Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sibal on the Policy for Spectrum

Union Minister of Communications & IT, Shri Kapil Sibal here today on Policy for Spectrum Assignment and Pricing said “Currently, there is a considerable debate regarding the assignment of licences in the year 2008 in which spectrum was bundled with the licences. I have already indicated that this was done following the then existing policy and the recommendations received by the Government. This policy was in the context of Government’s effort to increase the teledensity and reduce tariffs through increased competition thereby extending the reach of telecom services to all sections of society. There is no doubt that this policy has paid rich dividends and today, India is in the enviable position of being the fastest growing market as well as the second largest market in the world. Telecom services are being availed by all sections of society and the tariffs are the lowest in the world. There is adequate and healthy competition among the service providers bringing the benefits of competition to the consumers at large. The introduction of Mobile Number Portability has heightened and reinforced the element of competition for the benefit of the consumers at large. We are now at a stage when our subscriber base is increasing rapidly and the teledensity is of the order of 62.5%. People in the rural areas too are increasingly accessing the telecom services with the growth rate in the rural areas outpacing the growth rate in the urban areas.

“At the beginning of this year, I had indicated that we would be making a change in the direction of the telecom policy. That exercise is now well under way. The effort in the earlier policies has been to increase teledensity and competition with a focus on voice communications. With improvement in the telecom technology, and provision of Broadband services with increasing speeds, it is now possible for the telecom services to play a significant role in the realization of key development goals. I am keen that we use these technological advancements for ushering in a truly inclusive society. Spectrum continues to be a critical resource in this endeavour given the preponderance of wireless services in India. The time has now come to review the policy regarding spectrum assignment.

“It is in this area that Government would like to make a directional shift from past practice and bring in a fresh policy regarding spectrum. It is important that we ensure adequate availability of spectrum for telecom services. For this, we would be seeking a plan of action from the Regulator i.e. TRAI. Our aim is to make available adequate spectrum to meet the entire requirement of the telecom sector, with due regard to the requirements of other sensitive sectors while at the same time ensuring that there are adequate measures in place to ensure that operators use allocated spectrum efficiently and optimally.

“The assignment process would also need to undergo a major change from the past practice. Given the current level of competition and availability of spectrum, the time has come to review the need to allocate spectrum bundled with the licence at a fixed fee. This policy was adopted in the past in order to introduce more competition while providing a level playing field between old and new players. It has not been revised as yet. We believe that the stage has been reached where there is enough of competition to warrant a market driven process for allocation of 2G spectrum.

“In future, the spectrum will not be bundled with licence. The licence to be issued to telecom operators will be in the nature of ‘unified licence’ and the licence holder will be free to offer any of the multifarious telecom services. In the event the licence holder would like to offer wireless services, it will have to obtain spectrum through a market driven process. In future, there will be no concept of contracted spectrum and, therefore, no concept of initial or start-up spectrum. Spectrum will be made available only through market driven process.

“While moving towards a new policy dispensation, it is necessary to ensure a level playing field between all players. Hence going forward, any new policy of pricing would need to be applied to equally to all players. Additionally, assignment of balance of contracted spectrum may need to be ensured for the existing licensees who have so far been allocated only the start up spectrum of 4.4 MHz. It may be recalled that showcause notices have been issued to certain licensees for cancellation. Only in respect of the licences that will be found valid after the process is completed, the additional 1.8 MHz will be assigned on their becoming eligible, but the spectrum will be assigned to them at a price determined under the new policy.

“We need to seriously consider the adoption of an auction process for allocation and pricing of spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz while ensuring that there is adequate competition in the auction process.

“TRAI had made recommendations in May 2010 and indicated that it would apprise the Government of the findings of a study on the question of pricing of 2G spectrum in future. This is expected shortly. We would examine their recommendations speedily as soon as they are received, keeping the perspectives that I have outlined, while finalizing our new policy. I am confident that we will be able to design a policy that ensures that existing licence holders get the spectrum they need and are entitled to, while simultaneously, ensuring that the Government also receives revenues commensurate with the current market value of spectrum”.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

World Economic Forum.IBSA and Chinese Ministers

he Ministers in charge of trade negotiations for Brazil (Mr. Antonio Patriota), China (Mr. Chen Deming), India (Shri Anand Sharma), and South Africa (Mr. Rob Davies) met today in Davos (Switzerland), at the margins of the 41st Meeting of the World Economic Forum.

The Ministers seized the opportunity to exchange views about the current efforts to conclude the Doha Round. They recalled the political message issued by their leaders during the G-20 Seoul Summit and reiterated their commitment to the negotiations. The Ministers recognised that, although the July 2008 negotiating package embodies a careful balance of concessions strenuously negotiated since the launching of the Round in 2001, it should be improved to strengthen its development dimension.

In particular, the Ministers noted that, under the existing draft modalities, developing countries would be required to offer a level of contribution without precedent by any Member in any of the previous negotiating rounds. The ministers also agreed that such contributions are not being reciprocated by developed countries, some of whom still seek further exceptions and flexibilities to continue with their existing trade barriers and trade distorting policies, adversely affecting the developing countries’ interests.

The Ministers believe that any effort to finalize the Round cannot ignore past trade-offs nor require new disproportionate and unilateral concessions from developing countries, ignoring the existing mandate. In this context, the Ministers cautioned against demands that clearly change the nature and scope of negotiations, jeopardising the present efforts to conclude the Doha Development Round.

Czech Tourism strategy for Indian market

Nksagar Sagar Media Inc: To tap the growing Indian outbound market,the Czech Republic Tourist Authority (CRTA) or Czech Tourism has chalked out it s strategy to conduct a series of promotional activities in India for promoting the destination.Czech Republic often referred to as the heart of Europe conducted an event in Mumbai to show off their offering as options for leisure travel, spa and MICE destination:The CRTA recently conducted a roadshow in Mumbai which was attended by a large contingent of delegates comprising of Czech travel agents, tour operators and hoteliers.“We received over 15,000 visitors in 2010 and expect a 15-20 percent increase from the Indian market in 2011. We are currently focused on creating awareness amongst the Indian travel agents about various attractions available in the Czech Republic,” Radka Neumannova, director – India, CRTA, said. CRTA, which opened its India office last year in Delhi, is planning to have three city roadshows in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata in February 2011. “Our plan is to bring Czech DMC and hotels to interact with the Indian travel trade in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata during the roadshows; we also plan to do a roadshow to the South of India later on this year,” she added. Moreover, CRTA is also going to focus on tapping the MICE market in India and will organise a MICE specific presentation in Mumbai and New Delhi in the third quartet this year.

The Czech Republic has also been a great destination for film shootings with a couple of Hollywood and Bollywood films being shot there. “Recently, a film starring Tom Cruise Mission Impossible 3 was shot in Prague,Apart from that Hollywood films like Casino Royale, Triple X and The Chronicles of Narnia were shot there. An Indian film, Rockstar scheduled to release later on this year is also being shot in
Prague” added Neumannova.Tourists can also view these iconic spots where these films
have been shot. Giving more details about the Czech tourism products to
Mumbai’s travel trade, Neumannova said that the Czech Republic boasts of 12
UNESCO protected sites, 4 national parks and 25 protected landscape areas,
that make it an idle tourist destination.

The Czech Republic is also famous for spas with over 37 spa towns and 85 spa institutions “Our spa centres are developed around natural water sources which are rich in minerals. There are also various cultural events organized in the spa towns during the season” she added. Meanwhile, Czech Tourism is also planning to launch an online training programme for the Indian travel trade in the second half of this year. “The programme is currently in the formulation stage. Once this programme is launched, we will focus on targeting the upper middle class segment in India who are interested in exploring new destinations in Europe,” she revealed. Czech Tourism is also Radka Neumannova aiming to increase the length of stay of Indian tourists from 3 nights to 5 nights. The Czech Republic can to be combined with nearby regions such as Vienna and Budapest but the Cech Republic Tourist Authourity is looking at packaging it as a solo destination in the future. With regard to connectivity, Emirates Airlines has 5 weekly flights from Dubai and is connected to most of the European hubs with direct flights. Hence, connectivity is not a major issue for the Indian tourists, she said.RAHUL SEQUEIRA Christmas Market, Old Town Square in Prague is one of the most popular tourist spots for Indian travelers.

Contact Information:
Sagar Media Inc:

Sagar Media Inc:Digviyay Singh General Secretary AICC

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Medvedev:World Economic Forum 2011

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland "I believe that the Wikileaks affair should improve the international climate although a number of countries may consider these activities illegal," Medvedev said.Wikileaks revelations may have a positive influence on international relations The president said that Wikileaks information on Russia contained nothing new."I sometimes felt that most Wikileaks revelations were taken from general political websites," he added.According to Medvedev, the Internet connects billions today and no secret is secure against revelation.

During his visit to India, Medvedev told the students at the Indian Institute of Technology that Russia "doesn't give a damn about things being discussed in diplomatic circles while assessing the social processes in our country."

"It is not a secret that when people communicate, they often use very forthright expressions," Medvedev said then, adding that if the similar leak occurred in Russia's Foreign Ministry or security services, the country's partners, including the United States might get very emotional while reading "warm words about themselves."
In late November, WikiLeaks began releasing a huge number of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables that contain, in particular, forthright comments about many world leaders.

"What should I be afraid of? It is the officials of the U.S. Department of State who should be afraid," Medvedev said. "If I was afraid of what is written about me, I would never use the Internet or watch TV."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he was ready to sign a law on ratification of a new START treaty and urged the United States to continue joint efforts aimed at further strategic arms reduction.

Both houses of the Russian parliament have ratified the new arms reduction deal between Russia and the United States, paving the way for the president to sign the ratification into a law.

"When I come back from Davos, the text of the ratified treaty will be put on my table," Medvedev said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

The president added that he had already agreed with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on how to exchange the instruments of ratification.

"However, we must not stop at that and continue our efforts in reduction of strategic offensive weapons and limitations in a related area of missile defense," Medvedev said.

The new arms reduction pact, replacing START 1, which expired in December 2009, was signed by Medvedev and Obama in Prague in April, 2010. The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

The U.S. Senate ratified the deal on December 22, 2010, but added several amendments to the resolution on ratification, including a demand to build up U.S. global missile defenses.

Russian lawmakers also added some provisions to the ratification document and issued two supplementary statements to the resolution on ratification of the agreement.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

India celebrates 62nd Republic day

India celebrates 62nd Republic day today as it was on this day in 1950 the Constitution was adopted.Country’s military might, economic progress and its rich culture will be on show at the Republic day parade at the Rajpath in the national capital.Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will be the chief guest at the parade.President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil will take salute of the marching contingents.

Italian Art on Nano:India Art Summit 2011: Sagar Media Inc

Suresh Kalmadi to hand over charge of OC CWG Chairman

My sacking is illegal, says Suresh Kalmadi
A defiant Suresh Kalmadi has come to say that his ouster as Commonwealth Games (CWG) organising committee (OC) chairman is illegal and uncalled for.He further said that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had nominated him as the OC chairman and only IOA has the right to remove him. "I will hand over charge to CEO under protest," said Kalmadi.

(PTI) Embattled Suresh Kalmadi today hit back at the Sports Minister, terming his sacking from the chairmanship of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee as "illegal and uncalled for."

A day after he was sacked as CWG OC chairman by the new Sports Minister Ajay Maken, Kalmadi remained defiant and said that only the Indian Olympic Association, which has appointed him to the post, has the power to remove him.

He said that he would hand over the charge of OC chairman to the Chief Executive Jarnail Singh as has been told to do by the Sports Minister under protest.

"I am shocked to receive Order dated 24th January 2011, illegally and arbitrarily removing me from the position of Chairman of the Executive Board and the Organizing Committee of the Commonwealth Games," Kalmadi wrote in a letter to Maken.

Obama Adm:ISRO and DRDO free from entities list

Obama Administration removed from its entities as many as nine India space and defense related companies including those from the Indian Space Research Organization and Defense Research and Development Organization. "Today's action marks a significant milestone in reinforcing the US-India strategic partnership and moving forward with export control reforms that will facilitate high technology trade and cooperation," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said after a federal notification was issued in the federal registry on Tuesday.

The notification comes week ahead of the high-profile visit of a US trade delegation led by Locke to New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.This is the first step to implement the export control policy initiative announced by US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 8th November, 2010.

The entities being removed are: Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), the four remaining subordinates of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO): Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Defense Research and Development Lab (DRDL), Missile Research and Development Complex; Solid State Physics Laboratory; and the four remaining subordinates of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO): Liquid Propulsion Systems Center, Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB), Sriharikota Space Center (SHAR), and Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC).

Removal from the Entity List eliminates a license requirement specific to the companies, and results in the removed companies being treated the same way as any other destination in India for export licensing purposes, the Commerce Department said in a statement.

It further adds India to a country group in the EAR that consists of members of the Missile Technology Control Regime, to recognize and communicate India's adherence to the regime, the US-India strategic partnership, and India's global non-proliferation standing.

"These changes reaffirm the US commitment to work with India on our mutual goal of strengthening the global non-proliferation framework," said Under Secretary of Commerce Eric L Hirschhorn.

Obama during his India visit had assured India that he would remove these companies from the entities list."Commensurate with Indias nonproliferation record and commitment to abide by multilateral export control standards, the United States will remove all civil space and defense-related entities from the Department of Commerce "Entity List."

Inclusion on this list generally triggers an export license requirement for items that otherwise do not require an export license," said a fact sheet issued by the White House during the Obama visit.In February, Secretary Locke will lead 24 US businesses on a high-tech trade mission to India.The delegation, which also includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.Media agencies

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi passed away

Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi 87 year of age the Legendary classical vocalist passed away at a private hospital in Pune this morning after a brief illness.Pandit Joshi's was on respiratory support for about a week and his health deteriorated necessitated urine dropped, thus put on dialysis.Pandit Joshi had become breathless January 22 and died today: The Doyen of Hindustani classical music Pandit Bhimsen Joshi legendary vocalist had been admitted to the hospital following renal and respiratory complications on 31st December last year, his family said.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Union Rural Development Minister and Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh said a state-level committee of MPs will be formed in each state for monitoring the implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

India Art Summit 2011:The Campus Stroll :Sagar Media Inc

Tribute to Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore

Republic Day Parade, Indian Railways presents a special tableau which is a replica of the railway coach used by the Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore for his travels between Bolpur and Kolkata in West Bengal during his life time. This tableau comes as a tribute of Ministry of Railways to Kaviguru, the doyen of art, music and literature on 150th year of his Birth Centenary. The Railways inspired Kaviguru to pen many memorable poems which can be found in his masterpiece ‘Geetanjali’, his most famous collection of poems. Rabindranath Tagore often penned his reflections on life during his innumerable travels on train. Indian Railways proudly presents his art and his life and relives his railway journey through this Republic Day tableau.

Friday, January 21, 2011

VIP View India Art Summit 2011

Skoda Prize for Contemporary Art :Sagar Media Inc

Spanish Artists:India Art Summit 2011

H.E Ambassdor of Italy : IPNOS 2011 Press Conference

"National Voters' Day" 25 Jan

Union Cabinet today approved declaration of 25lh January every year as the "National Voters' Day" beginning from this year and to provide voters a badge with its logo and the slogan “Proud to be a voter – Ready to vote”.

The Constitution (Sixty-first Amendment) Act, 1988 was enacted to amend article 326 of the Constitution lowering the voting age from 21 years to 18 years so as to provide the unrepresented youth of the country an opportunity to give vent to their feelings and help them become a part of the political process.

It has been noticed that the new voters (18+ age) are not getting enrolled in the electoral roll in a big way year after year. In certain cases, the level of their enrollment is as low as 20 to 25%. In order to effectively deal with this problem, the Election Commission has decided to take up a vigorous exercise to identify all eligible voters attaining the age of 18 years as on 1sl of January every year, in each of the 8.5 lakh polling station areas of the country. Such eligible voters shall be enrolled on time and handed over their Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC) on the 25lh January every year at a brief felicitation to be organized in each polling station area. This initiation is expected to give the youth a sense of responsible citizenship, empowerment, pride and participation and inspire them to exercise their newly acquired franchise, when occasion arises.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

PM Cabinet Reshuffle eying assembly polls

Congress decided Cabinet Reshuffle eying assembly polls Praful Patel, Sriprakash Jaiswal and Salman Khurshid to be elevated as Cabinet Ministers among other change around in the Union Cabinet Wednesday in New Delhi.Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy shifted to Petroleum and Natural Gas. Kapil Sibal retains Telecom and HRD.

Ajay Maken and K V Thomas elevated as Ministers of State with Independent Charge. Beni Prasad Verma is new induction as MoS Independent Charge.
Ashwani Kumar and K C Venugopal are new Ministers of State.
Kumar gets Planning and Parliamentary Affairs and Science and Technology and Earth Sciences while Venugopal gets Power.

M S Gill moved from Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry to Statistics and Programme Implementation. Ajay Maken gets MoS Independent of the Sports and Youth Affairs.
Sharad Pawar sheds Consumer Affairs and Food and Civil Supplies, retains Agriculture and gets Food Processing Industries.Virbhadra Singh shifted from Steel to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises while Vilasrao Deshmukh shifted from Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises to Rural Development with additional charge of Panchayati Raj.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi gets additional charge of Civil Aviation in place of Praful Patel who gets Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
B K Handique divested of Mines portfolio, retains Development of North Eastern Region.C P Joshi shifted from Rural Development and Panchayati Raj to Road Transport and Highways. Kumari Selja loses Tourism but gets additional charge of Culture, retains Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

Subodh Kant Sahay shifted from Food Processing Industries to Tourism. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will hold the additional charge of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences but the Ministry of Water Resources has been taken away from him.Pawan Kumar Bansal retains Parliamentary Affairs, loses Water Resources which has been given to Salman Khurshid.

Jaiswal elevated in the same ministry of Coal as Cabinet Minister.
Beni Prasad Verma is MoS Independent Charge in Steel Ministry while K V Thomas retains Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the elevated position of MoS Independent Charge.Dinsha Patel, MoS Railways, shifted to Mines and promoted as MoS Independent Charge.Changes have also been made in the portfolios of various Ministers of State. E Ahamed shifted from Railways to External Affairs while Harish Rawat from Labour to Agriculture and Food Processing Industries.

V. Narayanasamy will retain Parliamentary Affairs and Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Prime Minister's Office. V Narayansami made MoS in the PMO, Department of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension. He retains Parliamentary Affairs while losing Statistics and Programme Implementation.M S Gill moved from Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry to Statistics and Programme Implementation

Gurudas Kamat shifted from Department of Telecom to Home Affairs in the capacity of MoS. A Sai Pratap gets Heavy Industries and Public enterprises. Bharatsinh Solanki gets Railways as MoS while Jitin Prasada gets Road Transport and Highways. Madhav S Khandela moved to Tribal Affairs.R P N Singh will be MoS in Petroleum and Natural Gas and Corporate Affairs while Tusharbhai Chaudhary will be MoS Road Transport and Highways.

Praful Patel who has been given Cabinet rank but has moved from Civil Aviation to Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises expressed his happiness at elevation. He said he has done a lot of work in aviation sector.

Mr Murli Deora, who was moved from petroleum ministry to Corporate Affairs, said, he is not at all disappointed. Admitting that there have been six times fuel price hikes in the last one year, Mr Deora said oil companies are bleeding.

A. Sai Pratap- Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

Mahadev S. Khandela, Tribal Affairs,

Tusharbhai Chaudhary-Road Transport and Highways

Arun Yadav-Agriculture and Food Processing Industries

Pratik Prakashbapu Patil - Coal.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Swiss banker details of 2,000 accounts to Assange

Swiss banker gives Account details of 2,000 super rich to Assange the secret Swiss account holders, including individuals and corporates from Asia, US and Britain, were Tuesday handed over by a former Swiss banker to Wiki Leaks for being made public.

There was no indication whether any Indian account holder figure in the list since Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange who received the two discs containing the documents said that he would make it public in the future.Rudolf Elmer, a former employee of Swiss-based Bank Julius Baer, said the account holders include celebrities, business leaders and lawmakers.Assange, fighting cases to extradite him to Sweden to face sex charges, appeared alongside Elmer said he will expose attempts by these business leaders, corporations and lawmakers to evade tax payments. "We will treat this information like all other information we get," Assange said. "There will be a full revelation."According to a report in Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag, the data covers multinationals, financial firms and wealthy individuals from many countries, including the UK, US and Germany, and covers the period 1990-2009.

"The one thing on which I am absolutely clear is that the banks know, and the big boys know, that money is being secreted away for tax evasion purposes," Elmer told Observer newspaper.He said the files being handed over to whistle-blower site WikiLeaks exposed activities in offshore financial centres.At the press briefing, Assange said that, with his organisation focussed on the publication of its cache of about 250,000 diplomatic cables, it could be several weeks before Elmer's files are reviewed and posted in the WikiLeaks website.
The Swiss banker has previously leaked banking documents to the secret-spilling site and told journalists that he wanted to expose the offshore banking system."I want to let society know how this system works," he said. "It's damaging society."
The banker released the files two days before he is due to appear before a Zurich regional court to answer charges of coercion and violating Switzerland's strict banking secrecy laws.Elmer said he would not reveal what specifically was in the documents, and would not disclose "individual companies or individual names" of the account holders. (

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jairam Ramesh: Coastal Regulation Zone 2011: Notification

Demolish Adarsh Housing Society:Ramesh

Nksagar -Sagar Media Inc -New Delhi:Environment ministry on Sunday directed the scam-hit Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai to demolish within three months the "unauthorised" 31-storey building in upmarket Colaba for violating coastal regulations and restore the area in its original condition.

If the society failed to comply with it on its own, "the ministry will be constrained to enforce this direction", the order said.The society meant to house families of Kargil martyrs came under the scanner following reports that flats were doled out to politicians, top defence personnel including two former Army Chiefs and bureaucrats as well as their kin.

"The unauthorized structure built at Block-6, Backbay Reclamation Area, near Backbay Bus Depot, Capt.Prakash Pathe Marg, Colaba, Mumbai-400005, A-Ward should be removed in its entirety and the area should be restored to its original condition," the three-page order said.In Mumbai, the Maharashtra government said it would soon take a decision on the Environment Ministry's direction."We will read the order issued by the Environment Ministry on the Adarsh society and decide soon on what is to be done," State Environment Minister Sanjay Devtale told the news agency.Counsel for the Adarsh Society Satish Maneshinde said the order would be challenged in the High Court once its copy was available.He alleged that the contents of the order were "leaked" to the media earlier this week while the order itself was issued on a Sunday."I think it is totally malafide and we will challenge it as and when we get the copy of the order," he said.

"Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society has violated the very spirit of CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) Notification, 1991 by not even acknowledging the need for clearance under this notification...Ignorance of law an never be an excuse for non-compliance," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said in a statement posted on the Ministry's website.

Accusing the society of "egregious" violation, Ramesh said the Ministry had three options at its disposal -"removal" of the entire structure, removal of that part of the structure in excess of the floor space index (FSI) and recommending the government to takeover the building for public use which could be determined later.

"I have decided on Option I (removal of entire structure). The fact that there may well be other cases of similar violations provide no grounds for mitigation of the penalty attracted by such an egregious violation as that by the Society"Any other decision would have diluted the strong precedents that have been set in judgements of the Supreme Court and different High Courts," he said.The Minister said Option II (removal of the part which is in excess of FSI) was "rejected" since it would have been tantamount to regularising or condoning an egregious violation of CRZ Notification, 1991
The option of handing over the building to the government was "considered but rejected" because even though the final use may be in the public interest, it would still tantamount to regularising a violation of the CRZ Notification, Ramesh said.He said in case of a takeover there would also be substantial discretionary powers that would vest with the state or the central government.The building has 103 flats of which 37 have been allotted to defence personnel including two for families of Kargil heroes and the rest going to civilians.

The Ministry's final order is based on the report of a panel led by Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Division Advisor Nalini Bhat which said that Adarsh Society had not obtained necessary prior clearance under the CRZ Notification from Maharashtra government after obtaining necessary recommendation from the state Coastal Zone Management Authority.

Congress' Ashok Chavan had to resign as Chief Minister of Maharashtra after it emerged that three of his relatives were members of the housing society.Also coming under scrutiny were three of his predecessors - Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh (both Congress leaders and now senior union ministers) and Narayan Rane (former chief minister of the then Shiv Sena-BJP government and now a state Congress minister).They reportedly speeded up the proposals to allot the prime plot for the building.
Names of former Army chiefs General Deepak Kapoor and General N C Vij and Navy ex-chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh have also cropped up as beneficiaries of the project launched for the benefit of Kargil war widows.The three later announced that they were surrendering their flats.Terming the structure as "unauthorised", Bhat's report said the building be "removed in entirety" and the area restored.Defending the decision of the Environment Ministry, Congress said it was based on available material data.
"This is a government order and a government decision based upon reason material data in what might be called a proceedings akin to a quasi judicial proceedings," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.The Adarsh society high-rise was constructed in the posh Colaba locality of Mumbai, which is considered a sensitive coastal area by the defence establishment and houses various key establishments.

The Maharashtra Government had last week recommended to Governor the suspension of state Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari for his role in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.A member of the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission Subhash Lalla had also resigned after names of two of his relatives figured among the beneficiaries.
Tiwari not to quit despite govt pressure putting the Maharashtra Government in a quandary, a defiant Ramanand Tiwari said he will not quit as Information Commissioner and willchallenge the recommendation to the governor to suspend him following his alleged involvement in the Adarsh Housing scam.

"I am not quitting but will challenge the suspensionprocess," Tiwari said after a 10-minute meeting with theMaharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan.Alleging "misconduct" by Tiwari in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the State Cabinet had on January 11 recommended his suspension to the governor.

The former IAS official said during the meeting, he "presented" his side of the story.
"I am not going to step down and I have informed the Governor. The Government has already appointed a commission to probe the matter and truth would be out soon," Tiwari said, adding, "I am willing to face the inquiry."
"I feel that any other action at this stage against mewill not be fair.the media has made out that I am the mainculprit. I deny that," he said.

Tiwari said during his stint as urban developmentdepartment secretary several files came to him for clearances."However, the decision to clear land reservation andland transfers is a decision taken by the state and not byme," he added."I continue to attend office as I have not got anycommunication from the state government asking me not toattend office," Tiwari, a retired IAS officer, whose son ownsa flat in Adarsh society, told a news agency earlier this week. Media Agencies

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Munaf and Zaheer scripted India's win ODI

India beat South Africa by 1 run in the second one-day cricket international at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg Saturday night.Graeme Smith was top scorer for South Africa with 77 runs to level the series 1-1.

India with out with moderate score 190, India contained South Africa to 189 in nail bit finish to level ODI series: South Africa team dominated the natch and looked better placed till Munaf and Zaheer penetrated and wrecked their batting performance with excellent catches by team India:Team win attributes largely to Munaf's four wickets included the important scalps of danger man Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith.

The second ODI match in Johannesburg on Saturday equally poised until Munaf had Wayne Parnell caught at point by Yuvraj Singh to signal the end of a dramatic match in the 43rd over.Munaf Patel bowled a last over with care,his fine bowling to pick up two wickets to attain India level the series with a memorable 1 run win.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stampede in Sabarimala shrine Idukki hundred devotees killed

Stampede in Kerala's Idukki district; 104 devotees feared dead during the festival when people were visiting their deity reports is awaited for the cause of the incident:ore than hundred devotees killed and 100 injured on Friday night in a stampede in a forest in Kerala's Idukki district while lakh pilgrims had assembled at a hill in Pulumedu to witness the celestial Makara Jyothi light and were returning from the Sabarimala shrine, officials said here.

World Bank loan USD 1.5 billion to India

World Bank will extend a loan of USD 1.5 billion (about Rs 6,800 crore) to India for building 24,000 km of all-weather roads in the rural areas of seven economically poor and hilly states like Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
This is the largest rural road project the World Bank has ever approved.
The agreement to supplement the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) was signed in the presence of World Bank Group President Robert B Zoellick and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi today.

The funding will be used to build more than 24,000 km of roads in Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and any other state, which may join the programme at a later date over the next five years."Delivering much needed infrastructure will help India in its drive to ensure all people have opportunity," Zoellick said.

He said the bank's efforts are to bring the best development practices from around the globe to India and to share India's experience and expertise with others.
The construction and maintenance of these roads will create an estimated 300 million person-days of employment for the rural people.

More than 20,000 engineers as well as many contractors and skilled and unskilled workforce will be trained in modern rural road engineering practices and business procedures.Under the overall PMGSY programme, about 375,000 km of new roads are being constructed and another 372,000 km improved at an estimated cost of about USD 40 billion.The World Bank and India also signed a USD 255 million agreement for phase one of the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (I), to be implemented by the National Disaster Management Authority.

More than one million people living in the coastal areas of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh would benefit from the programme.

Close to 500 million people, or half of India's population, live in 13 cyclone-prone states and Union Territories, including Gujarat, West Bengal, Daman and Diu.

The World Bank President, who is visiting India, also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram.

Zoellick said that during his meetings with policymakers and government officials he learnt of how India was accelerating its response to these development challenges.

The government is especially focused on seeking the efficient translation of its programmes and policies into actionable results on the ground, he said.

"The Bank is pleased to support the governments efforts not just with finance, but by offering the development experience and technical knowledge the World Bank has gained around the world," he said

Madan Gopal Singh Sufiana Happy Lohri Festival IHC New Delhi 286

Lohri at Habitat World :Vidushi Sunanda Sharma 282

Kapil Sibal HRD Minister World Education Culture Congress 274

Sagar Media Inc:World Education Culture Congress 273

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CEO Bihar Sr police officers to assess law and order in West Bengal

The terms of the existing Legislative Assemblies of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry are expiring in May-June, 2011. In view of this, the Election Commission is required to hold General Elections to constitute the new Legislative Assemblies in these States. The Commission is taking all necessary measures including keeping a watch on the law and order situation in these States. Several political parties have met the Commission in Delhi and during the visit of Commission to Kolkata on 8th January, 2011 and have submitted representations to the Commission about the prevailing law and order situation in West Bengal.Commission has, therefore, decided to make an independent assessment of the law and order situation in West Bengal. For this purpose, a team of five senior police officers headed by Chief Electoral Officer, Bihar and comprising five senior police officers is being sent to West Bengal to make a first-hand assessment of the situation there. This team shall visit different districts of West Bengal immediately and make an on-the-spot assessment after which it will submit a report to the Commission.

M M Joshi to Sibal's criticism of CAG's report on 2G spectrum

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi also said that the committee members had asked him to take appropriate steps to ensure that such instances do not recur."The sense of the committee was that Sibal's remarks were improper, against propriety and an attack on the dignity of PAC and CAG," Joshi told reporters in New Delhi.

He said the forum of the Committee was available to the minister to make any observation or suggestion on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocations.

Joshi launched a defence of the CAG contending that the auditor had never said his estimates on presumptive losses to the exchequer were final."The CAG had only mentioned three different figures based on three different models to calculate the presumptive loss. It had never said the report was final," he said.

To a question on whether Sibal's remarks amounted to breach of privilege, the BJP leader said as of now he was not in a position to say anything on the issue.

However, he said the PAC would consider steps that were necessary to avoid repeat of such incidents.In reply to a question, Joshi said there was no suggestion or proposal before the Committee today to call Sibal for seeking clarification on his remarks.

At a press conference last week, Sibal had described as "utterly erroneous and without any basis" the estimated loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore arrived at by the CAG on account of allocation of 2G spectrum to telecom operators

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Press Conference:Indian Scientific Expedition to South Pole

Maiden Indian Scientific Expedition To The South Pole

Maiden Indian Scientific Expedition To The South Pole the Expedition Team hoisted the Indian Tricolour at the South POLE on 22nd November, 2010.Expedition team has traversed 2350 km and on the way they collected data on ice physics, chemistry, geomorphology structure of ice etc.Expedition team left Maitri on 13 th Nov 2010 for South Pole consisting of eight members and with four specialized vehicles covered their journey in ten days: Team leader of this expedition Dr. Rasik Ravindran, Director of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Goa and his team members talked shared experience with media members today 11 Jan 2010 at Ashoka Hotel New Delhi:The year 2011 marks thirty years of Indian presence in Antarctica the Government of India launched a scientific overland expedition to South pole fro Indian research base in Antarctica, "Maitri".Mr Javed Beg -Geologist Scientist and others experts answered media question with ease,on matter pertains to their health, food, how to keep well being at as low as minus 55 degrees C and about the nature of tectonic plates and glacial-geomorphological landforms; Science component of the expedition includes a) Raising cores at regular spacing along the Maitri-South Pole (Amundsen-Scot station) traverse for study of variability of snow chemistry particular matter, etc. b) GPR section along traverse to understand bed rock topography and Sub surface- Ice structure. c) Study of glacial-geomorphological landforms along the plateau, d) Collection of Meteorological and geophysical parameter along the 2000 km long traverse.

Geographic South Pole is different than the Geomagnetic South Pole. The Geographic South Pole is located on the continent of Antarctica (although this has not been the case for all of Earth's history because of continental drift). It sits atop a featureless, windswept, icy plateau at an altitude of 2,835 meters (9,306 ft), about 1,300 km (800 mi) from the nearest sea at McMurdo Sound.

The polar ice sheet is moving at a rate of roughly 10 meters per year towards the Weddell Sea. Therefore, the position of the station and other artificial features relative to the geographic pole gradually shifts over time. The Geographic South Pole is marked by a sign and a stake in the ice pack, which are repositioned each year on New Year's Day to compensate for the movement of the ice. However, the Ceremonial South Pole is an area set aside for photo opportunities at the South Pole Station. It is located a short distance from the Geographic South Pole, and consists of a metallic sphere on a plinth, surrounded by the flags of the Antarctic Treaty signatory states.

BJP Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad

BJP attacks Singh govt

BJP today said the "inability" to control inflation was the "biggest failure" of the "economist Prime Minister".BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said "under the leadership of an economist Prime Minister" prices have been skyrocketing.He sought to know why the government did not import onions despite knowing that the crop had been destroyed in the country due to rains.

"Whenever a question on price rise is put to Pranab Mukherjee, I see irritation writ large on his face," Prasad said and questioned Finance Minister's ability to control price rise.Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the UPA Government had little idea on how to deal with inflation.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday held a meeting with senior ministers to find ways to tame food inflation which has crossed 18 percent.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia."Another round of discussion may be held tomorrow," a source said.Food inflation rose to 18.32 percent for the week ended 25th December, due to rise in prices of food items like onion, milk and meat.

Retail price of onion continues to rule high at Rs 55-60 per kg in major parts of the country due to sluggish supply.Food inflation has been fuelled by high prices of vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs and milk.Onion has remained in headlines since prices could decline only marginally despite the government announcing three weeks ago that it was taking several measures to increase supply, including through import.However, Pawar said on Monday that there was not much the government could do in regard to vegetable prices vegetable prices are high and on that we do not have any control," he said, hoping that prices would come down "eventually".
Even arrivals of new onion crop could not make much impact on its prices which remained at Rs 55-60 at the retail level.Measures like Income Tax raids on traders, slashing import duty on onion and tight monetary policy by the Reserve Bank have not helped ease the situation.

To some extent, global spike in commodity prices are also being blamed for inflation, which has become a main concern for the government.
On the import front, there seems to be no immediate hopes of Pakistan resuming onion exports to India with its local traders deciding to sell the contracted 3,000 tonnes of the vegetable into their local market.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cong offensive against BJP

Congress today went on the offensive against BJP over its frontal attack against Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accusing the main opposition of personalising politics and degrading the quality of public life.
In a tough message to BJP, party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said,"Does BJP want an investigation into allegations leveled against its leaders from time to time by the very persons who were at some point of time close to them....No body knows who will stand where if fingers are raised on the top leadership of any party by linking distant relations."He also advised the opposition party to "mend its language and the style of politics" saying this will do a great deal of good to the country as "larger parties also have larger responsibilities in a democracy".

BJP declared an all out war against Sonia Gandhi bringing the Congress first family in the line of fire on the Bofors kickbacks issue."The Congress, particularly its first family is faced with the power of truth. Truth has the habit of coming up at an inconvenient time. Misusing the CBI to undermine this case, each time and at every level, the party ensured that Ottavio Quattrocchi was enabled to flee the country," the party said in its political resolution.Contrary to earlier speculation, the party named the Congress first family in the resolution adopted at the two-day national executive meeting of the BJP.Targetting Sonia later at an NDA rally, veteran BJP leader L K Advani she had a close association with Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who was a "regular" at her house.

CAG stands by its report on 2G spectrum

(PTI) In the midst controversy over its figures of revenue loss on account of allocation of 2G spectrum, government auditor CAG today said it stood by the report submitted to Parliament late last year."CAG stands by its report on 2G spectrum hundred per cent", the CAG spokesperson told reporters.Telecom minister Kapil Sibal last week had questioned the findings of the report saying that CAG's estimate of Rs 1.76 lakh crore loss to the exchequer on account of allocation of the spectrum was "utterly erroneous".

The minister had gone to the extent of saying that government did not suffer any loss.(PTI) Asserting that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had not given any direction on the pricing of spectrum in 2007, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal today said prima facie it was evident that procedure to allocate spectrum lacked transparency."Yes, I believe so. We believe that the allocation of spectrum was wrongly made in terms of implementation of the policy. Otherwise, I would not have a one-man committee of the retired Supreme Court judge to look into the matter," he told Karan Thapar on "India Tonight" programme to be telecast on CNBC TV 18 channel.On the issue of CAG's interpretation that former Telecom Minister A Raja disregarded Prime Minister's direction to auction 2G spectrum, Sibal said there was no such direction.
"CAG has interpreted something which the government does not agree," he added.

Jan 10 (PTI) Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal may have created a flutter by describing "It is human to err and to err is human, so the exercise was fraught with very serious errors, which has allowed the opposition to spread falsehood." Further Kapil added as incorrect the CAG report on the presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the 2G allocation but the Supreme Court today said it cannot take cognizance of that as it is not part of the record.The court's remark came when advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking cancellation of the 2G licenses submitted that Sibal had disputed the CAG report on the presumptive loss of 1.76 lakh crores, saying it was not correct."We cannot take cognizance of that as it is not part of the record,"but "issue has now become debatable". a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said.

"So, now the CAG conclusions are being doubted!", remarked a Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Gangul,If CAG report basis of CBI probe, why is Sibal doubting it?"If the public exchequer and the government did not suffer any loss at all, then we will ask the government," Justices Singhvi and Ganguly said.

Bench further added CAG report, discussed threadbare in earlier hearings on the spectrum scam, was an important reason why the Centre and CBI both agreed for the probe being monitored by the court."Even the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in its communication to CBI asking it to register a case (in the 2G spectrum allocation) says something is seriously wrong," the Bench said

Iran Air passenger plane Boeing-727 crashes

Iran Air passenger plane Boeing-727 carrying more than 100 passengers crashed near a village before it could land in the city of Orumiyeh, north-west of the capital, Tehran, said Abbas Mosayebi, spokesman of the Iranian civil aviation organisation, state TV reported, at least 70 people have been killed and 32 injured.

Fars news agency quoted the head of the State Emergency Centre, Gholam Reza Masoumi, as saying 32 people survived with light injuries. That report said there was bad weather and fog in the area.The flight had been delayed twice due to bad weather in Tehran, which saw brief snow on Sunday morning, said the report.

Iran's Red Crescent Society told Press TV that the death toll is expected to rise as many of the injured have been reported to be in critical conditions. They have been rushed to hospitals in the cities of Orumiyeh and Tabriz. Officials have said that 27 inches of snow and thick fog are hampering the rescue operations.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kapil Sibal on 2G Spectrum Issues

Union Minister of Communications & IT, Shri Kapil Sibal said on 2G Spectrum issues:
“The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the 2G Spectrum Issue has criticized certain aspects of the decision making process related to Spectrum allocation. One of the criticisms relates to an alleged large loss to the national exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum. Others related to the process of implementing the first come first served policy.

“The criticism of large revenue loss has received a great deal of attention in the Press because of the size of the loss stated by CAG. This estimate is based on the assumption that spectrum should have been auctioned or sold in some other manner which would have fetched the Government the highest possible price. However, the logic underlying this estimate is completely flawed. Government policy is formulated with a view to maximize public welfare, and note merely to maximize Government revenues. The pricing of different natural resources is often done in a manner that meets this objective. For instance, land is given free of cost to infrastructure projects such as construction of highways, coal prices are kept much lower than global prices in order to ensure that the cost of power remains reasonable; fertilizer prices involve significant subsidy as do the prices of wheat, rice, kerosene oil, etc. supplied through the Public Distribution System. In all these cases if the objective of the Government were only to maximize revenues, much higher price would be charged, but there are good reasons why that is not done.

“The rationale of the pricing decision for 2G must be seen in the background of the Telecom Policy as it has evolved over many years.

Friday, January 7, 2011

India seeks Clean Coal Technology from South Africa

India has sought cooperation in the fields of clean coal technology like Coal to Oil (CTL), Underground Coal Gasification and coal beneficiation besides modern technology for underground coal mining including advance shaft sinking and drift drivage technologies from South Africa. In the bilateral talks with Energy Minister of South Africa here today, Shri Jaiswal said that India is committed to introduce clean coal technology in view of increasing environmental concern and It has already planed to introduced Coal to Oil (CTL) technology in two of its coal blocks, each having capacity of 1.5 million coal reserve. South Africa being the owner of oldest and largest ‘Coal to Oil ‘plant could assist India to transfer the technology in the other mining projects also.

Shri jaiswal is in Johannesburg along with delegation of seniors officers of his ministry and Chairman of Coal India limited on 4 days visit to explore opportunities for cooperation in the area of coal between India and South Africa. During the talks with Minister of Energy of South Africa, Ms. Susan Shabangu, Shri Jaisawal said that Coal India Ltd is interested in coal properties in South Africa, both the countries can go for joint ventures in this area. He also said that South Africa can participate in high capacity under ground mining activities in India and in setting up of coal beneficiation plants for upgrading the quality of Indian coal.

Shri Jaiswal also urged South African Government to assist India in Underground Coal Gasification technology which is considered to be a clean coal technology as all pollutants are left in the underground reactor and only the resultant syn-gas by burning the coal in-situ is taken out to operation the turbines in generating power. He said that India is keenly looking for South African experiment with the technology in power generation and also possibly in syn-gas as a feed stock for chemical sector. He said that Indian industry is also very keen to explore coal resources in South Africa and expressed the hope that very soon cooperation between both the Governments in the area of coal would increase further.

Welcoming Shri jaiswal, the South African Minister for energy said that her country considers India as a close partner in coal sector and is very keen to have wide ranging cooperation in all aspects of coal mining, mine safety and reclamation activities. She offered her country her expertise in setting up coal washries, deep coal mining technology and clean coal technology.

During the discussions, African Energy Minister assured that her Government would support any Indian companies that may have interests in the South African Coal sector. She said that there is a great deal of potential for investment in South African coal sector. She said that South Africa would like to share technology in coal mining as it is known for its expertise and especially deep underground mine technology. Both the countries also agreed to exchange R&D initiatives in the area of extraction CBM before exploiting coal resources.

Shri Jaiswal also visited ‘Coal To Liquid ‘(CTL) technology plant of SASOL, the largest company in the world having this technology with his delegation including CMD of Coal India Ltd. He had detailed discussion on various aspects of the technology including its transfer to India.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PTC New Year 2011 Sector 17 Chandigarh

CBI :ITAT order irrelevant on 'Q'

The CBI on Thursday contended before a Delhi court that there is no change in government's stand on withdrawing the case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the wake of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) order in the Bofors pay-offs case.

Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra said, "The judgement of the tribunal is wholly irrelevant and reliance on it is totally misconceived." He made it clear that there has been no change in the stand of the government on withdrawing the case against Quattrocchi after the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav queried about government's position on the issue.

"There are clear findings that dispute before the tribunal was in relation to Income Tax liability rather than fixing any criminal liability or accountability of the assessee (Quattrocchi and Win Chadha) for any other law or obligation," Malhotra said while pleading for withdrawal of criminal case against 70-year-old Quattrocchi.

"It has given a finding relying on the Supreme Court decision that the proceedings are purely administrative. The assessing officer is not a court. The proceedings before it are not strictly judicial proceedings," Malhotra said, adding, "Rules of rigour evidence are not applicable and there is difference between criminal proceedings and judicial proceedings.

"The tribunal again relied upon the evidence collected by the investigating agency which in law is not a legal piece of evidence. The tribunal did not even consider the judgement passed by the Delhi High Court which dealt with criminal liability of the accused person in the Bofors pay-offs case," Malhotra, appearing for the CBI, contended.

Malhotra asked the court not to rely on the ITAT order while deciding the plea of the CBI for withdrawing case against Quattrocchi as that proceeding was different from the criminal proceeding against Quattrocchi. "It is a settled position that criminal liability and the liability under the Income Tax Act are separate and distinct. Whereas findings in a tax liability may be based on inadmissible evidence whereas a conviction in the trial court can be based only on reliable evidence," Malhotra said.

"There was no assessment order passed against them and in any case, assessment proceedings and criminal proceedings, being separate and distinct, no reliance can be placed on tribunal's judgement which is wholly irrelevant and inadmissible," he further contended.

Meanwhile, Advocate Ajay Agarwal, who has challenged the CBI move, opposed the agency's contentions seeking withdrawal of the prosecution against the elusive Italian businessman saying, "In the changed circumstances, the probe agency should withdraw its application and file a fresh affidavit detailing its future action to bring back Quattrocchi to face the trial."

He moved a fresh application seeking directions to the CBI to respond to the judgement of the ITAT in which it has been said that Quattrocchi had received kickbacks in the gun deal. "The CBI application for withdrawal of prosecution against Quattrocchi is not a bonafide plea as it has been filed at the behest of the political masters," Agarwal submitted.

The court, after hearing the contentions of the CBI and Agarwal, adjourned the matter for further hearing to February 10 after the advocate pleaded time to go through all the documents related to the Bofors pay-offs case. The court also allowed Agarwal to go through judicial records of the case in the larger public interest so that the CBI's plea could be decided. Earlier, on Tuesday, the CBI had contended there was "nothing new" in the ITAT order that would obstruct the withdrawal of the over two-decade-old criminal proceedings against Quattrocchi. "I am not disputing what the tribunal has said. That is the case of prosecutor (CBI) also and it is mentioned in the chargesheet. There is nothing new," the additional solicitor general had told the court.

Agarwal, however, had sought fresh examination of the matter in the wake of the ITAT order that kickbacks of Rs 61 crore were paid to late Win Chaddha and Quattrocchi in the Howitzer gun deal.

The CBI had registered a criminal case on January 20, 1990 to probe who were the beneficiaries of the pay-offs in the 1986 Bofors gun deal. After completing its probe, the agency filed two chargsheets in the case first on October 22, 1999 and the second one on October 9, 2000.

The CBI had, in October 2009, sought permission of the court to withdraw the case against Quattrocchi, saying that his continued prosecution was "unjustified" in the light of various factors including the failed attempts of CBI to extradite him.

"The continuance of prosecution against Quattrocchi will be unjustified. It is considered expedient in the interest of justice that the proceedings against him should not be continued and be withdrawn," the CBI had pleaded in its 9-page application.

Quattrocchi has never appeared before any court in the country. CBI had failed on two occasions in its attempt to get Quattrocchi extradited -- first from Malaysia in 2003 and then from Argentina in 2007.

Agarwal, who has been pursuing the case in the Supreme Court and had approached the trial court against CBI's move to seek a closure of the case, contended the Centre and the agency were trying to close the case despite having sufficient evidence against Quattrocchi.

The plea was countered by CBI which said it was difficult to secure presence of Quattrocchi for prosecution and, moreover, all other accused are either dead or charges against them have been quashed by the Delhi High Court.

Competitiveness, climate, security Finn’s priorities Ministry of Finance release Finnish road map of EU presidency. Finland is set ...