment : Court puts Punjab, CBI on notice : Chandigarh

:Punjab’s attempts to scuttle the move of a human rights organisation to

challenge IPS officer Sumedh Singh Saini’s appointment as the Director

General of Police today failed to find favour with the Punjab and Haryana

High Court.[The Tribune p1 ]

22. BJP strikes gold in MCD elections, Cong stunned, Sweeps 2 Of 3

Civic Bodies, Is Largest In Third: New Delhi: The BJP struck gold on

Tuesday in the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) elections, winning

two of the three civic bodies and emerging close to a majority in the third.

The results indicated that voters were simply not impressed by the

Congress party and chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s promise of

“development and good governance”. [TOI p1]

23. RBI cuts rates, home & car loans to be cheaper, Move To Rev Up

Economy, Push Spending: Mumbai: Home and auto loans are expected

to become cheaper with the Reserve Bank of India cutting interest rates

on Tuesday for the first time in three years by a morethan-expected half a

percentage point aimed at boosting the sagging economy. [TOI p1]

24. Now, Trinamool red flags digital TV deadline: New Delhi: Mamata

Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress appears set to open another front against

the Centre — this time over the June 30 deadline for changing the delivery

of cable TV to digital. West Bengal government’s urban development

minister Firhad Hakim claimed here on Tuesday that the deadline was

fixed “without consulting states”. [TOI p1]

25. Voda notice to govt on tax law: Mumbai: Telecom giant Vodafone

stepped up its offensive against Indian authorities on the Rs 11,000 crore

tax dispute and threatened to launch arbitration proceedings against the

proposal to tax all international mergers by amending the law

retrospectively. [TOI p1]

26. CAG: Land violations cost Maharashtra 951 crore: Mumbai: The

comptroller and auditor general (CAG) in its report for 2010-11 has said

misuse of land in Maharashtra has resulted in a revenue loss of Rs 400

crore. The amount is the highest cited by CAG in the last six years of the

state’s auditing history. The total for 2005-06 to 2009-10 is Rs 551 crore.

[TOI p1]

27. Sun sets in the East for Sheila’s Cong, Party Bags Only 19 Seats of

64: New Delhi: Chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s ambitious project of

trifurcating MCD and her decision to carve out a separate municipality –

smaller than the North and South corporations – with 64 wards in the east

has backfired very badly. [TOI p3]

28. BJP rides anti-Cong wave, Beats Rebels, Infighting; Banks On

Women, Fresh Candidates: New Delhi: As the ballot boxes opened on

Tuesday morning to see how the capital had voted to give shape to the

three new civic bodies, an anti-Congress wave became evident across

wards. BJP soared high despite over 85 rebels and much infighting and

resentment among workers over ticket distribution. The party also

managed to fight of anti-incumbency as the ruling dispensation in unified

MCD.[TOI p4]

29. People angry with Congress: Gadkari: New Delhi: Buoyed by the

results in the Delhi civic elections, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari himself

addressed the media on Tuesday to instill confidence among party

workers demoralized since the recent hiding in the Uttar Pradesh

polls.[TOI p4]

30. Reflects country’s anti-Congress mood : New Delhi :The Bharatiya

Janata Party believes that its victory in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi

elections is a reflection of the anti-Congress mood across the country and

hopes to build on the momentum for the Delhi Assembly elections due by

early next year.[The Hindu p1]

31. Bidhuri’s NCP wins six wards in hung South Corporation: New Delhi

:With the Bharatiya Janata Party falling quite short of the halfway mark in

the South Delhi Corporation area, the focus is now on the Nationalist

Congress Party whose six candidates have won from this part of the city,

and whose Delhi Election Committee chairman Ramvir Singh Bidhuri

ensured the victory of all four candidates backed by him in Badarpur

Assembly segment and one in Harkesh Nagar in the adjoining

Tughlakabad segment.[The Hindu p2]

32. HC denies Jaya Jaitley permission to visit Fernandes : New Delhi

:Former Defence Minister George Fernandes’ close political associate

Jaya Jaitley was on Tuesday denied permission by the Delhi High Court to

visit the ailing leader.[Pioneer Daily p2]

33. Lokpal is a desirable act, says CVC : New Delhi :As political parties

continue to debate the Lokpal Bill, Central Vigilance Commissioner

Pradeep Kumar on Tuesday said it is a “desirable” act to curb

corruption.[Pioneer Daily p4]

34. BJP keeps MCD, says price rise, graft big poll factors : New Delhi : In

an election that many saw as a referendum on the UPA and Sheila Dikshit

governments’ inability to control corruption and price rise, the Bharatiya

Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday retained control of the Municipal

Corporation of Delhi (MCD), winning 137 of its 272 seats.[HT p1]

35. ‘BJP victory is a referendum on Sheila govt’: New Delhi: With the

BJP’s resounding victory in the municipal elections, state party president

Vijender Gupta has silenced all his critics. Against all odds — trifurcation

of MCD, a large number of dissidents and anti-incumbency — BJP has

managed to get a clear majority in the North corporation and defeat

Congress in chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s bastion, east Delhi. [TOI p5]

36. Rebels set to play kingmaker, Support Of Independents Crucial In

South Corporation: New Delhi: Independents and smaller parties played

an important role in shaping the municipal poll outcome this time.

Together, these two groups won 57 seats, which is more than a fourth of

the number won by Congress and BJP together. Independents, mostly

rebels from Congress and BJP, won 24 seats — four in North Corporation,

14 in South Corporation and six in East Corporation. BSP won 15 seats,

followed by Rashtriya Lok Dal (5) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)

winning six seats. [TOI p5]

37. SP cashes in on UP magic, opens tally with two seats : New Delhi

:The charm of the resounding victory it had scored in the recent Uttar

Pradesh assembly rubbed on to Samajwadi Party’s (SP) prospects in the

Delhi civic polls with the UPbased party opening its account in the national

Capital with two seats.[HT p7]

LEGAL/CRIME NEWS

38. Alert after Ayodhya judge gets threat: Faizabad: Security in Ayodhya

was beefed up after the district judge here received an anonymous letter

threatening to blow up the Ram Janmabhoomi complex, police said on

Tuesday. The handwritten letter was received by the office of district judge

Ram Vraksh Yadav through post on Monday. Cops are yet to obtain all the

facts regarding the origin of the letter.[TOI p15]

EDITORIAL / OPINION

39. NCTC can’t work without States support : Rekha Saxena :A

backgrounder to the current controversy on the Union Government’s

intention to establish the National Counter-Terrorism Centre in pursuance

of the report of the MM Punchhi Commission on Centre-State relations

must include an outline of extraordinary and anti-terror laws on the statute

book. [Pioneer Daily p9]

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

40. NRI frontrunner in NYC civic polls: Chennai: The little-known

Vadukachimathil hamlet in the southern district of Tirunelveli in Tamil

Naduis eagerly awaiting the New York City council elections. They hardly

stand to gain, but a victory for son of the soil, 36-year-old Hill Krishnan aka

Thirumalai Krishnan, who is contesting for the 51-member council of New

York City, would be something for them to boast. [TOI p22]

41. Pak minister warns of Taliban push into India, offers help:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik on Tuesday

cautioned India that it should watch out for a surge in extremist activities

amid fresh intelligence that the Taliban could be planning to enter the

country.[HT p1]