|Will Write My Own Book: Sonia on Natwar Singh Row|
|NEW DELHI, July 31 (Agencies): With former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh creating a row with his comments about Sonia Gandhi, the Congress President today said that she will come out with her own book, which will reveal the "truth".
"I will write my own book and then you will come to know everything. The only way truth will come out is if I write. I am serious about it and I will be writing," she told reporters in Parliament House.
Gandhi was reacting to a question about the row triggered by the autobiography of Natwar Singh, which, he says, has given details about the reasons for her refusal to take up the Prime Minister's post in 2004.
Insisting that she was not hurt, Gandhi said that she had seen worse things like her husband Rajiv Gandhi being assassinated and her mother-i...|
|Natwar Singh's claims are marketing tactics: Manmohan Singh|
|NEW DELHI, July 31 (Agencies): Amid a row over Natwar Singh's comments about Sonia Gandhi in his book, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said it was a bid to market his product and dismissed his contention that PMO files were sent to the Congress President for approval.
He also used the occasion to attack his former Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru, saying he too had tried to market his book by making certain claims.
"This is their way of trying to market their product," the former Prime Minister told agencies here.
He was responding when asked to react to certain comments made by his former colleague Natwar Singh about Sonia Gandhi with regard to her refusal to take up Prime Ministership in 2004 and other issues.
Asked whether he thought Baru also indulged in the same marketing ta...|
|Concern in RS over infrastructure along China border|
|NEW DELHI, July 31 (Agencies): Concern was expressed in Rajya Sabha over the slow pace of infrastructure development along the border with China in Uttarakhand with some members saying it would be difficult to move troops there if a war breaks out.
Raising the issue, Mahendra Singh Mahra (Cong) said there has been a delay of 51 years in construction of a road to connect Tanakpur and Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand and expressed doubts on the capabilities of the Border Roads Organisation to build roads in the hill state.
"If a war breaks out in future, we will not be able to send troops to the border with China. China has been able to build roads at the height of 16,000 feet in Lhasa in Tibet but the BRO has not been able to build a 258-km road link in last 51 years," he said in a Special Men...|
|Pune Landslide: Toll up to 31, rain hampers rescue efforts|
|PUNE, July 31 (Agencies): Over 24 hours after a massive landslide swamped a village in Maharashtra's Pune district trapping about 160 people, rescuers have pulled out 31 bodies and eight injured from the debris so far as hopes of finding more survivors appeared to fade today.
The dead included 14 women and four children and the last of the survivors was extricated from under thick layers of mud and rock rubble last night, NDRF sources said.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had put the number of those trapped at 160 and, going by that figure, up to 121 people could still be under the massive mounds of debris.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Malin village, the scene of the tragedy in Ambegaon taluka, and announced assistance of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceas...|
|Gadkari Bugging: Oppn demands probe, PM's statement|
|NEW DELHI, July 31 (Agencies): Opposition led by Congress today upped the ante against the Government on the bugging issue demanding a judicial probe and a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter which, they said, has put NDA's credibility at stake.
There were sharp exchanges between the opposition members and the treasury benches over the issue, with the opposition adamant on a debate saying it is a breach of privilege over which the government can even be dismissed.
"When Ministers', MPs' phones are tapped, secrecy is breached. People's faith in the Council of Ministers has been shaken. To help restore that faith, constitute a judicial committee to probe the matter," Pramod Tiwari (Cong) said, raising a point of order.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venakaih Naidu, ho...|
|Stop erickshaws as of now: HC to Delhi govt|
|NEW DELHI, July 31 (Agencies): The Delhi High Court today directed the city government to stop erickshaws from plying on the roads of the national capital "as of now".
"Stop it as of now," a bench of justices B D Ahmed and S Mridul said, while observing that "unregulated plying of vehicles on Delhi roads is prima facie a hazard to other traffic on road as well as the citizens."
"You (Delhi government) say it is illegal. You stop them (erickshaws) in the meantime, till a law is framed to regulate them. You can't allow them to take law into their hands," the court said.
The court directed, "Respondents (city government and authorities) will forthwith take steps to prevent plying of erickshaws without fail".
During the brief proceedings, advocate Zubeda Begum, appearing for the city gove...|
|Kerry visits IIT, walks out impressed with students|
|NEW DELHI, July 31 (Agencies): "Very exciting" and "excellent" were the words used by US Secretary of State John Kerry as he visited two laboratories at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology here today and interacted with the students.
Kerry, who is here for the 5th Indo-US Strategic Dialogue, took time out of his schedule and visited the Applied Microbiology Laboratory and Bio-process lab.
Professor R K Shevgaonkar, Director of the IIT, Delhi told agencies that the American Embassy had specifically mentioned the laboratories that Kerry wanted to visit.
Dressed in a blue suit, Kerry interacted with the students there and asked a number of questions about the processes involved, the education fees, patent system and also if they would get a job in India or would they have to go...|
|Three labourers killed in landslide, 2 missing|
|KARIMGANJ, July 31 (Agencies): Three labourers were killed while a search was on for two others as their camp was buried by a landslide in a remote forest in Assam's Cachar district, police said today.
Bodies of three labourers were recovered last evening by villagers from the spot in the forest area of Kantum under Lakhipur sub-division and search was on for the other two, Officer in Charge (OC) of Jirighat police station said.
The five persons on Sunday had gone to the forest and set up a temporary camp. Incessant rainfall triggered the landslide on Monday night overrunning their camp and buried them there, the OC said.
The next day the local people began rescue work but could recover only three bodies last evening, police said.
The area is so remote that the only means of communica...|
|Eight dead, 160 feared trapped in Pune landslide|
|PUNE, July 30 (Agencies): At least eight persons were killed and about 160 feared trapped after large parts of a hillside collapsed on houses amid heavy rain in Maharashtra's Pune district today.
Additional district collector Ganesh Patil told agencies two persons have also been pulled out alive from the massive debris of mud and rock that covered the area at Malin village, some 120 kilometres from the district headquarters.
Around 300 NDRF personnel are assisting the local administration in the rescue operations, he said.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said five persons were killed in the landslide and 160 were feared to be trapped.
He said 44 houses on the hillside were swamped by the cascading debris in the village with a population of about 715.
Rescue operations are on in full...|
|Naroda Patiya Riots: Maya Kodnani gets bail|
|AHMEDABAD, July 30 (Agencies): The Gujarat High Court today granted bail to former minister Maya Kodnani, who was convicted and sentenced to 28 years' imprisonment in the 2002 Naroda Paitya riots case in which 97 people were killed.
The division bench of High Court comprising Justice V M Sahai and Justice R P Dholaria, accepted Kodnani's application seeking bail on health grounds.
With this, she becomes the the first accused to get bail in the Naroda Patiya riots case.
The court has given her regular bail on the bond of Rs one lakh and has exempted her from appearing before the police during her bail period as she is not keeping well.
Kodnani in her bail application had said that she has been suffering from tuberculosis and depression, for which she is getting treatment at city civil ...|
|JD(U), RJD, Cong announce alliance for Bihar bypolls|
|PATNA, July 30 (Agencies): Seeking to buck the trend of recent Parliamentary election in which BJP decimated them, JD(U), RJD and Congress today announced alliance among the three for bypoll in 10 Assembly seats in Bihar, considered as semi-final before the crucial state poll next year.
As per seat-sharing arrangements reached by the parties, JD(U) and RJD will contest four seats each while the Congress will do so on two seats.
The alliance was formally announced by state Presidents of JD(U), RJD and Congress Basistha Narayan Singh, Ramchandra Purbey and Ashok Chaudhary respectively at a joint press conference here.
The deal was sealed finally after talks between Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD President Lalu Prasad, they said.
Singh told report...|
|Disappointed with India's blocking WTO trade deal: US|
|MUMBAI, July 30 (Agencies): The US is "very disappointed" with India's stand at the ongoing Trade Facilitation Agreement talks at the WTO but Washington continues to be optimistic about salvaging the deal within tomorrow's deadline, a top Obama administration official said here today.
"We are very disappointed that India has taken a step back from its agreements that it made in December (last) at the WTO," visiting US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker told PTI during an interaction here.
The comments come in wake of New Delhi's tough stand which has put a question mark on the passage of the TFA at the ongoing Geneva talks aimed at easing customs rules in the WTO's 160 member countries.
India is seeking a guarantee on food security for its hundreds of millions of poor as a pre-condition...|
|PM asks Rajnath Singh to rush to landslide-hit Pune|
|NEW DELHI, July 30 (Agencies): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today condoled the loss of lives in landslide in Pune and directed that all possible help should be provided to the affected people.
He also directed Home Minister Rajnath Singh to rush to Pune to take stock of the situation, a PMO statement said.
"The Prime Minister has condoled the loss of lives in the landslide and directed all possible efforts to help the affected people," the statement said.
80 personnel of National Disaster Response Force have reached the spot for relief and rescue operations, it noted....|
|Saudi Arabia bans import of pepper from India|
|NEW DELHI, July 30 (Agencies): Saudi authorities have decided to impose temporary ban on import of pepper from India with effect from May 30, Parliament was informed today.
According to reports, presence of high levels of pesticides in the Indian consignment was the reason to put the import restriction.
"Saudi authorities have decided to impose temporary ban on the import of all types of pepper from India with effect from May 30," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
According to the Indian Spices Board, chilli peppers are one of India's largest foreign currency earners, and between April and November 2013 a quantity of 181,500 tonnes of chilli peppers worth USD 3 million were exported.
She also said that due to incidence of pes...|
|Prasar Bharti facing shortage of manpower|
|NEW DELHI, July 30 (Agencies): Public Broadcaster Prasar Bharati is facing shortage of manpower in various departments including its Programme Wing and the News Services Division, Lok Sabha was informed today.
Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha that the vacancies had arisen due to retirement, resignation and death of employees.
"The promotion quota vacancies could not be filled up as Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) meetings could not be held consistently after constitution of Prasar Bharati as an autonomous Corporation in the year 1997 and due to litigations. Also very few direct recruitments have taken place since 1997," Javadekar further said in the written reply.
Listing the corrective steps taken up ...|
|BJP demands cancellation of appointments of commissioners|
|CHANDIGARH, July 30 (Agencies): Opposition BJP today demanded cancellation of appointments of Information Commissioners and Commissioners of Right to Service Commission, whom the oath was administered by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
In a memorandum submitted to newly-appointed Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki here today, the 11-member delegation of BJP, led by state president Ram Bilas Sharma, also sought registration of an FIR against Chief Secretary S C Choudhry for allegedly forcing a senior IAS officer Pradeep Kasni to do "wrong things" pertaining to appointments.
"We have sought from Haryana Governor to cancel appointments of two State Information Commissioners and three Commissioners of Haryana Right to Service Commission which are totally illegal and unconst...|
|Hooda govt attacked over administering commissioners' oath|
|CHANDIGARH, July 28 (Agencies): A controversy has erupted over Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda administering the oath of office to new members of State Information Commission and the Commissioners of Right to Service Commission barely an hour after the new Governor took charge, with the Opposition terming the move as "unconstitutional".
However, Chief Secretary S C Choudhary maintained that there was no illegality in making the appointments and in administering the oath to them.
Even as BJP nominee Kaptan Singh Solanki took oath as new Governor of Haryana yesterday, the Chief Minister went ahead and administered the oath of office to two as Commissioners of the SIC and three others as the Right to Service Commission.
In the past, the Information Commissioners were administ...|
|Delhi HC stays EC notice against Ashok Chavan|
|NEW DELHI, July 28 (Agencies): The Delhi High Court today stayed the Election Commission's show cause notice to ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan asking him why he should not be disqualified for failing to give his true and correct expenses incurred in 2009 Assembly polls.
The commission in its July 13, 2014 order had given Chavan, an MP from Nanded parliamentary seat, a 20-day deadline to respond to the show cause notice which was issued after the poll panel had found him guilty of failing to "lodge his account of election expenses in the manner required by the (Representation of the People) Act and Rules."
Justice Suresh Kait also issued notice to BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Kirit Somaiya and independent candidate Madhavrao Kinhalkar, who had filed the complaint again...|
|Curfew relaxed for 4 hours in strife-hit Saharanpur|
|SAHARANPUR, July 28 (Agencies): With the situation improving in violence-hit Saharanpur, the district authorities today relaxed curfew for four hours in the new city area to allow people to buy their daily need items from markets which were directed to remain open.
As the situation has shown improvement, curfew was being relaxed from 10 AM to 2 PM in the new city and from 3 PM to 7 PM in the old town areas, District Magistrate Sandhya Tiwari said
"This is being done to allow people to pick up their items of daily need from the markets," she told reporters here.
Tiwari said security forces have been asked to maintain a tight vigil during the curfew relaxation hours and keep a close watch on trouble-mongers to prevent any untoward incident.
She said a lot of people contacted the authori...|
|'Strengthen preventive vigilance to curb corruption'|
|CHANDIGARH, July 28 (Agencies): Punjab Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal today stressed on strengthening preventive vigilance and surveillance to check delays in order to curb corruption.
Presiding over the first ever meeting of Chief Vigilance Officers of all departments here today, the Chief Secretary said it was imperative for CVOs to have a relook at procedures and practices that provide scope for harassing citizens, and suggest suitable steps to minimise delays at various levels.
Emphasising on fasttrack disposal of all enquiries, the Chief Secretary said that CVO was duty-bound to ensure that charge-sheets are drafted properly and issued expeditiously and that there is no delay in appointing inquiry officers.
He said that proper procedure has to be followed in disciplinary proceedi...|
|No device found anywhere at my residence: Gadkari|
|NEW DELHI, July 28 (Agencies): As the controversy over alleged bugging continued, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today insisted that no snooping devices were found anywhere at his residence.
"As already stated, I reiterate that no devices were found at my residence anywhere," he tweeted.
The Minister for Surface Transport and Highways was reacting to reports which claimed that high power listening devices were found in the bedroom at his 13, Teen Murti Lane residence here.
Gadkari sought to dispel the reports yesterday also by terming these as "highly speculative" but the controversy continued to rage with Opposition demanding a clarification from the government.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday said the matter should be probed....|
|School where 6-yrr old allegedly raped reopens|
|BANGALORE, July 28 (Agencies): The school where a six-year-old girl was allegedly raped reopened today, 10 days after it was shut over the outrageous incident that led to severe public protests and prompted police to issue tough guidelines for children's safety.
Vibgyor High School reopened after groups of parents visited the institution to take stock of the safety measures initiated by the management, which faced allegations of trying to hush up the July 2 incident before it came to light only after a police complaint was lodged 12 days later.
Parents seemed cautiously satisfied about safety mechanisms but there were many others who sounded sceptical, voicing anxiety over sending their wards back to the school.
Ahead of reopening, parents carried out an inspection on Sunday in the pre...|
|LeT member sent to police custody in Delhi terror plot case|
|NEW DELHI, July 28 (Agencies): An alleged member of banned Lashkar-e-Toiba, serving life term in Kolkata for his role in the 2001 Partha Roy Burman kidnapping case, has been remanded in police custody till August 2 by a Delhi court in connection with a case of conspiracy to carry out terror attacks here.
District Judge I S Mehta allowed the plea of Special Cell of Delhi Police seeking six days' custodial interrogation of Asahbuddin alias Shaukat, who was produced in court from Kolkata Jail after a production warrant had been issued against him.
The police arrested Asahbuddin in connection with a case of conspiracy of LeT to kidnap a businessman or industrialist to generate funds for buying weapons and explosives to carry out terror attacks in the national capital.
The police told the c...|
|Letter to Mumbai police threatens 'revenge' for Gaza attacks|
|MUMBAI, July 27 (Agencies): Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria has received a letter purportedly threatening a terror attack in the metropolis to "take revenge for Gaza" attacks, following which an alert has been sounded here.
The one-page letter addressed to him was received by Mumbai Police Control Room on July 25 through post, Maria told PTI here today.
"We will take revenge for Gaza. In 1993, you (Maria) got a chance. This time you won't. Stop us if you can," reads the letter signed simply as "Mujahideen".
The other contents of the letter, written in Hindi as well as English, hinted a terror attack in the city, he said.
"We are verifying the authenticity of the letter. However, we are not taking the threat lightly. The Crime Branch and all the police stations have been alerte...|
|Rajnath holds high-level meet on Civil Services Exam Row|
|NEW DELHI, July 27 (Agencies): Amid protests from civil services aspirants against the new exam pattern, the government today convened a high-level meeting to resolve the issue.
The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh among others.
"There was a discussion on the issue and ways to resolve it," a senior government official, who attended the meeting, said here.
A decision on whether or not to change the syllabus of civil services examination and postpone the preliminary test, slated to be held on August 24, is likely to be taken soon, he said.
The meeting, which was held at the Home Minister's residence, was also attended by S K Sarkar, Secretary, Department of Perso...|