CHENNAI 19 APRIL 2013 FRIDAY `2.50 PAGES 48 LATE CITY EDITION CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BANGALORE ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELGAUM ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIMOGA ■ TIRUCHY ■ www.newindianexpress.com Cabinet Clears Bihar Package, Hopes for Nitish’s Political IOU ASK PRABHU Post your questions on website www.newindianexpress.com and Prabhu will answer them With whopping `12,000 crore dole, UPA managers try to wean JD(U) away from the NDA camp R A DA R by Santwana Bhattacharya Cops Grill Man on Blasts Vellore/Namakkal: Amid conflicting reports of arrests in connection with the Bangalore blasts, highly placed sources said one person has been picked up for questioning in Vellore on Thursday. Meanwhile, in a midnight operation, sleuths of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka traced the owner of the bike with TN registration, involved in the blast, in Namakkal, only to find that the number plate on the blast site bike was fake. P3 Musharraf Flees Court Islamabad: Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Thursday fled a court amid high drama after judges ordered his immediate arrest for treason. P11 New Delhi: Forget austerity, the Centre is not shy of buying itself some expensive political comfort. Just three days before Parliament resumes for the second half of the Budget session, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a whopping `12,000 crore special package for Bihar under the Backward Regions Grant Fund. Timed like a Baisakhi season gift, the UPA must be hoping it heralds a new year in political relationships. After the DMK’s exit, the shrinking UPA government is clearly reaching out to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with this special package. Kumar’s party, the Janata Dal (U), has 20 MPs in the Lok Sabha and nine in the Rajya Sabha and it could serve as a buffer for the UPA in Parliament. As Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar (who heads one of the remaining UPA coalition parties) said pointedly in an interview, the UPA government will be given a test of survival on each day of the second half of the political formation that grants Bihar special status. The special package under the backward region grants fund, a step towards that, is clearly a harbinger of closer coordination between the Congress and a party that was hitherto its bitter foe. GAG ORDER ON BJP STATE UNIT In keeping with its politics of restraint, the BJP leadership on Thursday counselled its Bihar state unit to avoid any provocative statements vis-a-vis its alliance partner in Bihar, the JD (U), and desist from any unilateral measures that would imperil the 17-yearold alliance. P7 Budget session as several money bills are pending. The special package to Bihar thus can be seen as a sweetheart deal. Kumar, at a much-publicised rally of the JD(U) in Delhi on March 17, had announced that he would support any party or Lurking in the foreground, and propelling the two together, is the looming figure of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Kumar has made much noise against the possible projection of Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate citing the 2002 Gujarat riots. This despite him leading a coalition government with the saffron party in Bihar. Kumar’s Delhi speech saw an open challenge to the BJP on the Modi front. Just days later, now the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given the nod to the Planning Commission proposal by which Bihar will get `3,000 crore a year from 201314 to 2016-17. Quite significantly, this is double the amount allocated to the state by the plan panel last year. I&B Minister Manish Tewari, however, claimed there was nothing political in the decision. “UPA has been running a government for the past nine years, our endeavour is not to mix politics and governance. But we live in a democratic country, so everyone is free to draw their own conclusions!’’ Consensus on Land Bill New Delhi: The government on Thursday clinched a “broad consensus” on the contentious Land Acquisition Bill, paving the way for its consideration and passage in Parliament in the Budget Session itself. P9 Centre Hikes DA to 80% New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to increase dearness allowance to 80 per cent, from the existing 72 per cent, benefiting 50 lakh staff of the Central government and 30 lakh pensioners. Shuttler Upsets Ex No.1 Taipei: Shuttler P V Sindhu on Thursday pulled off an upset win over former world No. 1 Shixian Wang of China to storm into the women’s singles quarterfinals of the Badminton Asia Championship here. P15 8.00 PM MARKETS Sensex: Nifty: Gold 19,016.46 5,783.10 24 ct (1 gm): 22 ct (1 gm): 2,608 2,439 Silver Bar (1 kg): 45,105 Retail (1 gm): 48.30 Exchange US$: Euro: 54.02 70.49 SOURCE: BSE, NSE, RBI WEBSITES EXPRESS POLL OF THE DAY Will the proposed US immigration laws benefit the Indian IT industry? YES 36% NO 64% TODAY’S QUESTION: Will gold prices stabilise now? SMS TO 54646 www.newindianexpress.com UNIFORM ASSAULT Chennai: The eligibility criterion fixed by the AICTE for admission of SC/ST students in BE and B Tech courses will remain at 40 per cent aggregate marks in Class 12, after the Madras High Court on Thursday confirmed a single judge order upholding the apex body’s rule. The first bench of acting Chief Justice R K Agrawal and Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar confirmed the single judge order while dismissing a writ appeal from the State government and a writ petition from Policemen manhandle protesters, including women, during a clash following a demonstration over the alleged rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday. Later in the day, 21 policemen were suspended for mishandling the protest | PTI REPORT: P10 ‘Vedanta Project Subject to Gram Sabha Nod’ Express News Service New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said if the Bauxite Mining Project (BMP) of the Sterlite Industries Ltd in any way affects the religious rights of Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest dwellers (TFDs), especially their right to worship their deity Niyam Raja, in the hilltop of the Niyamgiri range in Odisha, that right has to be preserved and protected. A Bench comprising justices Aftab Alam, K S Radhakrish- 40% Cutoff for SC/ST in Engg Valid, Says HC Express News Service New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), which is examining the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum, on Thursday gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G scam. The draft, prepared by JPC chairman PC Chacko, has angered Opposition members in the panel and they are gearing up for submitting dissent reports rejecting the draft. The JPC is scheduled to meet on April 25 to approve the draft report. Blaming former Telecom Minister A Raja for the 2G scam and accusing him of changing the rules of licencing at the last minute to allow firms to jump the queue, the draft report, apparently leaked to the media, said Raja failed to keep the PM in the loop about changes made in the norms. The report said 2G spectrum was allocated on a firstcome-first-serve basis after TRAI’s recommendation. Sources said the draft report suggested that Singh and Chidambaram had no role in tweaking the norms while allocating 2G licences. The draft report said the JPC disagreed with the CAG who had said that `1.76 lakh crore was lost on account of the alleged swindle. The JPC, which was constituted on by Ganesh N IPL 6: TODAY’S MATCH Indices Express News Service March 4, 2011, is expected to submit its report in the current session of Parliament. The panel, which had a marathon 56 sittings, witnessed a war of words between the Opposition members and Chacko. The Opposition members, particularly BJP members, have been demanding that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, as also Raja, be called before the JPC to depose. The DMK, which had withdrawn support to the BJP, CPI TRASH ‘CONGRESS REPORT’ Rejecting the draft JPC report on 2G, the BJP and CPI said it has been reduced to a “Congress report” and they will submit their dissent notes. They also alleged that it was a cover up exercise even as objections were raised on the leakage of the report. UPA, has also been demanding that Raja be called to depose before the JPC. Raja, who spent a year in jail before being granted bail, himself offered to depose before the JPC and even wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on it. The JPC draft report also said a note was put up by the Department of Telecommunications indicating the procedure to be adopted for grant of UAS licences. Baig Gets Death for Bakery Bomb Blast 48 PAGES, INCLUDING 32 PAGES OF INDULGE (TABLOID) Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kings XI Punjab CSK THRASH DD BY 86 RUNS RESULT PM, PC Get JPC Clean Chit in 2G Spectrum Case the Department of Technical Education’s SC/ST Employees Welfare Association on Thursday. Originally, the state government, by a GO dated June 14, 2010, held that a mere pass—35 per cent— was enough for admission of SC/ST candidates. However, by a notification dated July 4, 2011, the AICTE changed that to 40 per cent. The matter went to court and a single judge on July 20 last year upheld the AICTE prescription of 40 per cent. The state and the SC/ST association then preferred the present appeals. nan and Ranjan Gogoi said the question whether the Scheduled Tribes and Traditional Forest Dwellers like Dongaria Kondh, Kutia Kandha and others have got any religious rights, i.e. rights of ownership over the Niyamgiri hills, has to be considered by the Gram Sabha. It further said the Gram Sabha can examine whether the proposed mining area, Niyama Danger, would affect the abode of Niyam Raja. The apex court directed the state government to place issues concerning individual, community, cultural and religious claims of Scheduled Tribes and Traditional Forest Dwellers before the Gram Sabha, which would decide the same in three months. The court also directed that the “proceedings of the Gram Sabha shall be attended as an observer by a judicial officer of the rank of the District Judge, nominated by the Chief Justice of the High Court of Orissa.” The court also said the “Alumina Refinery Project (of M/s Sterlite) is well advised to take steps to... rectify the alleged vi- olations by it of the terms of environmental clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.” The bench clarified that the corrective measures taken by it shall be considered by the MoEF while making any final decision. The bench said once the Gram Sabha has determined all the claims submitted before it, the Ministry of Environment and Forests will make a final decision on the grant of Stage-II clearance for the Bauxite Mining Project within two months. Mumbai: Himayat Baig, the lone accused convicted for his role in the Pune German Bakery bomb blast, has been sentenced to death. As Judge N P Dhote announced the verdict in a packed Sessions Court at Pune, Baig began sobbing. The court also fined Baig `500 under various sections, on the default of which he would undergo an additional month of imprisonment. Before the judgment was pronounced, Baig, given a final opportunity to speak, pleaded innocence and accused the Maharashtra AntiTerrorism Squad of framing him. “I have no enmity with the innocent men who lost their lives in the German Bakery blast. I have never visited the German Bakery. I am innocent and I have been falsely accused in the case,” said Baig. He said he sympathised with the 17 innocent people who died and those injured in the blast. “However, if you hang me, I would be the 18th innocent victim of the bomb blast. The dead victims of the blast will not get any justice if you hang me, as I am innocent,” said Baig. He knew about the impending death penalty, as the prosecution had sought it. Baig emphasised his innocence on Thursday in the hope of escaping the gallows. “The ATS did not get the actual suspects; hence they framed me to show that they have solved the case,” said Baig. Defence lawyer A Rehman argued that a co-accused being sentenced to death while the main accused are free would be unprecedented. “Baig is a young man and a teacher by profession and has a family to look after,” he said. Rehman said they would appeal the verdict.
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