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19044In standing up for dissidents on Kashmir, we stand up for liberal values and fre

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  • palashc b
    Oct 27, 2010
      In standing up for dissidents on Kashmir, we stand up for liberal values and free speech for all Indians. We oppose Geelani's Islamism, but we defend his right to ask for a plebiscite.

      India signs CSC on nuclear damages as Hindutva Forces want Arundhati`s head Since She Voices AZADI for Persecyted Kashmir Halley, the Aboriginal Humanscape in the Himalayas!Defaulter Geelani asked to pay Rs 1.73 crore as IT dues!J&K interlocutors hint at accommodating 'Azaadi' debate!

      India-US may ink shale gas tech pact during Obama's visit!Obama telephones Zardari, discusses steps to tackle terrorism!

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      Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time - FIVE Hundred Fifteen

      Palash Biswas

      http://indianholocaustmyfatherslifeandtime.blogspot.com/


      http://basantipurtimes.blogspot.com/


      India signs CSC on nuclear damages as Hindutva Forces want Arundhati`s head Since She Voices AZADI for Persecyted Kashmir Halley, the Aboriginal Humanscape in the Himalayas!Obama telephones Zardari, discusses steps to tackle terrorism!In a significant step which will enable it to do nuclear commerce, India today signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), which sets parameters on a nuclear operator''s financial liability, at the IAEA in Vienna. The Indian move is seen as an effort towards allaying concerns of American companies on account of the newly-enacted Nuclear Liability law by Parliament.

      "We can confirm that the Indian government has signed the CSC this morning," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) press officials told PTI from Vienna. The international convention provides for compensation in case of trans-national implications of a nuclear accident and has been signed by 14 countries, including India.

      However, only four countries-- the US, Argentina, Morocco and Romania have ratified the Convention so far. Upon entry into force, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage would establish a uniform global legal regime for compensation to victims in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident.

      No FII inflow cap, but Re checks possible!The Elite Kayastha Brahmin, the Economic ethnic cleansing Gestapo head, Pranab Mukherjee has calrified indicating to promote on the Bubble Economy of shining Sensex of FIIs and FDI, Infinite Foreign capital Inflow!

      But undermining the Sovereignty of the Nation and Pushing for so called Economic reforms resultant in Corporate War, AFSPA,Military Option, continuous holocaust and EXODUS and playing in the hands of LPG Mafia and MNCs is considered as Patriotism while any Voice reflecting the Excluded, Persecuted communities, Identities and Nationalities has to be branded as SEDITION as the Zionist, Fascist, Imperialist, Corporate Global Manusmriti Rule of Exclusion, Apartheid, Injustice, Inequality,Ethnic Cleansingand Mass Destruction depend so much so on the Laureates, Knights!

      In standing up for dissidents on Kashmir, we stand up for liberal values and free speech for all Indians. We oppose Geelani's Islamism, but we defend his right to ask for a plebiscite. While the so called mainstream Media is chasing the wrong Horse as Vinod Mehta terms the phenomenon and invokes Hind nationalism Aggressive, an edit published in Economic times sounds quite reasonable. Yes, in standing up for dissidents on Kashmir, we stand up for liberal values and free speech for all Indians. We oppose Geelani's Islamism, but we defend his right to ask for a plebiscite! As ET Edit pleads. I watched live debates on NDTV and Headlines Today anchored by none other than great great Barkha Dutt and Arnab respectively. The digressed the topic attacking Arundhati personally under the belt. i was not stunned to hear from person like Madhu Kishwar who hardly rises above her ethnic Identity. But Kashmiri Pundit Prespective in national electronic media rather helps Economc Ethnic Cleansing and boosts RSS branded Blind Nationalism diluting the People`s Voice in Turbulant Kashmir and elsewhere in India.
      Sedition complaint filed against Arundhati Roy in Punjab



      2010-10-27 22:10:00

      Chandigarh, Oct 27 (IANS) The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) has filed a complaint with Punjab police chief demanding registration of a sedition case against Booker Prize winner writer Arundhati Roy.
      The AIATF has raised objections over Arundhati's speech during a public meeting at Jalandhar in Punjab Oct 17.
      'This public meeting was organised by Democratic Front against Operation Green Hunt on Oct 17. Arundhati made inflammatory speeches aimed at disturbing the tranquillity of Punjab and to lead its people to subvert the government of India,' said an official spokesperson of the AIATF here Wednesday.
      He added: 'In her speech, Arundhati supported the naxalites (Maoists) and said that the battle waged by them is a necessity. She said that no one has the right to ask tribals and Maoists to be non-violent as every one had the right to choose the mode of protest against oppression.'
      According to the AIATF, which is headed by Maninderjit Singh Bitta, Arundhati named Manipur, Nagaland, Punjab, Kashmir and some other places where the army and police had been used to suppress armed struggles.
      Arundhati is already facing the heat over here recent controversial remarks on Kashmir earlier this month. On this issue, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded her arrest and said that the language used by her was objectionable and amounted to attack on the country's integrity.
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      Welcome, ET Edit!

      Ahead of his India visit, US President Barack Obama spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and discussed steps to address the "direct threat" posed by terrorist groups based in Pakistan.

      Obama made the telephone call to Zardari yesterday, during which the two leaders agreed that more needs to be done to address the threat posed by terrorists in Pakistan.

      The US President, who also discussed with Zardari the results of the third round of the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue here recently, telephoned his Pakistani counterpart days ahead of his maiden India visit.

      "Both President Obama and President Zardari acknowledged that more work needs to be done to address the direct threat to our countries posed by terrorist groups in Pakistan," the White House said in a statement.

      "They also agreed that the US and Pakistan have worked hard to build an atmosphere of trust and cooperation, and are committed to ongoing efforts to build a stronger, strategic and more collaborative US-Pakistan relationship," the statement said.

      Obama emphasised the US commitment and support for democracy and transparency in Pakistan, highlighting that the two countries share an interest in ensuring that democratic traditions in Pakistan are strengthened, the White House said.

      "He also acknowledged Pakistan's economic difficulties, and encouraged President Zardari to work to pass key economic reforms, such as tax reform and containing energy subsidies," the statement said.

      Obama concluded the call by conveying his intention to visit Pakistan in 2011 and personally welcomed Zardari to visit the US in the coming year.

      The White House said the call was made by Obama to consult Zardari on the progress made during the recent US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue and to reinforce America's commitment to partner Pakistan on economic, development and governance priorities.

      Moreover, J&K interlocutors hint at accommodating 'Azaadi' debate!

      SRINAGAR: The interlocutors appointed for J&K have suggested introducing amendments in the Constitution to accommodate the discussion on the "Azaadi option" for Kashmir.

      " India . constitution is a beautiful document and there is room for modification with changing times and we can even recommend for the amendments in the Constitution to accommodate the discussions on the Kashmir issue and to find the solution to the problem in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiris," Radha Kumar, one of the three interlocutors told reporters here at the end of a four-day visit to the Valley on Wednesday.

      Saying it is my personal belief, Radha Kumar said, the Constitution has been amended more than 400 times and there is no harm if it is modified further to make it more accommodative.

      Importantly, the Indian Constitution and the J&K constitution refer to the region as an integral part of India.

      The head of the three-member panel, Dileep Padgoankar while interacting with mediapersons also wished to take leaders of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on board to find the permanent solution to the Kashmir issue.

      "Yes we would like to visit PoK to talk to the leadership there to get their point of view on the issue .But there are parts in J&K which do not share the same view as the people in Kashmir valley," Dileep added.

      The panel: Dileep Padgoankar, M M Ansari and Radha Kumar, which would undertake visit to the state every month , at the end of present visit , is expected to recommend several measures to be taken by the centre to bring in more credibility to the appointment of interlocutors to diminish the trust deficit of the people in Kashmir.

      "We can even recommend the amendments in the Public Safety Act besides ask for release of political prisoners and even ask the centre to allow the peaceful protests in the valley in line with democratic temperament of the country," Dileep Padgoankar said.

      Dileep even questioned the logic for imposing section 144 CrPC against holding peaceful protests in the valley. "There is no need of imposing section 144 to quell the assembly of the people for peaceful demonstrations," he added.
      http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/JK-interlocutors-hint-at-accommodating-Azaadi-debate/articleshow/6822524.cms



      27 Oct, 2010, 01.02AM IST,ET Bureau
      In defence of free speech: Forget charges of sedition
      Liberal democracy and free speech are under threat. It is disgraceful that the police are considering arresting Arundhati Roy and SAS Geelani for sedition, following their speeches favouring azadi for Kashmiris. In a free society, charges of sedition are legitimate only in extreme cases, not whenever it is inconvenient. India promised a plebiscite in Kashmir at the time of accession. It later changed its position. But anyone demanding that India stick to its original promise cannot be called seditious. Geelani champions Kashmiris joining Pakistan, but a plebiscite can have no meaning if it does not include the right to canvass support for all possible outcomes. Thousands of agitating Kashmiris, the entire Hurriyat, and the vast majority of the population in the Kashmir valley favour azadi. Can the response be to jail them all? Can this possibly check Kashmiri alienation?

      The government claims Kashmir's accession to India is final, but all Indians need not agree. The official manifesto of the Swatantra Party (which merged in 1977 with the Janata Party) called for a plebiscite in Kashmir. Would the government like to jail, with retrospective effect, Swatantra stalwarts like C Rajagopalachari, south India's great freedom fighter and later free India's first Governor General? Many eminent journalists have repeatedly supported a plebiscite or some form of azadi for Kashmir. Dileep Padgaonkar, one of the three interlocutors appointed by the government on Kashmir, has said Pakistan has a role in Kashmir, a position that chauvinists have long denounced as seditious. Will he be jailed too? Arundhati Roy has simply repeated what eminent Indians have said earlier.

      Liberalism in India is in danger and all liberal voices need to speak out loudly. MF Husain and Taslima Nasreen were chased out of India. Rohinton Mistry's classic Such a Long Journey has been proscribed as a textbook. These are steps on the road to serfdom. In standing up for dissidents on Kashmir, we stand up for liberal values and free speech for all Indians. We oppose Geelani's Islamism, but we defend his right to ask for a plebiscite.

      http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Opinion/In-defence-of-free-speech-Forget-charges-of-sedition/articleshow/6818003.cms



      In an embarrasment for BJP, its Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani today opposed the party line by coming out in support of the Kashmir interlocutors , saying it is "childish and churlish" to accuse them of internationalising the issue.On the other hand, the BJP today demanded that the UPA government take the strongest possible action against writer activist Arundhati Roy for her "seditious" remarks on Kashmir and asked the Centre to spell out its policy vis-a-vis Kashmir and the separatists.

      Meanwhile,In a significant step which will enable it to do nuclear commerce, India on Wednesday signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), which sets parameters on a nuclear operator's financial liability, at the IAEA in Vienna.

      The Indian move is seen as an effort towards allaying concerns of American companies on account of the newly-enacted Nuclear Liability law by Parliament.

      "We can confirm that the Indian government has signed the CSC this morning," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) press officials told PTI from Vienna.

      The international convention provides for compensation in case of trans-national implications of a nuclear accident and has been signed by 14 countries, including India.

      However, only four countries-- the US, Argentina, Morocco and Romania have ratified the convention so far.

      Upon entry into force, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage would establish a uniform global legal regime for compensation to victims in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident.

      The CSC provides for establishment of an international fund to increase the amount available to compensate victims and allows for compensating civil damage occurring within a State's exclusive economic zone, including loss of tourism or fisheries related income.

      It also sets parameters on a nuclear operator´s financial liability, time limits governing possible legal action, requires that nuclear operators maintain insurance or other financial security measures and provides for a single competent court to hear claims.

      According to IAEA, all states are free to participate in the convention regardless of their involvement in existing nuclear liability conventions or the presence of nuclear installations on their territories.

      Adopted on 12 September 1997, the convention was opened for signature at the IAEA´s 41st general conference at Vienna that same month and is set to enter into force on the 90th day after date of ratification by at least five States who have a minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity.

      The government ruled out curbs on foreign portfolio investment into the equity market, but said the central bank may intervene in the forex market to check rupee appreciation that was hurting exports.

      "At this time, I am not thinking of putting any cap on FII (foreign institutional investment) inflows," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the annual economic editors conference.

      Mr Mukherjee's statement comes just ahead of the G-20 meeting in Korea where heads of the world's largest economies are expected to discuss allegations that some countries are keeping their currency low to spur exports.

      Mr Mukherjee acknowledged that the costly rupee hurt exports, but said RBI will take action if needed.

      "We have faced similar situations in the past and have overcome them without taking recourse to stringent policy measures," he said.

      The decline in September trade deficit to $9.1 billion from $13 billion in August has created room for the government to check inflows if needed without worrying about meeting the gap between exports and imports. The FII inflows in the current year has crossed $25 billion ($20 billion in equity and $5 billion in debt) in the current fiscal with $6.11 billion equity inflow coming in October itself. At this rate, inflows could cross the bumper $61.6 billion inflows seen in 2007-08, when the government was forced to take some tough measures. Currency analysts say the situation is far from alarming.

      "Capital controls are not required right now," said Sunil Sinha, head of research and senior economist at rating agency CRISIL .

      The current levels of capital inflows, which exceed financing requirements of the current account deficit, have put pressure on the rupee, resulting in its appreciation over the last few months, the finance minister said adding that current account deficit was likely to be 3% of India's gross domestic product. But if exports, which grew 23.2% in September, gain momentum, managing capital flows could become a challenge.

      The RBI has already expressed concerns over rising capital flows, which could further increase after further monetary tightening, which looks imperative in view of the sticky inflation.

      The rupee has gained 5.6% since early September due to sustained capital inflows, forcing the central bank to intervene in the forex market for the first time this fiscal year.

      The finance minister said there had been a revival in investment and private consumption demand even though economic growth is yet to attain the pre-2008 momentum.

      Mr Mukherjee said the economy would soon reach the 9% plus growth levels, but acknowledged that rising prices are a major concern.

      "I will try to bring it (inflation) down through whatever mechanism we have... It would be ideal if we have 4-5 %, but (that) may be difficult. I do feel that annualised inflation rate would be around 6%," the finance minister said.

      Inflation, which has become a big political issue, fell marginally to 8.6% in September. However, food inflation remained sticky at 15.53% for the week ended October 9.

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      Arundhati Roy defends remarks on Kashmir
      PTI
      Share · print · T+ <a href="http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article850684.ece?textsize=large&test=1" title="Large Text Size" >T+</a>  ·   <a href="http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article850684.ece?textsize=small&test=2" title="Small Text Size">T-</a>
      The HinduArundhati Roy at a seminar organised by Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) in Srinagar, on Sunday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
      Related
      NEWS
      Remarks made by Geelani, Roy unfortunate: Moily Centre not for filing charges against Arundhati, Geelani Kashmir was never integral part of India: Arundhati Congress asks Arundhati to retract remark on Kashmir Sedition case may be filed against Geelani, Arundhati 8 injured in clashes, curfew in Srinagar's old city
      TOPICS
      India Jammu and Kashmir
      crime, law and justice justice and rights
      politics
      Under attack over her statements on Kashmir, writer Arundhati Roy on Tuesday said she only spoke what "millions of people" in Kashmir have been saying everyday for years.
      "Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds," Ms. Roy said in a statement from Srinagar where she is on a visit.
      "Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free," she said.
      Her statement came against the backdrop of the government contemplating action against her and hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani under charges of sedition and seeking legal opinion in this regard.
      Ms. Roy has made two speeches in New Delhi and Srinagar in the past few days in which she sought independence for Kashmir from India.
      The writer said she has read in newspapers that she may be arrested on charges of sedition for her remarks supporting 'Azadi' for Kashmir. "I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I as well as other commentators have written and said for years.
      "Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice," she said.
      Keywords: Kashmir unrest, freedom of speech, sedition case
      http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article850684.ece

      No charges of sedition likely against Geelani, Roy

      President Obama's visit and the ongoing dialogue with Srinagar, makes the home ministry bury the hatchet on sedition controversy

      BY Iftikhar Gilani

      *
      Arundhati Roy




      NEW DELHI: Union home minister, P Chidambaram has finally put his foot down against filing cases of sedition against writer and activist, Arundhati Roy and Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for making "provocative" speeches at a seminar in the Capital last week. The minister has returned the file, from Delhi police, which sought permission to file cases against the two under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
      The government has also decided not to take any action against the organisers of the seminar, arguing that it was held after due police permission.
      Sources in the ministry told Tehelka that the decision was taken at the highest political level, as any action against the seminar and the speakers would have adversely affected the dialogue process with Srinagar, initiated recently by the government, with the help of its three interlocutors.



      *
      Syed Ali Shah Geelani




      Though any state police does not need permission of the home ministry to file a case of sedition, the Delhi Police, had forwarded the concerned file to the ministry, after consulting its legal cell, keeping in view the political fall-out of the case.
      Further, sources said the government did not want to embarrass itself on the eve of the forthcoming visit of US President Barrack Obama. The ministry also fears that action against Geelani and Roy could re-ignite stone-pelting protests in the Valley, at a time when the three newly- appointed interlocutors are touring the state. "That is the last thing we want in the run-up to US President Barack Obama's maiden India visit next week," a source said.
      Under section 124A of the IPC, 1860, anyone who provokes a feeling of hatred, contempt or disaffection towards a government established by law is punishable. The punishment can be anything between three years imprisonment and a life term along with fine.
      Though the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been gunning for Arundhati Roy and Geelani since the seminar, at least the writer has received support from various quarters. Social activist and member of Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC), Aruna Roy said, "Just the expression of an opinion without inciting people is not seditious. She has just talked and she has a right to her opinion just as much as anybody else," she said.
      Posted on October 27, 2010


      http://www.tehelka.com/story_main47.asp?filename=Ws271010No_charges.asp
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      Jethmalani has taken a position diametrically opposed to that of his party!

      Stating that interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar and his team's task of finding a "peaceful and lasting solution" to the Kashmir problem is "almost superhuman", Jethmalani said he "fervently" prayed for their success, despite having "serious misgivings".

      "Even if they achieve partial result the nation would owe them a debt of gratitude. Neither by acts nor by words we should add to their difficulties," he said.

      BJP had accused Padgaonkar of internationalising the Kashmir problem after he said a solution to the issue was not possible without involving Pakistan. The party had also questioned whether he was given the brief to make such statements by the Centre and sought a clarification from the Prime Minister's Office on the matter.

      Now, Jethmalani has taken a position diametrically opposed to that of his party.

      "It is childish and churlish to attack them for internalising the issue. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by his confabulations with President Pervez Musharraf and recently Foreign Minister S M Krishna confabulating with his counterpart Mr (Ahmad Shah) Qureshi were exactly doing that," Jethmalani said.

      "Dialogue with Pakistan is a compulsory legacy of the Shimla Agreement of 1972. We cannot wish it out of existence," he added.

      The eminent lawyer, known for his polemical stand on several issues, maintained that India should have more confidence in the "unchallengeable strength of our title deeds, both moral and legal".

      Jethmalani suggested that secular democracies should be asked to mediate on this issue as they would "unhesitatingly" accept India's case. "Talks with Pakistan alone so far have not yielded satisfactory results," he said.

      "I appeal to everyone to strengthen our three interlocutors," he added.

      "When there is an elected government in Kashmir as the result of free and fair elections, how can someone say the state is not an integral part of India? Its nothing but sedition," senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said.

      Addressing a press conference in Chennai, he said the country's unity and integrity cannot be allowed to be challenged in the name of freedom of expression and asserted that the crisis-hit state was an integral part of India.

      "Parliament had adopted a unanimous resolution that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Nobody is above the law, however big she or he may be. We demand the strongest possible action against Roy," Naidu said.

      Such incidents advocating separatism "should be nipped in the bud" he said and blamed the "inconsistent policies of the Congress-led UPA," for the present problems.

      "The BJP demands a clear-cut policy from UPA vis-a-vis Kashmir and the separatists," Naidu said, adding any inaction on the part of the government will embolden further separatist elements.

      To a query on BJP senior leader Ram Jethmalani supporting Kashmir interlocutors on their comments on Pakistan's role on the issue, Naidu said they were his "personal views and we (BJP) dont subscribe to it."

      26 Oct, 2010, 05.32PM IST,ET Bureau
      Disinvestment: Pranab says Govt won't disturb markets

      NEW DELHI: All set to garner over Rs 15,000 crore from Coal India IPO, the government on Tuesday made it clear that it does not like to over flood the market with PSU issues and sell shares at depressed prices.

      "My point on disinvestment is that we will not do anything to disturb the market. We will not like to have a situation where our shares will be sold under-priced," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Economic Editors' Conference here.

      He said the government would bring in more PSU issues as and when the market is in a position to accept. "We gave an indicative target as we have a given in our budget Rs 40,000 crore," Mukherjee said.

      The government has so far mopped up Rs 1,062 crore by divesting its stake in Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam , and Rs 960 crore through Engineers India FPO this fiscal. Besides, it is set to garner over Rs 15,000 crore from Coal India public issue which closed last week. Last fiscal, the government had raised Rs 23,553 crore through stake sale in Oil India, NMDC, REC and NTPC .

      In a background note to the conference, the Finance Ministry said the government is likely to dilute its stake in seven more companies this fiscal, including 10 per cent disinvestment in Indian Oil Corporation in January and later in SAIL in February, to meet the target of raising Rs 40,000 crore.

      The public issue of PowerGrid is expected in the second week of November and of Manganese Ore India Ltd towards the end of November.

      That would be followed by Shipping Corporation in the first week of December, while Hindustan Copper public subscription would open on the second week of December, according to the background note of Finance Ministry for the Economic Editors' Conference that began today. "The department of disinvestment is hopeful of achieving this (Rs 40,000 crore) number," it added.

      The new year will begin with the 20 per cent follow on offering (FPO) of IOC, followed by SAIL's disinvestment in February. "The follow-on public offering by way of disinvestment of 10 per cent of paid-up equity capital of the company (IOC) in conjunction with issue of fresh equity of equal size by the company is expected to open for public subscription in January 2011," the not said.

      The FPO by way of disinvestment of 5 per cent of paid up capital of SAIL in conjunction with issue of fresh equity of equal size of the company is expected to open for public subscription in February 2011. The stake sale in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India is also under consideration for the current financial year, 2010-11.


      40 yrs after encounter killing of Naxal leader, court finds ex-Kerala top cop guilty of murder!

      KOCHI: Forty years after the encounter killing of Naxal leader A Varghese in Kerala's Waynad forests, a court on Wednesday held he was brutally killed and convicted former IGP K Lakshamana of murder but acquitted another top retired police official.

      The theory of death of Varghese (43) in police encounter was an advance defence moulded as a pretext to commit the crime, said CBI special court judge S Vijay Kumar , as 74-year-old Lakshamana and 83-year-old wheelchair-bound ex- DGP P Vijayan heard the verdict with their family members.

      "... no more evidence is needed, it is proved beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that Varghese who was caught alive was brutally killed by the first accused (late CRPF constable Ramachandran Nair) who was a stooge of Lakshamana who on his order brought about his plan," he said.

      The quantum of sentence will be pronounced tomorrow. Vijayan, who was given the benefit of doubt, said he was happy with the verdict while Lakshamana was taken to the Ernakulam sub-jail. Vijayan was SP when the incident occurred.

      The case was resurrected a few years ago after Nair confessed in 1998 that he had shot Varghese at the behest of his superiors Vijayan and Lakshamana. Nair, who had said he made the confession to clear his conscience, died in 2006.

      Lakshamana was also an accused in the infamous Rajan murder case, relating to the death of the Calicut Regional engineering college student who disappeared after being taken into custody by police for suspected links with Naxalites on March 1, 1976 during the Emergency.

      Lakshamana was, however, later acquitted in the case. After the lifting of Emergency, Rajan's father T V Eachara Warrier fought a long legal battle and investigation following his habeas corpus petition in the Kerala High Court found that Rajan had perhaps died in police custody.

      Varghese was gunned downed by police in what they had then called as encounter in the Thiruvenlli forests on February 18, 1970. Judge Vijay Kumar said Nair had committed the murder on the command of Lakshmana, the second accused, who was then DySP.

      He convicted Lakshmana of the offence under under IPC section 302 (murder) read with section 34 (criminal act done by several persons with common intention).

      The judge said the statement of witnesses has established Lakshamana's presence on the spot of crime and his giving threatening instructions to Nair to kill Varghese.

      "Truth by its very nature does not yield to be kept hidden for ever. Truth which has been hither to hidden as covered by the glitter of golden plate, has by now, though belatedly, been discovered. Truth triumphs; Truth alone," the judge observed.

      "The offence of custodial murder, be it of an extremist, terrorist or Naxalite , in the hands of police whose duty is to produce him before a court for trial, does not get wiped off merely by efflux of time, be it decades... cannot be justified in a society like ours where a written Constitution as ours reigns," the court held.

      Available evidence in this case has withstood the test of time and has convincingly proved the complicity of Lakshamana. Equally the evidence is also not sufficient to prove the involvement of third accused, P Vijayan beyond reasonable doubt, the court held.

      CBI took over the case on a 1999 directive from the Kerala High Court after Varghese's brothers approached it citing Nair's confession.

      RBI may issue some banking licences this fiscal: Finance ministry
      The government today said it expects the Reserve Bank to issue banking licences to some new players this fiscal, with the likes of Reliance Capital , Tata Group and AV Birla Group aspiring to enter the sector.

      "RBI will issue banking licences in due course of time. We hope some of the licences will be issued this financial year," Financial Services Secretary R Gopalan told reporters here.

      RBI had, in August, brought out a discussion paper on giving out new banking licences to business houses and non-banking finance companies to increase competition in the sector, and to formulate regulations for it.

      The apex bank had said it may allow limited entrants, but was apprehensive about the independence and neutrality of banks controlled by industrial houses.

      Besides, it disfavoured the entry of non-banking financial institutions with realty interests, and sought public comments on the issue of entry of private players into the banking arena.

      Among the corporates which are aspiring for the licence are Reliance Capital, Tata Group, AV Birla Group and L&T. Also, NBFCs like Shriram Finance, LIC Housing, Mahindra Finance and IFCI are keen to start a bank.

      Earlier this month, the central bank met representatives from the India Inc, to get industry view on allowing new players in the banking segment.

      In a discussion paper titled, 'Entry of New Banks in Private Sector', the RBI also mooted the idea of bringing down the cap on foreign direct investment in banks to below 50 per cent from 74 per cent now.

      When asked about finance ministry's take on RBI's proposal to ask foreign banks to operate as fully-owned subsidiaries, Gopalan said the ministry would take a view once the central bank comes out with a paper.

      According to banking sources, the RBI may ask foreign banks which have attained a particular asset size to operate as fully-owned subsidiaries, rather than as branches.

      "RBI is coming out with a paper. When they come out we will know the various issues and address it," Gopalan said.

      Govt may go for disinvestment in 7 more companies this fiscal

      The government is likely to dilute its stake in 7 more companies this fiscal, including 10 per cent disinvestment in Indian Oil Corporation in January and SAIL's stake sale in February, to meet the target of raising Rs 40,000 crore.

      The public issue of PowerGrid is expected in the second week of November and of Manganese Ore India Ltd towards the end of November.

      That would be followed by Shipping Corporation in the first week of December, while Hindustan Copper public subscription would open on the second week of December, according to the background note of Finance Ministry for the Economic Editors' Conference that began today.

      "The department of disinvestment is hopeful of achieving this (Rs 40,000 crore) number," it added.

      The new year will begin with the 20 per cent follow on offering (FPO) of IOC in January, followed by SAIL's disinvestment in February.

      "The follow-on public offering by way of disinvestment of 10 per cent of paid-up equity capital of the company (IOC) in conjunction with issue of fresh equity of equal size by the company is expected to open for public subscription in January 2011," the not said.

      The FPO by way of disinvestment of 5 per cent of paid up capital of SAIL in conjunction with issue of fresh equity of equal size of the company is expected to open for public subscription in February 2011.

      The stake sale in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India is also under consideration for the current financial year, 2010-11.

      Aiming to raise Rs 40,000 crore through disinvestment this fiscal, the government has mopped up Rs 1,062 crore by divesting stake in Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, and Rs 960 crore through Engineers India FPO.

      Besides, it will raise over Rs 15,000 crore from Coal India public issue which closed last week.

      Last fiscal, it had raised Rs 23,553 crore through stake sale in Oil India, NMDC, REC and NTPC .

      The department of disinvestment is in talks with concerned ministries for finalising the quantum of divestment in PSUs like MMTC , Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, Power Finance Corporation , among others.

      Defaulter Geelani asked to pay Rs 1.73 crore as IT dues

      Income Tax department has asked hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to pay Rs 1.73 crore in tax dues over a period when he had not filed his returns after rejecting his appeal.

      The IT sleuths, who had swooped on residences of Geelani and his family members in 2002 and seized valuable items including a diamond-studded watch gifted by Pakistan Government, had raised a tax demand of over Rs 1.5 crore.

      Geelani challenged the demand and approached the Commissioner of Income Tax (appeals) for review of the case and also sought a waiver, saying he did not earn anything other than the pension from Government of Jammu and Kashmir and from agriculture land.

      The case dragged on for nearly three years and recently the appeal was dismissed after which he was asked to deposit Rs 1.73 crore as tax liabilities by the end of 2010.

      Geelani, who heads the breakaway faction of Hurriyat Conference, has still the option to go to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

      The Tax Department had raised the demand of Rs 1.73 crore against the firebrand Jamaat-e-Islami leader after giving him ample opportunities to furnish answers to a questionnaire about his sources of income.

      The questionnaire followed an assessment of Geelani's wealth by the department following a series of raids conducted at his house and other places in June 2002.

      The department had raided Geelani's house and other places of his kin on June 9, 2002 and seized Rs 10.2 lakh and 10,000 US dollars in cash, vouchers showing purchase of substantial amount of jewellery, a diamond-encrusted watch inscribed with "From Pakistan Government" besides documents pertaining to purchase of property and vehicles.

      Geelani had shown an annual income of Rs 17,100--Rs 7,100 as pension from the state Assembly as a former MLA and Rs 10,000 as agriculture income.

      However, according to the assessment made by the Income Tax Department, the monthly expenditure of Geelani allegedly ranged from Rs one lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh as he had 15 servants at his house and his wife had confirmed that she used to get Rs 25,000 per month for kitchen expenses.

      When asked to comment, Geelani said he had not received the notice as yet and would like to first understand the grounds of rejection before reacting.

      India-US may ink shale gas tech pact during Obama's visit

      India plans to sign an agreement with the US for cooperation in exploiting unconventional shale gas reserves during President Barack Obama's visit next month.

      "There have been some discussions... we hope to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during US President's visit," Oil Minister Murli Deora said at the Economic Editors Conference in New Delhi.

      India does not have technology to exploit shale gas, an unconventional gas trapped in sedimentary rocks and the US is a pioneer in the field.

      Oil Secretary S Sundareshan said New Delhi was looking at cooperation with the US in ascertaining shale gas resources base in the country and formulating a policy framework for beginning shale gas exploration.

      The agreement is expected to be signed with the US Geological Survey for knowledge-sharing in the area of shale gas.

      India is looking at launching first round of auction of shale gas bearing areas by end of 2011.

      India intends to see a boom in shale-gas exploration that has fuelled more than $39 billion acquisitions in the US by companies, including Reliance Industries .

      Obama is visiting Mumbai and New Delhi during November 6-8 to deepen ties with the world's second-fastest-growing major economy after China.

      Shale gas is trapped in geological shale formations and was previously very difficult to extract. But US firms have developed technologies to crack these tight rock formations, making output of the gas economical.

      Energy-hungry India, which is 75 per cent dependent on imported oil, hopes to replicate the success seen in the US with its own shale gas reserves.

      Shale gas deposits in India are expected in basins in western, central and northeastern parts of the country. Primarily, focus is on three basins -- Cambay (in Gujarat), Assam-Arakan (in the North-East) and Gondwana (in central India).


      US did not share information on Headley, asserts Pillai

      Home Secretary G.K. Pillai Wednesday said that India was disappointed that the US did not share information on Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley , now in US custody, for conspiracy in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks .

      "They did not share Headley's name. Had they done so, at least after the horrific Mumbai attacks, Headley could have been nabbed as he travelled to India in 2009 March," Pillai said in an interview to CNN-IBN.

      Asked about media reports that the US did not act even after one of Headley's wives tipped off anti-terror officials about his militant links, Pillai said: "You could say we were disappointed that the name of David Headley was not shared, if not pre-26/11 at least post-26/11, so that at least when he came subsequently to India at that time we could have nabbed him here."

      Pillai said the government is prepared for any eventuality during the four-day India visit of US President Barrack Obama starting Nov 6.

      He said the government does not have any intelligence report of any 26/11 type attack during Obama's visit.

      "But definitely, we do believe that the visit of the US president to India is, shall I say from the publicity point if view, large enough for people to try and create something, even if it's not in some place nearby where Obama would be there but could be somewhere else."

      "Therefore, we have to take all adequate precautions," the home secretary said.

      Pillai said the sharing of intelligence between India and the US has increased considerably.

      "We have also signed the counter-terrorism initiative...we are getting into new areas of cooperation, not just in intelligence but like training of our forensic scientists so that there is a better investigation of terrorism cases, also cooperation in many other aspects of terrorism," he added.

      Pillai said he did not see any impact of the US pressure on Pakistan reflected on the activities of militants in Kashmir.

      "Whatever they have...they have been putting some pressure, we really haven't seen any real action insofar as groups that are coming and creating trouble for us in Kashmir," he said.

      He said there was fear that incidents of killing of civilians like in Chittisinghpora in Kashmir on the eve of then president Bill Clinton's visit in 2000 would be repeated.

      "That's the type of fear we have that innocent civilians will be killed and the blame would then be put. Like last time, the entire blame was put on the Indian Army having conducted that and all indications are that the propaganda machinery would be out to do almost the same, and therefore we are being careful."

      The home secretary said, "Militants would like to try and see if they can have any spectacular incident which they could then get worldwide attention on that".

      "And we are taking whatever precautions we can to see that no innocent civilian lives are lost," Pillai said.

      V K Shunglu gets SC judge status to probe CWG mess

      Government has conferred the status of a Supreme Court judge on V K Shunglu , head of the two member high-level probe committee, to go into the alleged financial irregularities in the Commonwealth Games with greater authority.

      The order enhancing the status of Shunglu, a former Comptroller and Auditor General, was issued by the the Cabinet Secretary, which also provides for the member Shantanu Consul, to enjoy the status of Secretary to the Government of India.

      Consul, who retires this week end from the government as Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, will join the HLC as its member, after October 30.

      The committee will have the authority to summon officials, inspect records, call evidence and to look into all the official documents pertaining to the mega sporting event that came under sharp focus following allegations of massive corruptions.

      Sources said that the Shunglu panel has been given a "free hand" to decide its course of action including probe procedure, manpower requirements and appointments of advisers and counsels to further investigations.

      They said the Ministry of Sports has been asked to extend all possible support to the Committee, set up by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on October 15 to investigate the scam and submit its report within three months.

      The committee will examine the "weaknesses in management, alleged misappropriation, irregularities, wasteful expenditure and wrongdoing in the conduct of the Games and recommend action".

      It would also probe the issues relating to the effectiveness of the organisational structure and governance for organisation, preparation and conduct of the Games at all levels, including the Organising Committee and its key functional areas.

      The Committee will also probe the role of international or national advisors/consultants/officials of the Organising Committee in conducting the Games.

      The Shunglu panel will also consider any complaint from public, duly supported by documents, concerning the conduct of the Games.

      27 Oct, 2010, 08.11PM IST, Joe A Scaria,ET Bureau
      On Kashmir, US is caught between two friends: Cohen
      THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Pakistan and India may both be anxious about the US stand on Kashmir , particularly when the K-issue is on the boil again, but foreign policy expert Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institution, Washington DC feels the US in fact has no regional policy on Kashmir.

      "The US has no regional policy on Afghanistan or Kashmir", Cohen said here, pointing out that it was a matter to be solved by India and Pakistan, with the US having its own friendly links with either country.

      The US, he said, was concerned about two serious threats, namely the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Al Qaeda in Pakistan, and pointed out that had Pakistan not had nuclear capability, the matter would not have acquired such a dimension of importance.

      Speaking here ahead of US president Barack Obama's visit to the country, Cohen said India had some decades ago enjoyed the bipolarity of those days, "benefiting from Soviet weapons and US aid", and playing one against the other from time to time. He said India took on a bolder stand in the 1990s by showing nuclear defiance at a time when the big powers were pushing for non-proliferation.

      Explaining the warmth of relationship that Pakistan enjoyed with the US, Cohen said that on a larger perspective Pakistan being a moderate Islamic state lend itself to being an ally of the West, while India has been seen as an ally to the East as a balancer of a rising China. Taking a critical view of the US policy for the region, Cohen said the US was "unable or unwilling to have a coherent South Asia policy".

      In the backdrop of president Obama's visit, Cohen said there were many serious issues on which the two countries could collaborate, and that the US would be seeking to know whether India would be a global partner on issues like environment, terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

      Cohen, who has co-authored Arming without Aiming: India Modernizes its Military, said any weakening of the Pak state could pose strategic problems for the US, and that in some ways China was not seen as an inevitable threat, but also as a potential.

      The enlarged presence of Indians in the US and the increasing amount of bilateral business engagements between the two countries would make the relations between the two countries more vibrant, he said.

      India's 'Look East' policy has strategic goals

      Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's three-nation visit to Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam marks a reassertion of India's resolve to pursue its "Look East Policy" to achieve its strategic, geo-political and economic goals.

      The signing of a commitment to expand trade with Malaysia next week, a number of pacts with Vietnam and an understanding with Japan on nuclear energy are the highlights of his tour.

      That the Look East Policy - begun in the nineties under then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in whose government Manmohan Singh was the finance minister - has received priority is clear from Manmohan's decision not to visit New York<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)