2 die while digging well near Dimapur in Nagaland

Two people were killed while digging a well at the Police Referral Hospital area in Chumukedima, about 15 km from Dimapur yesterday.

Official sources here today said the duo were engaged in digging the well for two weeks. One of the labourers, who was working at the bottom of the well, about 80 feet deep, suddenly collapsed.

Two people went to retrieve him from the well, but one of them also collapsed, while the other was fetched by co-workers.

On receiving the information, Dimapur police rushed to the spot, but were helpless.

They informed the army for help. Army troops of 108 Engineering Regiment immediately arranged one JCO with breathing apparatus, who went down and pulled them out in unconscious state. The duo died


According to one geologist, the foothill areas of Dimapur district have huge petroleum deposits and toxic gases, which are usually found deposited above the petroleum oil bed. Such gases might have

leaked out while digging and caused the deaths.


Delhiites shiver as maximum drops to 12.7 degrees Celsius

People in Delhi had a slight respite with the minimum temperature in the past 24 hours rising to 4.2 degrees Celsius, up from 3.7 degrees yesterday but still three degrees below normal.

Yesterday was the coldest day of this season so far in the capital, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

But, overall, cold day conditions continued to prevail in the city, with the maximum temperature dropping to 12.7 degrees Celsius, eight degrees below normal, in the past 24 hours.

The IMD said the city would have a mainly clear sky later in the day today after slight fog in the morning, with maximum and minimum temperatures around 14 degrees and 4 degrees Celsius.

It predicted the maximum and minimum temperatures would be 13 and 4 degrees Celsisus tomorrow and 14 and 4 degrees Celsius on Friday. It also forecast that there would be foggy conditions in the morning on both days.

The IMD said ground frost would occur over isolated pockets of Punjab, Haryana, north Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, north Madhya Pradesh and north Chhattisgarh during the next two nights.

Cold wave conditions would prevail over parts of Punjab, Haryana, north Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh during the next 24 hours and over north Madhya Pradesh, north Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and interior Orissa during the next 48 hours.


Delhi has coldest day of winter, max. temp. at 12.7 degrees

Delhi experienced the coldest day of this winter today with the maximum temperature in the past 24 hours dropping to 12.7 degrees Celsius, eight degrees below normal and against yesterday's 14.7 degrees.

The minimum temperature during the past 24 hours was 3.7 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal for this time of the year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The IMD said cold day conditions were prevailing over the capital and that the city would experience fog in the morning tomorrow. It said the city would have a mainly clear sky later in the day tomorrow, with maximum and minimum temperatures around 12 degrees and 2 degrees Celsius.

It predicted the maximum and minimum temperatures would be 13 and 3 degrees Celsisus on Thursday and 14 and 4 degrees Celsius on Friday. It also forecast that there would be foggy conditions in the morning on both days.

Meanwhile, officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) said that, due to foggy conditions, low visibility procedures had to be enforced at the airport from 0343 hours till 1045 hours on runway 11/29 and till 0845 hours on runway 10/28.

During this period, a total 127 flights were operated using various instrument landing systems (ILS), they said. However, there were no cancellations or diversions of any flights, they said.

The airport authorities have advised all travellers to leave for the airport only after reconfirming the departure times of their flights with the airlines concerned.


Antony lays stone for R&D Centre for Defence Shipbuilding near Kozhikode in Kerala

Defence Minister A K Antony today laid the foundation stone for the National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH) at Chaliyam, near Kozhikode in Kerala.

A part of the Department of Defence Production, NIRDESH will be funded by the Ministry of Defence and all the Defence Shipyards in the country, an official press release said.

The Defence Minister will head the Board of Governors as the President, with representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Chairmen of Defence Shipyards.

Mr Gyanesh Kumar, Joint Secretary (Naval Systems) in the Ministry of Defence has been concurrently appointed as the Director General of NIRDESH, the release said.

Mr Antony said that the setting up of the Institute would take the country towards self-reliance in this crucial area of defence technology.

Modern Naval platforms are complex and technology intensive and hence it is imperative that the country has the technological base and skill sets within, to design and develop them, he noted.

Those present at the function included Mr Elamaram Kareem, Minister for Industries, Kerala, Mr Raj Kumar Singh, Secretary (Defence Production), Vice Admiral K N Sushil, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, Vice Admiral A G Thapliyal, Commandant, Indian Naval Academy, Inspector General S P S Basra, Commander, Coast Guard Region (West) and the CMDs of Defence Shipyards.

Interestingly, the land which has been assigned by the government of Kerala for NIRDESH near Beypore has a glorious history of shipbuilding. The wooden ships called Uru, or dhow built by the local shipbuilders, were used for maritime trade by Arab merchants for centuries.


Air India announces promotion scheme for web bookings

National carrier Air India today announced a short-term promotion scheme in which every 100th passenger booking a domestic journey on IC coded flights through its website will win one ticket with two coupons for economy class travel.

The scheme can be availed from January 9 to April 30, 2011 by logging on Winners will be communicated individually and a list of the winners will be put up on the Air India website next day by 1200 hrs.

Under the scheme, bookings made in the lowest refundable Economy class and above will be eligible for participation and as soon as the 100th online booking transaction is completed; a pop-up will appear on the booking window informing the passenger that he is the lucky winner.

The complimentary ticket will be booked in the non-refundable class and the fare and airline fuel surcharge will be absorbed by the airline. The passenger will, however, need to pay the applicable taxes. The winner shall have the choice of either using the complimentary ticket himself or offering it to any person he chooses. The authority letter for issuance of the complimentary ticket shall be valid for 15 days and the complimentary ticket shall be valid for three months, a press release from the airline added.


Swamy seeks cancellation of all 2G licences issued by Raja

Janta Party president and former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy today filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of all 2G spectrum licences issued by former Union Communications Minister A Raja in alleged violation of rules and regulations and also disregarding the view of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Union Law Ministry and the Finance Ministry.

According to Dr Swamy, the illegal allocation of 2G spectrum licences have caused a colossal loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer as per the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

Licences were given to real-estate companies, who have no experience in the field concerned and allocations made in 2007 were at the rate of 2001.

The cut-off date was arbitrarily advance from October 1, 2007 to September 25, 2007 ousting 433 applicants from the bidding process and out of 122 companies, to whom licences were granted, 85 have been found ineligible.

Dr Swamy contended that it would be in the nation's interest to cancell all 2G spectrum licences and invite fresh bids for the allocation.


Divers from Indian, US Navies to conduct joint salvage exercise in Andaman Sea

Divers from the Indian and the United States Navies will hold a Joint Salvage Exericse (SALVEX) off Port Blair in the Andaman Sea from January 5 to 12.

INS Nireekshak, the diving tender of the Indian Navy, and USS Safeguard, a specialised salvage ship, are the ships participating in the exercise, an official press release said here today.

The release said the aim of the exercise was to strengthen capability in niche techniques associated with diving and salvage.

During the seven-day exercise various specialist salvage techniques will be practiced jointly by the divers of the two navies.

Amongst the notable salvage techniques being demonstrated are operation of underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and side scan SONARs being launched from USS Safeguard, and demonstration of Hot Tap Equipment.

Hot Tap Equipment is a special equipment used for removal of oil/fuel from tanks of sunken vessels. During SALVEX, the divers will also hone their salvage skills on a "Mud Monster", a pontoon specially built and sunk to practice salvage and diving exercises.

The maiden India-US SALVEX was conducted in 2005 and the series has been conduted annually thereafter alternately in India and US Pacific locations.

Interestingly, in the first SALVEX, a vintage Sea Hawk fighter aircraft was recovered from a depth of about 50 metres off Kochi. IN Salvage teams have also recovered a Seaking helicopter from a depth of 70 metres in the past.

INS Nireekshak is the Indian Navy's specialist diving support ship with the capacity to support dives upto 300 metres depth. USS Safeguard is a Safeguard class auxilliary rescue and salvage ship. In this edition of SALVEX, the Indian Navy's team comprises 17 Clearance Divers including two officers and the US Navy's team comprises 15 divers including two officers.

Indian Navy's divers have time and again demonstrated their diving professionalism by rescue of men and salvage of material in adverse and treachorous conditions in waters as varied as fast flowing rivers, freezing lakes and ponds and waters with virtually nil visibility, the release added.


India to observe 2011-12 as Civil Aviation Centenary Year

India will observe the year beginning February 18, 2011 as the Civil Aviation Centenary Year.

On this date in 1911, the first commercial plane flew in India between Allahabad and Naini.

An official press release said here today that, during these 100 years, India had become the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world and is now poised to become one of the three largest markets in the world by 2020.

The release said the Ministry of Civil Aviation has set up a high-level committee chaired by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to deliberate on the scale and modalities of the celebrations.

The committee includes former Civil Aviation Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sharad Yadav, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shahnawaz Hussain and Anant Kumar; eminent Indians who have contributed to Indian civil aviation like Mr. Rakesh Sharma, first Indian cosmonaut, Mr. Vijaypath Singhania, Air Marshal Arjan Singh, Ms. Saudamini Deshmukh, the first lady pilot in the commander’s seat in India, Mr Satish Sharma, MP and Chairman of Aeroclub of India, Captain G. Gopinath, Mr Dipinder Hooda, MP, Mr Naveen Jindal, MP, Secretaries of the Ministries of Civil Aviation, Defence and Tourism, Chairpersons of all Indian airlines, Chairpersons of all Indian airports, CMD Pawan Hans, Chairman ISRO, representatives of Tour and Travel Operators, eminent pilots, representatives of IGRUA, NFTI, NAL, HAL, BCAS, DGCA and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The release said the committee would deliberate upon the period of celebrations, formulate an action plan for the entire year, decide on events which may be undertaken during the centenary year, decide on locations for these events, co-opt members to broaden the membership base, locate appropriate budgetary sources to finance the celebrations, assign responsibilities to individuals and institutions for the organisation of events, and constitute Organising Committees for conduct of events.

Activities likely to be taken up during the year include air shows, establishment of an air and space theme park or museum, release of a postage stamp by the President, issue of commemorative coins, publication of a coffee table book, establishment of an aviation university, exhibitions, felicitation of eminent people, institution of annual civil aviation awards and air craft modelling competitions for students.

The private sector, which is a make stakeholder in the civil aviation sector, will be major partners in the celebrations, the release added.


Digvijay gives "proof" of phone conversation with Karkare on 26/11

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh addressing a press conference in which he presented phone records as proof of his conversation with ATS chief Hemant Karkare, in New Delhi on January 4, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh addressing a press conference in which he presented phone records as proof of his conversation with ATS chief Hemant Karkare, in New Delhi on January 4, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Congress leader Digvijay Singh today came out with evidence to back his claim that he had spoken to then Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare just a few hours before he was killed in the November 26, 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.

Mr Singh produced records from telecom service provider MTNL to show that a call was indeed made at 1744 hours on November 26, 2008 to the ATS office telephone number.

The Congress leader said he could not, however, produce any evidence to show what was discussed between the two because he was not in the habit of recording his telephone conversations.

Mr Singh had said last month that Mr Karkare had told him only hours before his death about threats he had been receiving because of his investigations into the Malegaon blast case in which Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur is allegedly involved.

He said Mr Karkare had said he had received the threats from right-wing groups because he had implicated RSS activists in the Malegaon blasts.

Mr Singh's statement had evoked sharp reactions from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which accused him of playing into Pakistan's hands by making such a statement. Mr Karkare's wife had also spoken out, urging Mr Singh not to play politics with her husband's death.

The Congress leader, however, had stood his ground, insisting he had proof about the conversation having taken place. He had also made it clear that his statement did not mean that elements in Pakistan had not conspired to carry out the 26/11 attacks. He also made it clear that he did not mean to suggest that right-wing groups were involved in the horrendous attacks.

At his press conference today, Mr Singh said all those who had spoken out against his statement and accused him of lying should now apologise.


3 students die in road accident in Muzaffarnagar

Three students were run over by a truck in Jhinjhana area of this district in Uttar Pradesh today.

Hasrat (14), Mukammil (8) and Asif (7), students of Islamiya Public school, were returning home on a bicycle when the truck knocked them down. They died on the spot.

Later, a mob staged a protest on Unchausana road, demanding financial help of Rs 500,000 each for the bereaved families, sources said.

Senior administrative and police officials have reached the site.


CBI wants withdrawal of case against Quattrocchi in Bofors deal

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today pleaded in a court here for withdrawal of the case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the matter of alleged pay-offs in the Bofors gun deal.

The CBI said it did not have "enough evidence" against Quattrocchi and there was no fresh word from the government in the matter.

Yesterday, an Income Tax Tribunal said illegal commission was paid in the Rs 1,500 crore Bofors deal.

Supreme Court advocate Ajay Agarwal, challenging the CBI plea, contended that the case be re-looked as the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal had confirmed that Rs 41 crore was paid by Swedish company Bofors to Quattrocchi and his associate Win Chadha for facilitating the Howitzer field gun contract in 1986.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav asked Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, appearing for the CBI, whether the agency had received any fresh instructions from the Central Government.

Mr Malhotra replied that no new orders had received by the agency and it wanted to pursue with the withdrawal of the case against Quattrocchi.

The court had earlier reserved its order on the CBI plea seeking withdrawal of proceedings against Quattrocchi.

The CBI has been seeking to drop criminal proceedings against the Italian businessman saying that there was no evidence against him.

The agency had failed to get Quattrocchi extradited to India on two occasions -- first from Malaysia in 2003 and second from Argentina in 2007.


Jayalalithaa hits out at Karunanidhi's remarks on freebies

Opposition AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa today took a dig at Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for his New Year day remarks that freebies would continue as long as the poor remained.

In a statement here, she said this only showed that Mr Karunanidhi wanted to keep the Tamil people eternally poor.

"He was not expressing his concern for the poor and downtrodden of the state. On the contrary, he was only publicly reinforcing the rich-poor divide," she alleged, adding he was only admitting that he does not have any scheme for the eradication of poverty.

"By making such a statement, Mr Karunanidhi was inadvertently acknowledging that he does not even have basic concern for the poor. In fact, he wants the poor in Tamil Nadu to remain poor," she charged.

"Only then can he keep bribing them with sops and freebies to buy their votes," she said.

Ms Jayalalithaa said that giving away freebies arbitrarily without strengthening the basic infrastructure was like printing currency notes without a corresponding back-up in gold.

"It comes cheap and is not even worth the paper it is printed on," she said.

She said the situation in Tamil Nadu was such that while rice was available for the poor at Re 1 a kg through the public distribution system (PDS), onions cost as much as Rs 90 a kg.

"All vegetables cost over Rs 50 a kg, while dal used for the traditional cuisine sambar, costs close to Rs 100. Cooking oil costs over Rs 100 per kg. Gas stoves are being given free. But cooking gas costs nearly Rs 400 a cylinder. Gas is so scarce that cylinders are not delivered for almost 30 days after booking," she said.

"This is the tragedy of Tamil Nadu. There is a Chinese proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime," she remarked.

She said Mr Karunanidhi’s strategy was to make the Tamil people a society of parasites, who were dependent on freebies, doles and sops for their livelihood.

Stating that rights of the Tamil people had been bartered away on inter-state river issues, Ms Jayalalithaa said the day of reckoning was not far off.


Quota stir: Bainsla to hold talks with Gehlot in Jaipur

Gujjar Reservation Action Committee Convener Kirodi Singh Bainsla left for Jaipur from Pillukapura, Bayana, to join in the talks with the Rajasthan Government over the community's demands, including a five per cent quota for special backward classes (SBCs) in government jobs, here later today.

"I am on the way to Jaipur, reaching there in the afternoon to further the dialogue," Col Bainsla told UNI over the telephone from Hindon.

"I am coming to the state capital on invitation from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, shall hold talks with the Chief Minister on all issues including that of five per cent reservation quota, withdrawal of cases and settlement of kin of victims of violence during agitation, and shall try to take the situation to a logical conclusion with full safeguard of Gujjars' interest," the Gujjar leader said.

This gives boost to prospects of ongoing talks between the Gujjar delegation and the Government which had resumed here on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the rail blockade by the Gujjars continued at Pillukapura in Bayana on the 16th day today.


Five of family killed in fire at Ghaziabad

Five members of a family suffocated to death in fire at their house in Chaman colony in the Kotwali area of this Uttar Pradesh city late last night.

The fire, caused by an electrical short circuit, broke out in the house of a vendor, Rashid due to which, smoke filled the house.

Rashid, his wife Nagina, two sons and a daughter were sleeping at the time of the incident and suffocated to death, police said.

They said the bodies had been sent for post-mortem examination and investigations were on.


Train movement affected due to derailment in Ghaziabad

Train traffic on the Ghaziabad-Aligarh section on the Delhi-Howrah trunk route was disrupted following the derailment of four wagons of a goods train in the Dadri area of this district of Uttar Pradesh this morning.

The goods train was going towards Aligarh from Delhi when the mishap occurred. No one was injured in the accident but the running of trains on the busy section was disrupted.

According to Railway sources, the derailed bogies were being removed and the traffic would be restored soon.



5 security guards hurt in bomb explosion at Durgapur, West Bengal

Five security guards were injured, two of them critically, in a bomb explosion at the Durgapur Projects Ltd sub-station premises in Bamunara village of Burdwan district in West Bengal last night.

Police today said unidentified assailants attacked the sub-station, which falls in the Kanska police station area, and exploded bombs, injuring the security guards.

Those who suffered serious injuries were undergoing treatment at Mission Hospital, police said, adding that a manhunt had been launched to arrest the culprits.


Bihar BJP MLA Keshri stabbed to death by woman in Purnea

BJP MLA Raj Kishore Keshri was stabbed to death at his residence in Purnea on Tuesday by a woman who had earlier accused him of sexual harassment.

Rupam Pathak, who had allegedly attacked BJP MLA Raj Kishore Keshri with a knife leading to his death, in Purnea on January 4, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Rupam Pathak, who had allegedly attacked BJP MLA Raj Kishore Keshri with a knife leading to his death, in Purnea on January 4, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and the MLA from the Purnea Assembly constituency Raj Kishore Keshri was stabbed to death at his residence in Purnea today by a woman who had earlier accused him of sexual harassment.

State Additional Director General of Police P K Thakur told journalists that the woman, Rupam Pathak attacked the MLA with a knife and stabbed him. He died instantaneously from injuries he suffered in his spleen, the official said.

According to him, the woman had apparently hidden the knife with a shawl she was wearing. She came to the Sipahi Tola house of the four-time MLA when he was meeting visitors, and asked to see him alone. The attack took place when she was talking to him at a little distance away from the others on the premises, Mr Thakur said.

The woman, who was later manhandled by supporters of the MLA, had been arrested. 

BJP MLA Raj Kishore Keshri who was fatally stabbed by a woman in Purnea on January 4, 2011. UNI PHOTO
BJP MLA Raj Kishore Kesri who was fatally stabbed by a woman in Purnia on January 4, 2011. UNI PHOTO

"She is being interrogated. It was revealed that the MLA had allegedly outraged her modesty a year ago and the woman acted in vengeance," a UNI report quoted Bihar Director General of Police Neelmani as saying.

The woman had lodged a complaint of sexual harassment against Mr Keshri about six months ago.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar directed Mr Neelmani to review the security arrangements for MLAs.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the funeral of the MLA would take place tomorrow after the arrival of his son and other family members from Delhi.


Neglected by children, elderly couple commit suicide in Tamil Nadu

Apparently dejected at being neglected by their sons and daughters, an elderly couple committed suicide by consuming pesticide at Aranmanaipudur village near Varushanadu here last night, police said.

Police said today that Anga Thevar (69) died soon after consuming the pesticide, while his wife A Thayammal (65) died at the Government Medical College Hospital here late last night.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the couple had three sons and three daughters who had neglected the parents.

The couple had reportedly fallen sick a few months back. Unable to tolerate the loneliness and exhaustion, they took the extreme step, police added.


Delhi records coldest day of winter, with min. temp. at 3.7 degrees

People in Delhi woke up to a chilly morning as the minimum temperature in the past 24 hours dropped to 3.7 degrees Celsius, the lowest in this winter and three degrees below normal for this time of the year.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the maximum temperature in the past 24 hours was 14.7 degrees Celsius, six degrees below normal.

The IMD has said that cold day conditions were likely to continue today, with the maximum temperature around 14 degrees Celsius.

It said similar conditions were likely to continue for the next two days, with fog in the morning hours.

Meanwhile, officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) said that, due to foggy conditions, low visibility procedures had to be enforced at the airport from 0343 hours till 1045 hours on runway 11/29 and till 0845 hours on runway 10/28.

During this period, a total 127 flights were operated using various instrument landing systems (ILS), they said. However, there were no cancellations or diversions of any flights, they said.

The IMD has forecast that visibility was likely to remain 800 metres in shallow fog till 1230 hours and improve to above 1000 metres in mist fog from 1330 hours today.

The airport authorities have advised all travellers to leave for the airport only after reconfirming the departure times of their flights with the airlines concerned.


UPSC announces result of written part of CDS Examination (II)-2010

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has announced the results of the written part of the Combined Defence Services Examination (II)-2010 held by it in September 2010.

An official press release said a total of 9411 candidates had qualified for being interviewed by the Service Selection Board of the Ministry of Defence.

The examination was held for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun 131st Course commencing in July 2011; Naval Academy, Ezhimala, Kerala, Course commencing in July 2011; Air Force Academy, Hyderabad (Pre-Flying) Training Course for 190th F(P) Course commencing in July, 2011; Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai , 94th SSC Course (for Men) commencing in October 2011; and Officers’ Training Academy, 8th SSC (Women Non-Technical) Course commencing in October 2011.

The ratio of candidates shortlisted for the examination per vacancy is 1:18:10, the release said.

According to it, the candidature of all the candidates is provisional. In accordance with the conditions of the admission to the examination, they are required to submit the original certificates in support of age, educational qualification, NCC (C) and so on claimed by them to Army Headquarters, in case of IMA/SSC as their first choice, to Naval Headquarters (R&R Section), in case of Naval first choice, and to PO3 (A) Air Headquarters in case of Air Force first choice.

The original Certificates are to be submitted within two weeks of completion of the SSB Interview and not later than May 13, 2011 (August 1, 2011 in case of SSC only).

The results are available on the UPSC website.

Delhi has another cold day on Monday, max. temp. at 14.7 degrees

It was another cold day in Delhi today, with the maximum temperature in the past 24 hours at 14.7 degrees Celsius, six degrees below normal.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the minimum temperature in the past 24 hours was 8.2 degrees Celsius, one degree above the normal for this time of the year.

The IMD has forecast thick fog for tomorrow morning in the capital and said that cold day conditions were likely to continue. The maximum and minimum temperatures tomorrow are expected to be 16 and 6 degrees Celsius. The next two days are also expected to witness similar conditions.


Citibank fraud: 5-day police remand for Hero Group AVP

Sanjay Gupta, Associate Vice-President (AVP) of Hero Group, was arrested today in conection with the multi-crore Citibank fraud case.

According to police sources, Gupta used to lure corporates into depositing money in fraud mastermind Shivraj Puri's scheme.

They said the interrogation of Puri, Relationship Manager of Citibank, Gurgaon branch, who was earlier arrested, revealed that he brought money of Hero Group as deposit in the branch.

After the verification of Gupta's account, police allegedly found that he made a profit of Rs 20 crore in the past three months.

Police will also probe Gupta's involvement not just as an investor but also as an accomplice in the Rs 300 crore fraud.

He was later produced before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate D N Bhardwaj, who sent him for five-day police remand. Gupta, 45, lives in Palam Vihar area of the city.


President condoles Rabindra Sangeet exponent Suchitra Mitra's demise

President Pratibha Patil today condoled the death of Rabindra Sangeet exponent Suchitra Mitra, saying her demise would create a void in the world of art and culture.

"Mitra was an exponent of Rabindra Sangeet and a great name in the field of performing art," Ms Patil, now in Goa, said in a condolence message. She described the artiste as a creative genius and a versatile personality.

Mitra died at her residence in South Kolkata this afternoon following cardiac arrest. She was 86 and was suffering from protracted illness.

NetIndian News Network adds:

Union Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee said that, with Mitra's death, a golden era of Rabindra Sangeet had come to an end and she was now part of an immortal legacy.

Ms Banerjee said that, with the departure of Mitra, an epitome of Rabindranath Tagore's philosophy and thoughts, the void created would be difficult to fill.


PUCL demands deletion of sedition law, release of Binayak Sen

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) today demanded scrapping of the law on sedition and the release of rights activist Binayak Sen, sentenced to life imprisonment for sedition by a Chhatisgarh court last month.

If the sedition law was not deleted, many more people being targeted by the government would suffer a similar fate, said PUCL leader Kavita Srivastava at a news conference here.

Her colleague in the rights body, lawyer Prashant Bhushan, however, sought amendment in this "draconian and colonial law" as it came in direct coflict with free speech guranteed by the Constitution.

He urged the Chhattisgarh High Court to take suo motu notice of the trial court order sentencing the medical practioner to life imprisonment by allegedly ignoring evidence before it.

Dr Sen's wife Ilina Sen, even while saying she had lost hope in the judicial system, said she will move the High Court against the conviction and sentencing of her husbvand, who celebrates his 61st birthday tomorrow.


Krishna to visit Afghanistan from January 8-9

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will pay an official visit to Afghanistan from January 8-9 as part of the regular high-level consultations between the two Governments.

A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said the visit, at the invitation of Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul, was also an expression of the friendship and understanding that existed between India and Afghanistan.

"As a strategic partner of Afghanistan and a neighbour with civilizational and historical links spanning millennia, India stands steadfast with the Government and people of Afghanistan in their efforts to build a strong, peaceful, democratic, pluralistic and prosperous Afghanistan," the release added.


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