Friday, January 28, 2011


Asom Gana Parishad leadership is facing an uphill task to avoid any dissidence within the party over the allotment to election tickets. The party’s election committee will meet on Friday to finalise the first list of candidates. Just ahead of preparing the first list of its candidates for the next assembly polls, the AGP think tank has found itself in a difficult situation while selecting the candidates. The election committee will declare the first list in the first week of next month. The Election committee of AGP will meet in Guwahati on Friday. However, the party is trying to sort out all differences among its ticket seekers over selection of candidates. The party top brass recently held meeting with the heads of all district committees and discussed about the matter. There are many constituencies where more than one contenders have applied forc tickets. These constituencies are Patharkuchi, Sipajhar, Dhokuakhana, Lakhimpur etc. The party is facing problems in selecting a consensus candidate in these constituencies. Apart from the election committee, the steering committee will also meet on Friday. Meanwhile, the party is organizing a mammoth rally at Khanapara on Saturday to boost the moral of the party workers.The selection of consensus candidates for those constituencies having more than one contender has become a major challenge for the party, already battered y dissidence and infighting


In a significant development for crisis-hit Manipur, the state’s freight truck and oil tanker drivers, who are responsible for bringing essential items to Manipur have decided not to use national highway 39 again. This decision was arrived at in an emergency meeting of the inter-state Drivers held in the backdrop of the recent abduction and harassment faced by the driver community. In an emergency meeting held at the office of the All Manipur Road Transport Dirvers’ & Motor Workers’ Union, Freight truck drivers and Oil Tanker drivers have unanimously decided to abandon the shorter and more convenient national highway 39 that connects Manipur with Assam via Nagaland. Instead of using the NH 39, the drivers resolved to use the longer national highway 53 to bring essential commodities from Manipur. This joint decision of the inter-state drivers was arrived at, in view of the frequent harassment and life threatening incidents that drivers travelling along the NH 39 had to face.This is not the first time that freight and oil tank drivers had decided to abandon the use of the national highway 39. The Manipur State Govt had requisitioned the freight trucks and oil tankers and had compelled the drivers to use the dread national highway. The grievance of the drivers is that Govt of Manipur as well as all the other concerned authorities have always turned blind eye to their plight. The truckers had suspended operation last week after Karbi militants kidnapped two tanker drivers and a handyman from Deopani of Karbi Anglong while they were on way to Manipur. Demanding their release, all oil tankers had started ceasework strike forcing the government to intervene. The two drivers and the handyman had spent 8 days in captivity under the custody of a Karbi militant outfit. The militants demanded Rs 50 lakh from the owner of the tanker. It is not known whether the extortion has been paid and how much if at all it was paid.

Church attacks: Panel's clean chit to BJP & Sangh


Bangalore, Jan 28 (PTI) The Justice Somasekhara Commission of Inquiry into a series of attacks on churches in parts of Karnataka in 2008 has given a "clean chit" to the ruling BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits.
"There is no basis to the apprehension of Christian petitioners that politicians, BJP, mainstream Sangh Parivar and state government directly or indirectly are involved in the attacks", the one-man commission said in its final report submitted to the Government today.
According to the report submitted to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, circulation of derogatory literature with "insulting attitude" against Hindus and issues of conversion were the main reasons behind the attacks.
The churches were attacked in the districts of Mangalore, Udupi, Chikamagalur, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bellary and Davangere during September 2008.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nepalese President on 10-day visit to India

New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav will arrive in Kolkata today on a 10-day private-cum- official visit to India to strengthen bilateral ties.During his visit, which comes a week after the trip of Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's to that country, the Nepalese President will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discuss a host of issues of mutual concern."The visit will provide an opportunity to exchange views and hold discussions on issues of mutual interest and concern in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchange of visits between the two countries," an External Affairs Ministry statement said here.Yadav is scheduled to be the chief guest at the 177th anniversary of Kolkata Medical University. He had obtained his MBBS degree from there.After Kolkata, he is due to offer prayers at the famous Lord Balaji Temple in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.

Supreme Court asks Govt. to disclose real faces behind black money

New Delhi, Jan 27 (ANI): Talking tough on the black money issue, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Government of India what action it had taken against individuals and firms having foreign accounts. The apex court also issued notice to the Central Government, Home Ministry, Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and demanded the Government to file an additional affidavit over the issue. Hearing a plea against black money being stashed away in foreign banks, the apex court expressing dissatisfaction demanded answers from the Government. "What is that you have done to know once you came to know about the source of money... is it from the arms dealing, drug peddling... these are very serious issues," the apex court asked. "We are not talking about unknown names, these names are known to you now, so what have you done with that, we want to know what action is being taken... these people are in the country and amenable to our law. We want to know what action is being taken," the court added. The Supreme Court had earlier on January 19 pulled up the government for its handling of black money planted by industrialists and others in foreign bank accounts. "It is a pure and simple theft of the national money. We are talking about mind-boggling crime. We are not on the niceties of various treaties," an apex-court bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar had said. (ANI)

Govt won't read your office mail on BlackBerry


New Delhi: BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) on Thursday said providing solution to access its enterprise mail service is "not possible" and asserted that the issue was not unique to them and has to be dealt at an industry level.
"There is no possibility of us providing any kind of a solution. There is no solution, there are no keys to be handed... It's not possible to do so because the keys of the service are in possession of the corporate enterprises," RIM
Vice-President (Industry, Government and University Relations) Robert E Crow told reporters here.
Indian security agencies have been demanding access to all BlackBerry services as part of efforts to fight militancy and security threats over the internet and through telephone communications.
"Certainly my perception is that there is a broader recognition and appreciation that this is not an issue unique to BlackBerry. BlackBerry represents a very small fraction of the total population of VPN (virtual private networks) in India. There may be more than a million VPNs in India with
high security architecture," he said.
RIM encrypts emails as they travel between a BlackBerry device and its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).
The Canadian firm has maintained that since RIM does not have any "master key", and therefore cannot provide access to information encrypted through BES.
Earlier this week, RIM had said that it has delivered the technology to monitor contents on its messenger service (BBM) and had asked the government to issue a directive to the operators to connect to its new automated service.
This new service, to be made available before January 31, will automatically render lawfully intercepted BlackBerry Messenger messages in a format readable by Indian agencies.
"We are confident that it (the new service) meets the requirements," Crow said.
BlackBerry has over a million subscribers in India, which is one of the fastest growing markets globally in terms of new subscriber additions.
Crow, who has been leading RIM's discussions with the Indian government, said he will meet officials again over the course of his current visit.
"Apart from the current issue, we would also talk about supporting the developer community in India and Canada, apart from deployment of a new standard -- evolved EDGE," Crow said.
Evolved EDGE is an extension of the existing GSM mobile telephony standard, which theoretically offers speeds of up to one Mbps with small upgrades to existing 2G infrastructure.
"Operators can use evolved EDGE to offer broadband speeds of upto 1 Mbps with slight tweaking of their existing 2G infrastructure. Telcos globally and in India are trialing this new standard," Crow but declined to comment on the Indian operators testing the new technology.

Arunachal in China on ministry site


Google maps showing Arunachal Pradesh in China were used in an environment impact assessment (EIA) report an Indian PSU produced for a mega private sector dam. The report - including the map - was hosted on the official website of the Union environment ministry and stayed there for more than a month until an NGO in Arunachal filed a police complaint on December 5. The ministry has not approved the project yet.
The blunder, allegedly in a hurry to clear a contentious 2,700-megawatt dam awarded to Jaypee Arunachal Power Limited (JAPL), surfaced around the time New Delhi and Beijing were at odds over Beijing issuing stapled visas to J&K residents and claiming Arunachal as its territory.
JAPL, a subsidiary of the Jaypee Group, last year entrusted the downstream impact assessment study for its Lower Siang Hydro Electric Project to Water and Power Consultant Services (Wapcos), a PSU under the Union water resources ministry.
The Wapcos report was put on the website to elicit public response, as is the practice.
"The environment ministry subsequently trashed the EIA, but New Delhi has to treat the Google map issue as more than a fiasco. It is treason of the highest order, besides being an insult to the people of our state," said Vijay Taram, spokesperson for the NGO Forum for Siang Dialogue (FSD) that filed the police complaint.
An environment ministry official, who did not want to be named, said such errors by consultants have become frequent and corrective measures are being taken.
"We have asked consultants to take accreditation from a government body," the official said.
The FSD has shot off letters to the President, Prime Minister and relevant Union ministries apart from local authorities seeking punitive action against those responsible.
Locals have also sought scrapping of the dam, which is expected to displace at least 5,000 tribals.
"We are looking into the pros and cons of the issue," said East Siang deputy commissioner Onit Panyang

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Apple iPad coming to India on Jan 28?


New Delhi: The Apple iPad may be officially coming to India on January 28, according to a report in The Telegraph. Apple's bestselling tablet device is expected to be be priced between Rs 26,000-44,000 and will be sold only through Apple's Premium Retailers.
There is no official word yet from Apple or its associates regarding the India launch. Samsung and Dell have already launched their tablet devices in the Indian market.
Apple is the clear leader of the tablet makers, selling an estimated 13 million iPads since its launch in April, but a bevy of electronics makers including Motorola Mobility., Toshiba and Dell showed off theirnew tablets at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Technology research firm Gartner expects that 55 million tablet computers will be shipped this year.
apple ipad

NSCN positive on talks with Centre


Leaders of India’s longest running insurgency —National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) — on Sunday hinted at progress in the ongoing talks on the vexed Naga issue, saying they acknowledged the government’s “positive” attitude in finding a lasting solution. The NSCN (IM) has held on to a ceasefire agreement with the central government since August 1997. NSCN (IM) 
chairman Isak Chisi Swu said the rebel leadership was in the country at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for peace dialogue.
He said he hoped that the Centre would deliver on its promise that any agreement with the outfit would reflect the “unique history” and position of the Nagas.
“We are committed to an honourable, just and lasting solution,” Swu told a function organised to welcome his return to the country This time, he traveled on an Indian passport.
The Naga leader said he welcomed the government’s positive attitude towards the ongoing talks between the group and the interlocutor RS Pandey.
At the same time, Swu also stressed on the need for reconciliation among the Naga people to bridge their differences. “I …hope that they (the government) will not miss the opportunity,” he said. NSCN (IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah — who has been holding talks with the interlocutor, RS Pandey, hoped the government would recognise the Naga identity and in bringing a lasting solution to the six decade-old insurgency problem in Nagaland.
At the last meeting, the NSCN-IM had proposed a federal relationship with the Indian Union with additional financial and legislative powers.
The Central government, on the other hand, offered financial package for socio-cultural development of Naga people.

Jail tourism on anvil


Kolkata: Many people have at most a foggy idea of how a jail looks like inside and unless someone commits a crime, there is no way of knowing. But no longer.
In two months from now they will be welcome inside jails as tourists, as for the first time in the country a tour will be conducted in the correctional homes in West Bengal.
The State Correctional Administration in collaboration with the Tourism Department is going to start a tour at the correctional homes of the states.
"We have got a go-ahead from the state government and the principal secretary of the Tourism Department, Raghavendra Singh, has promised all help enabling us to start the unique venture in two months from now," Additional Director-General(Prison) B D Sharma told PTI.
Sharma says the tour will be a two-way traffic. It will present ordinary people an idea of how a correctional home is run and the inmates, cut off from the outside world, will be able to interact with people.
"We need to generate awareness among masses that the prisoners or those undergoing trials are not a different set of people, but are only from amongst us," Sharma said.
The first correctional home to be thrown open to tourists is the Hooghly Correctional Home where famous revolutionary Bengali poet was imprisoned way back in 1922 during British rule.
Arrested in November 23, 1922, Nazrul was sentenced to a year's rigorous imprisonment in the jail for sedition.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

North East Shuttles to acquire 3 more aircraft for $7.5 mn

As a part of its efforts to enhance air connectivity in the country's North-East region, non-scheduled operator--North East Shuttles--plans to acquire three more aircraft this year at a cost of $7.5 million, a top company official said. The private operator currently provides air services across Assam, Manipur and Mizoram with three small aircraft.


"We are in talks with some aircraft manufacturers to acquire three new aircraft," North East Shuttles' Managing Director Capt Shoba K Mani said on the sidelines of the 6th North East Business Summit organised by the Indian Chambers of Commerce in Mumbai.
The company is also in discussions with aircraft makers for funding the acquisition of the three aircraft at a cost of $2.5 million each.
These aircraft would be used to commence new routes which are being worked out, Mani said.
Once the aircraft are inducted into the fleet, North East Shuttles will operate 150 more flights per month, the company official said, adding Dimapur, Dibrugarh and Leelabai (an airstrip in Assam and skirting Itanagar) are the new air bases which it was looking to operate flights from.
"We are also in advanced stages of negotiations with the Arunachal Government to operate air services from there," Mani said.
North East Shuttles currently operates 380 flights a month with two 18-seater Dornier 228 and one nine-seater Cessna Caravan aircraft, connecting Guwahati with Imphal and Aizawl, Silchar with Guwahati, Aizawl and Imphal and Imphal and Silchar.
Besides, the company also provides charter and medical emergency evauation services as well.

India's first implant injectible contraceptive


Mumbai: Another option for all women looking at family spacing or who just want to play it safe, there's something that promises to help you stay away from the tedious pill routine.
The matchstick size injectable implant, clinically tested by the ICMR over 6 years on 3000 healthy women , has proved to be 100 per cent efficient in warding off pregnancy for 3 years.
The contraceptive is a heavy dose of hormone progesterone, but medics claim, side-effects are minimal.

Dr Rekha Daver, HOD Gynecology, JJ Hospital, Mumbai says, "Scientists have done a research and now we have third generation Progesterone which have minimum side effects, hormones will always have a side effect, because you are taking in the body. But these progesterone are the safest, they have minimal side effects on our blood, cholesterol, coagulation."


At regular intervals this implant releases hormone progesterone in the body which acts as a preventive against pregnancy. Now the whole procedure takes five minutes. But there are some side-effects.


Dr Rekha Daver says, "Side effects range from Cycle change to weight gain, irregular spotting or bleeding, patient has to be cancelled for that."


The trial also found that the women got back to their regular fertility cycles at the end of the three-year period and were able to conceive.


Available in 18 countries worldwide, the injectable implant had over 550 cases of failure in the London trials.


But experts attribute that to an incorrect method of administration.


The Health Ministry plans to launch this radical method of contraception on a national scale. But consult your doctor to see what contraceptive method is best suited for you.

Jaipur Lit Fest: S Asia Lit prize to HM Naqvi


Jaipur: Karachi-based author HM Naqvi beat out stiff competition from five contenders to win the first DSC Literature Prize for South Asia for his debut novel 'Home Boy'.
The $50,000 award was instituted last year by infrastructure firm DSC, which is also the main sponsor of the Jaipur Literature Festival, and is aimed at honouring work of literature that deals with South Asia as a subject matter.
36-year-old Naqvi's 'Home Boy' is a story of three Pakistani men living in New York who find themselves at the centre of a charged atmosphere post 9/11.
"I started writing the book in 2003, and since 2003 to 2011 I was working very hard. Most of the time I would work till 6 in the morning. I was almost a destitute when I wrote Home Boy, it was lots of hard work," he said after being adjudged the winner.
Among the contenders for the prize were Amit Chadhuri's 'The Immortals', Musharraf Ali Farooqi's 'The Story of a Widow', Tania James' 'Atlas of Unknowns', Manju Kapur's 'The Immigrant' and Neel Mukherjee's 'A Life Apart'.
The award was instituted at the Jaipur Literature Festival last year and the shortlist of six books was announced in October.
DSC Director Manhad Narula, the brain behind the award, said he hoped it would have an impact on the scene of literature in South Asia as this was the first such prize honouring work on this subject.
"Some literature prizes tend to give more importance to the author rather than to his or her work. But I hope through this award we are able to ensure what matters is what the author is writing about," he said.
He said one of the measures that would go a long away in ensuring credibility to the award is the fact that it honours work on the subject of South Asia, be it by any author of any nationality.
"It’s about time South Asians have our own damn award," said an elated Naqvi.
Asked if he had to say something to his critics, the 36-year-old author said: "Mercifully in the US, in India as well as in Pakistan, my critics have been few. But all criticisms of Home Boy are valued. It is a debut novel and it has all the strengths and weaknesses of a debut novel."
The winner was decided by a jury chaired by Nilanjana S Roy, along with Lord Mathew Evans, Ian Jack, Amitava Kumar and Moni Mohsin.
Awarded for the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region, the prize is given to works published in English, and includes translations in English with a share of the award money also going to the translator.
Jury chairperson Nilanjana S Roy said the award had helped fill a blank space in the region.
"We are beginning to debate what exactly is Asian literature. The winner of this prize might not even be a South Asian," she said.
Jury member Ian Jack said the choice for the award was difficult and the jury was divided till the last moment.

Sukna case: pension cut for Lt Gen Rath

Lt Gen PK Rath, convicted in the Sukna land scam on Friday, will continue to hold his three-star rank, but will lose service seniority and take home the pension of a colonel when he retires in February next year. A military court on Saturday reduced Rath’s seniority by 15 years for the purpose of related stories Tribunal rejects Lt Gen Rath's plea in Sukna land scam case Sukna scam: Rath's 'open arrest' revoked Lt Gen Rath found guilty in Sukna land scam Army shame: Lt Gen Rath found guilty in Sukna scam fixing his pension and service seniority by 18 months, besides a severe reprimand.

Rath — the senior-most serving Indian Army officer to be convicted in a court martial — will get a pension of R48,000 a month compared to the Rs 58,000 a lieutenant general takes home. The General Court Martial, convened in Shillong on Friday, found Rath guilty of striking a deal with a realtor, Dilip Agarwal, for facilitating the transfer of 71 acres of land next to the Sukna military station in West Bengal. Rath was found guilty of issuing a no-objection certificate and illegally signing a memorandum of understanding with the realtor, keeping his superiors in the dark. But four charges of fraud against him could not be established. Rath was a former commander of the Sukna station in north Bengal. But a former judge advocate general — chief of the army’s legal branch — said on condition of anonymity: “Rath has been let off lightly. The offences he has been convicted for involve moral turpitude. He could have been dismissed.” Rath’s sentence will now have to be confirmed by the army chief and if the punishment is found inadequate, the court may be asked to review its decision. Rath’s conviction has also paved the way for former military secretary Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash’s court martial. A court of inquiry into the Sukna scam had indicted Prakash, too, in December 2009. Prakash was accused of furthering the interests of Agarwal and influencing Rath to swing the deal in the realtor's favour.



Ahead of the Republic Day Celebrations, a powerful bomb rocked Imphal east district, damaging at least 5 houses in Tirupati. No casualty has been reported… Manipur Commerce & Industry Minister Y. Irabot who is also the Local MLA has condemned the blast… 
A powerful blast went off on Friday night at around 9:45pm in Imphal East district in Tirupati, an area inhabited by the minority, non-local petty traders and hawkers, residing in Manipur, causing heavy damages to at least five houses. Miraculously, there was no human casualty.Soon after the blast, the local MLA of the area, Shri Y Irabot, the Commerce & Industry Minister rushed to the spot and consoled the traumatize people of Tirupati. The Minister condemned the cowardly act and did not rule a connection of the blast with the controversies over a proposed building of a local deity temple in place of an existing Hindu temple and said it a case of picking on soft target.This is the first violent incident in the run up to the Republic Day celebrations routinely boycotted by militants..militants operating in Manipur warn of violent activities to prevent the 26th January celebrations in the State.

Cong speaks Omar's words on BJP's R-Day plans

New Delhi: Backing the measures of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to deal with the march of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) youth wing to Srinagar, the Congress said on Saturday that the state administration was fully empowered to deal with the situation. "Whosoever from any quarter, irrespective of ideology, religion, or political affiliation, tries to create any ambiance of provocation, tension or antagonism in Jammu and Kashmir is doing a great disservice to the nation and deserves to be condemned unequivocally," party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said without specifically referring to the march. Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) activists have announced their plans to hoist the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Republic Day.

The Congress is sharing power with the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir.


After a high-level meeting presided over by Abdullah on Thursday, the state government said it had directed the civil and police authorities to ensure that all measures are taken to ensure that the law and order in the state is not disturbed in the run up to the Republic Day celebrations.


The BJP has planned a public meeting in Jammu January 25 to coincide with the march of its youth activists. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Graham Staines murder case: Chronology


Bhubaneswar: With the Supreme Court upholding the life term awarded by Orissa High Court to Dara Singh, convicted for murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons, one of the most sensitive cases of the previous century came to an end after 12 years.
Following is the chronology of events:
January 22, 1999: Staines and his two minor sons Philip and Timothy burnt to death by a crowd while asleep in their station wagon at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district of Orissa.
January 29, 1999: Government of India issues notification under Section 3 of Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 setting up a Judicial Commission of inquiry to be headed by Justice D P Wadhwa, Judge of the Supreme Court.
March 25, 1999: Notification of January 29, 1999 was amended by another notification and the time for submission of report by the Commission was extended to five months from two months.
March 26, 1999: Proceedings of the Commission begins.
March 1999: Case handed over to the CBI from the state Crime Branch of Police.
June 21, 1999: Wadhwa Commission of inquiry submits its report holding Dara Singh guilty of the crime.
June 22, 1999: CBI submits chargesheet against 18 persons in the case.
January, 31, 2000: Dara Singh arrested in a forest in Mayurbhanj district.
September 4, 2000: Charges framed against the accused persons.
March 1, 2001: Trial in the case begins in the district and sessions court, Khurda designated CBI court.
Feb 1, 2002: Mahendra Hembram, an accused says in the court that he is the culprit and others are innocent.
April 5, 2003: Accused Dayanidhi Patra says in court that he was present when Dara set fire to the vehicle.
August 18, 2003: Trial ends.
September 15, 2003: Court convicts Dara Singh and 12 others. Acquits Aniruddha Dandapat alias Andha Nayak for insufficient evidence.
September 22, 2003: Court awards death sentence to Dara Singh and life imprisonment to 12 others.
May 19, 2005: Orissa High Court sets aside death sentence to Dara Singh and commutes it to life imprisonment. HC, however, retains life imprisonment awarded to Mahendra Hembram, another accused, while acquitting 11 others.
Jan 21, 2011: The Supreme Court upholds life imprisonment for Dara Singh by the Orissa High Court and his accomplice Mahender Hembram.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NSCN on arms buying spree, building cadre

The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), has been accumulating a huge stockpile of sophisticated weapons as well as building their cadre strength since 1997 when the peace process started, intelligence sources have told HT. "In the last 13 years, NSCN-(IM) have more than trebled their weapon and cadre strength. It is the only Northeast insurgent outfit with more weapons than cadres," the official said.  The present strength is believed to be at least 5,000.The assertion is significant in the backdrop of the arrest and questioning of Anthony Shimray, head of NSCN-(IM)'s Alee company or the foreign affairs cell. The government says Shimray was in Kathmandu shopping for arms.Shimray, 49, now in the NIA's custody, is believed to have been arrested in Kathmandu airport on September 27 while purportedly on his way to New Delhi to participate in the ongoing talks. The government's version is that he was 'picked up' from the India-Nepal border.With the ongoing Chinese army's modernisation, a lot of discarded weapons are being stored in Shenyang, capital of the Liaoning Province.Intelligence sources say Chinese-origin weapons are being bought by Northeast-based insurgent groups in large numbers and are mainly sourced by the China Northern Industrial Corporation (also known as Norinco)."Another Bangkok-based representative of a white goods company is also involved," the source added."These companies sell arms only to sovereign nations and ask for an end-user certificate, which is furnished under the name of the Government of the People's Republic of Nagaland, the outfit's government-in-exile," the official said.Declining comment on the arms stockpiling, VS Atem, NSCN (IM) spokesperson told: "There is no doubt that the Naga movement being a peoples' movement has grown."

Bandh in Assam disrupts traffic to Meghalaya, Mizoram

Vehicular traffic to Meghalaya and Mizoram was affected and some trains were cancelled in response to a 36-hr bandh in Dima Hasao district and its adjoining Dimasa-inhabited areas of Karbi Anglong district in Assam. The bandh affected Dholai and Udarbond blocks of neighbouring Cachar district as Dimaraji volunteers put up blockades with tree logs and formed human barricades to stall vehicular traffic on national highways 44 and 54 linking the district with Meghalaya and Mizoram, official sources said.The police had to resort to mild lathi charge there to disperse protestors and restore traffic movement to the neighbouring states, they said.The bandh, which began at 5 am on Tuesday, was called by the Joint Action Committee of Dimaraji Movement for a Dimaraji state comprising Dima Hasao district (formerly North Cachar Hills) and some areas of Cachar, Nagaon and Karbi Anglong districts.Markets, shops, educational institutions, banks and most of the central and state government offices remained closed in the two districts, the sources said.The bandh also affected the movement of trains with the Northeast Frontier Railway cancelling today a number of local passengers trains, besides delaying the Guwahati-Delhi Rajdhani by nearly 6:30 hours.

Mobile phone cos fear losing 60% NE users

The department of telecom (DoT) deadline for re-verification of prepaid users in the Northeast expired Wednesday amid chaos that cemented the fears of cellular service providers losing at least 60% of their subscribers in the region. BSNL and private players such as Airtel, Bharti Aircel, Vodafone Essar, Reliance Communication, Tata Teleservices and Idea had begun the re-verification process following a DoT directive on October 20 last year. The job was entrusted to some 50,000 franchisees and retail outlets across the eight states.“We had almost completed the re-verification process within the earlier deadline of December 31 when the telecom ministry issued a fresh directive about acceptability of documents as per guidelines applicable in Jammu and Kashmir,” said a top executive of a leading private cellular service provider.As per the revised notification, only copies of passport, driving licence, pan card, arms licence, pass book of post offices or banks together would be acceptable along with photograph. The documents de-recognized were certificates issued by gram panchayats, caste and domicile certificates issued by governments in the Northeast and voter I-card with hologram issued in the region before 2008.Voters in Assam have not been issued I-cards after 2008. In the other seven states, such cards have either not been provided or issued without hologram.“Our rural subscribers and daily-wagers are hardest hit by the new guidelines since they either have pre-2008 voters ID or papers issued by panchayat authorities. For students, only certificates issued by government educational institutions will be accepted. This has deprived thousands of students studying in private institutions away from home,” said a BSNL officer.Mizoram-based Lalbiakliana, 19, studying in a private college in Guwahati, has already reconciled himself to life without mobile outside his native state. “I am sick of all one re-verification after another,” he said.According to the mobile phone companies, at least 60% of 16.5 million users in the Northeast will lose their connectivity because of the “ridiculous” revised directive. “The terrain and manpower constraints in the region were not taken into consideration when the last directive was issued extending the deadline to January 19. We can’t get our customers back if we aren’t given time until July,” a franchisee head said.Home ministry officials said the directive was necessary as the region “is influx and militancy-prone”. Besides, rebels and terrorists “have been easily getting multiple mobile phone connections” with ease.Civil and consumer rights activists pooh-poohed this argument. “The Northeast today is more peaceful than most of India including the Maoist belt. Equating us with Jammu and Kashmir is an insult and gross injustice to our peace-loving people,” said consumer rights activist Deven Dutta.He also flayed New Delhi for the DoT decision to consider the re-verification process as an experiment for six months. “Are we guinea pigs that need to be experimented upon?” he said.Others said New Delhi should have removed certain restrictions along with seeking re-verification. These include allowing roaming facility for prepaid users of the Northeast elsewhere in India and vice versa. As of now, prepaid users in the Northeast are barred from availing roaming facilities. Likewise, prepaid users elsewhere in the country cannot operate their handsets during visits to the Northeast.

Friday, January 14, 2011


The much-anticipated reshuffling of the Congress-led SPF Govt of Manipur has finally been affected. Other than the Chief Minister himself and his deputy, the senior most Congress legislator Th. Devendra Singh, the rest of the 10 cabinet ministers in the Congress-CPI coalition SPF Govt had their portfolios reshuffled. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi continues to hold the DP, Home, Finances and MAHUD while Deputy CM, Th. Devendra Singh’s portfolio of Revenue, Forest & Environment and Law & Legislature remain unchanged. CPI Legislator, Ph. Parijat Singh who held the Health & Family Welfare, CADA and Labor & Employment will now hold Power, Horticulture & Soil Conservation and Tribal Development. Commercial & Industry and FCS & Corporation Minister, Y Irabot Singh is one of the worst affected by the reshuffled. Irabot is given the least important Printing & Stationary and Sericulture. Education Minister L Jayanta who also held the Sericulture and Transport will now hold Health and Family Welfare and Corporation. SPF Spokesperson, N Biren has been rewarded an additional portfolio of FCS besides his previous charge of IFCD and Youth Affairs & Sports. The only Naga Minister in the SPF govt was relieved of his previous portfolios and given the important charge of Education and Science & Technology. In a minor reshuffle, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has reallocated some portfolios in his Secular Progressive Front ministry.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

RBI starts investigating the Citibank scam


New Delhi: The Reserve Bank is investigating the Rs 300 crore fraud in Citibank's Gurgaon branch, which saw diversion of depositors funds in stock markets.
"RBI is investing the matter (Citi Bank fraud)," a key Reserve Bank source said.
The fraud at the Citibank's Gurgaon branch, involving diversion of depositors money into the stock market, was uncovered last week.
Several high networth individuals (HNIs), including promoters of Hero Group, were lured by Citibank's Relationship Manager Shivraj Puri, the main accused in the scam, into investing funds on promise of high returns.
Victims of the fraud have complained to the police that their securities were encashed without their knowledge.
Sanjeev Aggarwal, managing director of Helion Advisors, had on Tuesday filed an FIR with the local police, alleging he was cheated of his life's savings of Rs 32.43 crore in the fraud.
Besides senior officials of the bank, Aggarwal named Indian-born global CEO of the Citibank Vikram Pandit and Chairman William R Rhodes in the FIR that alleged criminal breach of trust, falsification of accounts, cheating and
criminal conspiracy by the bank officials.
Citibank, however, dismissed allegations of involvement of its senior executives in the fraud.
The local police on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of questioning Citibank's global CEO Vikram Pandit and other top honchos in connection with the scam.

Citibank fraud not a one-man show: petitioner


New Delhi: The petitioner in Citibank fraud case Sanjeev Aggarwal on Wednesday slammed Citibank, saying the multi-national bank should own up for whatever has gone wrong.
He said that he had sent many queries regarding unauthorised inflows in his account, but none of them were answered. Aggarwal said, "I came to know about this a month back, when we got a very cryptic call from Citibank officials, stating that there is a problem in Shivraj's account. Ever since, we have been in talks with them. Eventually, it led to my filing the FIR."
Stating that the fraud cannot be a one man show, he said, "Shivraj Puri was introduced to me three years back and has been managing our account since then. The problems started one year back. Shivraj Puri alone can't do such a huge fraud, others must be involved."

Aggarwal also stated that for the last one year, Puri was the only person from Citibank who visited them. He said, "That is the biggest surprise that when an account is depleting in Citibank's books, normally one would expect that multiple people would show up. Earlier, it did happen but in the last one year, he was the only one coming to see us."


Claiming to have lost Rs 33 crore in the Citibank fraud, Aggarwal said, "We have not been shown any SEBI document, it was a wealth management account." Aggarwal added that if Citibank doesn't agree with it, the police will decide on it.