MIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi attacked, condition critical

All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimmen (AIMIM) floor leader in Andhra Pradesh Assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi was critically wounded after being shot by a rival group while he was returning after a "padayayatra' in the Barkhas area today.

The attack led to severe tension in the old city area of Hyderabad city, police sources said.

Mr Owaisi, who was reportedly stabbed and shot at, was rushed in a critical condition to their family-owned Owaisi hospital in Chandrayanagutta, where an emergency operation was underway to remove the bullet from his stomach, the sources said.

Eyewitnesses said at least five to ten people on horses intercepted and attacked Akbaruddin while he was returning on his vehicle after completing the padayatra around 1130 hrs. The attackers pounced on him and stabbed him. In the melee, at lest five rounds were fired and Mr Owaisi slumped.

He was rushed to the hospital as he was profusely bleeding.

Sources said the assailants were led by one local rowdy sheeter who had a dispute over land with Mr Owaisi for the last three years on land.

Akbruddin is the younger brother of AIMIM President and MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

Heavy police deployment was made and all the police stations in the old city area were put on alert after the incident, police added.

Immediately after the incident, Majlis supporters were on the

streets and converged at the Owaisi Hospital in Chandrayanagutta

- the assembly constituency of Mr Akbaruddin.

The mob even barred Hyderabad Police Commissioner A K Khan for sometime before he could enter the hospital.

The AIMIM Malakpet MLA Mohammed Bhalal, who was also injured during

the attack on Akbaruddin, was also hospitalised.

Initial reports said six doctors performed the emergency operation

in the Owaisi Hospital. They were also considering shifting him

to a corporate hospital because of his critical condition.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed the situation with the Police Commissioner and Director General of Police K Aravinda Rao amid high tension in the old city area.

Reports were that the police intervened to stop Majlis supporters, who tried to attack passing vehicles in Kanchanbagh, Santosh Nagar and Chandrayangutta areas.

At least four people had been detained and the police were on the look out for the assailant.


IPL: Mumbai Indians crush Deccan Chargers by 37 runs

Mumbai Indians scored an emphatic 37-run victory over hosts Deccan Chargers in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium here today.

Chasing a difficult target of 173 runs, the hosts ran into trouble with Lankan medium pacer Lasit Malinga striking thrice and were restricted to 135 for the loss of eight wickets from their 20 overs.

Malinga first bowled opener Shikar Dhawan for 25 (22 balls, 5 fours), ran out Cameroon White (1) with an accurate direct throw, bowled skipper Kumar Sangakkara (34, 28 balls, 3 fours) and took a return catch of Ravi Teja (1) to bring the curtains down on the Deccan Chargers' run chase.

Barring Daniel Christian (21 runs, 18 balls, 1 four, 1 six) and Amit Mishra (25, 19 balls, 4 fours), the others fell cheaply today.

Earlier, put in to bat first, Mumbai Indians put up a challenging total of 172 for the loss of four wickets from their 20 overs, thanks to an unbeaten century stand between Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma.

Both the batsmen came together when Mumbai Indians were reeling at 70 for the loss of four wickets. They not only repaired the Mumbai innings but also consolidated it with their lusty hitting. Sharma was particularly harsh on Christian as he struck him thrice for sixes. He also hit five fours in his 34-ball stay to remain not out on 56. Symonds made an unbeaten 44 off 33 balls with four boundaries and a six off Dale Steyn.

Earlier, Tendulkar and Jacobs gave a flying start to Mumbai Indians before the latter was out at 47 in 5.1 overs. Ishant Sharma broke this stand by removing Jacobs with a short ball. The batsman came down hard and got a top edge that swirled past Pragyan Ojha at mid-on, who ran back to take a well-judged catch. Jacobs hit 32 runs with five boundaries and struck a straight six off Pragyan Ojha in his 20-ball stay.

Later, Tendulkar took charge, punishing the Deccan bowlers hard but disappointed the 36,600-strong crowd by falling to leggie Amit Mishra, who also removed the in-form Ambati Rayudu in the same over.

Mishra could not have asked for more than the prize wicket of Tendulkar, as the master blaster holed out to Steyn at long-on. Tendulkar made 28 off 24 balls with four hits to the fence.

After Rayudu left two balls later, Kieron Pollard was the next to go for a duck as he tried to sweep but ended up edging the ball to Sangakkara behind the stumps.


SC cancels bail of two more ex-officials of Satyam Computers

The Supreme Court today cancelled the bail application of Satyam Computers ex-official Subramani Gopala Krishnan.

A bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan also cancelled the bail of another accused who was allegedly involved in the Rs 14,000 crore scam.

The apex court today allowed the appeal of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the order of Andhra Pradesh High Court which had granted them bail.

The apex court had earlier dismissed the review petition filed by former Satyam Computers Chairman B Ramalingam Raju, his brother D Ramaraju, ex-MD of Satyam and three others challenging the orders cancelling their bail.

The accused persons are facing allegations of defrauding large number of investors of their hard earned money through manipulation and forgery of the accounts of the company to create a false impression among the investors that the company is financially sound while the real position was that it was in the red.


Deccan Chargers beat Royal Challengers by 33 runs

Deccan Chargers logo
Deccan Chargers logo

Deccan Chargers defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 33 runs to break the home ground jinx and register their first win in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here tonight.

Put in to bat, Chargers scored 175 runs for the loss of five wickets in their stipulated 20 overs and then restricted Royal Challengers to 142 runs for 9 wickets in their 20 overs to win their first match in the fourth season of IPL.

Chasing 176 runs for victory, RCB were never on target as they kept losing wickets constantly. Tilakratne Dilshan was first to go for just seven runs, as he edged Ishant Sharma and Sangakkara behind the stumps made no mistake.

Then Steyn bowled Zaheer Khan (0) on a full toss delivery. Mayank Agarwal was next to go as Manpreet Gony, Amit Mishra combination scalped his wicket, putting RCB in to real trouble.

Real trouble came when AB De Villiers edged Gony to Sangakkara behind the stumps. RCB lost four big wickets for just 29 runs.

At this juncture Sourabh Tiwary and Virat Kohli tried to repair the RCB innings, but the former too fell when RCB's score read only 56.

Kohli made a valiant and fluent 71 with the help of five boundaries and three sixes, but the effort was in vain.

Earlier, three crucial partnerships helped Chargers consolidate their innings with, skipper Sangakkara (36) adding 50 runs for the second wicket in the company of opener Sunny Sohal (38) and 43 runs for the third wicket with Bharat Chipli.

Later Chipli and Duminy added 55 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter fell.

Hosts Deccan Chargers made couple of changes, replacing left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha with medium pacer Manpreet Gony and opener Ishank Jaggi with Punjab opener Sunny Sohel.

RCB made three changes, replacing injured fast bowler Dirk Nannes with South African all-rounder Johan van der Wath. Abhimanyu Mithun and Azad Pathan were also kept out of the playing eleven. In their place, S Aravind and Ryan Ninan came in.


Former champs Rajasthan Royals beat Deccan Chargers by 8 wickets

Rajasthan Royals logo
Rajasthan Royals logo

Former champions Rajasthan Royals scored an emphatic 8-wicket victory over hosts Deccan Chargers in their opening Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium here today.

After restricting Deccan Chargers to 137 for the loss of eight wickets, the Royals romped home with seven balls to spare, making 141 for two in 18.5 overs.

Rajasthan openers Paunikar and Rahul Dravid put up 31 runs for the first wicket. Paunikar edged a short delivery off Dale Steyn to Sanghakkara behind the stumps. Paunikar made 20 off 19 balls with four hits to the fence. But a determined Dravid steadied Rajasthan innings with Johan Botha, adding 52 runs for the second wicket, before he fell for 28 off 35 balls with two boundaries.

Later Botha and the big hitting Kiwi all rounder Ross Taylor saw Rajasthan Royals winning their first encounter of the season without much difficulty. Botha remained not out on 67 off just 47 balls that included a six and eight hits to the fence. Taylor remained not out on 21 with two sixes and a four.

Put in to bat first, Deccan Chargers got off to a good start with Shikhar Dhawan and I R Jaggi hitting Rajasthan Royals medium-pacers

J P Oram and Amit Singh all over. Dhawan was deceived with a slower one by Amit Singh as he dragged it from out side off stump to mid wicket where Raut took an easy catch.


L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited achieves financial closure

L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) incorporated to implement the Hyderabad Metro Project, today said it had achieved financial closure for the project.

The financial closure has been achieved in a record time of 6 months and is the largest fund tie-up in India for a public private partnership (PPP) project, a press release from Larsen & Toubro (L&T) said.

The release said a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) had sanctioned the entire debt requirement of Rs 11,480 crore for the project. The equity component for the project, expected to be around Rs 3440 crore, would be infused primarily by the L&T Group.

The project will get a viability gap grant of Rs 1458 crore from the Central Government through the Government of Andhra Pradesh, it said.

A total of ten banks have participated in the funding for the project, including Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and Syndicate Bank.

The Hyderabad Metro Project was announced by the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) on PPP mode under the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis and the bidding process was as per the guidelines specified by the Government of India (Ministry of Urban Development, Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance), the release said.

L&T emerged the lowest bidder in the face of stiff competition (the bid winning criteria was Minimum Grant quoted by the bidder) and signed the Concession Agreement through its SPV, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, with the Government of Andhra Pradesh on September 4, 2010.

According to the release, L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited has already submitted a Performance Guarantee for Rs 360 crore to GoAP underlying its clear intent to execute the project in the stipulated time frame. As per the Provisions of Concession Agreement, construction will have to be completed in 5 years. The concession period for the project is 35 years (including 5 years of construction period) and is extendable by an additional 25 years.

The project involves the construction of 71.16 km of elevated metro rail in three corridors criss-crossing the city of Hyderabad. Elevated metro stations would be located along the route at roughly every 1 km distance with passenger access through staircases, escalators and lifts.

The project will be integrated with the exiting suburban railway network (MMTS) and bus stops so as to ensure seamless and comfortable travel for passengers. Adequate parking and circulation areas adjoining the stations will be provided at 25 locations along the corridor.

The project allows the right to develop 18.5 million sq.ft. of Transit Oriented Development. Once implemented, Hyderabad will probably be the first city in India with integrated urban planning with inter modal connectivity and convenient sky-walks making seamless commuting a reality, the release said.

Hyderabad's population is currently estimated at around 9 million and the city has about 28 lakh registered vehicles. The metro rail project is expected to make commuting more comfortable, less time-consuming and safer than the present road-based systems. It is also expected to trigger economic activities in and around the city and provide employment to about 50,000 people, including 1200 to 1500 technical professionals during construction.

According to the release, pre-construction works for the project has already commenced. Soil testing and topographical surveys have been completed in most locations along the alignment and conceptual engineering is nearing completion.

Conceptual engineering is being undertaken by AECOM-Feedback Venture consortium.

The alignment of the corridors of the project is being finalised in a manner that the heritage structures of the city are least affected, the release said.

Louis Berger Consulting Pvt. Ltd., a major US-based consultancy company with wide experience in the metro rail sector, has been appointed by GoAP through Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited as the Independent Engineer for the project.

L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited is a subsidiary of L&T Infrastructure Development Projects, an Infrastructure Development arm of the $ 9.8 billion engineering and construction giant L&T.


Satyam scam: Ramalinga Raju knocks on SC door for bail

Former Satyam Computers chairman B Ramalinga Raju, the man at the centre of the biggest fraud in Indian corporate history, has moved the Supreme Court for bail.

Besides Raju, three others -- former Managing Director B Rama Raju, D Venkatapathy Raju and Srisailam -- approached the apex court for seeking review of its order cancelling their bail.

The four are presently in jail for their alleged involvement in the Rs 14,000 crore corporate scam.

A bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma will decide the review petitions on March 29.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had granted them bail last year on the ground that the trial would take long to conclude.

The CBI challenged the bail order in the apex court and it had cancelled their bail and presently all of them are in jail.

The four are facing allegations of forging and manipulating the accounts in the erstwhile Satyam Computers, to create a false impression among the investors that the financial condition of the company was excellent while the truth was that it was in the red.

Ramalinga Raju allegedly diverted the company's funds to his son's company and a large number of investors were defrauded of their hard earned money.

Ramalinga Raju has been in a hospital for over nine months and avoided interrogation by the CBI.

The apex court accepted the CBI contention that a free and fair trial was not possible if the accused remained on bail. The possibility of the accused tampering with the evidence and pressurising the prosecution witnesses could not be ruled out in view of tremendous political and money power enjoyed by them, it had said.

The petitioners contended that almost all the material witnesses had been examined and no purpose would be served by keeping them behind the bars. More than six months had passed and trial had not commenced as was promised by the CBI earlier, they said.


Mahindra Satyam wins multi-million dollar contract from Qatar

IT services provider Mahindra Satyam said here today it had won a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract from Aspire Zone Foundation, Qatar, a leading sports institute with state-of-the-art academic, sports science and sports facilities.

A press release from the company said it would provide the institute with onsite and offshore support on various application development and infrastructure services projects.

It said Aspire Zone would also utilise Mahindra Satyam’s expertise in event and venue management technologies as part of its ambitious sports event and venue management solution roadmap.

"Mahindra Satyam brings a lot of value to Aspire due to their partnership with FIFA and their involvement within the World Cup 2010 held in South Africa. Their know-how and experience in providing the technology in managing large scale events such as the World Cup is definitely of high strategic value towards Aspire's dream in becoming the leader within the global sports arena", Mr Hilal Al-Kuwari, the President of Aspire Zone Foundation, said.

"With a leading edge in sports solution experience and competency, end to end application and infrastructure services, Mahindra Satyam’s support for the entire Aspire Zone will be of great value in achieving our goal in becoming a leader as a sports technology provider from Qatar," he said.

The release said Mr C P Gurnani, CEO, Mahindra Satyam visited Mr al- Kuwari, President, Aspire Zone to discuss areas of mutual interest and opportunities for collaboration in the sports technology domain.

Mahindra Satyam is also currently engaged with Aspire Zone Foundation in providing application and infrastructure support services based on a time and material contract.

"The partnership between Mahindra Satyam and Aspire highlights a strategic alliance that will help position Qatar as a global hub of excellence in sports — from training athletes to holding international events. Mahindra Satyam will be bringing in its leadership in global outsourcing and IT services to help Aspire come one step closer towards its goal of promoting itself as a leading sport’s institute and destination - showcasing its abilities to host or be responsible for other international sporting events in the future," Mr Gurnani said.


Train services hit in various districts of Telangana region

Train services connecting the north with the southern states were badly affected and hundreds of pro-Telangana activists were arrested at various places following the rail blockade agitation called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) today.

However, anticipating trouble during the 12-hour blockade, the South Central Railway (SCR) had already cancelled several train services and MMTS trains completely for the day.

Several Telangana activists led by Telangana Jagruthi President Kavitha sat on railway tracks at Bibinagar in Nagalgonda district and blocked the movement of goods trains while TJAC chairman Kodandaram along with hundreds of Telangana activists squatted on the tracks at Ghateshwar on the outskirts of city.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) MLA Harish Rao along with scores of pro-Telangana activists sat on the railway track at Zaheerabad in Medak district while TRS MLA K Ramama, son of TRS President K Chandrasekhara Rao, along with several activists squatted on the track at Adilabad district as part of their "Chalo railway track" agitation.

Telangana TDP leaders led by Nagam Janardhana Reddy observed "rail roko" at Secunderabad where railway police arrested several activists under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

According to reports, hundreds of pro-Telangana activists were arrested in various Telangana districts while either blocking railway tracks or detaining the trains coming from various places early today.

Meanwhile, as the SCR has announced suspension of operation of all MMTS, suburban and local trains, the Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is operating 250 additional buses to meet the rush for the city services and also running long distance services to shift railway passengers at various places in Telangana districts, where trains have been either diverted or cancelled due to blockade of tracks by pro-Telangana agitators.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Secunderabad and Hyderabad railway stations and the railway authorties were arranging alternative transport system to shift passengers to their destinations.

There was no report of any untoward incident in the Telangana districts, police sources said.


Telengana JAC calls for "Rail Roko" on March 1

Intensifying their agitation, the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) today gave a call for a "Rail Roko" agitation in Telangana region on March 1 to mount pressure on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the centre on their demand for a separate state of Telangana.

Talking to reporters here, TJAC Chairman Kodanda Ram said the programme called "Palle Palle Pattalu" would be held for about 24 hours in which trains passing through the Telangana region would be stopped at different points.

He said campaign "yatras" would be conducted at the District and Mandal levels and the programme would be held "aggressively on the lines of the agitation held in Tahrir Square in Cairo to oust Egypt's President".

Prof Kodanda Ram also claimed the Telangana JAC and people had hailed the stand taken by the Telangana Employees JAC who announced that their non-cooperation agitation would be continued and for stating that they would go on an indefinite strike after March 5 on the Telangana issue.

As a mark of solidarity with the agitating government employees, rallies were taken out by the pro-Telangana activists today and they would continue tomorrow also.

The organisations and party leaders should take part in the rallies and welcome them by giving roses to the employees when they meet them, he said.

When a reporter asked him to clarify whether the "Challo Hyderabad" call given by the Steering Committee of JAC in March second week would be a success, he said "yes". It would be a success with the participation of lakhs of people, he said.

"However, we are concentrating on 'Rail Roko' programme as of now," he asserted.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) Floor Leader in the Assembly Eetala Rajender, talking to reporters at a press conference at the Telangana Bhavan, said the government employees, "right from attenders to IAS Officers", were participating in the non-cooperation agitation.

Appreciating their support to the cause of Telangana, Mr Rajender said the IAS officers were not involved in any of the agitations held earlier.

He said Telangana leaders and activists would burn the effigies of party MLAs and MPs from the region who did not support the statehood demand.

He called upon the villagers, who were residing near Railway lines in the Telangana region, to participate in the Rail Roko Programme on March 1 by not taking up the agricultural work.

Lakhs of TRS workers would sit on the railway tracks and block the movement of trains in all the districts in Telangana region, he added.


Telangana: Protests disrupt Lok Sabha; lead to suspension of MLAs in Assembly

The demand for a separate state of Telangana today led to repeated disruptions of Lok Sabha and suspension of 12 MLAs in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly where members from the Telangana districts tried to stall the proceedings for the fourth day even as the region observed shutdown for the second day today.

Even as members of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and Congress caused adjournment of Lok Sabha for three times till afternoon, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj made a strong pitch for carving out the new state from Andhra Pradesh.

She urged the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to bring a legislation for the purpose in the current budget session of the House.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present when she made the demand and through the noisy scenes which forced presiding officers, including Speaker Meira Kumar, to order adjournment of the People's House for three times.

In Hyderabad, 12 Telangana legislators were suspended from the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for the day when they tried to stall the proceedings, demanding the house pass a resolution for the formation of a separate Telangana state.

The MLAs belonging to Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS)(7), Communist Party of India (CPI)(4) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)(1) tried to snatch the copy of the budget speech being read by Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy.

Deputy Speaker Nadendla Manohar announced their suspension after Legislative Affairs Minister Sridhar Babu moved a resolution.

Earlier, on February 18, the Deputy Speaker had suspended three legislators of TRS and two of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) for one week for their unruly behaviour during Governor E S L Narasimhan's address to the joint session of both houses a day earlier.

The proceedings in Lok Sabha were paralysed till afternoon as members from TRS, TDP and Congress vied with each other to raise the demand for a separate Telangana state.

The House witnessed three adjournments till 1400 hrs as TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao and his party colleague M Vijaya Shanthi repeatedly stormed the well to press their adjournment motion on the issue.

While several Congress members raised slogans like "Jai Telangana", TDP member from Adilabad, Ramesh Rathod, joined the TRS members in the well.

Ms Swaraj sought a statement from the Prime Minister that a Bill supporting the demand would be brought in the present session.

As the Chair M Thambidurai asked TRS members to take their seats as they would be given time to speak during Zero Hour, Ms Swaraj said it was rare that eleven members from the ruling Congress wanted a discussion and they were being silenced.

Also, Ms Vijaya Shanthi and Ms Chandrashekhar Rao, who have never come to the well of the House due to their disciplined stance, were today compelled to come, hence "the reason for their pain and anguish should be heard by the House", she said.

"The Telangana issue can be resolved immediately if the Prime Minister simply announces in the House that a Bill supporting the creation of Telangana would be brought in this session itself," she said.

She said the entire Telangana region was facing shutdown with four lakh people resorting to "pen down strike", students boycotting colleges and courts facing boycott by lawyers.

"While the entire region faces shut down, people were being fired at by rubber bullets...," she said.

Even as Congress members rose to oppose the BJP leader's support for TRS members, the Chair adjourned the House till 1200 noon amidst din and sloganeering by others.

Earlier in the day, the Lok Sabha was adjourned till 1130 hrs by Speaker Meira Kumar, minutes after the House convened at 1100 hrs, after TRS members along with eleven vociferous Congress members from Telangana region, rushed to the well of the House demanding a separate Telangana state.

Repeated requests by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Congress members for order in the House failed to make any impression, even as the Prime Minister sat in silence.

Outside Lok Sabha, the TRS chief said his party would disrupt proceedings of Lok Sabha till the time the Centre comes out with a time-frame for formation of separate Telangana state.

In Hyderabad, the 12 MLAs suspended for the day were TRS floor leader Eetala and his party members Rajender, Aravinda Reddy, K Eshwar, Odulu, Taraka Rama Rao, Ravinder, Vinay Bhaskar; Mallesh, Sambasiva Rao, V Sudhakar Rao and B Chandravathi (CPI), A Laxminarayana (BJP).

As they refused to leave the House after their suspension, they were evicted by marshals even as the Finance Minister continued with his budget speech.

Protesting against the suspension, BJP floor leader G Kishan Reddy walked out of the House, while MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owasi and leaders of CPI and CPI(M) strongly objected to the presence of marshals in the House.

The second day of the 48-hour Telangana "bandh" witnessed violence in Warangal district, while normal life was disrupted across the Telangana region in the state, including Hyderabad city.

Pro-Telangana agitators set two bogies of the Manuguru passenger train on fire at Intekanna railway station. However, no passenger suffered any injury.

In another incident, two state road transport corporation buses were damaged by the agitators by pelting stones at Rajendranagar in Hyderabad city. The Telangana express train was detained at Dornakal in Warangal district.

All business establishments and educational institutions remained closed and government and private buses largely remained off roads across Hyderabad and in other Telangana areas.

Barring Warangal, the situation was largely peaceful in all Telangana districts.

Activists of TRS, BJP, Telangana TDP forum and several pro-Telangana organisations took out rallies, blocked roads in towns across Telangana districts, including Adilabad, Warangal, Medak, Ranga Reddy and Karimnagar.

Essential services like hospitals, milk supply and pharmacies were, however, exempt from the bandh.


T-JAC "bandh" hits normal life in Telangana districts

Normal life in the state capital and other districts of the Telangana region was paralysed today on the opening day of the 48-hour strike called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) to press its demand for a separate state to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh

The "bandh" has been supported by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Telangana Praja Front and students.

Reports said the police arrested T-JAC Convener Prof Kodandaram and TRS legislator Harish Rao for taking out a procession along with Osmania University (OU) students.

Many private educational institutions, including professional colleges have already declared holidays while the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) and Osmania University have rescheduled a few examinations.

Business establishments, government and private offices and banks have been closed following the bandh call. Petrol stations and cinema theaters have also closed in view of the bandh.

The Railways has already announced suspension of MMTS services on the Secunderabad-Falaknuma section.

As a precautionary measure, the AP State Road Transport Corporation has cancelled some of the bus services at various places in Hyderabad and also in Telangana districts.

Tension prevailed at Secunderabad when pro-Telangana activists, including students and lawyers, led by TRS MLA Harish Rao, took out a motor rally which was prevented by the police. Later, the TRS legislator and students were arrested.

To protest the arrest of TRS MLA, students staged a demonstration in front of OU Police Station. In order to disperse them, police lobbed tear gas shells and tension prevailed for some time.

The police also arrested Prof Kodandaram while he was leading a rally along with students at Tarnaka.

Speaking to the mediapersons at the police station, TRS MLA Harish Rao demanded the government should withdraw the forces from the OU campus and release the arrested students and lawyers.

Condemning the arrests, he said the T-JAC was not a banned organisation and the agitation would be intensified until the Telangana Bill was introduced in Parliament.

At Nampally, PDSU activists resorted to blockades of trains in support for a separate state of Telangana.

According to reports, rallies and rail blockades were also held by the pro-Telangana activists at places like Adilabad, Mahaboobnagar , Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda and Karimnagar.

At Singareni Collieries in Karimnagar District, the coal workers boycotted duties following which coal production was affected for some time.


Tension on Osmania Univ campus, police fire teargas in Hyderabad

Tension prevailed at the Osmania University (OU) campus and at various places in the city as a large number of Rapid Action Force, Central force personnel and police were deployed to prevent the "Chalo Assembly" march call given by the OU Joint Action Committee (JAC) demanding a bill in Parliament for carving out a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.

Hundreds of OU students belonging to OU marching towards the Legislative Assembly complex, were prevented by the security officials at various points while nearly 50 students, including girls and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leaders, were arrested at various places when they forcibly took out processions to the Assembly.

The situation in the OU campus and at Nizam College grounds here remained tense as sporadic clashes between students and police occurred while People's Praja Front (PPF) President Gaddar was arrested when he, along with Telagana JAC lawyers, was trying to proceed towards Raj Bhavan.

Police used teargas, fired pellets and resorted to lathi-charge to disperse students at OU and Nizam College grounds.

The tense situation prevailed at various places and hundreds of protesters in groups pelted stones and damaged state transport buses on Necklex Road and also set fire to MMTC train at Jami Osmania, according to police sources.

The police had cordoned off the area within a km radius of the Assembly building.

However, a group of OU students, including girls, managed to sneak through the security cordon and reach the police control room near the Assembly building raising slogans of "Jai Telangana", when they were taken into custody.

The pro-Telangana agitators also damaged booking counters at Jami Osmania and the MMTC trains services between Secunderabad - Falknama temporarily were cancelled, according to South Central Railway sources here.

Meanwhile, a ten-member Telangana Lawyers JAC, who were waiting to meet the Governor since morning at Raj Bhavan road, was allowed by the police officials. The JAC is likely to meet the Governor in the evening and submit a memorandum on the Telagana issue.


AP CM expresses concern over abducting of Malkangiri collector

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy today expressed concern over the kidnapping of Mr R Vineel Krishna, the collector of Malkangiri district in Orissa.

Mr Krishna, who hails from Andhra Pradesh and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, was abducted by armed Maoists last night from Janatapi in the district last night.

The Chief Minister directed Chief Secretary S V Prasad to speak to the Chief Secretary of Orissa and get information regarding Mr Krishna at the earliest and help his safe return.

Following the Chief Minister's instruction, Mr Prasad spoke to his Orissa counterpart D K Patnaik in detail over telephone and requested him to make all efforts to get exact information about Mr Krishna's whereabouts and help his safe return, an official release said here.


PRP-Cong merger formalities to be over in a month: Chiranjeevi

The formalities for the merger of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) with the Congress would be completed soon, its chief and film actor K Chiranjeevi said here today.

Talking to reporters after calling on Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President D Srinivas along with PRP legislators, he said there were some technicalities involved for the merger and the whole exercise would be completed in one month.

"After the process is over, we will be real Congressmen and later a massive public meeting will be organised to formalise the merger," Mr Chiranjeevi said.

"I met Mr Srinivas to take his blessings and good wishes as I know him since many years," he said.

"We all are committed to take forward the Congress party by strengthening the leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and strive for the overall development of the state," he said.

The actor-turned-politician said he was happy with the cooperation extended to him by the APCC chief.

When a reporter asked him to comment on his charges of corruption against late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy's regime during 2004-09, Mr Chiranjeevi said, "No one will tolerate corruption at any cost."

He said Ms Gandhi was trying to cleanse the system and eliminate corruption.

The APCC President said Mr Chiranjeevi had not pointed directly at Mr Rajasekhar Reddy or accused him of corruption. He had only said that there was corruption in various schemes implemented during that period, he said.

Mr Srinivas said all sections of people in the state had welcomed the PRP merger with Congress.

"I expressed my thanks to Mr Chiranjeevi after he made a courtesy call by meeting me. With total unity, we will strengthen the Congress Party further," he said.

"I and my party functionaries will take into confidence the PRP leaders and workers to strengthen the leadership of Ms Sonia Gandhi in the days ahead," Mr Srinivas added.


Indian Rotorcraft Ltd to commence operations at GMR Aerospace Park

The GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Ltd., a part of the GMR Group, has announced that it has reached an in-principle agreement on terms with Indian Rotorcraft Ltd to locate an AW119ke helicopter assembly and flight testing facility at the GMR Aerospace Park in Hyderabad.

The 8-seat AW119Ke is a top-of-the-range helicopter in the single engine market and has excellent performance even in extremely hot and high operating environments, a press release from GMR said.

It said that more than 190 AW119 helicopters have been ordered to date in around 30 countries by more than 90 customers.

"The AW119Ke is ideally suited to perform a wide range of tasks including law enforcement, utility, fire-fighting, EMS, VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport as well as military missions," it said.

According to the release, an area of 10 acres has been allocated within the aviation specific Special Economic Zone of the Aero Park with an option for future expansion of the current facility or in order to establish new capabilities.

The site was selected by Indian Rotorcraft after an exhaustive process of evaluation of other potential sites in India. Indian Rotorcraft Ltd will commence construction after all necessary Governmental approvals are obtained. The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered from the new facility in 2012.

The AW119Ke assembly line, the first of its kind in private sector in India, will provide industrial opportunities in the aerospace sector in India and will enable the company to play an increasing role in the development of the Indian helicopter market, the release said.

Indian Rotorcraft is a joint venture of AgustaWestland, a Finmeania company, and Tata Sons for a final assembly line for the AW119Ke helicopter. It will be responsible for AW119Ke assembly, completion and delivery for the worldwide market.

"We are pleased to welcome Indian Rotorcraft to the GMR Hyderabad Aerospace Park. Tata Sons and AgustaWestland are leaders in their respective fields and the GMR Group takes pride in being the chosen partner to these two eminent companies. I would like to wish the venture all success and I hope this sets a trend for many other leaders in the aviation sector to start making Hyderabad their home," GMR Group Chairman G M Rao, said.


CBI arrests PRO, LDC of Regional Passport Office, Secunderabad on bribery charges

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested a Public Relation Officer (PRO) and a lower division clerk (LDC) of the Regional Passport Office, Secunderabad for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.4000 from an applicant for a passport.

The applicant had alleged in a complaint to the CBI that the accused persons had demanded a bribe of Rs 4000 from him for processing his application.

The CBI laid a trap and the accused PRO was caught red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 4000 from the complainant.

The agency said in a press release said that searches were conducted at the residential premises of both the accused. Cash worth Rs.3.5 lakhs, fixed deposit receipts (FDR)worth Rs 4 lakhs, and a locker key were seized from the residence of the PRO and some incriminating documents were recovered from the residence of the other official.

Both the accused were produced before the Special Judge for CBI Cases, Hyderabad. Presently, the accused persons are in police custody upto February 11, the release added.


Central team leaves for AP districts to assess crop damage

A Central team which arrived here today has left for East Krishna, West Krishna and Khammam districts to assess the crop damage and other losses suffered by the state due to the heavy rains in December last year.

Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy yesterday said the team would undertake visits to the affected districts for three days in two groups.

One group would tour East and West Godavari districts and the second one Krishna and Khammam districts.

The team would return to Hyderabad on February 10 and call on Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy before leaving for New Delhi where they would submit a report to the Centre.

Mr Reddy had briefed the team on the losses suffered, at the shamshabad airport soon after their arrival.

The Andhra Pradesh Government has requested the Centre for an assistance of Rs 450 crore for the loss suffered due to heavy rains.


Venkataswamy has lost his mental balance: Congress

In a sharp reaction to Congress leader G Venkataswamy's statement that Congress President Sonia Gandhi should step down from her position immediately, party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it appeared that Mr Venkataswamy had lost his mental balance.

"The party has taken note of his comments. It appears, unfortunately, that he has lost his mental balance. Appropriate action, at an appropriate time, in an appropriate manner will be taken," Mr Singhvi told newspersons.

Mr Venkataswamy had yesterday caused a flutter by demanding that Ms Gandhi should step down as Congress chief immediately.

"There will be no future for the Congress if she continued to be at the helm of affairs," Mr Venkataswamy had charged at a press conference in Hyderabad.


"I did not expect Padma Vibhushan": Akkineni

Veteran Telugu film actor and Padma Vibhushan awardee Akkineni Nageswara Rao has said that he did not expect the honour conferred on him by the Centre.

Talking to newspersons at Jubilee Hall on the sidelines of a function here yesterday in connection with late music Director Adinarayana Rao "Aaradhana", organised by the Department of Culture, he said "I express my thanks to the government for giving me the prestigious award."

Mr Rao said there were no such awards when he made his debut in the film industry. "The award will inspire me to work more energetically," the Dada Saheb Phalke awardee said.


Hyderabad native nominated for judgeship in New Jersey

An Indian-American lawyer who has tried to promote understanding between Muslims and law-enforcement officials is set to be nominated as a judge by Governor Chris Christie of neighbouring New Jersey.

A statement from the governor's office said Mr Christie intends to nominate Sohail Mohammed, a Clifton-based attorney, for the judgeship in Passaic County.

Mr Mohammed was born in Hyderabad and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. As an attorney, Mr Mohammed has pursued 70 per cent of his cases in immigration, 20 per cent corporate and the rest crime related.

Following the terrorist attacks in 2001, he defended several people rounded up on suspicion by police.

"He worked in the aftermath of the attacks to try to foster trust between American Muslims and law enforcement, particularly federal officials," The New York Times reported.

In 1993, he earned his degree from the Seton Hall University School of Law.

Mr Mohammed was selected as a "per lawyer" for five years beginning 2006 and in 2009, the New Jersey Monthly named him as one of the "Most Influential People in NJ".

A spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, hailed the nomination announcement.

"It is just evidence of the growth and maturity of the American Muslim community and our contributions to American society," The Daily Reporter said, citing Mr Hooper.

After the governor formally nominates him, Mr Mohammed will have to be confirmed by the New Jersey Senate in order to assume the judgeship.


ACB seizes disproportonate assests of Rs 1.7 crore from official in Andhra Pradesh

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) today said it had seized disproportonate assests worth over Rs 1.7 crore from Mr Venna Nageswara Rao(54), a Motor Vehicle Inspector, Wyra, Khammam district.

Officials of the ACB conducted searches in his residence and those of his relatives and unearthed assets included 10 apartments -- 9 at Vijayawada and 1 at Hyderabad, 6 plots -- 5 at Palavancha, Khammam district and 1 at Ramachandrapuram, East Godavari district. insurance policies worth Rs.23,63,379, 340 gms of gold worth Rs. 7,45,500, 870 gms of silver worth Rs. 20,000, a Ford Fiesta car, a Honda Unicorn motorcycle, bank balances of Rs. 20 Lakhs and household articles worth Rs. 3 lakhs were seized.

Mr Nageswara Rao would be arrested and produced before the Principal Special Judge for SPE and ACB Cases at Vijayawada, a press release from ACB said here today.


Osmania Univ campus remain tense on Telangana issue

Tension prevailed on thee Osmania University campus here this morning with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members taking out rallies and organising protest programmes and pelting stones at the police.

The student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gave a call to lay siege to Osmania University demanding the withdrawal of paramilitary forces from their campus and introduction of the Telangana Bill in Parliament.

Police arrested about 500 students at different places in and around the campus and foiled their attempts.

To divert the attention of police, the ABVP students adopted a different strategy and conducted protests simultaneously at all the entrace gates. It became quite tough for the police to prevent the mob from entering into the premises of the Osmania University campus.

Police took nearly 500 students, including ABVP state unit President Kadium Raju into custody at different places in Hyderabad. Meanwhile, security was beefed up at the prime centres in the city.


Protests rock Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh

Agitations, road blocks, and demonstrations rocked the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh today as demonstrators demanded the introduction of a Bill for the formation of a separate Telangana state in Parliament.

Pro-Telangana activists, students and political parties, mainly the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Telugu Desam Party, organised the protest programmes at different places in support of the demand for Telangana and cautioned that the Congress Government would face the wrath of people if the State was not formed.

The Osmania University campus continued to be gripped by tension for the third consecutive day as unrelenting students stepped up their protests by clashing with police.

With the students resorting to pelting of stones at several places, the police fired teargas shells to disperse the mob and brought the situation under control.

At Hanumakonda of Warangal District, scores of pro-Telangana activists led by the BJP staged a demonstration and demanded the introduction of the Bill.

The agitations were held by the Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) in Karimnagar, Nalgonda, Mahboobnagar, Medak and Adilabad districts.

In Hyderabad, the state unit of the BJP led by former State BJP President Bandaru Dattatreya organised a protest from Basheerbagh X Road to Dr B R Ambedkar Statue located on the Tank Bund and alleged that Andhra Pradesh was being ruled by the Governor.

He demanded the State Government should withdraw paramilitary forces from the Telangana region and lift the restrictions imposed on the media.


Telangana issue: Osmania JAC "bandh" call evokes partial response

The general strike call given by the Osmania University (OU) Joint Action Committee (JAC) to close down all educational institutions in the Telangana region evoked a partial response in Hyderabad today.

The "bandh" was called by the JAC in protest against the lathi-charge by the police on OU students, who agitated against the recommendations of the Srikrishna Committee on Telangana statehood issue here yesterday.

Government schools functioned normally while private schools in the twin cities remained closed.

In Warangal town, traders shut down their business establishments voluntarily. All educational institutions were also closed.

The Telangana JAC has demaded that the Centre introduce a Bill in Parliament for formation of a separate Telangana state, notwithstanding the Srikrishna report's recommendations.

The JAC announced that it was supporting the "bandh" call and condemned the lathi-charge on OU students in the campus after they clashed with police by pelting stones at them. Police had fired 15 rounds of rubber bullets as the situation appeared to get out of control and also lobbed hundreds of teargas shells to disperse the students.

Several police personnel sustained bleeding injuries during different spells of the stone pelting. Scores of students were injured.

The agitating students set fire to some buses in the city and damaged windshields and windows of about eight buses of private engineering colleges.

The Telangana JAC also called upon government employees in Telangana region to observe lunch hour demonstration in their offices today to bring pressure on the Centre on introducing the Bill.


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