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Monday, July 26, 2010

`Pakistan`s ISI aids insurgency in India, Afghanistan`

US intel mega leak exposes Pak games

New York/Washington, July 26: Americans fighting the war in Afghanistan have long harboured strong suspicions that Pakistan’s military spy service has guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than $1 billion a year from Washington to help combat the militants, according to a trove of secret US military field reports made public on Sunday.

The documents, made available by an organisation called WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its Inter-Services Intelligence spy service to directly meet the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organise networks of militant groups that fight against US soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.

Taken together, the reports indicate that US soldiers on the ground are inundated with accounts of a network of Pakistani assets and collaborators that runs from the Pakistani tribal belt along the Afghan border, through southern Afghanistan, and all the way to Kabul.

Much of the information — raw intelligence and threat assessments gathered from the field in Afghanistan — cannot be verified and might be from sources linked to Afghan intelligence, which considers Pakistan an enemy, and paid informants. Some describe plots for attacks that do not appear to have taken place. But many of the reports rely on sources that the US military rates as reliable. While current and former US officials interviewed could not corroborate individual reports, they said the portrait of the ISI’s collaboration with the Afghan insurgency was broadly consistent with other classified intelligence.

Some of the reports describe Pakistani intelligence working alongside Al Qaeda to plan attacks. Experts cautioned that although Pakistan’s militant groups and Al Qaeda work together, directly linking the ISI with Al Qaeda is difficult.

The records also contain firsthand accounts of US anger at Pakistan’s unwillingness to confront insurgents who launched attacks near Pakistani border posts, moved openly by the truckload across the frontier, and retreated to Pakistani territory for safety.

The behind-the-scenes frustrations of soldiers on the ground and glimpses of what appear to be Pakistani skullduggery contrast sharply with the frequently rosy public pronouncements of Pakistan as an ally by senior US officials looking to sustain a drone campaign over parts of Pakistani territory to strike at Al Qaeda havens.

US administration officials also want to keep nuclear-armed Pakistan on their side to safeguard Nato supplies flowing on routes that cross Pakistan to Afghanistan. Earlier this month, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton announced $500 million in assistance and called the US and Pakistan “partners joined in common cause.”

The reports suggest, however, that the Pakistani military has acted as both ally and enemy, as its spy agency runs what US officials have long suspected is a double game — appeasing certain American demands for cooperation while angling to exert influence in Afghanistan through many of the same insurgent networks that the Americans are fighting to eliminate.

Behind the scenes, both Bush and Obama administration officials as well as top US commanders have confronted top Pakistani military officers with accusations of ISI complicity in attacks in Afghanistan, and even presented top Pakistani officials with lists of ISI and military operatives believed to be working with militants.

Benjamin Rhodes, deputy US national security adviser for strategic communications, said Pakistan had been an important ally in the battle against militant groups, and that Pakistani soldiers and intelligence officials had worked alongside the US to capture or kill Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

Still, he said the “status quo is not acceptable,” and that the havens for militants in Pakistan “pose an intolerable threat” that Pakistan must do more to address.

“The Pakistani government — and Pakistan’s military and intelligence services — must continue their strategic shift against violent extremist groups within their borders,” he said. US military support to Pakistan would continue, he said.

Several US congressional officials said despite repeated requests over the years for information about Pakistani support for militant groups, they usually receive vague and inconclusive briefings from the Pentagon and CIA.

Nonetheless, senior US legislators say they have no doubt that Pakistan is aiding insurgent groups. “The burden of proof is on the government of Pakistan and the ISI to show they don’t have ongoing contacts,” said Senator Jack Reed, a member of the armed services committee, who visited Pakistan this month. He said he and Senator Carl Levin, the committee chairman, had confronted Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani yet again over the allegations.

Such accusations are usually met with angry denials, particularly by the Pakistani military, which insists that the ISI severed its remaining ties to the groups years ago. An ISI spokesman in Islamabad said the agency would have no comment until it saw the documents. Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani said: “The documents circulated by WikiLeaks do not reflect the current on-ground realities.”

The man the US has depended on for cooperation in fighting the militants and who holds most power in Pakistan, Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, ran the ISI from 2004 to 2007, a period from which many of the reports are drawn.

US officials have described Pakistan’s spy service as a rigidly hierarchical organisation that has little tolerance for “rogue” activity. But Pakistani military officials give the spy service’s “S Wing” — which runs external operations against India and Afghanistan — broad autonomy, a buffer that allows top military officials deniability.

US officials have rarely uncovered definitive evidence of direct ISI involvement in a major attack. But in July 2008, CIA deputy director Stephen R. Kappes confronted Pakistani officials with evidence that the ISI helped plan the deadly suicide bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul.

One report from the current trove identifies an ISI colonel plotting with a Taliban official to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The report says there was no information about how or when this would be carried out.

The coordinating general
Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul ran the ISI from 1987 to 1989, a time when Pakistani spies and the CIA joined forces to run guns and money to Afghan militias then battling Soviet troops in Afghanistan. After the fighting stopped, he maintained his contacts with the former mujahideen, who would eventually transform themselves into the Taliban.

More than two decades later, it appears Gen. Gul is still at work. The documents indicate he has worked tirelessly to reactivate his old networks, employing familiar allies like Jaluluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose networks of thousands of fighters are responsible for waves of violence in Afghanistan.

Gen. Gul is mentioned so many times in the reports, if they are to be believed, that it seems unlikely that Pakistan’s current military and intelligence officials could not know of at least some of his wide-ranging activities.

For example, one intelligence report describes him meeting a group of militants at Wana, capital of South Waziristan, in January 2009. There, he met three senior Afghan insurgent commanders and three “older” Arab men, presumably representatives of Al Qaeda, who the report suggests were important “because they had a large security contingent with them.”

The gathering was designed to hatch a plan to avenge the death of “Zamarai,” the nom de guerre of Osama al-Kini, who had been killed days earlier by a CIA drone attack. Mr Kini had directed Al Qaeda operations in Pakistan and spearheaded some of the group’s most devastating attacks.

The plot hatched at Wana that day, the report says, involved driving a dark blue Mazda truck rigged with explosives from South Waziristan to Afghanistan’s Paktika province, a route well known to be used by the insurgents to move weapons, suicide bombers and fighters from Pakistan.

In a show of strength, the Taliban leaders approved a plan to send 50 Arab and 50 Waziri fighters to Ghazni province in Afghanistan, the report said.

Gen. Gul urged Taliban commanders to focus their operations inside Afghanistan in exchange for Pakistan turning “a blind eye” to their presence in Pakistan’s tribal areas. It was unclear whether the attack was ever executed.

The US has pushed the United Nations to put Gen. Gul on a list of international terrorists, and top US officials said they believed he was an important link between active-duty Pakistani officers and militant groups.

Gen. Gul, who says he is retired and lives on his pension, dismissed the allegations as “absolute nonsense,” speaking by telephone from his home in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani Army has its headquarters. “I have had no hand in it.” He added: “American intelligence is pulling cotton wool over your eyes.”

Suicide bomber network
The reports also chronicle efforts by ISI officers to run the networks of suicide bombers that emerged as a sudden, terrible force in Afghanistan in 2006.

The detailed reports indicate that US officials had a relatively clear understanding of how the suicide networks presumably functioned, even if some of the threats did not materialise. It is impossible to know why the attacks never came off — either they were thwarted, the attackers shifted targets, or the reports were deliberately planted as Taliban disinformation.

One report, from December 18, 2006, describes a cyclical process to develop the suicide bombers. First, the suicide attacker is recruited and trained in Pakistan. Then, reconnaissance and operational planning gets under way, including scouting to find a place for “hosting” the suicide bomber near the target before carrying out the attack.

In many cases, the reports are complete with names and ages of bombers, as well as licence plate numbers, but the Americans gathering the intelligence struggle to accurately portray many other details, introducing sometimes comical renderings of places and Taliban commanders.

In one case, a report rated by the American military as credible states that a grey Toyota Corolla had been loaded with explosives between the Afghan border and Landik Hotel, in Pakistan, apparently a mangled reference to Landi Kotal, in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The target of the plot, however, is a real hotel in downtown Kabul, the Ariana.

Several of the reports describe current and former ISI operatives, including Gen. Gul, visiting madrasas near Peshawar to recruit new fodder for suicide bombings.

One report, labelled a “real threat warning” because of its detail and the reliability of its source, described how commanders of Mr Hekmatyar’s insurgent group, Hezb-i-Islami, ordered the delivery of a suicide bomber from the Hashimiye madrasa, run by Afghans.

The boy was to be used in an attack on American or Nato vehicles in Kabul during a Muslim festival. The report says the boy was taken to Jalalabad to buy a car for the bombing, and later brought to Kabul. It is unclear if the attack actually took place.

Some bombers were sent to disrupt Afghanistan’s presidential elections held last August. In other instances, US intelligence learned that the Haqqani network sent bombers at the ISI’s behest to strike at Indian officials, development workers and engineers in Afghanistan. Other plots were aimed at the Afghan government.

Sometimes the intelligence documents twin seemingly credible detail with plots that seem fantastical or utterly implausible assertions. For instance, one report describes an ISI plan to use a remote-controlled bomb disguised as a golden Quran to assassinate Afghan officials. Another report documents an alleged plot by the ISI and Taliban to ship poisoned alcoholic beverages to Afghanistan to kill American troops.

ISI lashes out at US inteligence leak

Islamabad/Washington, July 26: Pakistan’s most powerful spy agency lashed out against a trove of leaked US intelligence reports that alleged close connections between it and Taliban militants fighting Nato troops in Afghanistan, calling the accusations malicious and unsubstantiated.

The reports, which were released by the online whistleblower Wikileaks, raised new questions about whether the US can succeed in convincing Pakistan to sever its historical links with the Taliban and deny them sanctuary along the Afghan border.

Stung by a stunning leak of classified records indicating links between the ISI and the Taliban-Al Qaeda network, the White House came out in defence of Pakistan, insisting that the US-Pak alliance has led to significant blows against Al Qaeda leadership since 2009.

“Since 2009, the United States and Pakistan have deepened our important bilateral partnership. Counter-terrorism cooperation has led to significant blows against Al Qaeda’s leadership,” National Security Adviser, Gen. James Jones (Retd.), said in a statement.

Incidentally, the report releases documents of the period when General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani was head of the ISI.

Knowing the adverse impact of the release, the White House lauded Pakistan’s military establishment for its anti-Taliban drive.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sohrabuddin had several cases in MP - Times of India Report on May 7 - 2007

PTI, May 7, 2007

INDORE: Gujarat fake encounter victim Sohrabuddin Sheikh had several criminal cases filed against him in Madhya Pradesh besides those in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

One of them relates to the recovery of 26 AK-56 assault rifles allegedly from a well next to Sheikh's family land in Jhirinya village of ujjain district, police sources said here.

The rifles were recovered by gujarat police in november 1995 following a tip-off by an arrested indore-based person, the sources said.

Sheikh had dumped the rifles in the well situated on a government land to avoid suspicion, a senior police officer told PTI.

It was a smart move by Sheikh (to dump the arms in the well) which ultimately led to his acquittal in the case, he said.

It still remains a mystery how such a big cache of sophisticated weapons reached the non-descript village, the sources said.

Madhya pradesh police has records of Sheikh's alleged involvement in a number of crimes, including extortion and transportation of deadly weapons at the behest of Latif, a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, for spreading terror in the aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992, the sources added.

Facts of Shah's involvement are concocted, says Jaitley

NEW DELHI: Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively on Friday charged the UPA government with shelving cases against its own allies, victimising Opposition party leaders and using CBI cases as a sword of Damocles against leaders such as Mulayam Singh and Mayawati to force them to support it whenever it was in difficulty, as during the trust motion on the India-U.S. nuclear bill and the cut motion during the Budget session.

Mr. Jaitley said, “The strategy of the UPA was to allow a media trial of Amit Shah, feed the people with half-truths through the media, create a prejudicial environment, use this to further its vote-bank politics [among Muslims] and break up the Opposition unity on the price rise and other issues.”

Asked which facts were distorted as the Gujarat government had admitted in the Supreme Court to the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausarbi and friend Tulsi Prajapati, he said: “Today's press conference is not about those three encounter deaths/ killings.” The “facts of Amit Shah's involvement are concocted,” he alleged.

He “regretted” and “condemned” the recent killing of an RTI activist in Gujarat, allegedly by a BJP legislator, saying “whoever is guilty must be taken to task.”

Any move to target Modi will boomerang on Cong: BJP


Striking a combative note after the resignation of Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP today said it fully supported Chief Minister Narendra Modi and any move to target him will “boomerang” on the Congress.

“The Congress needs to learn that the more they try to scratch Modi, It will boomerang on them,” party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He ruled out any possibility of Mr. Modi stepping down as demanded by the Congress. Mr. Shah, a close aide of Mr. Modi’s, resigned today after CBI brought murder and kidnapping charges against him in the fake encounter killing of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi in 2005.

Mr. Prasad alleged that the UPA government was trying to frame the Gujarat Home Minister in a case against Sohrabuddin from whom several AK-47s were recovered and who was linked to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

“This is the Congress design to divert attention from the fiasco in Pakistan, the mess-up in Kashmir, price rise, rotting of grains and the historical mess-up on Warren Anderson,” he said.

Mr. Prasad said the BJP will expose the “duplicity and misuse” of the CBI by the Congress.

“We will expose this device of distraction adopted by the Congress....we have enough ammunition to nail this government on the abuse CBI,” he said.

On P. Chidambram’s statement that the BJP should have objected when Mr. Shah’s name first figured in the case, Mr. Prasad said the Home Minister has been in the Congress for long and would remember “how CBI was used to help Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrochi escape, to give a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler (in anti-Sikh riots) and a ‘bounty’ to Satish Sharma (apparent reference to petrol pump allotment scam).

“We have seen how CBI was abused as a tool to manage Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati,” he said.

He further alleged that though “Rs. 2000 crore were recovered from the chamber” of UPA Minister A. Raja, the Prime Minister did not take any action.

On Amit Shah’s resignation, the party said he was being framed and it stood by him.

“BJP took a position that once the chargesheet was filed, which we will contest strongly as it is a frame-up, he (Shah) resigned immediately. This the standard of BJP,” it said.

The party said the “mischievous designs of the CBI” will be exposed in court. “We have always had the highest regard for our judicial system and always cooperate with law, so there will be a legal fight,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

He maintained that though Shah has resigned, the party was fully with him and will be raising its voice against “abuse of CBI for political purposes.”

“He will fight against the mischievous designs of CBI in the court and the truth will be upheld,” Mr. Javadekar said.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Narendra Modi announces Shah's resignation, alleges conspiracy

New Delhi: Gujarat Minister Amit Shah, allegedly involved in the 2005 staged shootout of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, has resigned, Chief Minister Narendra Modi announced here Saturday while accusing the Congress-led UPA government of 'misusing' the CBI and 'fabricating' the charges against Shah.

'Amit Shah has sent his resignation to my bungalow. I will complete the formalities after returning from here. I accept his resignation,' Modi told reporters here.

Modi, who arrived in the national capital Saturday morning, announced he has accepted Shah's resignation, adding that Shah was innocent.

'As per provisions of the constitution, I have accepted his resignation,' he said.

He alleged that the charges against Shah were part of the Congress-led central government's 'conspiracy' against Gujarat.

'It is an example of a conspiracy to trouble the development of Gujarat. Amit Shah is totally innocent. The allegations are fabricated and politicised,' the chief minister said.

Modi said getting the CBI involved in the case was a reaction from a 'failed' central government.

'When the people of India expressed their anger and warned the government in Delhi against price rise in the form of a massive bandh, the Congress-led central government which has failed on all fronts completely politicised the CBI, and misusing it they are trying to create obstacles in the way of Gujarat's journey to development' Modi said.

He added that the due legal course will be followed by Shah.

'Amit Shah will respect the legal system of the country. And I believe the Indian law will give him justice,' said Modi, who is considered close to Shah.

The CBI mounted a massive search for Shah after naming him an accused with 17 others in the killing of Sheikh, in a chargesheet filed Friday.

Shah has been missing after a court rejected his anticipatory bail plea. He failed to appear before the court after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) summoned him.

Friday's chargesheet named 18 people, of who only three are yet to be arrested - Shah, Ajay Patel and Yashpal Chudasama. Both Patel and Chudasama are reportedly close to the minister.

All the 15 who are in jail are police personnel. The charges against them include murder, abduction and conspiracy.

They include three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers -- D.G. Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandey and Dinesh M.N.

The high-profile case relates to Rajasthan resident Sheikh, who was killed in a Nov 26, 2005 alleged gun battle with police. Police accused him of being a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist. They claimed he had come to Ahmedabad to target senior political leaders. His wife Kausar Bi went missing later.

The dead man's family alleged that Sheikh and his wife were abducted from a bus and then killed in cold blood near Ahmedabad.

Abu Salem attacked inside Mumbai jail by Dawood gang member

Extradited gangster Abu Salem was today injured in an attack allegedly by his fellow inmate, a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, inside the high security Arthur Road Jail here, police said. 'Salem was attacked by Mustafa Dossa with sharp object. He was injured and doctors are treating him inside the jail. A police team is at the spot,' Vasant Tajane, Senior Inspector at N M Joshi Marg police station, told PTI.

42-year-old Salem, a key accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts, has been lodged in the South Mumbai jail since his extradition from Portugal in 2005. He is currently housed in barrack number 10 of the jail along with scores of other prisoners. Salem is facing trial in nine cases, including two murders. PTI

Friday, July 23, 2010

India unveils world's cheapest tablet computer at $35; may drop to $10

July 23rd 2010

India's Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal displays a low-cost tablet at its launch.

From the country that brought you the $2,000 open-heart surgery and $2,127 car comes the latest bargain – a supercheap, touch-screen computer.

India unveiled a prototype of the gadget Thursday and hopes to find a manufacturer to get the device on the market by 2011, reports the Associated Press.

The Linux-based tablet appears to do most things an $499 iPad can do - but at a fraction of the cost: Internet browsing, word processing, video conferencing and more.

And it's eco-friendly: It can be converted to run on solar power for an additional cost.

Research teams at India's leading technical institutes - the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science -developed the tablet to compete with a $100 computer developed at MIT to be distributed to children and students in developing countries.

India's new tablet would first be distributed to university students and developers are hoping to drop the price to as little as $10.

The cheap computer is part of India's initiative to modernize its schools.

So far, the country has installed broadband connectivity in 8,500 colleges and provides online study materials through YouTube and other channels

Bullion buyers bank on gold coins

Precious metal glitters for investors seeking to hedge financial chaos

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apart from a New York City phone book listing, gold dealer Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc. does no advertising. Lights are on all day because the shop sits in a basement.

Yet MTB, as the firm is known, has never been busier. Every day, people find their way to the Manhattan store with one thing in mind: getting their hands on gold bullion coins, as soon as possible and as much as possible, before the financial Armageddon they fear renders the dollars in their pockets worthless.

Welcome to the world of bullion coin investing, a business that has soared alongside the popularity of gold despite its disadvantages. The world's thirst for gold coins has risen more than sovereign government mints can quench it, with demand on track this year to outpace 2009, itself a record.

Bullion coin investing may cost youInvesting in bullion coins has risen alongside gold's popularity, catering to a small subset of investors who want physical possession regardless of how much more they may pay. Claudia Assis reports.
The coin craze is part of gold's growing investment allure, based on fears of currency debasement, inflation, a debt debacle in Europe, and rising debt levels in the U.S. But the boon has also brought the practices of some retailers in the industry to question, with at least two U.S. companies under investigation for allegedly misleading consumers.

Bullion run
Bullion coin investing caters mostly to a subset of investors who want physical possession of gold and regard anything else as lesser investments, no matter how much more they have to pay, ounce per ounce, over gold futures prices or the difficulties they are likely to face when unloading their bullion.

Long having captured the hearts of a few in the periphery of the investment world, gold has won over some of Wall Street's elite. Investment stars such as Paul Tudor Jones, of giant hedge fund Tudor Investment Corp. and John Paulson, of Paulson & Co., all have invested heavily in gold in recent years.

Investing in bullion coins is not to be confused with investing in collectable coins, although both are manufactured and sold by mints across the world. Bullion coins are valued entirely for their metal content, not for their collectible value or the denomination hammered on them. For many, they are an affordable and portable way to invest in gold.

It's no coincidence that May was one of the best months in recent memory for the bullion coin business, and gold in general. It was also the month that concerns about a European debt crisis reached their highest note, and gold hit its first nominal record high since December.

"It's been unbelievable. May was phenomenal," with June sales and so far July a bit slower but still way above average, said Michael Kramer, one of the owners of MTB.

Precious-metals research firm GFMS estimated that 229 metric tons of gold coins were sold in 2009, up 22% from the 187 metric tons of 2008 and almost 70% from the 135 metric tons that moved in 2007.

"It looks as though we are going to surpass 2009," said Phillip Newman, research director of the U.K.-based firm.

The U.S. mint ran out of some bullion coins last year and in 2008, and the Austrian mint added a third shift to catch up on their stocks. In his Manhattan store, Kramer caters to about 45 coin buyers a day, up from fewer than 10 a day in previous years, as the firm's forte is wholesale.

MTB is one of only eight authorized firms in the U.S. able to purchase U.S. Mint bullion coins directly and sell them to coin shops nationwide and abroad. The U.S. Mint does not sell bullion coins to the public, as it does with commemorative and other coins.

Europe's Week Ahead: BP and Shell reportEuropean markets will get their first chance to react to the bank stress tests, with the latest earnings from BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Deutsche Bank and UBS all likely to be closely watched.
In addition to the new swarm of retail customers, MTB saw heightened interest from European coin retailers. "They couldn't find enough coins in Europe, and they were buying from us."

The Austrian mint, which, alongside Canada's mint and the U.S. Mint is a top mint by sales, had to add a night shift to its two day shifts to counter delivery delays of two to three weeks and depletion of stocks.

"We did run out of stocks, we were living off our daily production." said Kerry Tattersall, director of marketing at the Vienna-based mint. The third shift was recently discontinued after the mint built up its inventory.

Courtesy: MarketWatch

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Krishna ticks off Pillai, says comparison with Saeed ridiculous

New Delhi :External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday ticked off Home Secretary G.K. Pillai for his comments, on the eve of the July 15 talks with Pakistan, about the ISI's role in the Mumbai terror attack but stressed that comparing Pillai and Hafiz Saeed, the suspected 26/11 mastermind, was 'most ridiculous'.
Krishna was also critical of his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi's abrasive style in his interaction with the media and for raking up the issue of India's alleged role in fomenting insurgency in resource-rich Balochistan province after their talks in Islamabad. He also stressed on the need for civility in diplomacy.

'Pillai could have waited till I came back to issue a statement. Perhaps it would have been wiser if that statement had not been made just on the eve of my visit,' Krishna said in an interview to CNN-IBN, the first time he has made public his displeasure with Pillai after the India-Pakistan talks deadlocked on the issue of terror.

In a separate interview to NDTV, Krishna denied any differences between his ministry and the home ministry.

'There is total understanding between the home ministry and the external affairs ministry. The home secretary conveyed the truth what (Pakistani American David) Headly (who helped in plotting the Mumbai attack) told us...I have absolutely no problem with that. The only question was the timing.

Asked what Headley had revealed, Krishna said: 'It is classified information. I don't want to divulge that.

The minister told CNN-IBN: 'When two foreign ministers are meeting after the Mumbai attack, there was a special significance for this meeting,' he said. 'Everyone who was privy to whatever was happening in government of India ought to have known that the right kind of atmosphere from India's side should have been created for the talks to go on in a very normal manner, but unfortunately this episode (Pillai's remarks) happened,' he added.

'Well, I have had some discussions with the prime minister,' Krishna replied, when asked if he had conveyed his dissatisfaction over the timing of Pillai's remarks to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

On the eve of the talks, Pillai said in an interaction with the Indian Express that Headley's interrogation had revealed that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was involved in planning the Mumbai carnage 'from beginning to end'.

Krishna's admonition of Pillai comes a day after the home ministry appointed a spokesperson to interact with the media and amid speculation that the US was unhappy with the way India went public with Headley's disclosures.

After his talks with Krishna July 15, Qureshi had said at a joint press conference that the remarks by Pillai were 'uncalled for' and unhelpful in normalising bilateral relations.

Qureshi said this in response to a journalist who asked him about the anti-India statements of Hafiz Saeed and what Pakistan was doing to curb them.

In the interview to NDTV, Krishna, described the indirect comparison by Qureshi of Pillai to Saeed as 'ridiculous.'

When asked why he kept quiet when Qureshi said that the two foreign ministers agreed Pillai's remarks were uncalled for, Krishna said it would have been unbecoming to respond.

'The atmosphere was charged. The point Qureshi was trying to make - to draw a comparison between Hafiz Saeed and Home Secretary Pillai was most ridiculous.'

'Saeed talks of jihad against India... Home Secretary Pillai is one of our most upright was so ridiculous I didn't feel like responding,' he said.

'I felt that it was unbecoming on my part to talk in those talk in those terms of comparison,' he added.

Krishna, however, added that although Pillai's remarks were ill-timed, they did not impact the talks with Pakistan. Krishna stressed that the talks with Qureshi were 'by and large useful' and that they helped reduce the trust deficit between the two countries. He also said that there was 'no rancour' between Qureshi and him during the talks or the press conference that followed.

'The talks were by and large useful and helped us to understand each others point of view on various issues,' Krishna maintained.

Krishna also criticized Qureshi's style of diplomacy and for raking up India's alleged role in Balochistan.

'We should understand the spirit of Thimphu and the spirit of Thimphu was to make earnest effort to bring about reconciliation between two countries and I do not want that spirit to be eroded even by a remotest possible way,' he said.

'I think we can put forward any contention that a country can face in a most forceful way but there has to be dignity, there has to be civility and civility is certainly no weakness,' he added.

Before Krishna left Islamabad July 16, Qureshi attacked India for 'selectively' focusing on terror and sidelining what he said were other vital bilateral issues like Jammu and Kashmir. Krishna said the issue of Balochistan never figured in the discussions and asserted that India had no reason to destabilize Pakistan. (IANS)

90,000 vacant posts affects railway's functioning

New Delhi: The functioning of railways is in a doom though new trains and routes are being announcing on daily basis. On the wake of recent train disaster in Bengal more issues suffered by the ministry are began to pop up. The main cause for the increasing number of accidents are pointed out as lack of workers. As many as 90,000 posts are vacent and among them 2000 are related to rail security. The number of running staffs who regulate the trains are vey short . The dearth in number of workers are palpable in sections like loco pilots, guards, volunteers, shunters, breakers and fireman . Railway never evaluates whether there are sufficient running staffs while announcing new trains.

CPM ruining Railways image by putting cockroaches in food: Mamata

KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has suggested CPM's hand in the train accident in Sainthia and the Jnaneswari Express mishap and ruled out resigning on moral grounds.

'I am prepared to resign if the CPM guarantees that it will not indulge in sabotage,' she said slamming the Marxists for demanding her resignation in the wake of Monday's accident in Birbhum district which left 66 persons dead.

Banerjee, who had resigned twice earlier as union minister, said people were ringing her up to tell her not to walk into CPM's trap by quitting.

'They have been planning sabotage. They are trying to ruin the (reputation of) Railways by letting cockroaches into food. It is time for the CPM to go. The Jnaneswari Express accident took place on May 28 two before the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections,' she pointed out.

Banerjee was addressing her party's mammoth Martyr's Day rally organised in the memory of 13 Youth Congress workers killed in a police firing here on this day in 1993.

'The accident at Sainthia occurred on July 19 before our Martyr's Day rally today. Both took place around 2:00 am. Many people were killed. This should be probed. The CBI is investigating the earlier accident.

'They (Marxists) are not planning development, but opening clips on tracks. Some comrades are drawing up scientific plans. After the Jnaneswari (accident) they strung up a poster claiming that it was an accident. Who were behind it should be investigated. It is sabotage,' she said.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Elements in Pak government know where Osama is: Hillary

WASHINGTON: Elements in the Pakistan government, in particular its intelligence establishment, know where Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader, is hiding inside the country, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, declaring America will not be satisfied till it gets the most wanted fugitive of the world.

'I don't want to put a proximity or timeline on it (getting bin Laden). As I've said, we have gotten closer because we have been able to kill a number of their trainers, their operational people, their financiers,' Clinton said in an interview to the Fox News channel in Islamabad.

She said the US and international forces were getting closer to the fugitive. 'But I won't be satisfied until we get it done,' she said.

The Secretary of State said she believes that some elements in the Pakistan government knows where Osama is hiding.

'I think elements in the government do (know the whereabouts of bin Laden). I've said that before. But I think it is also important to know we have been getting with Pakistani cooperation a lot of the top leadership of al-Qaida,' she said.

'We haven't gotten bin Laden or Zawahiri, but we've consistently been able to track and kill a lot of their principal leadership. So there is a story to be told here. It's not yet what I want it to be, because as having been a senator from New York on 9/11, I want those guys. I will not be satisfied until we get them,' she said.

'But we've made a lot of progress. We've created a closer cooperative relationship between the United States and Pakistan, in going after what are now common enemies,' she said.

Referring to Pakistan taking up the fight against militant groups, Clinton said that there were arguments put forward by Islamabad that how many fights that they can take on with various groups.

To this, Clinton said she had told the Pakistani leadership 'look, you've got to take on every non-governmental armed force inside your country, because even though you think they won't bother you today, there is no guarantee. Its like keeping a poisonous snake in your backyard.

'Oh, it will only go after the stranger or intruder, You don't know whether tomorrow it will go after you, so we have been making that case and I find greater receptivity to it, but we still have to make it stronger,' the US Secretary said in an another interview in MSNBC on the same topic.

Headley questioning reveals militant, official establishment link

New Delhi: Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley's interrogation has pointed to links between official establishments and militants, which are growing 'stronger', National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon said Tuesday.
Without naming Pakistan, the NSA said the nexus has left no room for India to be optimistic.

'Headley's interrogation has revealed militant link with official establishments and the nexus with existing agencies is making it difficult...,' Menon said while addressing a conference on terrorism here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

India-Pakistan war of words hots up

New Delhi/Islamabad: A day after their talks ended in a deadlock, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi took potshots at his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna and launched a broadside against New Delhi's alleged 'selective focus on terror', triggering anger and outrage in India.
The acrimony that marked the joint interaction with the media Thursday night after the two ministers held talks turned bitter when Qureshi told Pakistani journalists in Islamabad that India was not ready for talks and Krishna was getting telephone calls from New Delhi when the discussions were going on.

Qureshi and Krishna held wide-ranging talks, but the discussions ended without a breakthrough as Pakistan brought up human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and India's insisted that Islamabad gives a time frame for completing trial of the 26/11 attackers.

'India's approach was selective. When they say all issues are on table, they should not be selective,' Qureshi said even as Krishna was still in Pakistan, readying to leave for New Delhi.

'If we focus on just one issue (terrorism), it will be difficult for Pakistan to move forward,' Qureshi said and accused India of being obsessed with terrorism, excluding other bilateral issues.

In New Delhi, the comments sparked outrage.

The chief opposition Bharatiya Janata Party reacted sharply, saying India should call off the dialogue with Pakistan and lashed out at Qureshi for making insinuations against his Indian guest on Pakistani soil.

'By going to town, Qureshi broke all protocol,' Yashwant Sinha told TV channels.

'Qureshi does not deserve to be the foreign minister, not even a second secretary in the diplomatic mission,' an angry Sinha said.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj told CNN-IBN: 'India should call off the dialogue.'

The BJP also criticized Krishna for not defending India's Home Secretary G.K. Pillai when Qureshi attacked the latter for his remarks on the alleged role of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the Mumbai attacks.

Qureshi slammed India for being 'inflexible'.

'If we focus more only on those issues which India gives importance to and ignore those considered important by Pakistan, then I don't think the talks can move forward,' said Qureshi.

'We understand India's concerns and want to address them. But Pakistan also has its concerns and core issues which should be understood by India,' added Qureshi.

'We are ready to negotiate. We are not in a hurry. When they are ready, we are ready to discuss all issues and show flexibility,' Qureshi said.

Qureshi said Pakistan was a victim of terror and its cities were repeatedly attacked by terrorists. He said Pakistan pushed for a roadmap for dialogue but the Indian side felt they did not have the mandate to commit to a roadmap.

'India was narrowing the dialogue... Indian foreign minister received foreign policy directions from New Delhi repeatedly during our meeting,' said Qureshi.

Qureshi said that Jammu and Kashmir is a part of the negotiations with India and again reiterated charges of human rights violations and the imposition of curfew in parts of Jammu and Kashmir that created much acrimony at the joint press conference he held with Krishna Thursday night.

'Kashmir is agreed that it has been a part of our discussion. And now if you want to de-link it, it is not possible. With due respect I agree that you have a mechanism to check human rights violations there but when there are strikes, innocent people are being killed....

'I say whatever has been achieved in the last four years should not be wasted. We should build on that.'

Diesel to get Rs 2.37 cheaper in Delhi from July 20

Diesel is likely to get cheaper by Rs 2.37 per litre in the capital as the Delhi government on Friday announced a decrease in the value added tax (VAT) on the fuel from July 20. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said while announcing the decision: 'We have decided to decrease the VAT on diesel from 20 percent to 12.5 percent from July 20. This is likely to bring down the prices of the fuel in the capital.'

The Delhi government had increased the VAT on diesel in March from 12.5 percent to 20 percent to meet the increased expenditure on infrastructural projects related to Commonwealth Games 2010.

Diesel costs Rs 40.10 per litre in the capital and after the decrease in VAT, it will cost Rs 37.73 per litre.
'It was necessary to reduce the VAT on diesel as petrol pump owners were facing losses,' Dikshit said.

Petrol pump associations were protesting against the increased VAT since March, saying vehicle owners get diesel filled from neighbouring states as Delhi had the highest VAT on diesel.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gadkari refuses to apologise for remark against Cong on Guru

Dehradun: Under attack from the Congress, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari today said he will not apologise for his remark that
Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru was a 'son-in-law' of that party.

'I have said nothing wrong. I am sticking to my stand and so there is no need (to apologise),' Gadkari said when asked by a reporter here that the Congress had sought an apology for his comment.

He alleged that the government was sitting on the file relating to execution of Guru for the last four years. Chief Minister Sheila
Dixit, he said, had stated it was done on the instructions from then Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil. Now the decision is pending with the President, he said.

'I have not made a wrong statement. They (Congress) should rather give a reply as to why they are not executing the orders of
the Supreme Court,' he said.

The BJP President had yesterday while addressing a rally here criticised the UPA government for not hanging Guru and asked, 'Is Afzal Guru a son-in-law of the Congress and why is he being given special treatment?'

Reacting to Gadkari's comment, Congress said Gadkari has lost his mind and that he needed serious help.

'The remark smacks of obscenity, obnoxiousness and obtuseness,' Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said in New Delhi.

Tiwari further said, 'It is very obvious that the esteemed president of the BJP has lost it completely. The BJP should take
pity on him and deposit him into a psychiatric facility. The man needs serious help.' PTI

Gadkari's remark 'obnoxious, obscene', says Congress

New Delhi: The Congress hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari Friday, saying he should go to a psychiatric facility for the 'obnoxious' remark that the ruling party was treating parliament attack convict Afzal Guru as its 'son-in-law'.
'Obscenity, obnoxiousness, obtuseness should not be dignified by a response. It is very obvious that the esteemed president of the BJP has lost it completely. The BJP should take pity and deposit him in a psychiatric facility,' Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said here.

Addressing a rally in Dehradun Thursday, Gadkari had attacked the Congress over the delay in executing the death sentence of Afzal Guru.

'I want to ask Congress leaders is Afzal Guru your son-in-law...Why is he being given special treatment?' he had said. The BJP president said the Congress was a 'party of people without guts' which could not fight terrorism.

Afzal Guru was awarded the death sentence for his role in the Dec 13, 2001 attack on parliament by a trial court in 2002. But he is yet to be hanged.

'Is Afzal Guru your son-in-law', Gadkari asks Congress

Dehra Dun/New Delhi: Taunting the Congress over the delay in hanging Afzal Guru, BJP President Nitin Gadkari asked
the party whether the Parliament attack convict was its 'son-in-law'.

In comments that could stoke a controversy, Gadkari thundered at a BJP rally in Dehra Dun last night, 'Is Afzal Guru the son-in-law of Congress? Have you(Congress) given your daughter to the Congress. Why is he being given special treatment?'

Gadkari made a reference to the Afzal Guru issue while slamming the Congress and the UPA for the delay in the hanging of the death row convict, bringing the focus back on the Afzal case file.

Reacting to Gadkari's comments, Congress said Gadkari has lost his mind and sarcastically said he needed serious help.

'The remark smacks of obscenity, obnoxiousness and obtuseness,' Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said in New Delhi

Tiwari further said, 'it is very obvious that the esteemed president of the BJP has lost it completely. The BJP should take
pity on him and deposit him into a psychiatric facility. The man needs serious help.'

Targeting Congress, Gadkari said, 'It(Congress) is a party full of fearful people. They can never fight with terrorists and
can never get rid of terrorism. It is a party which will bow down in front of terrorists and can never protect India.'

The Supreme Court upheld Afzal's death penalty in 2005. Since then, the Opposition has attacked the Congress for delaying his hanging, saying if Afzal is not hanged India will be seen as a soft state. Afzal is on death row for over eight years after he was convicted of masterminding the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament.

Four years after its opinion was sought, the Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi finally gave its opinion to Lieutenant Governor
Tejinder Khanna recently saying that it supports the Supreme Court's decision to give death sentence to Afzal Guru, but added a rider saying that the implications of the execution must be taken into consideration.

Within hours of this, Khanna returned the file asking the Delhi government's stand on Afzal's mercy petition. The Delhi government sent back Afzal's file saying that it stood by the Supreme Court verdict.PT

Jagan continues with his yatra in Srikakulam villages

Srikakulam : After rounding off a successful tour on the first day of his controversial 'Odarpu Yatra', Congress
MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy today resumed his journey in the villages of Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh.

Jagan began his journey at Tekkali and unveiled a statue of his late father and former state Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy near the Railway gate in the town.

The Kadapa MP, who has been avoiding political or controversial speeches, thanked the people for the love and affection showered on him and said his father is still alive in the hearts of the people.

Jagan's yatra continued late into the night yesterday as he consoled the family of Reyyi Tatamma at Sunnadevi village in Palasa
mandal, where he again unveiled a statue of YSR.

He also met the family of Nirmala at Marlapadu in Nandigam mandal post midnight.

Jagan resumed his second leg of the yatra at Ichapuram in Srikakulam yesterday after announcing his decision to do so despite reservations expressed by the Congress high command.

The Central leadership initially talked tough but later made a climb down with Chief Minister K Rosaiah maintaining that the high
command had never said a 'no' to his yatra. Jagan had covered Khammam and West Godavari districts in the
first leg of of his yatra in April following which the Congress leadership objected to his tour. He had later met party president Sonia Gandhi to seek her permission for the yatra. PTI

Monday, July 5, 2010

Dhoni weds college sweetheart at private affair

Dehradun: Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni tied the knot with fiancee Sakshi Rawat at a very private affair on the outskirts of Dehradun Sunday evening, a day after the couple's hush-hush engagement.

The mahurat, or auspicious time, for the wedding was fixed for 8.35 p.m. at a country villa owned by former Rajasthan chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vasundhara Raje, a highly-placed source told IANS.

The country villa is on the Dehradun-Chakrata road, 20 km away from the place where his engagement was held Saturday, at Bhagirath resort.

Around half an hour before the auspicious time, Dhoni on horseback and other guests, which included his team-mates Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, Ashish Nehra and R.P. Singh and actor John Abraham, walked for around half-a-kilometer to the bride's place, located at the same resort's premises.

John Abraham reached Dehradun, along with Dhoni's teammate Piyush Chawla, earlier Sunday to attend Dhoni's wedding

N. Srinivasan, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary and the owner of Chennai Super Kings, which Dhoni led to victory in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) season, was present at the ceremony.

John's girlfriend and actress Bipasha Basu took to microblogging site Twitter to congratulate the couple.

'Wishing Mahi and Sakshi a very happy life together forever. Sad that I can't be there,' she tweeted.

Bipasha also refuted rumours that Dhoni decided to get married on the spur of the moment, saying the wedding was planned months in advance.

'The wedding on Sunday night was all planned. But no one was supposed to know about it. Whatever the truth, we must all be happy for the couple. It's party time!' she said.

Shilpa Shetty also congratulated the couple, posting: 'Congratulations in order to Mahi and Sakshi, wishing them all the happiness and marital bliss forever.'

The media was kept far away. The hordes of media persons and television OB vans gathered there were not being allowed to proceed by private security guards, around more than one and a half kilometre from the venue, the source said.

Director General of Police Uttarakhand, Subhash Joshi told IANS that he too has not been invited. 'I have not got an invite. They are taking the assistance of local police.'

'They want to have their privacy and we don't want to encroach on it,' he said.

The girl's cousin Abhilasha Bhisht, a Deputy Inspector General of Police who is on deputation on an UN assignment, belongs to the place, said a source.

Dhoni has been reported to have visited Dehradun and Mussoori frequently over the last two years. The girl's father and Dhoni's father were working together in Ranchi. Her grandfather, a retired divisional forest officer, lives in Dehradun.

All opposition parties calling shutdown for first time: Advani

The countrywide opposition shutdown on Monday, called by the Left parties and the NDA, against the fuel price hike is for the "first time in India's history", veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani said on Sunday.

Advani, who is the BJP Parliamentary Board chairperson, said of the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the National Democratic Alliance and Left parties on the same day, said: "As far as my memory goes, this is for the first time I am seeing so many of the political parties coming together calling a Bharat Bandh."

He was speaking at a meeting here of senior leaders of the BJP-led NDA to chalk out a strategy for the Bharat Bandh.

The NDA in a statement said it will not tolerate the government's "premeditated conspiracy" against the people of India.

"The NDA asserts that it will not tolerate this premeditated conspiracy against the people of India by an insensitive government and Congress party," the NDA said in a statement released in New Delhi.

Though the Left parties have called for a separate bandh on the same day the NDA said it was "heartened" to find that cutting across ideologies, opposition parties have come together to forcefully register their protest and demand roll back of the recent hikes.

At the meeting, it was decided to appoint senior NDA leaders to lead the protests in different cities. BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav will lead the protest in Delhi.

BJP leaders, including Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj will take charge in Bhopal, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and party vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will lead the protest in Lucknow. Former BJP president and senior leader Venkaiah Naidu will lead the stir in Hyderabad, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar in Bengaluru and BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad in Patna.

Swanky - New Delhi 's new airport terminal opens

New Delhi – As India joins the ranks of modern, industrial nations of the world, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday inaugurated a swanky new terminal at the New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport, built at a cost of nearly USD $3 billion in a record time of 37 months, which showcases its economic surge and also its cultural and heritage aspects.

The actual operations though will start July 14 for international services while that for the domestic sector begins on July 30.the developers of what is called Terminal 3 said.

The Delhi-Dubai flight will be the first to take-off from the new terminal while the first one to arrive will be Air-India passengers from New Delhi.

The new terminal can handle 34 million passengers per annum in the first phase of development, against less than 10 million passengers at present at the international terminal.

The terminal, billed as T3, is said to the sixth largest in the world — after those at Dubai, Beijing, Singapore, Bangkok and Mexico City.

Spread over 5.5 million square feet, the glass and steel terminal can handle 34 million passengers a year as against less than 10 million at present at the international terminal.

It has 92 moving walkways and 78 aerobridges connecting the boarding area directly to the aircraft. The new world-class hub is designed to support the Airbus A380, a super-jumbo jet.

Among those at the inaugural event were National Advisory Council chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and chairman of GMR Group, G.M. Rao, which led the consortium that built the terminal.

A beaming prime minister in his inaugural address said “today is a very special occasion for our country .. (for) this airport terminal establishes new global bench marks… and it also exemplifies our country's resolve to bridge and bridge fast the infrastructure deficit in our country.”

Stating that the airports often were the first introduction to a country, he said “A good airport would signal the arrival of new India, committed to join the ranks of modern, industrialized nations of the world. We should have airports that are receptive to the comfort of passengers even as they meet the highest standards of efficiency and safety. They should employ the most modern of technologies but also exude cultural warmth.”

Although less than one percent of India's 1.2 billion people travel by air currently, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh maintained that India's domestic traffic could reach 160-180 million and international traffic in excess of 50 million by the year 2020.

India now has become the 9th largest aviation market in the world with ten scheduled airlines operating compared to two in 1990. In the same period, the scheduled aircraft deployed by the Indian carriers has gone up four times, from 100 to about 400.

The Indian leader said that India's aviation sector has the potential to absorb up to USD $120 billion of investment by the year 2020. This country also occupies an important geographical place in the air route structure of the world. Many key international air traffic services cross the air space in which India is responsible for providing air traffic services.

The T3 will be India's first terminal to have enclosed boarding gates for non-stop US-bound flights with facility to screen both passengers and their cabin baggage just before they enter the aerobridge to board the aircraft.

Only London's Heathrow and Frankfurt have such special arrangements to accommodate US concerns, reports said Saturday.

The new terminal is part of a churn that India' is giving to its major infrastructure projects across New Delhi and various other major cities.

New airports have come up in India's IT hubs at Hyderabad and Bangalore. India's financial and entertainment capital, Mumbai, is due to open its new terminal in 2012.

New Delhi is now under a frenzy of construction of over-bridges and flyovers while the major shopping areas have been given a much needed make over, all to be in time for the Commonwealth Games sporting spectacle that begins on October 3.

Games organizers have been quoted as saying that the Delhi games, which will attract athletes from 71 former British colonies, will be best ever held.

Haryana offers police officer's job to Saina Nehwal

Chandigarh: The Haryana government Friday offered the job of a police officer to ace badminton player Saina Nehwal.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda made this offer in a letter to Saina. He said the state government wants her to join service as deputy superintendent of police (DSP).

Though Saina, ranked World No.3 in women's badminton, has lived and trained in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, her family originally hails from Haryana.

Hooda said Haryana had been rewarding outstanding sportspersons, who made a mark at national and international levels, and had appointed them directly at the level of DSP.

'In view of this, the state government was offering her to join the state police force as DSP,' Hooda added.

Congratulating Saina for her exceptional success in international badminton events, Hooda said she had achieved a 'marvellous feat' by winning the third super series title in a row and becoming the first ever Indian to win a super series tournament.

Party polls reduced to a 'farce': Karunakaran

Thiruvananthapuram: Veteran Congress leader K Karunakaran today said the ongoing party polls in Kerala had been reduced to
a 'farce' and it would be difficult for him to acknowledge the results. 'What is going on is a farce as the procedures and processes laid down in the by-laws have been totally flouted', the 92-year-old leader told reporters. He said the 'consensus' was apportioning of positions by certain sections through manipulation of the poll process. 'Such a thing has never happened in the history of the party in Kerala and it is difficult to accept the results emerging out of it', Karunakaran, a four time Chief Minister, said.

Targeting the camaraderie between KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala and opposition leader Oommen Chandy, Karunakaran said the high command did not properly address the issues raised by him since the poll process started. Asked about discussions held by Chennithala and Chandy after the party elections started, Karunakaran said 'it was a ploy to hoodwink people.' He, however, said he had not lost hope in the leadership whose intervention alone could ensure free and fair polls to the satisfaction of the leaders and workers. Karunakaran had earlier shot off letters to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Mohsina Kidwai saying that party polls were not conducted properly and wanted the high command's intervention to set things right.

Karunakaran who has been sulking over his son K Muralidharan still not being allowed to re-enter the party, feels his followers
have been ignored by Chennithala-Chandy axis to grab party posts through the 'consensus route'. Muralidharan had left Congress and joined NCP, becoming its state unit chief. He later quit NCP and sought re-entry to Congress, which has been hanging fire due to opposition by a section of state Congress leaders.