Russian tourist drowns in south Goa

A 23-year-old tourist from Russia, Chyonchuk Alexander drowned, while his two friends were saved by life guards off the Sernabatim-Colve beach in south Goa yesterday, police said today.

South Asian Film Festival to kick off Thursday with "Kashmir ki Kali"

The four-day 6th South Asia Film Festival (SAFF) will commence in Goa tomorrow with a special screening of "Kashmir Ki Kali" as a tribute to celebrated Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor, who changed the meaning of romance on the silver screen in Indian cinema in the 1960s.

Tyre of AI plane on flight from Kuwait bursts on landing in Goa


A front tyre of an Air India aircraft on a Kuwait-Goa-Chennai flight burst while landing at the Dabolim airport here today.

Landslide blocks traffic on Mumbai-Goa highway

Traffic on the Mumbai-Goa highway was thrown out of gear for the second consecutive day today after a fresh landslide in a ghat area in Raigad district.

Farook to be new Governor of Kerala, Rosaiah in Tamil Nadu

File photo of M.O.H. Farook
File photo of M.O.H. Farook

President Pratibha Patil has transferred and appointed Jharkhand Governor M O H Farook as the Governor of Kerala for the remainder of his term.

An official press release said here yesterday that former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah had been appointed as the new Governor of Tamil Nadu and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ram Naresh Yadav as the new Governor of Madhya Pradesh.

Veteran Congress leader Vakkom Purushottaman will be the new Governor of Mizoram, while Dr Syed Ahmed, a former Maharashtra minister, will succeed Mr Farook in Jharkhand.

Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan will also discharge the functions of the Governor of Goa for the remainder of his term, in addition to his own duties, the release added.

"Their appointments will take effect from the dates they assume their respective charges," the release said.

Mr Rosaiah, 78, will succeed Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, who has been Governor of Tamil Nadu since June 20, 2006. Mr Rosaiah served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for about 14 months after the death of Mr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash on September 3, 2009.

Mr Sankaranarayana, 79, has been Governor of Maharashtra since January 22, 2010. Before that, he was the Governor of Nagaland from February 23, 2007 till July 25, 2009, when he was shifted to Jharkhand.

Mr Farook, a former Chief Minister of Puducherry, took over as Governor of Jharkhand on January 22, 2010.

Mr Purushothaman (83) had served as Lt Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands for three years from March, 1993.

Mr Yadav, 83, served as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1977 to 1979 as a member of the Janata Party. He contested the 2004 Lok Sabha elections as a Congress candidate from Azamgarh but lost.


Late filmmaker Kamal Amrohi's son Shandar passes away

Shandar Amrohi, the eldest son of the late filmmaker Kamal Amrohi and owner of Kamalistan studio in the western suburbs, died in Goa after a brief illness yesterday. He was 68.

Shandar was shooting on a music video based on the poems of his step- mother, late actress Meena Kumari in Goa, when he collapsed, family sources said.

He had featured in a brief role as an actor in his father's film Razia Sultan.

Shandar was embroiled in a property case with his sister Rukhsaar which is still pending in court.

In 2010, he had announced that he wanted to adopt actress Preity Zinta and will his entire property to her but changed his mind later.

Shandar’s body was brought to Mumbai and the funeral will take place later today, the sources added.


Man accused of 1992 murder of Indian family in Dubai sentenced to death

A CBI court in Ahmedabad has convicted Ravjibhai Manubhai Pawar of the murder of his Indian employer and four other members of his family in Dubai in 1992 and sentenced him to death.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that its investigations had shown that Pawar, while working as a domestic servant in Dubai, had kileld Mr Ramesh K Sagar and four others of Mr Sagar's family on January 4, 1992.

He was also accused of rape and of stealing household articles, including clothes, ornaments and cash.

Pawar feld from Dubai on January 5 and came to India. On the basis of an Interpol alert, he was nabbed on January 10 by the Gujarat police and a first information report (FIR)was registered.

Since the accused was an Indian national and the offence took place outside India, the case was entrusted to the CBI. The Dubai Police had also registered an FIR and collected evidence, which was used by the CBI during investigation and trial of the case, the release said.

The chargesheet was filed on January 23, 1992 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chikhli. The trial court found him guilty and convicted him.

The case was registered by the CBI, Ahmedabad (now Gandhinagar) Branch on April 27, 1992 on the basis of the request and consent of the Government of Gujarat for futher investigation of the case filed at the Chikhli Police Station, the release added.


NCP national secretary Deshprabhu suspended from party


Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar today suspended the party's national secretary Jitendra Deshprabhu from the party following his arrest in connection with an illegal mining case yesterday.

Goa NCP president Surendra Shirsat told UNI today that he had received a facsimile copy of Mr Deshprabhu's suspension letter stating that his posts of observer and national secretary of the party had been withdrawn.

Deshprabhu was shifted to Goa Medical College (GMC) Hospital early today after he complained of chest pain. There, he is admitted in coronary care unit (CCU).

Today, the crime branch sleuths produced him before a court, which has remanded him to five-day police custody. Meanwhile, Deshprabhu has applied for bail on which an order will be passed tomorrow.


CBI files fresh case against former Chief Postmaster General of Maharashtra, Goa

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had registered a fresh case against then Chief Postmaster General, Maharashtra and Goa, Manjit Singh Bali, for possession of assets to to the tune of Rs 94.24 lakhs disproportionate to his known sources of income.

A CBI press release said it was alleged that the accused had accumulated the assets by misusing his offical position.

It said he was found in possession of a number of flats and plots at Bhopal, Gwalior and Faridabad. He is holding a number of accounts at various banks and post offices in his name and in the names of his family members having heavy credit balance, it said.

During searches at his residence, foreign currency and jewellery were found and seized along with cash of about Rs 33 lakhs, the release said.

The CBI had earlier registered a separate bribery case of Rs. 2 crore against the accused in February, 2010 and, after investigation, a chargesheet was filed in the designated court. Further Investigation is in progress, the release added.


Goa: Alemao brothers withdraw resignation from Cabinet

The two-day political crisis in Goa over the resignation from the state Cabinet by the Alemao brothers ended last night with the Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao and Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao deciding not to press their resignations.

This followed a meeting they had with party high command functionaries, including Ahmed Patel, political adviser to Congrss President Sonia Gandhi and AICC General Secretary in charge of Goa, Jagmeet Singh Brar, in New Delhi.

The brothers had tendered their resignation as ministers in the Goa cabinet last saturday in protest against Ms Valanca Alemao’s disqualification from contesting the Youth Congresss election for one year. She is the daughter of Mr Churchill Alemao.

Mr Churchill Alemao said he was satisfied with talks with the high command and that both he and his brothers would withdraw their resignations.

The congress High command had recognised the role played by the Alemao brothers in strenthening the party in Goa, he added.

Mr Brar said there are no crisis in Goa and the issue had been sorted out. The disqualifaction of Valanca Alemao from contesting the Youth Congress elections was as per the directives of an independent agency, he explained.

The High command has also appreciated the services of Ms Valanca Alemao and will give her due weightage, Mr Brar added.


Goa ministers Churchill, Joaquim Alemao resign


Goa Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao and his brother Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao today resigned their posts in protest against Valanca Alemao's disqualification from contesting election for one year for allegedly enticing voters.

Ms Valanca Alemao, the daughter of Churchill Alemao, was disqualified by the Election Commission from contesting Youth Congress elections in Goa.

Churchill Alemao confirmed that he and his brother had sent their letters of resignation to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat. He said he and his brother had also offered to resign from the Congress party.

The party high command has asked them to wait for one day, he added. Mr Kamat was not available for comment.


Congress nominee Shantaram Naik re-elected to RS from Goa


Congress candidate and sitting MP Shantaram Naik was today re-elected as a member of Rajya Sabha from Goa for a second term, defeating his rival, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Damodar Naik.

Mr Naik won by 10 votes in a straight fight for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Goa in the election held at Assembly complex hall at Provorim.

The returning officer, Uvraj Naik, who announced the result this evening, said that, out of the 40 MLAs, Mr Shantaram Naik bagged 24 votes, while Mr Damodar Naik polled 14 votes. One vote was invalid and one MLA was absent.

Out of the 40 MLAs, 20 are of Congress, 3 of its alliance partner NCP, 2 of Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party, 14 of BJP and one is an independent.


3 Haryana tourists hurt in clash with locals in Goa


Three tourists from Haryana were injured in a clash with local residents after one of them fired in the air at Baga Beach in north Goa last night, police said.

The Calangute police said five tourists from Haryana were on a holiday in Goa since Friday. The trouble started when they began clicking photographs of some locals at the beach without their consent, which led to heated arguments between the locals and the tourists.

Finding it difficult to pacify the locals, one of them telephoned his friend, who was in a car at the other end of the Baga Bridge. Both the friend and his driver rushed to their help and the argument continued between the two groups.

One of the tourists pulled out his revolver and fired in the air, which frightened the locals and in a fit of anger, the local crowd assaulted the tourists and started pelting stones at them.

Fearing for their lives, the driver and the one who had fired the shot in the air fled from the scene. The three others were attacked by the locals and their Haryana registered car was also damaged, the police said.

The police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. Three tourists, who suffered injuries, were rushed to Goa Medical College Hospital.



Goa's annual plan for 2011-12 fixed at Rs 3320 crore

The annual plan of Goa for 2011-12 was finalised at Rs 3,320 crore at a meeting here today between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and state Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.

During the discussions, Mr Ahluwalia complimented the state for outstanding performance and pointed out that its social sector indicators were much better than the national average.

He noted that appreciable effort had been made to involve the private sector in development of infrastructure. He said the state had mmense potential in promoting tourism and allied sectors. It should encourage private participation in modernization of IT and transport sectors, he said.

Mr Ahluwalia said that increased emphasis was needed to make development more inclusive. Thrust of agriculture and allied areas should be towards the sectors’ contributions to the State Domestic product, which is coming down. Efforts to integrate achievements in science and technology with the development strategy were appreciated.

Mr Kamat said the thrust of planning was to make the benefits of development reach the un-reachable and further improve social infrastructure through involvement of private sector. He said focus would be on improving education and health care and also greater emphasis on development of tourism related infrastructure.

He said that, to promote tourism, the state government plans to strengthen advance beach management system and increase security of the tourists by appointing security guards.


5 people injured in naphtha pipeline fire in Goa

Five people were injured in a fire that broke out at Zuarinagar at Vasco in South Goa today due to a leakage in a naphtha pipeline.

The injured were admitted to the Goa Medical College Hospital in Bambolim where the condition of three -- truck driver Kailash Ram (38), hailing from Bihar, Ramakant Goakar (40), and truck cleaner Savio D’ Costa (32) -- was stated to be serious, sources said.

The other two who suffered minor injuries were discharged from hospital after first aid treatment.

More than 20 four-wheelers, three vans, more than a dozen two wheelers and an excavator parked in front of Zuari Fertiliser Company's gate were also gutted in the fire.

Nine fire tenders from Panaji, Margao, Verna and Vasco, including two of the Zuari company, were deployed to extinguish the fire from 1130 hours and brought the fire under control at 1630 hours.

The Fire and Emergency Service Director, Mr Ashok Menon, was personally monitoring the operation at the site along with his other officers.

The Superintendent of Police (SP) (South), Mr Allen D'Sa, was also present at the site till the fire was brought under control.

The exact cause of the leakage at naphtha pipeline is yet to be ascertained but the excavator digging had damaged the underground pipeline. Further investigations are on.


Air India union directs pilots against flights to Goa

Concerned over safety in the absence of navigational aids at Goa Airport, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) has asked all its affiliates to refrain from undertaking any flights to Goa.

With this, more than 600 ICPA pilots will not fly to Goa, thereby drastically affecting flights to the prime tourist destination in holiday season for nearly a month - till repairs at the airport are complete.

In a letter issued last evening, Air India's pilot body ICPA said, "All pilots are hereby directed not to undertake flights to VAGO (Goa) till the landing aids such as PAPI (runway lights) and GP (glide path) are fully in place and functional."

The directive has come after six airlines, including national carrier Air India, had already undertaken "blind landings" at the Goa Airport, presently undergoing repair work, in violation of stipulated rules.

Following the directive, some Air India pilots have refused to fly to Goa between 0900-1300 hrs and 1500-1900 hrs.

ICPA sources said the directive was issued keeping in mind the safety of passengers and pilots, which had been put at great risk in the past five days since April 7 due to absence of landing aids like runway lights and GP glide path at Goa Airport.

Affiliated pilots have been asked to wait until all safety and landing aids are in place and fully functional as it concerned the lives of thousands of passengers, the sources added.

All six airlines who undertook landings at the Goa Airport between April 7-10, in disregard of norms, have been pulled up by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for neglecting passenger safety and endangering lives of people and staff.

Reacting to the developments, DGCA chairman Bharat Bhushan told the media, "There is a problem with the PAPI (runway lights), it's gone for maintenance. Flights are not allowed at a certain time at the airport. We had a meeting yesterday, the curfew hours should be respected."

Stating that it would take about a month or so to get things in place, he said restrictions are only for nearly three hours during the day when landings/takeoffs should not be made at the airport.

"Airlines are rescheduling their time to land in Goa. Safety is paramount," he said adding that taking undue risk was uncalled for.

Air India has said it was committed to seeing that no flights to Goa were affected, and that all DGCA rules will be respected.


CBEC denies Customs officials got any call from Minister on Monserrate's detention

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) today denied Mumbai Customs officials had received a call from any Minister's office for the release of Goa Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate after he was dtained at the Mumbai airport on April 1 for allegedly carrying undeclared currency.

The clarification came in response to media reports that Mr Monserrate was let off after a call was received from the Union Finance Minister's office.

"The decision was taken entirely as per Customs Rules and Regulations. The investigations are still in progress and other investigative agencies have been addressed with details," the statement added.


Goa Minister detained at airport for carrying undeclared foreign currency

Goa Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate was detained at the airport here for carrying undeclared foreign currency.

The minister, who was on his way to Dubai, was detained late last night by Customs officials, sources said.

He was being questioned on carrying foreign currency over the permissible limit, the sources added.


Goa's Kadamba Transport to launch e-ticketing services


Goa's state-owned Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) has announced that it will soon launch an online ticketing service for all its buses running on inter-state long-distance routes including to Pune, Bangalore, Shirdi and Mumbai, to bring transparency in tariff structure.

It will also re-introduce its Goa-Mumbai bus service, KTC Managing Director Venancio Furtado said.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Furtado said the corporation's online services would provide a transparent and convenient tariff structure to the customers as against the fluctuating fares charged by the private bus operators.

Though the private bus operators have introduced online ticketing, the bus fares they charge keep on fluctuating from time to time as the ticketing is mostly done offline, he said.

He said the stage had been set for the re-introduction of KTC's Goa-Mumbai bus service. The Corporation is now planning to extend its services to Hyderabad and Tirupati and introducing non-stop services to Karwar and Belgaum.

The bus services on the Goa-Hyderabad route were suspended in 2009, he added.


Drugs worth Rs 11.50 lakh seized in Goa, 3 held

Police have recovered drugs worth Rs 11.50 lakh from two different places during a raid in north Goa and arrested three people including two Nigerians in this connection.

In a joint raid by Mapusa and Pernem police at Anjuna, a Nigerian and a local were nabbed last night and drugs worth Rs 6 lakh were seized from them.

Acting on a tip-off that there was a local involved in drug activity in Morjim, the Pernem police kept an eye on the suspect, who is a resident of Anjuna and was seen moving suspiciously in Morjim.

Police laid a trap and arrested Bagawada in Morjim and seized 10 grams of cocaine and 90 grams of charas, valued at 73,000 from him. After being interrogated, the accused informed that he was being supplied drugs by a Nigerian from Verla-Canca in Mapusa.

After obtaining the information, the police team laid a trap at Canca and nabbed the acccused Nigerian, Olumide Christopher (33) near the Panchayat office last night.

Police seized 110 grams of cocaine worth Rs 5.5 lakh from Christopher, residing at Verla. The acccused are in the police custody and charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.


SC issues notices to Centre, State of Goa on SEZ petition

The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and the State of Goa on a petition seeking cancellation of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) land allotted to seven companies, including Raheja Builders.

The apex court also directed the parties to maintain status quo till further orders.

The petitioner, in his petition, has contended that the land forcibly acquired for SEZ cannot be said to have been acquired for public purpose and therefore the companies seeking land for SEZ should negotiate directly with the land owners and the land owners can not be forced to give up their land at throwaway prices for commercial purposes.


President on four-day visit to Goa from Monday

President Pratibha Patil will arrive here on a four-day visit to Goa, beginning tomorrow, official sources said today.

"No official programmes have been lined up for her stay in the state as she is on a holiday," the sources said.

Ms Patil will arrive by a special Indian Air Force plane at the Dabolim airport and she would stay at the Raj Bhavan, the sources said.

The President will leave for New Delhi on January 6, they added.


Cricket: Tripura scores 7-wicket victory over Goa in Ranji

 As expected, Tripura scored an emphatic seven-wicket victory over hosts Goa and opened their account with five points in their last round on the final day of the four-day Ranji Plate group 'A' cricket match at Porvorim yesterday.

Tripura, after bundling out Goa for 112 in the first innings, scored 353 all out and had gained a 241-run lead over the hosts.

Goa, in their second innings, surpassing the deficit of 241, were 339 all out and gained a 98-run lead over visitors.

Tripura, who needed 99 runs in the second innings to win the match, faced no difficulty as they achieved the target in 23.3 overs, losing only three wickets.

On the strength of Rajiv Saha (34), Nishit Shetty not out (30), Nirupan Chowdhery not out 19 and Wilkin Moto 12, they scored 100 for 3 in 23.3 overs.

Earlier Goa resumed their second innings at the overnight score of 319 for 8, with Robin D'souza not out on 48 and Amit Yadav not out on one, but managed to add only 20 runs before being all out for 339 in 94.2 overs.

Tripura's Nishit Shetty was adjudged the man of the match. At the end of the fifth round match, Goa remained on 11 points, while Tripura opened their account with five points, registering their first win after losing all the four earlier outings.


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