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INDIA-L  October 2000

INDIA-L October 2000

Subject:

India Network News Digest - October 10 , 2000

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Tue, 10 Oct 2000 11:40:31 -0400

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*******************************************************************
Today's India Network News Digest is compiled by the India Network Services
               P.O. Box 556, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA
             Telephone: (419) 352 9335 Fax:  (419) 352 9334
                             Tue 10 Oct 2000
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***************************************************************
India Network News Digest - October 10 , 2000  Volume 12 Issue 174
***************************************************************
Brought to you in co-operation with Various News Reports from India
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Today's News Items
-------------------
#1. 3-year RI for Jayalalitha in TANSI cases
#2. BJP parliamentary party to decide on Uma Bharti's demand
#3. Arguments on Rao, Buta sentence tomorrow
#4. Defence budget may be hiked: Fernandes
#5. Sinha looking for steps to check slow-down
#6. Three more emissaries join R R Gopal on his fifth mission
#7. Old Indian woman will be first test new visa laws of Britain
#8. Kashmir was never part of India, claims ex-CM of State
--------------------------------------------------

#1. 3-year RI for Jayalalitha in TANSI cases
By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, OCT. 9. The former Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalitha and her
associate, Ms. Sasikala, were today convicted and sentenced by a special
court, to three years and two years rigorous imprisonment in two `TANSI
land deal' cases.

Delivering the judgment in the sensitive cases which have been the subject
of political controversy since 1993, the special Judge-III,
Mr. P. Anbazhagan, ordered the suspension of the operation of the
substantial portion of the judgment till November 7, to enable the accused
to file appeals. He also ordered the confiscation of the two properties
purchased by the firms.

Ms. Jayalalitha, while leaving the Special Court complex, along with
Ms. Sasikala, declined to comment on the judgment. When reporters sought
her reaction, a visibly upset Ms. Jayalalitha quietly got into her vehicle
and drove away.

This is the second case in which Ms. Jayalalitha has been convicted, the
earlier one relating to the `Pleasant Stay Hotel' in February this year.

Besides Ms. Jayalalitha and Ms. Sasikala, the others convicted were the
former Chairman and Managing Director of TANSI (Tamil Nadu Small
Industries Corporation) and IAS officer, Mr. T.R. Srinivasan, the former
Rural Industries Minister, Mohammed Asif, former Special Deputy Collector
(Stamps), Mr. Nagarajan and the then joint secretary to Chief Minister,
Mr. Karpoorasundarapandian.

All the six accused were sentenced to three years imprisonment in the
`Jaya Publications' case. In the case relating to `Sasi Enterprises' the
judge acquitted Mr. Asif and sentenced the other five to two years
rigorous imprisonment. The court held that the other charges, including
169 IPC (public servant unlawfully buying or bidding for property) had not
been proved by the prosecution.

In the Jaya Publications case, the judge held that from TANSI's Articles
of Association it was clear that the company's lands should not be sold
without the Government's prior permission. Hence, the immovable properties
were clearly under the State Government's control. The Government held all
the shares in the company. From the arguments and nature of the case, the
accused had been apprised of the common intention in the transactions. So,
even if the aspect of `guideline value' was deleted from the charge, no
prejudice would be caused to the prosecution case.

The sale of the entire vacant land to the publications firm, instead of
subdividing and selling them as industrial plots, showed that the sale had
been made because Ms. Jayalalitha was a partner in the firm. This showed
that she abused her official position.

The prosecution charge pertained to the purchase of lands belonging to the
TANSI foundry and TANSI Enamelled Wire units by Jaya Publications and by
Sasi Enterprises ``much below the guideline value'', thereby causing
wrongful loss to the Government to the extent of Rs. 4.08 crores,
including stamp duty. Ms. Jayalalitha and Ms. Sasikala were partners in
the two firms when the transactions took place in 1992.

In the Jaya Publications case, the judge imposed a fine of Rs. 40,000 each
on Ms. Jayalalitha and Ms. Sasikala; Rs. 20,000 each on Messrs
T.R. Srinivasan, Mr. Asif and Mr. Nagarajan and Rs. 10,000 on
Mr. Karpoorasundarapandian.

In the Sasi Enterprises case, the fine amounts were Rs. 20,000 each for
Ms. Jayalalitha and Ms. Sasikala, Rs. 10,000 each for Mr. Srinivasan and
Mr. Nagarajan, and Rs. 5,000 for Mr. Karpoorasundarapandian, with Mr. Asif
being acquitted. All the accused paid the fine amount.

Immediately after the order was pronounced, AIADMK volunteers in several
places in the State took to the streets and raised slogans denouncing the
DMK Government. They were all arrested.

#2. BJP parliamentary party to decide on Uma Bharti's demand

NEW DELHI, OCT. 9. The BJP today sought to side-step the party MP, Ms. Uma
Bharti's demand for sub-quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) within
women's reservation bill saying it is for the parliamentary party to take
a decision on the issue.

``Our parliamentary party is the only competent forum to take a decision
on the issue. She is absolutely free to place her views before it,'' the
party vice-president, Mr. Jana Krishnamurthi, told reporters here.

If the parliamentary party agrees to her views and feels amendments are
needed to accommodate OBC women it can take appropriate measures in this
regard, he added.

Asked about party's stand on the issue, he said since the bill was pending
before Parliament, the BJP has left it to the parliamentary party to
decide if any amendment is required to include obcs within the bill.

Denies report on affair

Ms. Uma Bharti tonight denied having said that she had been in love with
the senior party leader, Mr. Govindacharya. Commenting on remarks
attributed to her by The Week, Ms. Bharti said she had not given any
interview to the publication. ``It is a big lie and a conspiracy to defame
me. I am trying to find out who is behind it,'' she said.

#3. Arguments on Rao, Buta sentence tomorrow

NEW DELHI: The designated court, which has convicted former prime minister
P V Narasimha Rao and his former cabinet colleague Buta Singh in the JMM
MPs bribery case, will hear arguments on sentence against them on
Wednesday.

Special judge Ajit Bharihoke may decide the quantum of the sentence on
Wednesday itself after hearing the arguments.

Meanwhile, Rao's counsel R K Anand said he was ready with a petition to
file an appeal in the Delhi High Court after the pronouncement of the
sentence.

"If the sentence is less than three years, then we can file a bail
application before the trial court itself," he said.

As per law the trial court has the jurisdiction to hear bail application
in that eventuality, "otherwise we will move the High Court. But it all
depends on the situation that will emerge from the sentence order," he
said.

The court held Rao and Buta Singh guilty of "conspiracy and abetment" for
bribing four JMM MPs -- Shibu Soren, Simon Marandi, Suraj Mandal and
Shailendra Mahato -- to garner their support to defeat a no-confidence
moton in the Lok Sabha on July 28, 1993.

The trial court, however, had acquitted nine other accused including
former Union ministers Capt Satish Sharma and Ajit Singh, former Haryana
and Karnataka chief ministers Bhajan Lal and Veerappa Moily respectively
giving them benefit of doubt as the CBI failed to prove its charges
against them.

#4. Defence budget may be hiked: Fernandes
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister George Fernandes on Monday said that the
defence budget could be hiked to 3 per cent of the GDP by next year.

"I am personnaly campaigning for it, we need some time. Hopefully we will
have 3 per cent of GDP as the defence budget by the next budget or the one
after that," Fernandes told reporters after reviewing the Territorial Army
Day parade here.

He said that the armed forces were not faced with any major financial
crisis.

Referring to the agreements signed with Russia during President Vladimir
Putin's visit here, the defence minister said these would help India have
necessary indigenous production of armaments and thus enhance the military
preparedness.

Reacting to the senior Hurriyat leader, Abdul Gani Lone, indicating that
the stalled talks to solve the Kashmir issue could be resumed soon and
that Pakistan be involved in the dialogue, he said there was "nothing
new" in Lone's statement.

The government position is very clear, he said. "We can have dialogue with
pakistan only when islamabad stops cross border terrorism."

The defence minister also ruled out any other Kargil type misadventure by
Pakistan saying, "One kargil was enough for it. They may have their plans
but thay cannot succeed."

#5. Sinha looking for steps to check slow-down
The Times of India News Service

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday held a meeting with
representatives of leading chambers of commerce and industry to examine
the causes for the current industrial slow-down so as to devise corrective
measures.

Industrial growth has been decelerating since May this year amidst concern
over lower demand in certain segments such as fast-moving consumer goods
and capital. Higher input costs, depreciation of rupee which has made
imports dearer, and higher interest rates are also affecting industrial
output.

Latest national income data have shown that GDP growth slowed down to 5.8
per cent in April-June of 2000-01 against 6.9 per cent in the same period
of the previous year.

Before meeting with industry representatives, Sinha said the government
would not immediately revise the economic growth targets in the wake of
industrial slow-down even as he admitted that the recent hike in
petro-products had had an impact on economy and business sentiments.

``I am not revising it (economic growth targets) as yet. Let me go into
this question and then we will decide,'' Sinha told reporters on the
sidelines of the Social Responsiveness Awards ceremony here.

On the effect of recent oil price hike, Sinha said, ``There is an impact
of the recent price hike of petro-products on the economy and economic
sentiments.'' He, however, maintained that ``it (price hike) is behind us
and not ahead of us.''

Sinha had projected a GDP growth of over seven per cent for the current
financial year. After the slow-down in the first quarter, it appears that
it would be difficult to meet the target. Most independent economic
research agencies have forecast a growth of between six to 6.5 per cent
for the current year.

After the meeting with the FM, CII president Arun Bharat Ram expressed
hope that the RBI will lower the interest rates in its busy season credit
policy, slated for Tuesday, to help industrial growth. He said CII
projected a 6.5 per cent GDP growth for the current financial year.

Bharat Ram said the impact of oil price hike would not be
long-term. Prices would stabilise in the next six months or so.

#6. Three more emissaries join R R Gopal on his fifth mission
Agencies/Chennai

The prospects of the release of Kannada film star Dr Rajkumar and two
others held hostage by forest brigand Veerappan since July 30, brightened
on Tuesday with three more emissaries, including Tamil National Movement
leader P Nedumaran, joining official emissary R R Gopal to negotiate with
the brigand.

Top police sources said besides Mr Nedumaran, who had a close rapport with
the two Tamil extremist outfits--Tamil Nadu Liberation Army (TNLA) and
Tamil Nadu Retrieval Force (TNRF)--that had joined the brigand, his
associate Prof Kalyani of Villuppuram and People's Union of Civil
Liberties (PUCL) activist Pudhuvai Sugumaran joined Mr Gopal in his fifth
mission to the forest.

The fresh team will leave for the forest any time now.

Top officials from both the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments finalised
the team at a high-level meeting here on Monday night and handed over all
the relevant documents to the team. Those attended the meeting included
Tamil Nadu home secretary Shanta Sheela Nair, additional DGP Alexander and
Karnataka inspector general of police K Srinivas.

The sources said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had okayed the
fresh team.

#7. Old Indian woman will be first test new visa laws of Britain

London, Oct. 9: An 80-year-old Indian grandmother, who has been denied a
visa to visit her daughters and grandchildren in Britain, may be the first
to take advantage of a new appeals procedure that has been reinstated by
the Labour government in London.
If she succeeds, her case will be an important vindication of Foreign
Office Minister Keith Vazs claim that visa procedures have been
streamlined, especially in cases involving family visits from South Asian
countries. Visa appeals were abolished by the Conservatives in 1993.

They have been reinstated by Labour for appellants who are able to pay up
to 500 to have their case heard by the relevant authorities.Shantimoyee
Sinha, a frequent visitor to Britain lost her husband last year and has
since been denied the right to visit or spend the rest of her days with
her children.

Although she is the recipient of a generous UN pension and has world-wide
health cover for life, her application has been turned down by the British
High Commission in New Delhi.Her daughter, Neela Das, and son-in-law
Satyen say she should be allowed to live out her life with her near and
dear ones.

But immigration officials have even turned down an earlier request to
permit Sinha to enter Britain for a few days to attend the wedding of her
grand daughter. I want to take advantage of any new appeals procedure, Das
said.

Unfortunately, my father-in-law died in June 99 and we assumed it would be
straightforward to get my mother-in-law a permanent visa.But the High
Commission in Delhi said no.

I wanted to get my mother-in-law over for a temporary period of time and
that too was rejected.Perversely, the reason given by the High Commission
was that Sinha was financially independent and did not need to live with
her daughter.

#8. Kashmir was never part of India, claims ex-CM of State

Srinagar, Oct. 9: In a surprise move, former Jammu and Kashmir chief
minister G M Shah on Monday questioned Indias stand that the State was
part of the country and said the Kashmir issue can be resolved only
through tripartite talks involving Pakistan.Kashmir was never a part of
India.
The relations between Kashmir and India snapped right in 1947, Shah,
brother-in-law of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and president of J&K
Awami National Conference, told reporters here.

Though he admitted that Pakistan sabotaged the recent peace talks between
the Centre and the Hizbul Mujahideen, he said peace would dawn only
through tripartite settlement of the issue.

There is no other way, he said but added a conducive atmosphere for such a
dialogue was required. About Indias refusal to hold talks with Pakistan
unless it stopped aiding cross-border terrorism, Shah said people from
both the countries wanted resumption of the dialogue and his party would
try to create a conducive atmosphere for this.Shah said Hurriyat chairman
Abdul Gani Bhats proposal to create two separate groups of Hurriyat
members to hold simultaneous talks with India and Pakistan was a good
suggestion.

--------------------------------------
End of India Network News Digest
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