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September 27, 2001 - September 27, 2001

Chicago con man held in Ahmedabad Thursday, September 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The Criminal Investigation Department of the Gujarat state police have arrested a US citizen of Indian origin wanted by the Interpol on counts of fraud, failure to appear in the court and misuse of passport.

The Economic Offence Cell of the CID (crime) arrested 54-year-old Yogesh Ratilal Shah alias 'Yogi' alias Rayk Ztener alias Leonides Zamora Jr. accused by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of defrauding people to the tune of nearly $10-15 million in Wisconsin. The US district court had issued an arrest warrant against him.

Superintendent of Police SG Bhati told newspersons on Wednesday that the police had stationed a watch on his house in Lavkush tower. He was caught on Tuesday afternoon under provisions of section 34(B) of the Extradition Act.

Yogesh operated from a company involved in real estate under the banner '1043 Development Corporation' in Wisconsin along with three other partners, all of whom are Indian doctors.

The partners -- Dr Dharmesh C Shah, Dr Durgesh Mankikar and Dr Gautam Segal -- reportedly lodged a complaint against him after he fled to India in December last year. Ever since he had been living at his father's house in Ahmedabad. The FBI declared Yogesh 'absconding' after he escaped on a passport of Leonides Zamora Jr. Yogesh is married to Zamora's sister and holds an American passport.

The Central Bureau of Investigation's Interpol wing sent Yogesh's case papers and warrant to Additional Director General of police CID (Crime) KR Kaushik after which the hunt began. Yogesh, who looks a 'difficult-to-believe' cheat, tried hard convincing media persons that he was innocent. He claimed that the company "regularly sent donations to the Bandhu Triputi in Teethal, Valsad". 'Bandhu Triputi' are three revered Jain Munis with a large following, and based in Valsad.

The police have stationed a watch at Valsad.

Yogesh is also attached with an 'HH Krishnachandra Peace and Meditation Centre' at Teethal and claimed that he was involved in charity. He has been accused of bank frauds, forging signatures, wire frauds, money laundering, misuse of passports, inter-state transfer of money (hawala) and selling property without consent of partners among the other charges.

The accused went to the US on a student visa in 1970, and later settled in Chicago. He's been reportedly attached with the real estate firm for the past 5-6 years, says Bhati. He has a wife and two kids in the US.

Yogesh was produced in the court on Wednesday afternoon.

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Textile mills misusing excise sop Thursday, September 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The duty exemption granted to hand printing and processing textile units by the Central Excise department is being widely misused by many mills in and around the city, keeping the department on its toes for the duty evaders.

The department (Ahmedabad circle) is on the look out for those mechanised units that have avoided registration to enjoy the benefits of the sop.

The department has so far detected seven such cases of evasion worth Rs 75 lakh and have been able to recover the entire amount.

The zonal office, comprising six superintendents and 16 inspectors, is on the look out for many more such units around the Narol, Piplej and adjoining areas, says a senior official of the preventive wing.

While the hand processing units have been exempted from paying any duty on the finished products, the mechanised units have to pay duty at 16 per cent on the cost price. "Due to the huge difference in costs, there are number of bigger mechanised units which operate under the cover of hand processing units," says an official in the anti-evasion wing.

The department has so far detected evasion to the tune of about Rs 7 crore, out of which Rs 3.5 crore have been realised. "The evasions were detected during 150 raids conducted in various factories, godowns in and around Ahmedabad," an official confirmed.

In wake of the relief, owners of the hand processing units are exempted from getting their firms registered with the department. As a result of this, it is very difficult to find out which are the units that are actually using machines and evading the duty, officials in the department said. "Due to staff shortage of about 40 per cent, raiding a particular unit is a long tiring process at times," an official said.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Surfeit of BCA seats, no takers Thursday, September 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat University may have given fresh approval to eight BCA colleges but no one seems elated about it. The fresh admission process for the 960 seats in these colleges began on Wednesday and already there are signs that many students may not opt for them.

On the first day, 352 forms were sold. Considering that the maximum rush for application forms is on the first day, the signs look ominous. A fear is that only students with less marks will apply to these colleges, impairing the reputation of the course.

The worries are compounded by the general recession in the economy and the IT industry in a spiralling downturn. "The industry needs more BCAs, but they are not the only ones we need," says Rajan Vasa, managing director of Contech Software Limited. "Ideally, I would like to see only 25 per cent effort in creating BCAs and 75 per cent in creating MCAs and high-end engineers."

Applitech Solutions' corporate relations head Kapil Mittal prefers to be blunt. "We hardly ever employ BCAs as they have no idea of industry requirements," he says. "Often they have to be retrained to bring them up to industry standards."

Gujarat University's executive council spent much of the last few months debating whether or not the approval should be given, with the new Congress MLA from Sabarmati Narhari Amin even going to court over norms being allegedly flouted and some approvals being held back. Important work like repairing the university buildings damaged in the earthquake, were put on hold as the power bodies of the university went into intricate details like whether need can be established on the basis of the distance between two colleges.

Finally almost all trusts were allowed to open BCA colleges and not every one is sure if it was such a good thing after all. Students with higher marks have found their way to medical and engineering colleges. Those with good marks and wanting admissions specifically in BCA applied for the eight established colleges leaving only those students who have barely 50 per cent mark.

In fact, first indications of students losing interest in BCA came a couple of months back when the reputed colleges began admissions. Only 2,300 students applied for 960 seats, compared to last year's 6,000. Most trusts, however, did not read the signals and continued demanding new colleges. As an official put it, "The hype on IT has fizzled and it is about time we realise that."

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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2 Congress men suspended for anti-party activities Thursday, September 27, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Soon after the election wins, trouble has begun to brew in the Gujarat Congress with All-India Congress Committee member Irshadbaig Mirza alleging that Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee Amarsinh Chaudhary was "out to ruin his career".

In the city, two Congress workers , Vishnu Patel and OP Sharma, from Sabarmati, have been suspended from the party for anti-party activities.

Mirza was reacting to Chaudhary's statement in an interview accusing Mirza of foisting candidates from the minorities in the Sabarkantha parliamentary constituency to divide the votebank in the by-polls that concluded recently. Chaudhary had also stated that he would bring Mirza's dissidence before the Congress high command, which seems to have put the AICC leader on a sticky wicket.

When contacted on Wednesday evening, Chaudhary completely denied the report and told TNN, "I have never made such allegations; it is totally baseless". He, however confirmed that he had suspended Patel and Sharma for anti-campaigns in the Sabarmati assembly constituency.

Incidentally, three Independent candidates from the minority group cornered at least 43,000 votes in Sabarkantha which the party believes are of the minorities and might have given a bigger margin to the Congress. This has led the party to do a lot of introspection.

Mirza stated that he had campaigned for the party in all possible segments of Sabarkantha and had no hand in diverting minority votes.

Meanwhile, the changing political scenario in the state is expected to have the Congress buy more time on appointing the Congress Legislature Party leader, say sources. With rumours that the BJP high command might have a change of guard, the Congress high command, which was to announce the CLP leader for Gujarat soon, may wait a while.

Now that Narhari Amin is in the State assembly, there are possibilities that he might take over the CLP mantle from Chaudhary.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Record voter registration for MSU senate polls Thursday, September 27, 2001

VADODARA: Election process to the registered graduate constituency of the M S University senate has made a record of sorts. The highest number of registration of voters in the history of the university was made by aspirants for the seats in this category.

As many as 11,402 persons were registered as voters for 13 seats in this constituency. With rival factions throwing their weight behind various candidates, the elections have become a prestige issue. The registrations include 8,802 new registrations as well as 2,600 renewals of old ones.

According to university officials, the highest number of voters were registered in the Faculty of Arts. Candidates willing to contest the polls here got 2,399 persons registered as their voters.

This was followed by the Faculty of Technology and Engineering where 1,844 persons were registered. In the Faculty of Commerce 1,628 registrations were made followed by medicine (1450 registrations) and education and psychology (1432 registrations). Faculty of Journalism and Communication finished the last with only five voters registered there.

"The general maxim prevailing regarding the polls is that a candidate who gets the highest number of voters registered is likely to win. It is expected that the candidates registered for him would vote him as well. The high rush for registrations can be attributed to this fact," said a candidate.

Veterans who have been contesting the polls for several years now have for the first time faced challenge from new entrants. Old timers like JB Rajput, Narendra Parmar, Pravin Jani and Dr Prakash Shah are likely to face stiff competition from new entrants.

First timers in the polls include Narendra Rawat in the Faculty of Technology and Engineering, Dr Rajesh Chauhan in medicine faculty and Dipak Shah in Faculty of Social Work. The highest number of aspirants, however, are in the Faculty of Arts.

As many as four candidates have got their voters registered in the arts faculty. These include Pravin Jani, Dinesh Yadav, Liyakatali Saiyed and Raisinh Dahima. The exceptionally high number of registrations in the arts faculty is attributed to the large number of candidates there.

According to university officials, the polls will be held in December this year along with those for other categories of the senate. While the candidatures are yet to be filed, those eyeing the posts have already started canvassing for the various posts.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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