10022017-TTC-01.qxd 2/10/2017 1:25 AM Page 1 13 established in 1881 friday, february 10, 2017 chandigarh | gurgaon | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 137 no. 40 | 22 pages | ~4.50 | regd. no. chd/0006/2015-2017 Uphaar owner to serve 1-yr jail term SC asks Gopal Ansal to surrender in 4 weeks, refuses to review order letting off elder brother jail term beyond the period already spent in Tihar during the trial. In view of his old age and poor health, the court said Sushil would not be sent to jail. It gave the same relief to Gopal on the ground of parity. Satya Prakash Tribune News Service New Delhi, February 9 The Supreme Court today ordered Gopal Ansal (68) to surrender in four weeks after it sentenced him to one year in jail for the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy that claimed 59 lives. A three-Judge Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, refused to review its order regarding Sushil Ansal (77), who was let off after paying a fine of Rs 30 crore in view of his old age and poor health. The top court had earlier held the Ansal brothers guilty of criminal negligence and fined them Rs 30 crore each but did not sentence them to a ❝ l should not have come to the court. I have already lost faith in the judiciary. ❞ — Neelam Krishnamurty, AVUT Family members of victims during a candlelight vigil. FILE PHOTO 59 died in fire during film screening in 1997 Fifty-nine persons died on June 13, 1997, after a fire broke out at Delhi’s Uphaar Cinema during screening of Hindi film ‘Border’. Most victims were asphyxiated. A Delhi trial court in 2007 sentenced the cinema owners, Ansal brothers, to two years in jail. A year later, the Delhi High Court reduced the sentence by half, forcing the CBI and the victims to approach the top court. By a 2:1 verdict, the Bench today said the principle of parity could not be applied to Gopal as he didn’t have that kind of health problems. Both brothers, owners of Uphaar Cinema in South Delhi, have already paid Rs 30 crore each as fine which is to be used for building a trauma centre. The period of four months and 20 days for which Gopal remained in jail during the trial is likely to be deducted from the one-year prison term. Justices Gogoi and Kurian Joseph partially reviewed the earlier order and decided to send Gopal to jail while Justice AK Goyal declined the review. Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) representative Neelam Krishnamurty, who lost both her children, said: “l should not have come to court. I have already lost faith in the judiciary.” The convict and AVUT have the option of filing a curative petition, the last legal remedy. Slight rise in turnout in 4 segments Aadhaar must for receiving PDS grains PUNJAB REPOLL Marginal fall in Majitha voting, from 78.77% to 78.57% New Delhi, February 9 After cooking gas LPG, the government today made Aadhaar mandatory for availing subsidised foodgrains from ration shops with a view to better target the Rs 1.4 lakh crore subsidy under the food security law. The government has given time to those not having the biometric-based unique identification number to apply for Aadhaar by June 30. The government issued a notification to this effect but did stop short of saying that subsidised foodgrains will not be sold to anyone not having Aadhaar after June 30. Under the National Food Security Law, completely rolled out across the country in November last year, the government provides 5 kg of foodgrains per person every month at Rs 1-3 per kg to over 80 crore people. The notification came into effect from February 8 across India except in Assam, Meghalaya and J&K. Till Aadhaar is assigned to beneficiaries, foodgrains would be provided on production of ration card and either Aadhaar enrolment slip or a copy of the request for it along with any of the eight documents. — PTI Tribune News Service Chandigarh, February 9 Repolling was today held at 48 polling stations of five Punjab Assembly segments. Barring Majitha, all Assembly segments saw a marginal increase in the number of votes polled. Sangrur recorded a turnout of 81.09 per cent, up by 0.88 per cent, elevating the district from the fifth to the third spot in poll percentage. In Muktsar, the polling was 83.07 per cent compared to 82.9 per cent on February 4. In Sardulgarh and Moga, where a booth in each of these segments saw repolling, the change in percenatge was insignificant. Repolling at Booth No. 145 of the Moga Assembly constituency saw 81.26 per cent voter turnout against 76.84 per cent on February 4. In Korwala village of Sardulgarh, there was an increase of seven votes compared to the total 1,142 votes polled on February 4. It recorded 90.33 per cent votes compared to 89.8 per cent on February 4. However, in Majitha, the voting percentage saw a marginal fall — from 78.77 per cent to 78.57 per cent. While in Sardulgarh re- State poll funding inconsistent with reality, says govt Tribune News Service New Delhi, February 9 The government today said in the Lok Sabha that it was open to all suggestions on political funding but requested the political parties to stop finding problems with the solutions that had been found to address the issue. Responding to the debate on the Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while saying he “was open to discussing state funding of elections” as suggested by the Trinamool Congress, added, “Optimism on state funding arises from the presumption that once state funding is done, elections will only be fought with the money provided by the state and no private money will be used. This presumption is not consistent with the Indian reality.” Jaitley was responding to TMC MP Saugata Roy’s remarks that elections should be funded by the state and also to BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab’s apprehensions on electoral bonds Jaitley announced in his Budget speech earlier. Reserving the larger debate on political funding until the discussions on the Finance Bill in the next half of the Budget Session starting March 9, Jaitley said, “We welcome any improve- An elderly couple with inked fingers after casting vote during repolling in Majitha on Thursday. PTI polling was ordered owing to a defect in EVMs, it was malfunctioning voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) electronic voting machines on February 4 that necessitated a repoll at other polling stations. Defective VVPAT machines had interrupted polling in at least 45 polling stations in the Majitha, Muktsar and Sangrur Assembly segments. Election Commission officials said only seven VVPAT machines had developed a snag during mock polling this time. “Four machines in Majitha, two in Muktsar and one in Sangrur developed snags. All of them were replaced well before polling at 8 am”, said a senior official. There were no reports of violence. In Majitha, Cabinet Minister and SAD candidate Bikram Singh Majithia is locked in a keen contest against Congress and AAP candidates Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lali and Himmat Singh Shergill. Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Chandigarh, February 9 The functioning of the Haryana Power Department, headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, has been questioned for its alleged acts of “omission and commission” by a ruling BJP MLA and a senior minister. In a letter to Khattar, Gurugram MLA Umesh Agarwal has pointed fingers at tendering of power meters and purchase of material amounting to over Rs 800 crore. Agarwal claimed the date and conditions of tenders for purchase of meters in the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) have been deferred and changed thrice. The MLA, when contacted, said, “It is not for the first time that corruption in power utilities has been pointed to Khattar by BJP leaders. But these have been ignored so far.” “In the last meeting of BJP’s Legislature Party held at the CM’s residence on January 24, even Cabinet Minister Ram Bilas Sharma pointed out that purchases worth Rs 800 crore have been made in power utilities bypassing the high-powered purchase committee. Khattar summoned Shatrujit Kapur, chairman of the two discoms, in the presence of MLAs, who said he will inquire and get back. However, we are yet to get answers,” Agarwal said. In the letter dated February 6, Agarwal alleged “dhandli” (fraud) in tender notice QD736 pertaining to the purchase of 13.9 lakh meters for domestic power connections. The letter reads, “As head of the department, in a meeting pertaining to this tender on May 19, 2016, you instructed officers of DHBVN to allow a fair competition among bidders and restrict the purchase cost to Rs 85-90 crore and companies with turnover of half the cost of the tender be allowed to bid. The objective was to allow maximum number of suppliers to participate. However, ignoring the directive, the DHBVN management invited tenders asking companies only with a turnover of Rs 176 crore and above to participate to favour specific suppliers.” continued on page 7 Arun Jaitley, FINANCE MINISTER ments but please don’t suggest problems for every solution. Because otherwise the status quo will continue.” The FM said in the Budget speech that people will be allowed to buy electoral bonds from banks for grant to political parties. He also said the cash donation limit for parties will be reduced to Rs 2,000, instead of Rs 20,000 in line with the Election Commission’s directives. Jaitley said digital donations to parties was the best form and would revive the system where political workers would volunteer small donations to parties. see also page 14 Jagdish Tytler ’84: CBI wants lie-detection test on Tytler New Delhi, February 9 Congress leader Jagdish Tytler has been directed by a Delhi court to appear before it tomorrow on a CBI plea seeking permission to conduct a lie-detection test on him in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. Besides Tytler, the CBI has also sought conduct of the test on arms dealer Abhishek Verma. The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate yesterday asked Tytler and Verma to appear before him tomorrow at 4 pm to ascertain their stand on the plea. The case pertains to the death of three Sikhs in the aftermath of the riots that broke out after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Tytler has been given a clean chit by CBI thrice in the case but the probe agency has been directed by the court to further investigate the matter. Verma has made several statements to the CBI against the senior Congress leader that he allegedly pressured witnesses in the case. — PTI India requests Mallya extradition New Delhi, February 9 India today said it had forwarded an extradition request as regards Vijay Mallya to the UK High Commission here. India has an extradition treaty with the UK and there is a legitimate case against Mallya, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. “We today handed over a request for the extradition of Vijay Mallya, as received from the CBI, to the UK High Commission in New BJP leaders’ ‘dhandli’ Youth dies in crossfire, kin call it murder in Khattar dept charge Naveen S Garewal & Sushil Manav ❝If you suggest a problem for every solution, the status quo, which is not an ideal situation, will exist. It is sad that 70 years after Independence, bulk of our parties are funded by unaccounted money.❞ Malerkotla (Sangrur), Feb 9 Residents of Jitwal Kalan village today blocked the Sangrur-Malerkotla road in front of the police complex in the town, alleging that village youth Bikramjit Singh Bobby, 24, had been murdered in cold blood by the police late last night. The blockade caused a massive traffic jam. The Sangrur SSP however, , claimed Bobby had been shot during cross-firing between the police and criminals in Jitwal Kalan. He claimed Bobby was accompanying the criminals. Relatives of deceased protest on Sangrur road. TRIBUNE PHOTO Raghuvir Singh, father of the deceased, called it a “lie”. He said after dinner at 9 pm, his son left for the village gurdwara to make preparations for the Bhagat Ravidass Jayanti. “The police killed my son and took his body to Malerkotla. We learnt about the inci- dent this morning,” he said, adding they had mistaken the sound of gunshots for crackers. “The cops must be booked for killing my innocent son who had no links whatsoever with any criminal. Nor did he have a criminal record,” said a wailing Manjinder Kaur. The trouble began after gangsters Gahia Khan and Faraz Ahmad fired at a shopkeeper last night and fled. The latter suffered bullet injuries in the left leg. A case was filed and the SHOs of surrounding areas were told to trace the criminals. continued on page 7 Wife moves HC, says BSF jawan missing New Delhi, February 9 The wife of a BSF jawan, who had gone public alleging poor quality food being served, today filed a habeas corpus plea in the Delhi High Court claiming that her husband was untraceable for the past three days. BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav had on January 9 posted a video on Facebook showing a meal box comprising a watery soup-like dal, going viral on the which he said had only social media, the turmeric and salt and Prime Minister’s a burnt chapatti. Office had sought a He had said this was detailed report. what jawans were A PIL was also filed served at mealtime on in the Delhi High duty at places, includ- Tej Bahadur Yadav Court seeking a ing the Line of Control direction to the gov(LoC) with Pakistan, and that ernment to depute higher jawans often went to bed on officers to supervise cookan empty stomach. ing and its distribution. Pursuant to the video It sought a status report on Today’s issue is of 22 pages, including four-page Jalandhar Tribune. the quality of food served to soldiers along the LoC. It had also directed BSF to produce the investigation report and the steps taken with regard to the allegations levelled. Now less than a month after the PIL was filed, Yadav’s wife has sought a probe into his disappearance as well as the recent rejection of his plea for voluntary retirement. — PTI Vijay Mallya Delhi. We have requested the UK to extradite him to face a trial in India,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at a press briefing. Liquor baron Mallya is accused of financial irregu- larities to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore through his company Kingfisher Airlines. Mallya took to Twitter recently to slam the CBI, which, he said, took great pains to build a case against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother, who had been cleared of the charges by courts. Mallya continues to reside in the UK and his lifestyle has invited allegations of the government being soft in pursuing his extradition. — TNS Sasikala stakes claim to form govt, Guv mum Chennai, February 9 Suspense continued tonight over whether VK Sasikala will be sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after she staked claim to form the government at a meeting with Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who has not yet given any indication as to what course of action he will take. Hours after caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam visited Rao, Sasikala called on the Governor at Raj Bhavan and gave him the letter staking claim to form government and containing the names of supporting MLAs who elected her as AIADMK Legislature Party leader on Sunday. She also submitted individual letters of support furnished by AIADMK MLAs. Though there was no immediate word on what the Governor proposed to do, some reports suggested he wanted to obtain further legal opinion before taking any action. Sasikala’s meeting with the Governor lasted about 40 minutes. Earlier, Panneerselvam had called on Rao and after a brief meeting told reporters that “good things will happen and VK Sasikala at Jaya’s burial site. PTI dharma will triumph.” He currently has the support of leaders like former ministers KP Munusamy, Natham R Viswanathan, Rajya Sabha MP V Maithreyan and a few sitting MLAs, besides AIADMK presidium chairman E Madusudanan, who switched sides and is now backing Panneerselvam. Before going to stake claim, Sasikala, visited the memorial to late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa along with supporters, including some senior Ministers. Sasikala placed at the memorial a big envelope believed to be containing the list of MLAs who have endorsed her candidature for the top post. — PTI Edit: Absence for a cause
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
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