Doctors restore vision
of blind 21-year-old
CRPF jawan

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Declared clinically blind after he was injured in the gruesome Dantewada naxal attack early this year, a 21-year-old CRPF jawan can now see due to the efforts of doctors at AIIMS who have dubbed it as nothing short of a "miracle". "When Adity....more

Deshmukh dismisses
demands for resignation

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today dismissed opposition demand for his resignation in the wake of the Supreme Court rebuking him for abusing his position as Maharashtra Chief Minister. "These are political things. I cannot expect anything positive from...more

Gurudev’s rare photo
goes missing

JAMSHEDPUR, Dec 16: A rare photograph of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was found missing from Sanskriti Express train which is on a countrywide tour to mark the occasion of Guruderv’s 150th birth anniversary. Mr Prabhari Singh,train assistant Tatanagar railway....more

Govt confident of achieving
tax collection targets

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: With economic growth showing impressive resilience, the Government today said it is confident of reaching its tax collection targets, both in the direct and indirect tax segments. "As things stand now, we will definitely reach the target," Central Board.....more

SC orders DDA to
rebuild night shelters
razed by it in 3 days

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: The Supreme Court today directed all states and union territories to ensure that no night shelter was demolished amid the biting winter cold and slammed the Delhi Development Authority for demolishing two such facilities in the capital....more

Shourie says SC
decision will vindicate
his decisions

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Former Telecom Minister Arun Shourie today said the Supreme Court order to widen the scope of 2G spectrum investigations from 2001 would establish how "honest decisions were taken by honest...more

Balakrishnan’s letter
did not name any
minister: Moily

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Law Minister M Veerappa Moily today said the name of former Telecom Minister A Raja did not figure in the letter written by the former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan to him in August 2009. "I wrote to....more

Leaders, bureaucrats
conscience unclear in
spectrum scam:Laloo

MANDU, MP, Dec 16: Former Bihar Chief Minister, Laloo Yadav said here today that the conscience of leaders, bureaucrats and mediapersons was not clear in the spectrum scam and it revealed that the corruption in the country....more

Koda’s judicial remand extended till Dec 23...........

Chopper catches fire at airport, 2 pilots injured........

Salman for curbing illegitimate corporate lobbying..........

Army Chief to be honorary Nepal Army General.........

 

Doctors restore vision of blind 21-year-old CRPF jawan

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Declared clinically blind after he was injured in the gruesome Dantewada naxal attack early this year, a 21-year-old CRPF jawan can now see due to the efforts of doctors at AIIMS who have dubbed it as nothing short of a "miracle".

"When Adity Singh was brought to us, his left eyeball was missing. The back side of the retina of the right eye was severely damaged. There was a detachment of the retina. Clinically, he was blind in both eyes," Dr Tushar Agarwal, assistant professor, Department of Ophthalmology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here said.

"After conducting four surgeries, we have been successful in restoring Aditya’s partial vision. We are hopeful that with the passage of time the functions of the eye may improve," Dr Y R Sharma, Vitreo-Retina Unit of Opthalmology department at AIIMS said.

Doctors are hopeful that Aditya will regain complete vision in due course of time.

Aditya was one of the survivors of the naxal attack in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on April 6 in which over 70 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force and one Chhattisgarh police head constable were killed by the extremists.

Doctors conducted primary repair surgery on his right eye and reconstructive surgery on the left eye.

"This case is a miracle in the field of Opthalmology," Sharma said.

"When I came back home I had to depend on others for every single move. But slowly I was able to see. Today, I can see any object close to me, though things at a distance still appear blurred. I have a family to take care of and I am happy that I have regained by vision," a smiling Aditya said. (PTI)

Deshmukh dismisses demands for resignation

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today dismissed opposition demand for his resignation in the wake of the Supreme Court rebuking him for abusing his position as Maharashtra Chief Minister.

"These are political things. I cannot expect anything positive from my opponents", Deshmukh said when asked about demand from opposition parties in Maharshtra BJP and Shiv Sena that he quit in the wake of the court’s observations against him.

The Union Minister for Heavy Industries said that he has asked for a certified copy of the Supreme Court judgement.

While Shiv Sena had demanded the resignation of Deshmukh as Union Minister in the wake of the apex Court’s observations, Congress has so far remained non-committal on the issue.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday pulled up Deshmukh for preventing police from registering a criminal case against a Congress legislator’s money-lender father and imposed a staggering Rs 10 lakh fine on the State Government. (PTI)

Gurudev’s rare photo goes missing

JAMSHEDPUR, Dec 16: A rare photograph of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was found missing from Sanskriti Express train which is on a countrywide tour to mark the occasion of Guruderv’s 150th birth anniversary.

Mr Prabhari Singh,train assistant Tatanagar railway station had lodged a complaint with station inspector A K Agrawal on December 13, sources said.

Talking to UNI, Mr Agarwal said though he had not received a written complaint regarding the matter, he was aware of the incident.

The theft is believed to have happened before or when the train reached Tatanagar, sources added.

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had flagged off the train from Howrah station of West Bengal on May 9 this year.

The train will return to Kolkata on May’ 2011 after completing its journey across the country.

The train has on exhibition of various paintings, poems, artefacts and belongings reflecting the life of Gurudev. (UNI)

Govt confident of achieving tax collection targets

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: With economic growth showing impressive resilience, the Government today said it is confident of reaching its tax collection targets, both in the direct and indirect tax segments.

"As things stand now, we will definitely reach the target," Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman S S N Moorthy told reporters here.

Overall, the Government had fixed a revenue target of Rs 7.45 lakh crore, including indirect taxes, for the current fiscal, which is about 19 per cent higher than last fiscal.

According to official figures, the net direct tax collection surged by 17.85 per cent to Rs 2.16 lakh crore during April-November this year compared to the same period last fiscal, thereby crossing the 50 per cent of the full year target.

During April-November 2009, net direct tax collection had stood at Rs 1.83 lakh crore.

In the Budget, the Government had targetted to collect Rs 4.30 lakh crore from direct tax for the current fiscal.

Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairman S Dutt Majumder concurred with Moorthy’s opinion.

"I think we will reach our target," Majumdar said when asked if indirect tax collections will meet the Government’s target.

The indirect tax collection has risen by 42.3 per cent to Rs 2.07 lakh crore during April-November this year as compared to corresponding period last year, indicating uptick in economic activities.

In the current year, indirect tax collections during April-November constitute 66.3 per cent of the overall target of Rs 3.13 lakh crore fixed for 2010-11.

The Indian economy is already on a recovery path, registering a GDP growth of 8.9 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal.

Similarly, the industrial output in October rose by 10.8 per cent on back of healthy performance of sectors such as automobile, electronic goods and power.

The IIP growth rate on the average stood at 10.3 per cent during the April-October period.

Asked about advance tax, Moorthy said: "The trend is reasonably good (in advanced tax collection). We are growing at a rate of 18 per cent quarter- to-quarter)."

As per official sources, the advance tax outlays of the top 100 companies for the October-December period grew 17.5 per cent over last year, while the overall advance tax collection by the Mumbai circle - the country’s largest - for the quarter is expected to grow over 20 per cent.

Advance tax payment is a staggered system of paying taxes and is generally seen as a barometer of a particular company’s performance as the tax payments are made in line with profit expectations.

The Government had fixed a target of 18 per cent growth in advance tax for this fiscal.

Barring cement, companies in all the sectors such as banking, auto and pharma have paid more advance tax than last year. (PTI)

SC orders DDA to rebuild night
shelters razed by it in 3 days

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: The Supreme Court today directed all states and union territories to ensure that no night shelter was demolished amid the biting winter cold and slammed the Delhi Development Authority for demolishing two such facilities in the capital.

Rebuking DDA for demolishing two of the 64 shelters built by the Delhi Government last year on the court’s instructions, a bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma ordered that they be rebuilt within three days.

The bench issued the orders, taking suo motu cognisance of the news reports on demolition of two night shelters by DDA at Nehru Place and Kalkaji, forcing destitutes to brave the biting winter chill in the open.

The apex court said that as a welfare state it was the duty of the Government to ensure that not a single citizen across the country sleeps under the open sky in such "intense" winter.

"We are greatly anguished, disappointed and astonished as to how could the authorities be so insensitive, impervious and callous when the winter is so intense," the bench said, referring to the demolition of the two night shelters by the DDA.

The apex court pointed out that the Delhi Government has installed 64 permanent night shelters in pursuant to the bench’s direction last year, but the DDA authorities betrayed utter callousness and insensitive in demolishing two of them.

At one stage, the apex court warned that it could have initiated contempt of court proceedings against the DDA vice chairperson for demolition of the two night shelters, which had been built on the court’s orders.

The bench, however, proceeded to order DDA to launch a probe into the demolitions and identify the officials responsible for it.

It directed DDA to take appropriate disciplinary actions against the officials responsible for demolition.

The bench further asked Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran to visit one of the night shelters in the capital and find out first hand the conditions prevailing there.

The directions were passed after senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), alleged that out of 64 night shelters, only 25 were operational and the remaining ones were defunct. He also submitted photographs to support his allegations. (PTI)

Shourie says SC decision will vindicate his decisions

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Former Telecom Minister Arun Shourie today said the Supreme Court order to widen the scope of 2G spectrum investigations from 2001 would establish how "honest decisions were taken by honest persons".

Shourie, who held the telecom portfolio between January 2003 and May 2004 in the NDA regime, said he was not sure what made the apex court widen the scope of probe from 2001.

However, the SC order "is an opportunity for all of us to demonstrate that the Department of Telecom has not been manned by Rajas alone", he said.

Many of the issues relating to the telecom policy during the NDA regime have already been examined and settled by judgements of the Supreme Court and rulings of TDSAT, he said.

"My only plea is that the new order should not become an excuse for delaying the prosecution of Raja on the evidence that is well in hand of the CBI".

Set to monitor the 2G spectrum scam probe, the Supreme Court widened the investigation in the case by bringing in its ambit the telecom policy of both NDA and UPA regimes from 2001 to 2008.

Prior to Shourie, late Pramod Mahajan was the telecom minister from 2001. (PTI)

Balakrishnan’s letter did not name any minister: Moily

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Law Minister M Veerappa Moily today said the name of former Telecom Minister A Raja did not figure in the letter written by the former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan to him in August 2009.

"I wrote to the then Chief Justice of India, Justice Balakrishnan. He wrote us back...The name of any minister did not figure in it. That is all. There is no controversy at all. This is a matter of fact," he told reporters here.

Moily was referring to the correspondence between him and Balakrishnan after a group of MPs had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging Raja had attempted to influence a Madras High Court judge to get bail for his family friends.

"No, I am sorry, he has not taken any name, or my name. There is nothing wrong," he said, adding that when the issue of the memorandum was referred to the Law Ministry, he had written to Balakrishnan to seek his response.

In a statement issued yesterday, Balakrishnan - who now heads the NHRC - had said that the then Chief Justice of Madras High Court H L Gokahle had not mentioned the name of any minister in his report on the alleged incident.

He had also said that he had brought the facts to the notice of the Law Minister.

"All these matters were brought to the notice of the Union Law Minister on August 18, 2009 in response to his letter to me drawing reference to the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister by the MPs of different political parties..."

Moily had yesterday agreed that communication had taken place between him and Balakrishnan but said he would not like to make an immediate statement which is "half-baked". (PTI)

Leaders, bureaucrats conscience
unclear in spectrum scam:Laloo

MANDU, MP, Dec 16: Former Bihar Chief Minister, Laloo Yadav said here today that the conscience of leaders, bureaucrats and mediapersons was not clear in the spectrum scam and it revealed that the corruption in the country has spread everywhere.

"In the spectrum scam, nobody’s conscience, whether it is leaders, bureaucrats and mediapersons is clear and corruption has spread everywhere in the country," Yadav who arrived here to meet Jain saint, Ravindra Vijay Surishwar Maharaj, told reporters.

"In this scam, faces were exposed one after another and it appears that a media trial is going on in the matter as as happened during the fodder scam," he said.

The Lok Sabha was not allowed to function and demands for setting up Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and probes were also going on at different other levels, he said.

Without specifying whether JPC should be constituted or not in the spectrum scam, he said "a probe should be conducted into the matter."

In a lighter vein, Laloo said that he has arrived in the "van" (forest) for "vanvas" (spending time in solitude).

Earlier Laloo visited the historic Mandu city including Roopmati Mahal and Jahaz Mahal and praised their ancient architecture. (PTI)

Koda’s judicial remand extended till Dec 23

RANCHI, Dec 16: A special vigilance court today extended the judicial remand of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda till December 23 in the disproportionate assets case being investigated by the state vigilance bureau.

The court of Binoy Kant Khan set December 23 as the next date for hearing.

Koda, who is in judicial custody along with other accused Vinod Sinha, Manoj Punamia, Arvind Vyas and Vikash Sinha, was arrested on November 30 by vigilance sleuths after an FIR was filed accusing him of amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The Enforcement Directorate, the CBI and the Income Tax department are simultaneously probing alleged money laundering and illegal investments of Rs 2000 crore after raiding the premises of Koda and his aides on October 31 last year. (PTI)

Chopper catches fire at airport, 2 pilots injured

CHANDIGARH, Dec 16: A Punjab Government helicopter caught fire at the airport as it was preparing to take off from here this morning, leaving two pilots injured.

The Dauphin N3 seven seater Pawan Hans helicopter was taxiing at the airport when it suddenly tilted and hit the ground before catching fire, official sources said.

The pilots managed to come out immediately afterwards but were injured in the process.

The helicopter, which was taken on lease from a private company, was to pick up Punjab Industries Minister Manorajan Kalia, who was scheduled to go on an official visit to Mukerian in Hoshiarpur district, from Rajindra Park here.

The DGCA had ordered an inquiry into the incident, the sources said.

Fire tenders were rushed to the spot and defused the fire.

Police said the two pilots have been provided medical aid and one of them had been taken to hospital.

The aircraft was on lease with the State Government for the last 14 years, an official said. (PTI)

Salman for curbing illegitimate corporate lobbying

KOLKATA, Dec 16: Union Minister for Corporate Affairs Salman Khurshid today said that though corporate lobbying is a democratic right, but its illegitimate use needs to be curbed.

"Corporate lobbying is nothing illegal and it is a democratic right. But it has to be within legitimate limits," Khurshid told reporters on the sidelines of India Corporate Week organised by FICCI here.

Referring to the 2G scam involving corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, Khurshid said, "We are all concerned about corporate lobbying... There is a need to consult among the concerned ministries and also to see whether the existing laws are fit to deal with it," Khurshid said.

He said there was a need to ascertain if a separate law was required to deal with the illegality of corporate lobbying.

Also there was a need for a transparency model, the minister observed saying though "this may suggest declaration by corporates about their lobbyists and so on," the minister said.

The Right to Information would also have to be examined whether it covered corporate lobbying.

On the Companies Bill, he said that it would be introduced in the Budget session of Parliament. (PTI)

Army Chief to be honorary Nepal Army General

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Army Chief General V K Singh will be conferred the rank of an honorary General of the Nepalese Army when he visits the Himalayan State from December 20 to 23, keeping with a long-standing tradition.

"Army Chief General V K Singh is leaving on a visit to Nepal from December 20 to 23 this year. During the visit, the Chief will be conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepalese Army as per traditions," an Army press release said here today.

Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav will confer the honorary rank on General Singh at a special investiture ceremony in Kathmandu.

Nepal Army Chief General Chhatra Man Gurung was conferred the honorary rank of General of the Indian Army by President Pratibha Patil during his visit here in December last year.

Gen Singh, during his visit to Nepal, will also go around the Nepalese Army training establishments and interact with that country's Prime Minister and Defence Minister, apart from the Army Chief.

"Discussions on enhancing defence cooperation and mutually beneficial projects are likely to take place during this visit," the release said.

India has maintained strong diplomatic relations with Nepal and there have been a series of high level visits in recent past.

"The friendship between the two countries is based on common ideals and principles arising from a significant legacy of social and cultural commonality. Traditional linkages of both Armies and Defence Cooperation have been important tools towards cementing this friendship," the release added.

India enjoys a special military relationship with Nepal, with a large number of Nepalese domicile Gorkha soldiers and officers serving in the Indian Army.

Sustained cooperation between the two armies happen in the fields of training, expeditions and various mutually beneficial military activities. (PTI)



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