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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stop protecting Chidambaram, BJP slams PM

The BJP on Wednesday slammed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his defence of home minister P Chidambaram in the 2G spectrum issue.

Talking to reporters, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said that the PM had, a few months back, expressed his commitment to fight corruption but he is not keeping his promise by defending Chidambaram.

Swaraj said that Chidambaram had committed the same crime as jailed former telecom minister A Raja. She further said that the CBI was also trying to protect Chidambaram as it had recorded the statements of BJP leaders Arun Shourie and Jaswant Singh but not the home minister.

Swaraj rejected the PM's Tuesday's statement that the Opposition is trying to destablise the government. She said that the 2G note had come from their finance minister and not the BJP and the 2G scam had been unearthed by the CAG.

Swaraj urged the PM to take the fight against corruption forward as he had promised and not save the heads from rolling as they are trying to do in the case of Chidambaram.

Swaraj said that the Prime Minister knew all about the 2G muddle and he was not kept in the dark by his ministers.

Adding to Sushma's remarks, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that the PM has distanced himself from ground realities and is living in denial. His statements saying he had full faith in PC and will protect his ministers show that he is away from the truth.

Jaitley said that the nation expects PM to be seen as protecting the truth and not the minister. It would have been better if he had answered questions emerging from 2G row than attacking the Opposition.

He also said that the PM's statement that there was no controversy in the government was wrong as could be seen during Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement.

PM's allegation that the BJP is trying to destablise the government is wrong as they don't have numbers and the government is becoming unstable due to lack of leadership and credibility, Jaitley added. A corrupt government will become unstable by its own weight and the government is collapsing under its own contradiction, Jaitley further stated.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Maoists want to kill me, other Trinamool leaders: Mamata

Kolkata:West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Sunday claimed that the Maoists wanted to kill her and union minister Mukul Roy, besides other Trinamool Congress leaders.

'A few days back, some Maoists were seen around my house. They threatened to kill me. They have also threatened to kill Mukul and my party leader Srikanta Mahato. A few days back they held a rally in Junglemahal where a Maoist leader said all Trinamool leaders are their targets,' Banerjee said.

As an opposition leader, Banerjee had time and again claimed that there were no Maoists in the state and even adopted a soft approach towards the ultras after coming to power earlier this year calling for talks and a peaceful solution to the problem.

However, rattled by the series of killings by the ultras since late August, she Sunday night said she now personally felt no negotiations were possible with such outfits.

'We had a commitment. We wanted negotiations for a peaceful solution to the problem. But now I personally feel no negotiations are possible. When we are trying to create an atmosphere for talks, they are trying to break such negotiations. Peace cannot be a one way process,' a fuming Banerjee said on a day the ultras killed two people in West Midnaproe district.

Expressing shock over the killings, she termed the Maoists as 'jungle mafia', and charged the ultras with making money by selling jungle wood.

'In the name of Maoism they have killed all leaders from other parties who were active in those areas. We want development, we want to give jobs, food to the poor people of Junglemahal (Maoist affected forested stretches in the state's western districts). Why are they not allowing us? They actually have no feelings for the poor,' she said.

Lashing out at 'Maoist collaborators' in the metropolis, the chief minister said: 'They have a network across the world. These leaders from Kolkata give them support.

'They have some teams in educational institutions like Jadavpur University, Presidency College and Calcutta University. These collaborators go to Junglemahal and back them. There are also some NGOs who buy rifles and collect subscriptions for them,' she said and accused the Maoists of receiving funds from abroad.

Alleging that some Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders were holding talks with the guerrillas, she said some firearms earlier used by CPI-M backed miscreants had now landed in the hands of the ultras.

She warned the Maoists that she would not be cowed down by murders of Trinamool activists. 'We will fight those who are misleading people. We will fight them not with arms, but politically, democratically and for peace and development'.

Banerjee said the Maoists were using the social network site Facebook to propagate their ideology and carrying out a whispering campaign in colleges and universities.

Urging students to stay away from the Maoists, she said: 'Keep away from their campaign if you want to save your future'.

Banerjee also alleged that a section of media were emotionally with the Maoists.

Chidambaram's act in 2G not criminal: CBI

New Delhi: The CBI sources on Monday said that the central investigating agency did not find any criminality in the role of the Finance Ministry in the alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocation during P Chidambaram's regime.

In the backdrop of the 2G controversy, Chidambaram has met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday. The meet held ahead of the scheduled meet between Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee, who has returned from his US tour on Monday.

Former telecom minister A Raja's lawyer, Sushil Kumar, on Monday told a Delhi court that Union Home Minister P Chidambaram was a party to all the decisions taken in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation. He, however, clarified that he was not making an attempt to present Chidambaram as an accused.

Chidambaram met Sonia Gandhi ahead of Pranab Mukherjee's scheduled meet with her.

"I am not calling P Chidambaram an accused but he knew everything. He was acquainted with all facts and circumstances of the case," he said.

Raja's lawyer also said that the statement of the home minister should have been taken in September 2010 itself.

Kumar asserted that there was no difference of opinion between Raja and Chidambaram, adding that the allocation was a Cabinet decision and that the entire Cabinet must be made to face the trial.

"It was a decision taken by 2003 Cabinet and followed by all subsequent Cabinets. Why is only my client in jail?"

"Call Chidambaram as a witness under Section 311 and let him accept or deny weather he gave the advice in presence of the Prime Minister or not, and then let the court decide if it wants to call the PM," said Sharma.

Earlier on Monday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday filed fresh charges in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam, seeking life imprisonment for all the accused.

An official Finance Ministry document, accessed by RTI activist Vivek Garg, has cast doubts over the role of Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was then finance minister, in the January 2008 decision of former telecom minister A Raja to issue 2G spectrum licences.

On March 25, 2011, Dr PGS Rao, Deputy Director in the Finance Ministry, sent an office memorandum to Vini Mahajan, Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, regarding allocation and pricing of 2G spectrum. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee approved the note after personally inspecting the 11-page document.

The note categorically stated that the Department of Telecom (DoT) would have been forced to cancel the 2G licences doled out by Raja, had the Ministry of Finance under Chidambaram, stuck to its original demand for auctioning the initial 'start-up spectrum' of 4.4 megahertz each allotted to the 2008 licensees.

Various official estimates have put the loss to the exchequer due to the 2G allocation on January 10, 2010 somewhere between Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 1,76,000 crore. However, present Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has gone on record to claim the exchequer suffered no loss on this account.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

2G issue: BJP now targets PM over Maran's letter

After going hammer and tongs at home minister P Chidambaram over 2G spectrum scam, the BJP has now trained guns on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over a letter written to him by former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran asking him to stay off the spectrum pricing issue.

The letter allegedly suggests that it was the Prime Minister himself who had allowed the telecom ministry to keep spectrum pricing out of the terms of reference of the Group of Ministers in 2006.

In January 2006, the PM had approved, in principle, a GoM to look into the release of additional spectrum from the defence ministry for private telecom players. The group's terms of reference included the issue of pricing of scarce 2G spectrum.

The GoM was supposed to submit its recommendations in June 2006, after which the government was to decide a policy and price for selling the spectrum.

Prime Minister met Dayanidhi Maran on February 1 and then he allegedly allowed the Telecom Ministry to keep out of 2G pricing.

Referring to the letter, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said that the Prime Minister owes an explanation to the nation as it is not a matter of being a mute spectator, but of complicity.

BJP's allegations come three days ahead of PMO's explaination of its stand on record to the Supreme Court.

Chidambaram should be sent to jail on 2G:Yashwant Sinha

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should protect himself rather than shielding Home Minister P. Chidambaram who is involved in the allotment of 2G telecom spectrum scam .

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram came under severe attack from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP ) leader Yashwant Sinha said on Saturday”There are many evidences that point fingers towards Chidambram’s role in 2G scam while he was holding the finance portfolio. Further adding that he should be in Tihar jail alongwith A Raja.

The BJP-led Opposition is now gunning for Chidambaram, who was the Finance Minister when the alleged scam occurred and the prime minister Manmohan singh as both of them was aware of the massive spectrum scam but did nothing to stop it.
The party demanded that the role of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister in the alleged scam should be investigated with senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha saying Chidambaram should be sent to jail.
Documents in public domain shows that prime miniter Manmohan Singh was complicit in telecom activities.
Sinha remarked on the silence maintained by the Prime minister on the entire issue , and said " I admire A Raja. He informed the Prime Minister at every step. He even informed the Prime Minister about advancing date of licences being issued. The Prime Minister kept silent which will be seen as approval not silence. The Prime Minister will defend Chidambaram because if Chidambaram is touched, the Prime Minister will be touched. Like with Raja, when Chidambaram goes to jail, he (Manmohan Singh) will stop defending Chidambaram and will saart defending only himself. The government has been soft on Chidambaram. Chidambaram's place is where A Raja is, the same cell in Tihar Jail."

As per the RTI documents,the reports said that the then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran had written to the Prime Minister, asking him to stay off the spectrum pricing issue.
And Prime Minister himself who had allowed the Telecom Ministry to keep spectrum pricing out of the terms of reference of the Group of Ministers.

After the BJP accused prime minister Manmohan Singh of protecting the “guilty”and wondered why P Chidambaram is not being sacked as PMO fears the "embers of the fire" may reach it.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayansamy said it was "inappropriate" on the part of BJP to have commented on PM in connection with the 2G spectrum.

V Narayansamy also reiterated that there was no rift between Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

DMK leader and ex-Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, besides a host of senior Government
officials and corporates executives are behind bars in the 2008 case.
Samay Live

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Treat all 2G allocations made in the past as a closed chapter,"Chidambaram to P.M in 2008

Posted on Saturday, July 9, 2011
Remove Home Minister 'forthwith': BJP asks PM

Not satisfied with Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran's resignation, BJP today (July 8) demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sack then Finance Minister P Chidambaram "forthwith" for his alleged complicity in the case. "The 2-G spectrum scandal is no longer only an 'ally affair'. The revelations in the JPC, which is looking into the scandal, and those coming out in the media show that there is a Congress overtone to this," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Referring to the events around January 10, 2008 when the 2G spectrum licences were issued, she said Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was then Finance Minister, is also responsible for the government not taking the auction route and claimed this led to a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

"On January 9, 2008, an additional secretary in the Finance Ministry had clearly suggested adoption of the auction route for spectrum usage charges. On January 15, the Finance Minister sent a note to the PM that the government adopt the auction route for future spectrum allocations and treat all allocations made in the past as a closed chapter," she said.

BJP also wondered if not keeping minutes of a May 29, 2008 meeting on the 2G issue by the government was a "deliberate procedural lapse".

"An attempt was made in that meeting by then Finance Minister to gloss over the divergent opinions, cover up the disregard to rules, regulations and procedures in the issue of licences by holding a meeting with the then Telecom Minister A Raja. "It is reported that the Prime Minister was informed of an 'agreed position' thereafter. A clear four months after the scandalous allocation of the 2G licences," Sitharaman said.

BJP demanded that the Prime Minister break his silence on this matter and issue an explanation. It further said Chidambaram's position in the Cabinet has become untenable now and he should be "removed forthwith". "The scandalous cover-up of the 2G spectrum scam started with the Finance Minister's letter of January 15, 2008," Sitharaman said.

The BJP sought to know if ignoring the advise of the additional secretary that auction route should be taken was a "deliberate omission". The Opposition maintained that in 2003, the NDA Cabinet had specified that fixing of price for the allocation of spectrum will be done in consultation with the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) and with the approval of Ministry of Finance.

"In this case, in 2008, the Ministry of Finance in a make believe fait accompli situation provided a cover up for the decision to issue licences on January 10 2008... In the 'treat as closed chapter' advice to the PM on a contentious decision which was taken just a few days before, the then Minister of Finance's connivance is palpable," Sitharaman said. She demanded a 'focused inquiry' into how there are no formal minutes or record of the May 29, 2008 meeting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

DD to have 150 channels on DTH platform by year-end

New Delhi: Doordarshan, India's public broadcaster, is poised for a major expansion, with the Prasar Bharati Board clearing the decks for 150 channels on its direct-to-home (DTH) platform by year-end.

Encouraged by the success of the e-auction of the slots on its free-to-air DTH platform DD Direct Plus, the expansion of another 100 channels in 2012 has also been approved. DD has currently 59 DTH channels.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the board last week.

In the e-auctions within July 28-August 30, 45 private media companies had participated, bringing in revenues of Rs 63 crore, reliable sources said.

The e-auction model was adopted after a court order which asked the public broadcaster to adopt a transparent system for slot allocation.

In the latest auction, six vacant slots on the DTH platform were sold at at the prices ranging from Rs 32.1 million to Rs 35 million per year.

The stage is also set for a major expansion of the All India Radio (AIR) FM network.

The board has approved immediate expansion of AIR's FM Stations to all 313 cities planned for coverage under the FM expansion scheme of the information & broadcasting ministry, said the release.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Modi's Fast begins: Highlights of Narendra Modi's speech

Ahmedabad: On the occasion of his 61st birthday, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi embarked on his three-day fast for communal harmony at the Gujarat University Exhibition hall. The grand show was preceded by Mr Modi seeking blessings from his mother, Narmada Bai. After he arrived at the venue of his fast, the chief minister was greeted by several top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and NDA amidst chants and prayers.

Here are the highlights from Mr Modi's speech:

•I am grateful to all for coming here to bless the Sadbhavana Mission.
•Gujarat's development is being discussed across the India and world.
•After the 2001 earthquake, everyone thought Gujarat will never be able to bounce back, Gujarat is finished.
•Everyone said no one will invest in Gujarat, but we overcame those difficulties.
•After the riots in 2002 riots, no one was willing to listen to our pain.
•Gujarat's image was maligned.
•Even after the Akshardham terror attacks, Gujarat gave ample evidence of harmony and peace. But people did not notice that resolve of Gujarat.
•Remember the days in the early 1990s; there were riots over a kite and curfews were common. But see the last ten years, there is no sign of a curfew.
•I want to tell the world we want to move forward, contribute to India's growth story.
•Gujarat should progress so that it its able to help other backward states in India
•People from all over India come to Gujarat to earn a livelihood today.
•I've tried to take all the blows, so that the impact did not reach you.
•We've never been provoked into a response, we've never retaliated.
•I was collecting the stones people thew at me, and building a staircase to redemption.
•We chose the constitutional path, the path of truth.
•Gujarat's model of good governance is being discussed all over.
•My three-day fast is not against anyone.
•Sadbhavna mission will end vote-bank politics
•I have always served my country and state and will continue to do so.
•Our motto is 'Develop Gujarat for India's Development'.
•We want to excel at all levels of public work - from the panchayat to the state.
•The pain of the people is my may pain; the hopes of six crore Gujaratis, my hopes.
•Gujarat does not need sermons from anyone.
•We have proved how peace and harmony can result in development.
•I want to remind people that we've been able to develop because of peace and harmony.
•I never celebrate my birthday. This fast has nothing to do with my birthday.
•Through my fast, I want to reach out to more people.
•We are in public life, we believe in democracy.
•We have no space for bitterness, ill-will towards anyone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

US Congress report praises Gujarat CM Narendra Modi

Washington, September 14, 2011

Identifying Gujarat as perhaps the best example of effective governance and impressive development in India, a Congressional report showered praise on the chief minister Narendra Modi and said that the state under him has become a key driver of national economic growth. Gujarat, is followed by Bihar and its chief minister Nitish Kumar, for his governance and administrative skills, the latest report of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on India said.

"Perhaps India's best example of effective governance and impressive development is found in Gujarat, where controversial chief minister Narendra Modi has streamlined economic processes, removing red tape and curtailing corruption in ways that have made the state a key driver of national economic growth," said the CRS report.

An independent and bipartisan wing of the US Congress, the CRS prepares periodic reports on issues of interest to the US lawmakers.

The 94-page report was released by the CRS for US lawmakers on September 1, a copy of which made public by the Federation of American Scientists.

"Seeking to overcome the taint of his alleged complicity in 2002 riots, Modi has overseen heavy investment in modern roads and power infrastructure, and annual growth of more than 11 per cent in recent years," the CRS said.

Gujarat, the CRS said, has attracted major international investors such as General Motors and Mitsubishi and with only five per cent of the country's population, the state now accounts for more than one-fifth of India's exports, it said.

The CRS mentions Bihar after Gujarat in good governance.

"Another positive example in 2011 has been Bihar, one of India's poorest states, where chief minister Nitish Kumar has won national attention through his considerable success in emphasising good governance over caste-based politics.

"He is credited with restoring law and order across much of the state, as well as overseeing infrastructure and educational improvements of direct benefit to common citizens projects," the report said.

"Kumar's Janata Dal (United) party, in alliance with the main national opposition BJP, won an overwhelming reelection majority in November 2010 state elections," the report said.

Press Trust Of India

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gujarat C.M.Narendra Modi's Letter to Citizens

My Dear sisters and brothers,

My Salutations!

Yesterday, the Apex Court of the country delivered an important judgment regarding the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

Everyone is interpreting this judgment in his own way. For political analysts it has one meaning and for legal experts it has another meaning. Someone is interpreting it as victory someone else as defeat. Everyone has his own point of view.

One thing is apparent from the Supreme Court's judgment. The unhealthy environment created by the unfounded and false allegations made against me and Government of Gujarat, after 2002 riots, has come to an end. For the past ten years, it has become fashionable to defame me and the State of Gujarat. These elements who could not tolerate any positive development of Gujarat have not left any stone unturned to defame Gujarat. It is difficult to say whether this campaign of defamation will stop even after the judgment of the Supreme Court. But one thing is certain that the credibility of those who have been spreading lies and defaming Gujarat has come to its lowest ebb. The people of this country will not trust such elements anymore.

After 2002, Gujarat has not spared any effort to march towards peace, harmony and progress even amidst false propaganda, lies, conspiracies and allegations.

'Six crore Gujaratis' has not remained merely a word. It has become the mantra of unity and human endeavor. Every citizen of Gujarat has internalized peace, harmony and development. Gujarat has experienced an unparalleled phase of peace, harmony, and development in the last decade. Gujarat is committed to march forward on this path only.

There is a famous saying, "Hate is never conquered by hate." The real strength of our country is its unity and harmony. Unity in diversity is the defining feature of India. It is our responsibility to strengthen unity in our social life. We have got an excellent opportunity to proceed with a positive attitude. Hence, let us come together and contribute in enhancing the dignity of Gujarat. I humbly submit before you that, as part of this responsibility to strengthen social harmony and brotherhood, I am thinking of starting a movement of "Sadbhavana Mission."

As part of this Sadbhavana Mission, I have resolved to fast for three days from, Saturday, the 17th September 2011. My fast will conclude on 19th September. I deeply believe that this fast will further strengthen Gujarat's environment of peace, unity and harmony.

Sadbhavana Mission is completely dedicated to the society and the nation. I hope that, our effort to take Gujarat to new heights of development through peace, unity and harmony will contribute immensely in the progress and development of the nation as well.

Always at your service,

Narendra Modi

Monday, September 12, 2011

I have not seen any political person maligned in the way Modi has been -Advani

SC ruling in Modi case a great relief to BJP: Advani

Modi reacts to SC verdict, tweets 'God is great'

Petitioners should apologise to Modi: BJP

“I have not seen any political person maligned in the way Modi has been. In the political history of India, there hasn’t been such misinformation propaganda against any other political leader,” Advani told reporters at the airport here.

Mumbai: The Supreme Court ruling in the 2002 Gujarat riots case is a great relief to the BJP and to those who believe in the good administration of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, senior party leader LK Advani said here today.

I have not seen any political person maligned in the way Modi has been, said LK Advani. Reuters
Describing the Gujarat chief minister as an outstanding leader of the BJP, capable of discharging every responsibility assigned by the party, Advani said it was “good that the Supreme Court did not accept or subscribe to the misinformation campaign against Modi.”

“Good governance (shushasan) and honest administration provided by Modi government in Gujarat is one rarely seen in any state or country,” he said.

“The government has not done enough to bring blackmoney stashed away abroad back to the country. This creates doubt in one’s mind whether this is due to the presence of some people in the government, whose money is stashed abroad,” he said.

In a relief to Modi, the Supreme Court today refused to pass any order on his alleged inaction to contain the 2002 Gujarat riots after the Godhra train carnage and referred the matter to the magistrate concerned in Ahmedabad for a decision.

Friday, September 9, 2011

No intelligence also an intelligence failure: BJP

New Delhi, Sep 7 (PTI) BJP today picked holes in the government stand on the Delhi High Court blast, insisting that no intelligence was also an intelligence failure and sought to know why the security apparatus at the site was not strengthened despite the May 2011 "dry run". Making Home Minister P Chidambaram the target of its attack, BJP said six terror attacks had taken place since he took office and none of these cases had been solved. "We condemn this blast. We need to strengthen our investigation process and intelligence. No advance intelligence is a matter of concern. No intelligence is an intelligence failure," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said. The opposition also asked why no steps were taken despite an earlier terror attack at the Delhi High Court on May 25, 2011. "It is a matter of deep concern that though a dry run had been done in May, no follow-up security apparatus was installed," Jaitley said. He named six terror attacks which have taken place since Chidambaram became Home Minister and alleged that no progress had been made in the probe into any of them. "The blast at Sheetalaghat in Varanasi, Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore, German Bakery in Pune, Mumbai serial blasts, attack at Jama Masjid and the first blast at Delhi High Court have taken place since Chidambaram took over. These are six unresolved cases in a row," Jaitley said. Another senior BJP leader, preferring anonymity, said our intelligence agencies have still not been able to "infiltrate" into the terror groups. He also charged the "implementing agencies" like Delhi police in failing to tackle terror. "Moreover, Chidambaram cannot compare himself with his predecessor Shivraj Patil and live in glory," he said.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BJP burns Afzal Guru''s effigy, protests Delhi blast

(PTI) BJP in Jammu and Kashmir today hit out at political parties demanding clemency for Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and took out a protest rally against the Delhi High Court blast that killed 12 persons.Led by convenor of the party''s legal cell S Sharma, BJP activists took out the rally in the city and raised anti-government and anti-Afzal Guru slogans.They also burnt Guru''s effigy and demanded that the death row prisoner be hanged as the order of the Supreme Court.The party expressed sympathy with the families of the victims of Delhi High court blast and demanded adequate compensation for the families of the deceased and stringent action against the culprits.BJP spokesperson Nirmal Kamal urged strict action against those political parties and politicians which are demanding clemency for Afzal Guru.He said it will set a wrong precedence if those guilty of attack on Parliament are allowed to go scot free.The party has also taken strong view of the statements being issued by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in "favour" of Guru.If there is no check imposed by the Centre on such provocative statements being issued by official functionaries of the state, there is an apprehension that Delhi like blasts can take place also in other parts of country including Jammu and Kashmir, Kamal said.

Delhi blast: 11 dead, 91 injured

New Delhi: At least 11 people died and 91 injured after a high intensity bomb blast outside the Delhi High Court on Wednesday morning. The bomb, reportedly a combination of ammonium nitrate and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) was planted in a briefcase, exploded at 10:14 am outside Gate No. 5 of the court, where more that 100 litigants had gathered for passes to enter the court's premises.

"It's too early to say which group is involved," said Manmohan Singh.

What made planting of the bomb in one of the most high security area an easy job was the fact that there were no CCTV cameras installed at the gate. Even the metal detectors and scanners were not functioning making the task of checking and frisking hundreds of litigants, lawyers and visitors a tough job for the security personnel.

Unlike most of the recent bomb blasts, the terror strike at the High Court was carried out in the morning and the day was also carefully chosen as Wednesday is one of the heaviest days of court business because it is the day when Public Interest Litigations (PILs) are filed.

What is extremely worrying is the blast took place in a high security area with Parliament, the Prime Minister's Office and India Gate in the vicinity and comes less than four months after an explosion took outside the same complex.

The injured were taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and Lok Nayak Jay Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital with some of them reportedly in a critical condition.

Out of the 91 injured, 74 people were discharged after first aid from the various hospitals, while 17 persons were discharged from Delhi High Court dispensary itself.

Wednesday's attack is the worst terror attack in the capital since the triple blasts on September 13, 2008 in which 25 people were killed. On September 13, 2008 serials blasts had rocked Karol Bagh, Connaught Place and Greater Kailash in the capital in which over 150 people were injured.

Friday, September 2, 2011

IB harassing my kin, not violated any rule: Arvind Kejriwal

NEW DELHI: With Income Tax office slapping a notice on activist Arvind Kejriwal to pay dues, Team Anna Hazare today alleged that the government was back to its "dirty tricks department" and that officials were pressurised by "political bosses" to act against them.

Other than the IT Office's notice to Kejriwal to pay dues of Rs 9.27 lakh, Team Anna also referred to a Delhi Police report which said a a CD purported to contain conversation between lawyer Shanti Bhushan and political leaders was genuine. Notices for breach of privilege have also be moved in Parliament against Kiran Bedi.

The Office of the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax had on August 5 issued a notice to Kejriwal, an IRS officer, asking him to pay up, 11 days ahead of Hazare's fast demanding a strong Lokpal.

"This shows that the government has not learnt any lessons. The smear campaign is still on...There is a notice against Arvind. Delhi Police have closed the investigations in the CD case saying the disc was genuine. There is also a privilege notice against Bedi. They are back to dirty tricks. They are back to the dirty tricks department," lawyer and Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan told a press conference along with Kejriwal and Bedi here.

Chief Commissioner of Income Tax issued notice to Kejriwal to clear the dues alleging that he violated the bond clauses underwhich he went for a study leave for two years.

Kejriwal claimed he "did not violate" any bond provision and he resigned from the job after the stipulated three years of rejoining duty after study leave.

However, the government did not deduct the dues and instead served him a notice after four years and just before Hazare began his fast for a stronger Lokpal Bill, he said.

On the privilege notice, Bedi said she will not apologise and would say, "I am sorry I will not say sorry to you. I will show a bigger mirror to them on what is happening in our Parliament and Assemblies."

Kejriwal alleged that his uncle and other relatives in Siwani in Haryana were probed and harassed by officials of the Intelligence Bureau and other agencies. Officials were asking people to give information about any irregularity by him or relatives, he added.