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August 31, 2001 - September 1, 2001

CAG report slams purchase of Rs 19 crore aircraft Saturday, September 1, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has criticised Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel for interfering in the purchase Super King Air-B 200 aircraft at the cost of Rs 19.12 crore in November 1999 despite the official suggestion to buy a much cheaper aircraft of similar brand available with the Maharashtra government. Additional chief secretary, indsutries and mines, C.K. Koshy, and chief secretary L.N.S. Mukundan had suggested to buy from Maharashtra an aircraft with the same specifications, a turbo-propeller with little hours in the log, at the cost of a mere Rs 8 crore.

In its report placed in the state assembly on Friday, the last day of the budget session, the CAG also indicts the department of civil aviation falling under Suresh Mehta, for purchasing the aircraft "without exploring the possibility of competitive reates by inviting global tenders." As per the rule 18 (2) of the Gujarat Financial Rule, 1971, in the case of purchase of plant and machinery and equiment from foreign countries, "contract shall be placed only after global tenders have been openly invited."


Yet, the department placed indent with the Central Stores Purchase Organisation for purchase of a new aircraft for the state government in May 1999 "from inland bidders only." The result was that, only one bidder offered the rate of the aggregate price of 4,359,574 dollars with the required specifications, while three other bidders requested the state government to change the specifications of the tender as the specifications mentioned in tender notice restricted the purchase option to only one category of aircraft manufactured by only one American-based company.


The CAG says, though this required global tendering, as seen in the meeting of the departmental file of the purchase committee dated April 6, 1999, the chief secretary and the principal secretary, finance, overruled this as it was it would involve publication in foreign newspapers. The CAG says, "This was not justified as there was no indigenous manufacturers of these types of aircrafts. Thus, inviting tenders locally restricted the scope of obtaining competitive rates and facilitated obtaining a tender from the desired source."


Despite opposition from the joint secretary, industries and mines, "a team of three officers, one technical and two non-technical officers who were not even members of the technical committee, was deputed to the USA for inspection of aircraft before taking delivery between April 30 and May 7, 2000." The CAG says, "Though the General Administration Department and the finance department concurred for deputing one or two officers, the team was selected as per orders of industries minister, who was also in charge CM."

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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Rs 11 lakh for Gujarat quake relief fund Saturday, September 1, 2001

The Western India Race Horse Owners Association gave cheques for Rs 11.25 lakh for the Gujarat Earthquake Relief Activity to Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh at a ceremony at Mantralaya on Tuesday.

The cheques were presented by Vivek Jain, committee member of the Turf Club and the Owners Association in the presence of owners Ashwin Mehta, Anwar Hakim, Anil Kakodker and Prem Daryanani. This amount was in addition to the Rs 60 lakh contributed by the RWITC a few months ago.
Source - ChaloMumbai.com


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Rs 11 lakh for Gujarat quake relief fund Saturday, September 1, 2001

The Western India Race Horse Owners Association gave cheques for Rs 11.25 lakh for the Gujarat Earthquake Relief Activity to Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh at a ceremony at Mantralaya on Tuesday.

The cheques were presented by Vivek Jain, committee member of the Turf Club and the Owners Association in the presence of owners Ashwin Mehta, Anwar Hakim, Anil Kakodker and Prem Daryanani. This amount was in addition to the Rs 60 lakh contributed by the RWITC a few months ago.
Source - ChaloMumbai.com


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Use of lethal police force to control riots questioned Saturday, September 1, 2001

BY AMIT MUKHERJEE, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: The riots witnessed in the city over the last one week have thrown up one startling statistic. Two persons have died and both to police bullets. The police would lead one to believe that the toll would have been much higher had it not opened fire - to kill. But while the wisdom of the police to open lethal firing , without anybody having been killed in mob violence, is debatable , even the law enforcing agencies are pondering over methods of crowd control with minimum loss of life.

Indeed, sources say the government has decided to adopt "use of equipment with less lethal force" to control mobs but nobody is yet sure when the plan would be approved. Even on Thursday, a group of Muslims met the home minister , emphasising that on both occasions in the last week that the police opened fire , the results had been fatal.


A few months back , the home ministry decided to prepare a report, based on studies conducted on riot control techniques used worldwide, where minimum force is applied to control violent mobs.


Senior IPS officials have been entrusted with the job of conducting studies of techniques engaged in the West countries to "incapacitate and intimidate" violent football fans.


The officials preparing the report are going through various non-fatal options available.Apart from tear gas shells (CN gas shells), there are other catagories like DN gas shells which cause skin irritation and nausea.


Use of shock batons are also being explored which invalids violent agitators for about half an hour . "At the moment we are using 12000 volt shock battons which senior officials have, its use in the force is also being explored" , said an official.


City police commissioner P C Pande does not really agree that the use of less lethal force could be as effective. Pande says "when two groups are clashing with an intent of killing each other police cannot be non-lethal or even less lethal ."


The group preparing the report is contemplating on the use of Mascot 410 rifles which are similar to 303 but have a smooth bore. In 303 due to groves in the bore the bullets move out at a speed which can pierce through 7 people standing in a queue.The use of water cannons is also being dealt in the report. The city police has one water cannon cart , the use of which is restricted given its size.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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When you are the PM's niece..... Friday, August 31, 2001

BY SOURAV MUKHERJEE, TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: The men in Khaki are more than obliging. Ask residents of Happy Home apartments on Ranna Park road in Naranpura area here, and they say the police come marching in at the drop of a hat frowning at those who have dared to disturb the PM's niece.

Be it a wrongly parked car, inside the large compound or water flowing out of a residence onto the stair-case - the city police invariably march in frowning at those who dared to disturb the peace of the PM's niece.

Jab sainya bhaye kotwal to dar kahe ka goes the old saying. But what if you change it to Jab chacha bhaye PM to...., they might complete that couplet with ...to roz police awe hain.

The city police, on more than a couple of occasions, has shown an uncharacteristic alacrity in attending to telephonic complaints from one of the residents -- Karuna Chandrakant Tiwari. Tiwari, apart from being a BJP Mahila Morcha member and human rights activist, is the niece of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Consider this for example: On Wednesday morning Vipul Sutaria, a mechanical engineer with a post-graduate diploma in business management, was asked to remove his car from under the tree in front of block number 18.

Sutaria said he sought some time as he was bed-ridden due to illness. Soon enough policemen walked in. The cops left after asking a much-shaken Sutaria's mother to ask her son to report to Naranpura police station. Sutaria instead wrote a letter to the commissioner of police.

Sutaria told TNN: "When I asked her to wait a while before the car was moved, she threatened us by saying that she is the PM's niece, that she is a BJP worker and can use political influence to intimidate us. She also called me a low caste".

He has also written a letter to the Prime Minister's Office complaining on how six constables and two police sub-inspectors, acting on the call from Tiwari, had harassed his mother in his absence.

Sudhir Patel, another Happy Home resident, says: "This police menace has increased since BJP came to power. That Tiwari is Vajpayee's niece is now a common knowledge. This was the third time when police officials came to solve a petty problem."

When TNN tried to approach another of Tiwari's neighbours for comment, the reply was: "Please do not come in. We might get into trouble if she sees us with you."

Tiwari, general secretary of BJP's Mahila Morcha and coordinator of Human Rights Foundation of India, refuted all charges. "It was Sutaria who refused to remove his car and then publicly misbehaved with me when I tried to reason with him. Since my son was attending classes at college and my husband teaching at his college in Maninagar I had no option but to call the police."

Tiwari accepted that she had called in the police more than once to Happy Home Apartments. "Each time I had a justified reason. It seems most of the residents here are envious of the fact that my father and chacha's (Vajpayee) father were cousins and that we are very close to the PM. They have strangely enough turned hostile towards me and my family. These constant bickerings and my deteriorating health has convinced me to sell this house soon and move out to a duplex which has been readied for use. I want to live in peace and serve the society," said Tiwari.

News Source : Times News Network [ Lightning News ]


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