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Madhya Pradesh

60% polling in MP's Jabera assembly constituency

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An estimated 60 per cent of the 1,77,462-strong electorate - including 83,509 women - exercised their franchise today in the bye-election to Jabera Assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh.

Voting, which commenced at 0800 hrs in 240 polling centres and concluded at 1700 hrs, was peaceful barring some stray incidents.

Due to a drizzle, voting was sluggish in the morning but picked up in the afternoon after the skies cleared.

The bye-election was necessitated by the death of former minister Ratnesh Solomon (Congress). The main contest is between ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Dashrath Singh Lodhi and opposition Congress nominee Tanya, who is Mr Solomon's daughter.

In the 2008 Assembly elections, the Congress had emerged victorious in Jabera -- Mr Solomon humbled Mr Lodhi -- but lost in three other Assembly constituencies of this district.

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Rs 4.25 cr worth stamp papers burgled from govt treasury in Madhya Pradesh

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Unidentified burglars struck at the government treasury located near the Collectorate in this town of Madhya Pradesh and made off with stamp papers worth Rs 4.27 crore and Rs 11 lakh in cash after breaking locks in the wee hours today, police said.

The District Treasury Officer said the thieves burgled stamp papers, worth Rs 4.27 cr, and Rs 11 lakh cash. Stolen stamp papers were of Rs 500, Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 15,000, Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000 value.

Four out of five policemen, who were on duty at the treasury, were admitted to the District Hospital in an unconscious condition. One policeman was absconding.

All the five policemen were suspended along with sub-inspector of Betul Police Station and night in-charge for patrolling on the charge of negligence of duty.

Empty liquor bottles were found near the treasury. It was suspected that the five policemen drank heavily and fell unconscious. This liquor was suspected to have been provided by the culprits.

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ADB to give $300 m loan for upgrading state highways in Madhya Pradesh

The Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Ministry of Finance, Mr Venu Rajamony, the Officer-in-Charge, ADB's India Resident Mission, Mr Prodyut Dutt and the Principal Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Mr K.K. Singh after signing an agreement for an ADB loan of $ 300 for improving state highways in Madhya Pradesh, in New Delhi on June 15, 2011.
The Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Ministry of Finance, Mr Venu Rajamony, the Officer-in-Charge, ADB's India Resident Mission, Mr Prodyut Dutt and the Principal Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Mr K.K. Singh after signing an agreement for an ADB loan of $ 300 for improving state highways in Madhya Pradesh, in New Delhi on June 15, 2011.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a $ 300 million loan for strengthening state highways in Madhya Pradesh.

This will be ADB's third intervention in the state in the transportation sector, an official press release said.

The signatories to the loan agreement were Mr Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr Prodyut Dutt, Officer-in-Charge, ADB's India Resident Mission.

The project agreement was signed by Mr K.K. Singh, Principal Secretary, on behalf of the Government of Madhya Pradesh and Mr Prodyut Dutt of ADB.

The release said the loan would help upgrade about 1,000 km. of state highways in the eastern and west central parts of the state. As part of the loan package, ADB is additionally providing technical assistance/grant worth $1 million to support road safety and private sector participation in state highway development and maintenance.

Madhya Pradesh Rural Development Corporation (MPRDC) has already been implementing the first two ADB assisted projects under Loan 1959-IND: Madhya Pradesh State Roads Sector Development Program and Loan 2330-IND: Madhya Pradesh State Roads Sector Project II. The second project approved in 2007, is scheduled to end in December 2011.

The new loan will continue ADB’s support for the development of the entire highway network and capacity enhancement of MPRDC, particularly in those areas which were not covered in the previous two loans, to build upon the success of the organization as an implementation agency. With completion of this project, the entire state highway network of Madhya Pradesh will have been upgraded, the release said.

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Mr Rajamony said the Government emphasizes investment for inclusive and sustainable growth through innovative financing modalities, including Public Private Partnership (PPP). Madhya Pradesh has recorded impressive growth performance of more than 7% per annum since fiscal year 2005, deriving substantially from efficient infrastructure development programs. He said that the project will help sustain high economic growth and reduce poverty in the state.

Mr Dutt said that, under the Country Partnership Strategy (2009-2012), ADB supports road sector development as a core infrastructure operation to facilitate sustainable economic growth in India. As a long-standing development partner for Madhya Pradesh, as of today, ADB has approved 15 loans amounting to $2.57 billion covering the power, urban, state road, and rural road sectors. ADB has also helped the state through a public resource management loan, he added.

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Uma Bharti back in BJP fold, to spearhead UP election campaign

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Union Minister Uma Bharti was on Tuesday reinducted into the Bharatiya Janata Party, six years after she was expelled after a public row with then party chief Lal Krishna Advani.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti being welcomed back to the party fold by BJP President Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on June 7, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti being welcomed back to the party fold by BJP President Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on June 7, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Union Minister Uma Bharti was today reinducted into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), six years after she was expelled after a public row with then party chief Lal Krishna Advani.

The decision to take her back into the party fold was announced by BJP President Nitin Gadkari in the presence of Ms Bharti.

Her return to the party had been talked about for a long time but it was apparently deleayed because of strong opposition from BJP leaders in Madhya Pradesh.

Ms Bharti will actively work for the party in Uttar Pradesh, where state assembly elections are due next year and also head the party's Ganga Cell, Mr Gadkari said.

Both Mr Gadkari and Ms Bharti told mediapersons that she had stayed loyal to the BJP ideology even when she was outside the organisation.

Mr Gadkari said her return would also strengthen the movement against corruption and black money.

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He said Ms Bharti would primarily work actively for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, recalling her contribution for the cause of Ram temple. "We will collectively work for making India a Ram Rajya."

He said the party had discussed her return in its Parliamentary Board at the national level an with state leaders and workers and none of them had any problems with the decision.

Mr Gadkari said Uttar Pradesh needed to be rid of the "goonda raj" of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), headed by Chief Minister Mayawati, and the "jungle raj" of the Samajwadi Party headed by former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

He said that Ms Bharti had, during the past six years, realised her mistakes and that the BJP was the best instrument to realise the ideology of "Ram and roti".

"Uttar Pradesh assembly polls offer an opportunity to achieve these goals of transforming the state into a strong prosperous one," Ms Bharti said.

Ms Bharti also likened her stay away from the BJP as that of a bird deserting the ship.

"I am returning back to the ship realising the inevitable," she said and recalled her association with the BJP since her childhood days as a supporter of Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, during the days of Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

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Ms Bharti was expelled from the BJP in 2005 after her public row with Mr Advani during an office bearers' meeting. She floated her own party, the Bharatiya Janshakti Party, that failed to make a major impact even in Madhya Pradesh.

At the same time, the party acutely felt the absence of a leader who could make a political impact among the youth.

Ms Bharti had campaigned for the party in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, though she had not been formally reinducted.

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BJP announces return of Uma Bharti to party fold

The Bharatiya Janta Party on Tuesday announced the return of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti to the party fold after six years of separation.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti being welcomed back to the party fold by BJP President Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on June 7, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti being welcomed back to the party fold by BJP President Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on June 7, 2011. UNI PHOTO

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) today announced the return of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti to the party fold after six years of separation.

The announcement of Ms Bharti's return was made by party president Nitin Gadkari in the presence of party leaders at the party headquarters.

Mr Gadkari said Ms Bharti would primarily be working with the "Ganga Cell" of the BJP and would also work in Uttar Pradesh where assembly elections are due in 2012.

He said the BJP would work collectively to end the "Goonda Raj" of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh and prevent the "Jungle Raj" of Samajwadi Party (SP) and make UP a strong and prosperous state.

Ms Bharti said that, though she was outside the party, she had remained loyal to its ideologies even when she had floated her own political outfit in Madhya Pradesh.

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She also recalled her association with BJP right from her childhood when she had come into contact with BJSP (Bharatiya Janshakti Party) through Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia. She was returning to the party like a bird which was searching for a home after deserting it, she said.

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Ramdev issue: Slogan-shouting in front Digvijay Singh's Bhopal residence

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A few people shouted slogans in favour of yoga guru Baba Ramdev in front of Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh's residence here last night.

Employees at Mr Singh's residence said a few people came in vehicles at around 2030 hrs last night and shouted slogans. The group left the place without halting.

Police officials said security had been increased in the area as a precautionary measure.

They said security was provided at the residence of all former Chief Ministers, including Mr Digvijay Singh. Security guards who are deployed at Mr Singh's residence had been instructed to be more alert.

Mr Digvijay Singh has made several comments against Baba Ramdev who has launched a "satyagraha" against black money and corruption.

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8 terrorists of IM, SIMI held in Madhya Pradesh: Police

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Three suspected terrorists owing allegiance to the Indian Mujahideen and five to the banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were today arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad, police said.

Of them, four were arrested at Habibganj Railway Station here, while others were arrested in Jabalpur.

Three of the arrested men were among those accused in the Ahmedabad blast case, police added.

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Bye-elections on June 25 to fill up vacancies in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar assemblies

The Election Commission today said bye-elections would be held on June 25 to fill up a casual vacancy each in the Madhya Pradesh and Bihar Legislative Assemblies.


The vacancies are in the Jabera assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh and Purnia constituency in Bihar.


An official press release said the notification for the bye-elections would be issued on June 1 and the last date for making nominations would be June 8.


Counting of votes will be taken up on June 29 in both constituencies, the release added.


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Police use teargas to disperse stone-pelting mob in Bhopal


Police burst teargas shells and resorted to a cane charge to disperse a stone-pelting mob when it attacked officials of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation and district administration who came to clear encroachment in Minal Residency area here today.


"The mob also tried to set on fire an excavator and started pelting stones. Police swung into action immediately and took control over the situation," District Collector Nikunj Srivastava said.


However, the residents alleged that the administration tried to demolish their houses without serving a prior notice and that some people also sustained injuries due to "police excesses".


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Prime Minister dedicates Bharat-Oman Bina Refinery to nation

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaking after dedicating the Bina Refinery to the nation, at Bina in Madhya Pradesh on May 20, 2011.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaking after dedicating the Bina Refinery to the nation, at Bina in Madhya Pradesh on May 20, 2011.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today dedicated the Bharat-Oman Refinery to the nation at a ceremony held at Bina in Madhya Pradesh.

The refinery has been set up by Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd (BORL), a company promoted by the public sector Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL). The Oman Oil Company has a 26 per cent stake in the company and the Madhya Pradesh govrnment one per cent.

Madhya Pradesh Governor Rameshwar Thakur, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath and Tribal Affairs Minister Kantilal Bhuria were amongst those present at the function.

The refinery has a capacity of 6 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA). Adjacent to it is the Bina Dispatch Terminal (BDT), with product storage tanks and dispatch facilities for both rail and road movement of petroleum products.

The refinery and the dispatch terminal are spread over 2500 acres of land.

An official press release said the refinery is equipped with world class technology and has the flexibility to process all types of crude oil.

The project established at an investment of over $ 2 billion (Rs. 12,000 cr) has bottom upgradation facility to ensure yield maximization. It has an assured offtake, since it will meet the demand of high quality fuel in markets with deficit supply. It has the flexibility to process all types of crude.

The refinery comprises of a Single Point Mooring (SPM) system located at Vadinar, Gujarat which facilitates unloading of crude oil from Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs).

The crude received at Vadinar on the west coast is transported to Bina through a 935 km long pipeline passing through Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

The crude oil goes through hi-tech refining processes at Bina and the resultant products include Petrol, Diesel, Aviation Turbine Fuel, Kerosene, Naphtha and LPG. Sulphur and Per Coke are also produced in the process.

These products are stored in the Refinery/BDT and distributed to areas in and around Madhya Pradesh. The surplus products are then transported through the 257 km Bina – Kota pipeline. This pipeline will join the Mumbai – Manmad – Bijwasan line at Kota.

The refinery has a Crude and Vacuum Distillation unit wherein crude oil is separated into various products. These products are treated in the Secondary Processing Units to obtain value added products. The refinery has a 99 MW (33 MW X 3) Captive Power Plant (CPP) which will meet its entire steam and power requirements.

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Drinking water component included in Bundelkhand package

The Union Cabinet today approved an Additional Central Assistance of Rs.200 crore to provide drinking water in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh during 2011-12.


An official press release said this would be in addition to the other measures approved by the Cabinet on 19th November, 2009 under the special package for implementing drought mitigation strategies in Bundelkhand.

The additional assistance will enable the States to better address the problem of drinking water during the summer months. The package as a whole will enable the people in the region to optimize water resources through rainwater harvesting and proper utilization of the river systems alongwith promoting diversified agriculture so as to enhance their capacity to cope with the recurrent droughts in a more resilient manner.

For implementing drinking water component the two State Governments will send proposals to the National Rainfed Area Authority which will recommend release of Additional Central Assistance in consultation with the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the release said.


The National Rainfed Area Authority will undertake field visits to monitor on ground implementation.


An already constituted Monitoring Committee chaired by Mr B.K. Chaturvedi, Member, Planning Commission and co-chaired by Dr. Mihir Shah, Member, Planning Commission, represented by the Chief Secretaries of the two States as well as the concerned Departments/Ministries of the Government of India and National Rainfed Area Authority will monitor progress of implementation of component of drinking water along with the rest of package.

The Cabinet also approved a few adjustments in implementation of the drought mitigation strategies, which were requested by the State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and National Rainfed Area Authority.


The Government of Madhya Pradesh has proposed to provide funds for water-lifting devices and construction of stop-dams in place of the earlier approved components of farm ponds and recharge of dugwells. Further, the State has proposed to provide additional support for the dairy sector and has proposed for construction of Singpur Barrage by using a part of funds from within the package.


The special package of Rs 7266 crores comprises Rs.3506 crore for Uttar Pradesh and Rs.3706 crore for Madhya Pradesh to be implemented over a period of three years from 2009-10 to 2011-12.


An amount of Rs.2114 crore has been approved by the Planning Commission for the last two financial years of which an amount of Rs.1800 crore has already been released to the State Governments.


According to the release, the package approved earlier had not addressed the acute problem of drinking water, specially in rural areas. A number of representations had been received from the area. The Government has, therefore, agreed for including this additional component in the Special Package, it added.


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Bhopal Gas Tragedy: Centre to request CBI to move Sessions Court in Bhopal

Home Minister P. Chidambaram along with Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid, addressing a press conference in New Delhi on May 12, 2011.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram along with Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid, addressing a press conference in New Delhi on May 12, 2011.

The Union Government today said it would request the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to move the Sessions Court in Bhopal for early hearing of its revision application in the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy case and seek relief to try the accused for graver charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

This came a day after the Supreme Court yesterday rejected the curative petition filed by the CBI to reconsider its judgement of September 13, 1996 that had diluted the criminal charges against the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) top brass including its chairman Keshub Mahindra.

"The principal grounds on which the curative petition has been rejected appear to be that the curative petition does not satisfy the principles laid down in Rupa Ashok Hurra Vs. Ashok Hurra 2002 (4) SCC 388 and delay in filing the curative petition," Union Home Minister P Chidambarm told reporters here.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid were also present.

Mr Chidambaram recalled that, after the Supreme Court's judgement of 1996 excluding charges under section 304 part II of the IPC, a review petition was filed on behalf of certain affected parties.

"That review petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court. There was no scope for filing a ‘curative petition’ at that time because the law relating to curative petitions was laid down much later in 2002," he said.

"Since 1996, there have been a number of governments at the Centre and virtually all political parties had been in the central government at one time or another. In a sense, therefore, all governments since 1996 are responsible for the delay in moving the Supreme Court," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said that, after the judgement of the trial court of June 7 last year, convicting the accused persons to imprisonment for two years under section 304A IPC, a Group of Ministers (GoM) recommended that certain legal steps may be taken to punish the accused for graver charges under the law.

He said the Cabinet accepted the recommendations of the GoM. Accordingly, a curative petition was filed in the Supreme Court. Besides, a revision application was filed in the Sessions Court, Bhopal under section 399 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). An appeal was also filed in the Sessions Court, Bhopal to enhance the punishment and fine under sections 338 and 304 A IPC. Both the revision application and the appeal are pending before the Sessions Court, Bhopal, he said.

Mr Chidambaram said that, in its judgement of yesterday, dismissing the curative petition, the Supreme Court had observed, inter alia, that:

"It is clear to us that in the criminal revisions filed by the CBI and the State of MP the legal position is correctly stated.

"The 1996 judgment was rendered at the stage of sections 209/228/240 of the Code and we are completely unable to see how the judgment can be read to say that it removed from the Code sections 323, 216, 386, 397, 399, 401 etc. or denuded a competent court of the powers under those provisions. In our view, on the basis of the material on record, it is wrong to assume that the 1996 judgment is a fetter against the proper exercise of the powers by a court of competent jurisdiction under the relevant provisions of the Code. If according to the curative petitioner, the Learned Magistrate failed to appreciate the correct legal position and misread the decision dated 13.9.1996 as tying his hands from exercising the power under section 323 or under section 216 of the Code, it can certainly be corrected by the appellate/revisional court."

Mr Chidambaram said that, under section 323 CrPC, if it appears to the Magistrate that the case is one that ought to be tried by the Sessions Court he may commit the case to the Sessions Court at any stage.

Under section 216 CrPC, a Court may alter or add to any charge at any time before judgment is pronounced. The CBI has relied on these sections and has urged these grounds in the revision application before the Sessions Court, he said

"The Government is happy to note that the judgment of the Supreme Court dated 11.5.2011 has endorsed the stand taken by the CBI.

"In view of the above, Government will request the CBI to move the Sessions Court, Bhopal for early hearing of its revision application and appeal and seek relief in the Sessions Court to try the accused for graver charges under the IPC," Mr Chidambaram added.

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Supreme Court rejects CBI plea to reopen Bhopal tragedy case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to change its 1996 judgement diluting charges in the Bhopal gas disaster case in which around 15,000 people are estimated to have perished and several thousands maimed.

The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court today refused to change its 1996 judgement diluting charges in the Bhopal gas disaster case in which around 15,000 people are estimated to have perished and several thousands maimed due to the leakage of deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Madhya Pradesh capital in December, 1984.

The apex court, by its 1996 verdict, had diluted the charges against the accused to criminal negligence under section 304 (A) of the Indian Penal Code from culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 (II).

The offence under section 304(II) of IPC carries a maximum imprisonment of 10 years, while under 304-A it is maximum two years.

Today the top court, however, left it open to the Sessions Court in Bhopal to consider restoring stringent charges against the accused, who had got away with punishment under lighter provisions of Indian Penal Code.

The June 7, 2010 verdict of Bhopal's Chief Judicial Magistrate awarding two years' imprisonment to the accused, including the then

Chairman of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) Keshub Mahindra, had sparked a nationwide outrage following which the government decided to file a curative petition against the lighter punishment for those responsible for the gas tragedy.

Holding that its 1996 judgement that diluted charges against the accused was "not binding", the Supreme Court dismissed a curative petition filed by the CBI, saying it was based on a "wrong and fallacious plea" and filed after a lapse of 14 years.

"In our view, on the basis of the material on record, it is wrong to assume that the 1996 judgement is a fetter against proper exercise of powers by a court of competent jurisdiction under the relevant provisions of the Code", a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said.

The court said the 1996 verdict was not "binding" on the trial court which failed to appreciate the correct legal provision for trying the accused under the stringent provision.

In its nine-page judgement, which has come under attack from campaigners for sterner punishment to the accused, the bench said curative petitions of CBI and Madhya Pradesh Government were not only based on the "wrong and fallacious" plea but were filed after a lapse of 14 years without satisfactory explanation.

"No satisfactory explanation is given to file such curative petitions after about 14 years from 1996 judgement of the Supreme Court," the bench, also comprising justices Altamas Kabir, R V Raveendran, B Sudershan Reddy and Aftab Alam said.

The apex court today said both CBI and the Madhya Pradesh government had adopted a correct legal premise in approaching the Sessions Court with the criminal revision petition for restoration of stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 (part II) of the IPC which attracts a maximum punishment of 10 years jail term.

The bench noted that the 1996 judgement diluting the charges to section 304 A for negligence was based on the evidence presented before it at that relevant time and it was wrong to assume that it was binding on the trial court when additional facts and material were forthcoming.

Besides Mahindra, the others who got lighter punishment included UCIL' erstwhile Managing Director Vijay Gokhale, its Vice President Kishore Kamdar, Works Manager J N Mukund, Production Manager S P Choudhary, Plant Superintendent K V Shetty and Production Assistant S I Quereshi.

Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily said the government will abide by the Supreme Court's ruling.

"After this matter came up, the GoM (group of ministers) in its due wisdom decided to go for the curative petition. After obtaining the opinion from the learned Attorney General of India, we had filed the curative petition and the Supreme Court in its wisdom has dismissed it. We will abide by the decision," he said.

"Supreme Court today has heaped yet more injustice on victims who have already suffered it earlier -- in 1989 on settlement (for compensation) and in 1996 after dilution of penal charges against the accused. May 11 is another black day in the history of Bhopal," social activist Satinath Sarangi told reporters soon after the apex court delivered its verdict.

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SC refuses CBI curative plea in Bhopal gas leak case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with the September 1996 judgement in the Bhopal gas tragedy case that diluted the criminal charges against the Union Carbide India Limited top brass including its chairman Keshub Mahindra.

The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the September 1996 judgement in the Bhopal gas tragedy case that diluted the criminal charges against the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) top brass including its chairman Keshub Mahindra.

A Constitution Bench, comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices Altamas Kabir, R V Raveendran, B Sudershan Reddy and Aftaab Alam dismissed the curative petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking to revive the charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The apex court, however, made it clear that this judgement would not have any influence on the revision petition filed by the CBI and the state of Madhya Pradesh in the Sessions Court, Bhopal, against the refusal of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhopal, to frame charges against the accused persons under section 304 part II of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

The apex court also ruled that no court (SC not excluded) can pass an order against the statutory provisions of law including the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

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India signs $69 m loan pact with ADB for MP Power Investment Programme

India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $ 69 million loan agreement which is the sixth and final tranche of the $ 620 million Madhya Pradesh Power Sector Investment Programme.


This multi-tranche financing facility was approved by ADB on 29 March 2007, an official press release said.


The signatories of the sixth tranche, signed here yesterday, were Mr Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Hun Kim, ADB’s Country Director for India.

The sixth tranche will assist the Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company reduce power transmission and distribution losses in 117 towns. It will also support the M. P. Poorv Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company, the M. P. Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company, and the M.P. Power Trading Company set up information technology (IT)-management systems linking all parts of the distribution and trading companies in the state.


The IT management system will have a number of modules, including energy auditing, inventory tracking, and human resources and financial management, which will help the distribution companies increase efficiency. The sixth tranche will be implemented over a period of three and a half years.

The six tranches of the Madhya Pradesh Power Sector Investment Programme will increase transmission capacity in the state to about 10,000 megawatts (MW) from 5,563 MW and reduce transmission and distribution losses significantly. Enhanced power reliability, quicker repairs, along with better meter reading and billing, will also help improve the service to consumers. These measures will boost the financial performance of the state’s power sector and reduce its dependence on external support, the release said.


Mr Rajamony said the long term impact of the programme would be inclusive economic growth of the people of the state, through enhanced power supply to households through reduced transmission and distribution losses, thereby increased transmission capacity. He said that the ADB programme would improve operational efficiency in electricity distribution and financial sustainability of the distribution companies in the state.

Mr. Hun said that ADB had been a long-standing development partner for Madhya Pradesh. As of today, it has approved 14 loans amounting to $ 2.27 billion covering the power, urban, state road, and rural road sectors. ADB has also helped the state through a public resource management loan, he said.


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Bhopal Gas Tragedy : SC to pronounce judgement on Wednesday


The Supreme Court will pronounce tomorrow its verdict on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) petition seeking restoration of charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against Union Carbide top brass in Bhopal gas leak tragedy case.


A constitution bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and justices Altamas Kabir, R V Raveendran, B Sudershan Reddy and Aftab Alam has reserved the judgement after hearing Attorney General G E Vahanvati for the CBI and senior counsel Ram Jethmalani and Harish Salve for the accused persons.


The CBI has filed a curative petition against the September 1996 judgement of the Supreme Court vide which criminal charges against the accused persons, including Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) chief Keshub Mahindra were diluted and the charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 Part II IPC were dropped.


Offence under Section 304 Part II carries a maximum sentence of 10 years with or without fine.


Mr Vahanvati had pleaded for restoration of charges under Section 304 Part II against the accused persons on the grounds that more than 5,000 lives were lost and thousand others were injured on the fateful night of December 3, 1984 when poisonous MIC gas leaked from the Bhopal unit of Union Carbide as a result of a deliberate negligence by the management who decided against spending money on maintenance to keep the maintenance cost at low level despite knowing full well that any untoward incident may happen as several pipelines were damaged and needed immediate repair.


Mr Vahanvati also contended before the court that the incident is oppressive to the judicial conscience and it is the desire of the court to do complete justice.


Mr Jethmalani on the other hand opposed the CBI petition on the grounds that 1996 judgement has already attained finality and cannot be interfered with after lapse of over 14 years and therefore the CBI petition is liable to be dismissed.


Mr Jethmalani went to the extent of alleging that the Union Government is shedding crocodile tears as it slept over the matter for over 14 years.


The curative petition was filed by the CBI on the instruction of the group of ministers headed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


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21 injured as Mumbai-Pratapgarh Express derails in Madhya Pradesh


As many as 21 passengers were injured, three of them grievously, when the seven rear coaches of the 12173 Mumbai-Pratapgarh Udyog Nagri Express derailed near Vidisha station in Madhya Pradesh early this morning.


Ministry of Railways spokesperson Anil Kumar Saxena told NetIndian that the mishap occurred at 0622 hours this morning near Vidisha in the Bhopal Division of West Central Railway.


He said the injured were admitted to the Vidisha General Hospital.


Relief and rescue teams, including a medical team, were able to reach the scene of the accident within an hour, and the stranded passengers were moved to Beena and Vidisha, from where they would be sent to their destinations, he said.


One of the two lines on the affected section was working and efforts were being to restore the other at the earliest, Mr Saxena added.


A UNI report from Vidisha said the mishap occured near Sumer station, 60 km from Bhopal. The derailed coaches inlcuded two air-conditioned coaches, one sleeper coach and four others.


It said five of the seriously injured had been sent to Bhopal for treatment.


The report said at least three trains were diverted, two were cancelled and many were delayed because of the accident.


According to Railway sources, not much damage was caused because the train was travelling at slow speed when the mishap occurred.


The Bilaspur-Amritsar Chhattisgarh Express, the Ernakuam-Nizamuddin Express and the Visakhapatnam-Nizamuddin Samta Expess were diverted.


The Bhopal-Bilaspur Express and the Bhopal-Bina Passenger Express were cancelled, the sources said.


The cause of the accident is being ascertained. An inquiry has been ordered into the mishap, the sources added.


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6 killed in truck-van collision in Madhya Pradesh


Six people were killed on the spot and seven others injured, some of them critically, when a pick-up van collided head-on with a speeding truck near Deori village last night, police said.


The victims were returning to Kopargaon after attending a wedding at Keshli. The injured were admitted to the district hospital.


Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to the next-of-kin kin of each of the deceased.


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8 killed in jeep-truck collision in Madhya Pradesh


Eight people, including two women and two children, were killed on the spot and 18 others injured when their jeep rammed into a stationary truck near Badagaon village on the Morena-Amba road in the wee hours today, police said.


Four of the deceased were identified as Ankit Gupta (11), Ketan Gupta (22), Vijay Tomar (27) and Mithilesh alias Guddi Tomar (30). Three seriously injured were sent to Gwalior for treatment.


District Collector M K Agrawal announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 10,000 each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 5,000 as assistance to each of the injured.


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Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express catches fire; all passengers safe

Three coaches of the 12951 Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express caught fire in the early hours of Monday near Ratlam in Madhya Padesh, but none of the passengers was injured and all of them were safe, railway officials said.

File photo of Rajdhani Express.
File photo of Rajdhani Express.

Three coaches of the 12951 Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express caught fire in the early hours of today near Ratlam in Madhya Padesh, but none of the passengers was injured and all of them were safe, railway officials said.

Ministry of Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena told NetIndian that the incident occurred around 0210 hours today while the train was running between Bikramgarh Alot and Thuria stations in the Kota division of West Central Railway.

"All the passengers in the affected coaches are safe. There were no injuries to anyone," he said.

He said the incident occurred at a spot about 90 km from Ratlam. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, but it affected one of the pantry cars and two III AC coaches on either side, B6 and B7.

Mr Saxena said some railway officers who were travelling on the train swung into action immediately. The train was stopped immediately and, with the help of the onboard staff, passengers were evacuated from the affected coaches.

The affected coaches, including B5, which was partially damaged, were decoupled from the rest of the train so that the fire was cofined to those coaches.

The fire had damaged the overhead traction system and, therefore, diesel engines were pressed into service to haul the coaches to Bikramgarh Alot and Thuria. Later, all the unaffected coaches were combined at Phuria and the passengers of the damaged coaches were adjusted in the other coaches.

The train had finally resumed its journey to Delhi from Thuria at 0821 hours this morning, Mr Saxena said. The second pantry car was meeting the needs of the passengers, he said.

He said the Railways' fire brigade from a nearby station and a medical team had reached the spot in about an hour and 15 minutes after the incident was reported.

Railway Board Additional Member (Mechanical) Arunendra Kumar, Additional Member (Electrical) R N Lal and Director (Safety) Ashish Mehrotra had also rushed to the spot.

The Railways have announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5000 to each of the passengers in the three coaches for any inconvenience caused to them, Mr Saxena added.

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Impugned Bhopal gas leak judgement "oppressive to judicial conscience"


The Centre today described the September 1996 judgement of the Supreme Court diluting criminal charges in the Bhopal gas leak tragedy case as "oppressive to the judicial conscience".


Attorney General G E Vahanvati, opening the arguments on behalf of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), submitted before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia that the ultimate test is whether the impugned judgement was oppressive to the judicial conscience.


Other judges on the bench are Mr Justice Altamas Kabir, Mr Justice R V Raveendran, Mr Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Mr Justice Aftab Alam.


Initially, the court was reluctant to take up the matter. The Chief Justice told Mr Vahanvati, "We are not going to put the clock back by 20 years."


Mr Justice Alam added, "If we interfere with the earlier judgement, the trial will have to re-start from the stage of framing of charges."


Mr Vahanvati earlier accused top officials of Union Carbide India of deliberately neglecting the operational defects in the Bhopal plant knowing full well that this negligence may lead to the death of human beings. They were, therefore, prima facie guilty of the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Sec 304 Part B(IPC). The offence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years with or without fine.


He also contented that the defects were ignored to keep down the cost of maintenance which resulted in the death of a large number of people in Bhopal on the night of December 2-3, 1984 when the poisonous methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the rusty pipes of a storage tank.


More than 15,000 lives were lost and thousands others rendered permanently disabled for the rest of their lives. Many among them were still suffering from the after-effects of the gas even after 26 years.


The accused persons were being represented by senior counsel Ram Jethmalani and Mr Harish Salve who in a brief intervention submitted before the court that the judgement of September 13, 1996 of the apex court through which the charges under Sec 304 Part B (IPC) were dropped, has attained finality and cannot be reopened after a gap of more than 15 years.


The Union Government has filed a curative petition under article 142 of the Constitution under which the apex court has sweeping powers to pass any order to render justice.


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SC no to land allotment to Kushabhau Thakre Trust

The Supreme Court today quashed the allotment of 20 acres land to the Kushabhau Thakre Trust in Bhopal by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh, calling it an act of favouritism and nepotism.

A bench comprising Justices V S Singhvi and A K Ganguly, while cancelling the allotment through a 59-page judgement, noted, "We have found that the impugned allotment is a result of an exercise undertaken in gross violation of Article 14 of the Constitution and is an act of favouritism and nepotism.

"We do not consider it necessary to deal with the argument of counsels Ravishankar Prasad and Ranjit Kumar that the land could have been allotted to the memorial trust even though it has not been registered under the 1951 Act or the Indian Trusts Act."

The court allowed the writ petition filed by the appellant (Akhil Bharatiya Upbhokta Congress) setting aside the High Court division bench order.

"The allotment of 20 acres land to respondent no 5(Kushabhau Thakre Trust Training Institute) is declared illegal and quashed as the allotment was made without any advertisement and without inviting other similar organisations to participate in the process of allotment which is contrary to article 14," it observed.

Notifications dated June 6 and September 5, 2008, issued by the state government under section 23 A(1)(a) and (2) were also quashed.

The Court directed Commissioner, Town and Country Planning, Bhopal to take possession of the land and use it strictly in accordance with the Bhopal development plan.

It also directed the state government to refund the amount deposited by respondent no 5 within a period of 15 days.

The application for allotment of land was made by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kailash Joshi on June 18, 2004. Twenty acres of land was given on lease till 2037.

Besides Mr Joshi, BJP leaders L K Advani, M Venkaiah Naidu, Balwant Apte and Sanjay Joshi were other trustees of the Trust.

Mr Naidu was the Trust's first president while Kailash Joshi was the Secretary and Managing Trustee.

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Madhya Pradesh's annual plan outlay for 2011-12 fixed at Rs 23,000 crore

The annual plan size for Madhya Pradesh for 2011-12 was finalised at Rs 23,000 crore at a meeting here today between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.


Speaking at the meeting, Mr Ahluwalia said the state had been performing well and taking new initiatives to improve the pace of growth, specially in the development of physical and social infrastructure.


He said there were positive indications in this regard but there was need to further improve the pace.


Mr Ahluwalia said the Commission was finalising the approach to the 12th Plan (2012-17) and the State Government should come forward with suggestions which would help it in filling the gaps in the growth process and improve implementation.


The State’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in the first three years of the 11th Five Year Plan period is 7.6%. The state should further close the gap between the per capita GSDP and the national average, he said.


Mr Ahluwalia said the share of the agriculture sector in Madhya Pradesh had reduced from close to 30% in 1999-00 to about 22%in 2009-10. There has been only a light variation in the share of industry over this time period, retaining its share at about 24-25% between 1990-00 and 2008-09. The share of the services sector has increased by about 6 percentage points from about 46% in 1990-00 to 52% in 2008-09.

The Commission drew the state’s attention to the poverty estimates made by the expert group which has put number of people below poverty line at 49% in Madhya Pradesh.


Another revelation is that between 1993-1994 and 2004-05, the poverty headcount ratio both in urban and rural areas has actually increased by about 9% and 10%, respectively. It suggested that inclusiveness should be at the centre of development policy.


The Commission complimented the State Government for rolling out the decentralized planning process in the entire 50 district. The move will help in enhancing the production and productivity of agriculture and allied sectors, traditional and small industries with focus on creation of employment opportunities and alleviation of poverty.

Briefing the commission on the plan performance, Mr Chouhan said the state was all set to meet target for the 11th plan. Expenditure realization is going to be more than 100% and outstanding liabilities likely to come down from 36% to 32.11%.


He said a number of new initiatives, including cheap loans, has been taken to improve growth in the agriculture sector. He said the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme had been utilized for improving irrigation facilities.


The Chief Minister sought the Planning Commission's support for creation of additional storage capacity and inclusion of 11 more districts in the horticulture mission.


Mr Chouhan said that efforts were being made by the state government to improve the human development index and to increase economic activities in the rural areas.


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Court allows CBI to seek extradition of Anderson


A city court today allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) plea for extradition of former Union Carbide Corporation Chairman Warren Anderson to stand trial in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy case.


The CBI had filed an application before the court of chief metropolitan magistrate Vinod Yadav requesting issuing of letter rogatory to the US authorities so that Anderson could be brought to India to face trial.


"Considering the entire facts in its holistic perspective and sentiments of disaster-hit people and in the interest of justice, the extradition of Anderson is allowed," the court said.


It also asked the CBI why no steps were taken after framing of extradition treaty with US in 1999.


Anderson was declared a proclaimed offender by a Bhopal court in the year 1992.


The CBI had alleged that the management of Union Carbide was aware about damaged pipes in the Bhopal plant but had failed to replace them leading to the gas leak on the night of December 3, 1984.


Anderson being then Chairman, was liable for culpable homicide not amounting to murder charges.


The deadly methyl iso-cyanate (MIC) gas leak killed at least 15,000 people and left several thousands suffer physical disabilities and disease for the rest of their lives.


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CBI speeds up process to extradite Anderson


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has expedited the process of seeking extradition of former Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson to put him to trial in Bhopal Gas Leak case.


Anderson is already 90 years old and, according to CBI sources, time is running out to bring him to India to face trial.


Attorney General of India G E Vahanvati has advised the CBI to consult the Attorney General of US before approaching the authorities there for extradition of Anderson.


According to Mr Vahanvati, there is sufficient evidence against Anderson and Union Carbide that they deliberately did not take remedial measures to avert the tragedy which struck Bhopal on December 3, 1984, taking a heavy toll of over 15,000 lives besides rendering thousands of others crippled fully or partially for life.


According to CBI sources all these facts were not placed before the American court which turned down the plea of the Indian government for extradition of Anderson in 2003.


The CBI has approached the Supreme Court challenging the 1996 verdict of the apex court diluting criminal charges against the top brass of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL). The curative petition by the CBI has been admitted by the Supreme Court.


Moreover, Anderson has been declared a proclaimed offender by the Bhopal trial court in the case.


The CBI is planning to approach US authorities soon to initiate fresh extradition proceedings under the bilateral extradition treaty.


The CBI will have to convince the concerned US authorities that there is sufficient material against Mr Anderson to prosecute him for the offences of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304-Part II IPC which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.


According to the CBI, several pipes were damaged and leaking and the UCIL management was well aware of it. It did not get the pipes replaced to keep down the cost of maintenance of the unit. The water entered the plant through these damaged pipes which resulted in the leakage of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas which took a heavy toll of human lives.


Anderson was arrested by Bhopal police but was allowed to fly out from India on December 7, 1984 by the then Madhya Pradesh government.


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