NEWS IN BRIEF – MARCH 05, 2012

News in Brief

1. PMO to take call on fuel efficiency norms : New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s Office will decide whether the country will have fuel efficiency standards for cars or not. After four years of wrangling and a final draft policy being prepared, the decision has been left to the PMO in view of the “sensitivities” involved after auto manufacturers opposed the draft and demanded severe dilution of the proposed norms. [TOI p1]

2. Army chief used phone tappers in Delhi: Complaint :

New Delhi: The last may not have been heard in the standoff between the government and Army chief Gen V K Singh in his battle over his age record. An anonymous complaint received by the government in recent days has several allegations against the Army chief, including possible misuse of off-the air interceptors to listen in on phone conversations in Delhi. [TOI p1]

3. Don’t need more powers: CEC : New Delhi : Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi on Sunday said that the unprecedented number of people who came out to vote in the ongoing elections to five Assemblies showcased the real festival of democracy.[IE p3]

4. 2G review petition pits PM’s word against Chidambaram’s : New

Delhi : The government may have opened a can of worms for itself with

its review petition in the 2G case, arguing that the Supreme Court

judgment cancelling 122 telecom licenses “erred in holding that the policy

[under which the licenses were issued] was contrary to the decision of the

Council of Ministers on 31.10.2003, without pointing to what part of the

said decision it was contrary to.”[The Hindu p12]

5. SC verdict on Ramlila police action may be reconsidered : New Delhi

: Senior BJP leader LK Advani on Sunday indicated that the Supreme

Court verdict on the Ramlila Ground police crackdown may be

reconsidered on the issue of protesters being denied permission by the

authorities to peacefully agitate.[Pioneer Daily p5]

6. RSS all praise for PM’s stand on NGO funds :New Delhi : Prime

Minister Manmohan Singh’s action against NGOs allegedly spearheading

the campaign against Tamil Nadu’s Koodankulam nuclear power plant

won unexpected praise from the RSS on Sunday. Its mouthpiece

Organiser lauded Dr Singh in an editorial for his “unusually forthright and

strong stand” against NGOs receiving foreign funds for their anti-nuclear

protests.[AA p1]

7. JD-U slams Cong on NCTC impasse : PATNA: Riding high on Bihar

chief minister Nitish Kumar’s opposition to the formation of NCTC and

similar resistance from some other states, the JD(U) on Sunday mounted

scathing criticism on the Congress and ridiculed a proposed meeting of

state officials in New Delhi.[AA p3]

8. Atal niece leads race for C’garh RS seat : RAIPUR : Former Prime

Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s niece and ex-MP Karuna Shukla appears

to be the frontrunner in the race in the ruling BJP here for the lone Rajya

Sabha nomination from Chhattisgarh, polls to which is scheduled to be

held on March 30, party sources said here on Sunday.[AA p4]

9. Hema Malini encounters ‘villain’ in Yeddyurappa : Bangalore: When

Hema Malini danced on the rocky terrain of Ramnagara on the outskirts of

Bangalore to put off the killing of her boy friend Viru by the dacoit Gabbar

Singh in the box office phenomenon “Sholay”, little did she know that

Karnataka would one day become a real-life battle zone for her.[The

Tribune p2]

10. Digvijay: Cong will get 100 seats in UP : Bhopal: Congress general

secretary Digvijay Singh today trashed the results thrown up by exit polls

in five assembly states, terming such exercises as “frauds,” and predicted

“astonishing” gains for his party in UP.[The Tribune p2]

11. Exit polls fraud, Cong will gain : Digvijaya : New Delhi : Congress

leader Digvijaya Singh Sunday dismissed the results of the just-concluded

elections thrown up by exit polls as “frauds,” and predicted “astonishing”

gains for his party in Uttar Pradesh.[IE p4]

12. CBI searches BJP MLAs premises : Bhopal : The premises of BJP

MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh were searched on Sunday by the CBI in

connection with the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood. The CBI team,

which carried out the searches at the MLA’s office at “45 Bungalow” on

Sunday evening, refused to talk to the media. The MLA, who reached the

office as soon as the CBI team entered his bungalow, also left the place

soon.[IE p7]

13. SC’s PMO comments unjust: Govt : NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court

S made observations against unnamed officials of the prime minister’s

office (PMO) without giving them a chance to explain their position in the

2G case verdict relating to time-bound permission to prosecute public

servants facing corruption charges, a confidential government note has

said.[HT p1]

14. Waiting for March 6, Arun Nehru dials a fourth front : Patna : The

Uttar Pradesh results are just days away and some regional parties have

begun to clutch at straws in what they believe will be the shifting wind.[IE

p1]

15. Soon, only four-six VIPs may be exempted from airport security

checks : New Delhi : Following strong objections from the US, the Civil

Aviation Ministry is considering a move to reduce the list of dignitaries who

are exempted from security checks at airports, from the existing 33

categories to only four or six categories, which may include the President,

Vice-President, Prime Minister, Speaker and Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai

Lama.[IE p1]

16. Get CBI to probe forestry scams: Govt to Haryana, Big Shots

Allegedly Involved In Graft: New Delhi: The Centre has told the

Haryana government to get the CBI to investigate the multi-crore forestry

scams that could engulf two Congress ministers, two officers on special

duty in the CM’s office, an MLA and several IAS and IFS officers and also

Supreme Court committee members. [TOI p9]

17. Frame charges against Jaitly in def scam: Court : New Delhi: Eleven

years after Operation West End — a sting operation conducted by a news

portal — exposed the alleged corruption by some politicians and army

officials in a defence deal, a special CBI court has paved the way for the

trial of former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly, retired Major General S

P Murgai and Jaitly’s former party colleague Gopal Pacherwal for criminal

conspiracy and taking ‘illegal gratification’. [TOI p9]

18. CAG softens stand on R-Power’s gains, Final Draft Says Bidding

Documents Allowed Diversion Of Surplus Coal: New Delhi: The

Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) appears to have made a U-turn

over the issue of the government allowing windfall gains to Reliance

Power (RPower) by permitting the Anil Ambani-led company to divert

surplus coal from Sasan and Tilaiya ultra-mega power projects’ captive

mines to fuel its other plants. [TOI p19]

19. I-T Report Alleges Kripashankar of Tax Evasion : MUMBAI : The

income tax department has submitted a detailed report to the Bombay

High Court about all bank accounts held by former Mumbai city Congress

president Kripashankar Singh and his family, and high-value transactions

made by Kripashankar’s wife Malatidevi Singh who allegedly did not pay

any tax despite large amounts coming into her bank accounts.[ET p4]

20. Exit polls best left to entertainment channels: CEC : New Delhi :

Political parties and analysts may have shown interest in the exit polls

telecast by different channels over the weekend, but the Chief Election

Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi is not impressed with the exercise.

“Opinion and exit polls should at best be on entertainment channels,“ he

wrote on the social networking site, Twitter, on Sunday afternoon, taking a

dig at such surveys.[HT p9]

21. Mulayam’s party a clear winner: Exit poll, Sahara News Survey

Claims SP Will Win 188 Seats, 14 Short Of Majority: New Delhi: Yet

another exit poll, this one conducted by Sahara News, has given the

Samajwadi Party a clear leadership position in the Uttar Pradesh

assembly, much ahead of its rivals BSP and BJP. [TOI p10]

22. With 60% vote, UP silences critics : LUCKNOW: Pundits have always

got the pulse of the electorate wrong. By turning out in droves at the 2012

Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the people of the state have not only

silenced the critics, but also made any prediction of a clear winner a risky

proposition.[HT p9]

23. Upbeat Sp says, Mulayam will Be CM, Not Akhilesh : Lucknow : The

Samajwadi Party (SP) is awaiting coronation. But its national president,

Mulayam Singh Yadav, `vows’ silence. “Whatever I have to say, I will say

on March 6,“ he said on Sunday at the party office.[HT p9]

24. Cong begins efforts to buffer Rahul from UP results: New Delhi:

Congress began ring-fencing Rahul Gandhi amid exit poll reports that the

party may not do well in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Amid the

suspense over results, senior leaders praised Rahul for his strenuous

campaign but added that a negative outcome would be because of the

party’s organizational weaknesses. [TOI p10]

25. After 200 Meetings, Cong Now Rallies to Save Rahul, GOP in a Funk

As exit polls predict SP win, flummoxed leaders speak with forked

tongues: NEW DELHI : Politicians began abandoning their stated

positions on Sunday and pitching for post-poll alliances in Uttar Pradesh

that would have appeared unthinkable just a day earlier, even as the exit

polls may have provided merely straws in the wind. [ET p1]

26. BSP is thousand times better ally than SP: Beni : Lucknow: While the

Congress leadership has been at pains denying any post-poll tie-up in UP,

Union minister Beni Prasad Verma stirred a hornet’s nest on Sunday

saying the BSP was a “thousand times better” option than the Samajwadi

Party if the Congress had to look for an ally. [TOI p10]

27. No tie-up with SP, will act in tandem with Cong: RLD : New Delhi:

Rashtriya Lok Dal on Sunday denied that it has decided to support

Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. Denying a report in TOI, RLD chief Ajit

Singh said there was no such decision to back SP and the report was

misleading. “We are in alliance with the Congress and our actions in UP

will be done in consultation with Congress,” he said. [TOI p10]

28. More NRHM arrests likely ahead of counting: New Delhi: Even as

questions are being raised about the timing of Babu Singh Kushwaha’s

arrest on the last day of the seventh phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh,

highly placed sources said two more prominent arrests are likely in the

National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam before the votes are counted

on March 6. [TOI p10]

29. Cong may pick U’khand CM with 2014 in mind : New Delhi: With exit

polls setting off a brainstorming over the future state leadership, the

Congress is likely to decide the chief minister of Uttarakhand based on

who can consolidate its gains for the 2014 battle. [TOI p10]

30. ‘15 K’taka MLAs watched porn in House same day’ : Haveri

(Karnataka): In a dramatic twist to the porngate scandal, a member of the

Karnataka Assembly panel probing the incident on Sunday claimed 15

MLAs, including opposition members, had watched the sleazy clippings

that led to the resignation of three ministers. [TOI p13]

31. 23 Maoists surrender with arms : Muzaffarpur : A total of 23 Maoists

surrendered to the Muzaffarpur district in the presence of a large number

of local people. The ultras handed over 14 rifles and six country-made

pistols to the police and were subsequently sent to jail, official sources

said.[HT p8]

32. ED likely to register case in Adarsh Society case soon :

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Pulled up by the Bombay High Court for its

handling of the Adarsh housing society case, the Enforcement Directorate

may soon register a money laundering case against various individuals in

connection with alleged financial irregularities in the sale of flats.[HT p8]

33. MCD in total mess under BJP: Dikshit : New Delhi: Chief Minister

Sheila Dikshit attacked BJP on Sunday for its alleged “total failure” in

providing civic services from the day it came to power in the MCD in 2007.

She also appealed to the people to vote for those with “development

agenda” in civic polls next month. [TOI p4]

34. Challenges aplenty for new municipal corporations : NEW DELHI:

Though the trifurcation of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) -the

world’s second largest municipal body after Tokyo in terms of the number

of people it serves -aims at improving local governance, the three smaller

units face the formidable task of living up to the expectations of the

diverse electorate.[HT p2]

35. BJP forms one, Congress 8 panels to select candidates : New Delhi :

Just a day after State Election Commission announced the poll schedule

for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections, both the Congress and

the BJP announced the constitution of election committees for finalising

their list of candidates to the 272 wards in the three new

Corporations.[The Hindu p4]

36. MCD trifurcation will benefit Delhi : New Delhi : The decision to

trifurcate the Municipal Corporation of Delhi will prove to be in the best

interest of Delhi and its citizens, said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit

addressing a convention of women here on Sunday.[The Hindu p4]

EDITORIAL / OPINION

37. UP’s Caste Of Characters, When will political parties appeal to

shared Indianness instead of divisive loyalties?: Ali Khan

Mahmudabad : Elections in India, whether local or national, generate a

cacophony of views about identity in general and caste in particular. The

discourse on identity has come to be dominated by the state, political

parties and their affiliated institutions.[TOI p16]

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

38. Putin wins presidential election marred by report of violations :

Moscow : Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has won Russia’s presidential

election on Sunday. Mr. Putin has got 62 per cent of the 85 per cent votes

counted, the Central Election Commission said. Exit polls conducted by

two leading pollsters gave Mr. Putin 58-59 per cent. Mr. Putin needed to

win more than 50 per cent to avoid a runoff.[The Hindu p1]