If charges are proved, Reddy to hang self

The much awaited BJP rally at Davangere came to a close with the Reddy brothers throwing open a challenge saying, “if an iota of evidence is provided against us on illegal mining, we are ready to hang ourselves.”

The Reddy brothers especially, Janardhan Reddy was in full swing challenging the Congress to come forward and prove their allegations against them. They cannot do it since there is nothing against us. I will hang myself if they are able to prove anything against us.

Reddy also went on to speak of his loyalty towards the party and said that till his death he will remain with the BJP. There is no other party for us. Even if we are expelled from the party, we will remain loyal to the BJP and will work for it until our death.

He also opened a challenge to the Congress and said let us fight with the ballot box. I challenge any Congress leader to contest against us in Bellary and win, he said.

The BJP tried to put up a united front, but the cold war between the Chief Minister and the Reddy brothers were pretty evident. Both of them did not talk to each other during the public meeting. They were to have a core committee meeting to iron out the differences, but that has been postponed to August 7.

Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa in his address said that he would hold a rally from Agust 20 onwards. It would cover every district and would aim at highlighting the achievements of his government.


ISI’s new game plan for Kashmir

The violence in Kashmir is back and Intelligence Bureau inputs suggest that once again it is the external forces which are fuelling the violence. What the security agencies are more worried about is that the violence will continue to escalate since Pakistan based terror groups, especially the Lashkar-e-Tayiba don’t have plans of backing down. What is even more interesting is that the Pakistan groups have come well prepared and the ISI has even given these jihadis pay hikes to boost their morale so that they can keep the violence afloat.

Sources in the intelligence bureau told rediff.com that as per the intercepts available this time, the ISI has specifically told groups such as the Laskhar to step up violence so that the attention of the world turns to Kashmir. There has been a lot of international pressure on these groups and the recent leaks have dragged the ISI’s name in the open and accuses it of sponsoring terrorism.

The IB says that Kashmir is like a safe house for the ISI and whenever it finds itself on the back foot it uses this issue to divert attention. The ISI feels that barring India, a large part of the international community treats the Kashmir issue as a freedom struggle and hence they can manage to dish out sympathy from certain quarters.

As per the new plan, the ISI has instructed specifically its groups to target only security personnel. They have been constantly provoking the security personnel under the garb of stone pelters and luring them on to fire so that innocent civilians are killed.

Off late the Pakistan based groups were finding it difficult to carry forward their movement since the sympathy factor among the locals were missing. The IB says that by getting Indian security personnel to kill innocent civilians, they hope that the mindset of the locals change completely and hatred is developed in the minds of the people for the Indian set up.

Well prepared: The IB says that it is a well prepared force which the ISI has in place for the Kashmir battle. The Lashkar today will not just comprise Pakistanis Mujahideens alone. They have roped in Arabs, Sudanese Sikhs of the Bindranwale group, Palentines and Nigerians for this battle. They have a strong, dedicated contingent of 4500 persons exclusively for this battle. The job of these persons is to keep infiltrating into the valley and create confusion. Although these cadres belong to the Lashkar and the Hizbul Mujahideen, they operate as one force for this battle.

Salary Hikes: This is not some knee jerk reaction which has come in the backdrop of the statements made by British Prime Minister David Cameron on Pakistan. The ISI has been nurturing its Kashmir team for quite some time now. The violence in the Valley had come down to a large extent over the past one year. The ISI found its troops demoralized since none of them were able to operate well due to lack of local support. As a first step, the ISI instructed the group heads to hike up the salary of the jihadis from Rs 5000 to Rs 10000. In addition to this they have also promised better perks for the family members in case any of them died fighting. In addition to this the ISI also offered an additional allowance of Rs 3400 for these jihadis.

The ISI found that it was not getting enough men to fight this battle and felt that better perks would attract more people for this battle. This indeed has worked for the ISI, the IB says and they have managed to get a lot more people on board.

With such combinations in place, they have managed to keep Kashmir on the boil. The clear instruction however is not to fight the security agencies with weapons, but to keep irking them so that more innocents Kashmiris die and the sentiment of the public turns towards them.

The IB says that Indian agencies have their task cut out since these persons who have infiltrated are trained fighters and cannot be bogged down easily. They were very much capable of keeping a battle going for a long time and withstanding security forces from India, like they did during the Mumbai attack.

Image: Anti-India protests in Kashmir go voilent

NIA to probe Samjautha Express blasts case

When the National Investigating Agency was handed over the probe of the Samjautha Express blasts case, it became clear that the Haryana police which was seized off the matter failed to make any progress in the case.

The NIA has its task cut out when it sets out to probe this very difficult case which has two versions. An officer in the NIA when contacted told rediff.com that they will be looking into both versions to the story, but it is too early to make any comment regarding who actually is behind this attack.

Background: It was on February 18th 2007, a bomb on the Samjautha Express running between India and Pakistan exploded. At least 68 persons were killed most of them who were of Pakistan origin. The immediate response from India was that this was the handiwork of the dreaded Lashkar-e-Tayiba which was not in favour of peace talks and hence tried to derail the same by carrying out this attack. At that point of time it was also said that since RDX was used in the blast, the only existing possibility was that it was the work of men from Pakistan since it is impossible to access RDX in India.

The Haryana police constituted a Special Investigating Team and at first acted upon the inputs by various agencies which pointed the finger to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. However despite several attempts to track down the culprits no headway was made. However the first major breakthrough the Haryana police made was when they tracked down the place from where the suitcase was purchased. This particular suitcase in which the explosives were carried was purchased from the Kothari market in Indore.

The Haryana police decided to take the case further from this, but for some reason or the other the probe never progressed. The allegation was that there was pressure from certain quarters not to probe further in the direction in which they were going.

Everything was hush hush until the probe into the Malegaon attack commenced. This was for the first time that the Maharashtra ATS under Hemanth Karkare came out with the revealation that it was the same group which carried out the Sasmjautha blasts too. This revealation first came to light when the ATS made a remand application for Colonel Shrikanth Purohith in which they stated that they needed an extension of remand since they wanted to probe him in this case too.

However various rounds of interrogation of Purohith did not reveal many details regarding his alleged involvement in this case and that is when the agency turned to Dayanand Pandey, a godman alleged to be involved in the Malegaon case. Although the narco analysis has no evidentiary value, he claimed during that test in Bangalore that it was the same group which was behind this blast. He also said that Purohit was in the know of this operation. However the ATS did not manage to get anything from Purohith when they conducted the narco test on him.

Based on these revealations the ATS probed further and they found that Purohith had supplied the RDX to a person by the name Bhagwan. Police sources say that Bhagwan could be a godman based in Indore and the RDX was transported from that place and used in the blasts. Investigations also showed that Purohith had manage to procure the RDX from an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir. This was part of seized material and instead of declaring it, he decided to use it.

However despite all this information, the ATS could not manage to put any of this on paper. The chargesheet filed against Purohith and the rest of his clan does make any mention of the Samjautha case.

The Haryana police which made the first break through when tracking this case to Indore say on condition of anonymity that their probe ended right there when they managed their first lead. We had been told to go slow on the probe many times and this was demoralizing since we could have nailed the case. The Haryana police who were fed up of the interference and constant pressure had even written a letter to the Home Department in the year 2007 itself to hand over the case to the CBI. However this request was not considered.

The NIA when it begins its probe would go into two aspects. They are not ruling out a Lashkar link to this operation as yet. They would study the modules of this outfit and also see what role the local modules could have played in this case. The case is open as of now, they say. In the meantime they would also go behind the revealations of Pandey and the also the leads that the Haryana police have managed to get so far. Two men Dange and Ramji who could have transported the material are on their radar. There would also be further probing on Purohith and Sadhvi Pragya Singh on this matter. However this time around, the NIA would like to wrap up the investigation as soon as possible they say.

TRS wave sweeps AP

The verdict is out and the TRS has swept the by-elections and interestingly has won by an average of 50000 seats in almost all seats. These elections have been held in the backdrop of the very important Telangana movement and people involved in the movement say the results are an open letter to the Shri Krishna Commission.

Subhash Reddy, the general secretary of the TRS told rediff.com, “ I am elated. Although it was expected, this result has sent out a clear message to one and all who have to take a final decision regarding the formation of Telangana. The Shri Krishna Commission which is looking into the issue does not need better proof of the peoples sentiments. This result is an open letter to the commission which should act fast and come out with its recommendation to form Telangana state.

The confusion which the people had in their minds regarding this movement has been cleared out. The movement is stronger than ever today and those politicians especially in the Congress and the Telegu Desam Party who have played a double game have got their answer.

From now onwards there is no looking back. We wont resort to any forceful protests, but have decided to wait for the report of the Shri Krishna Commission. However if that is delayed then no one can stop the public and all hell may break lose.

Dr Prithviraj, the chief of the Students Joint Action Committee on Telangana says that it is not the TRS, but the cause that has won today. This is not a referrandum. The people have thrown the Congress and the TDP out.

All of you may have thought that the movement had died down. It is very much in our hearts and we have not forgotten. It is a Tsunami under water which will erupt.

Look at the behaviour of the TDP and the Congress. Naidu, a Chief Minister for 9 years was scared to come here. Sonia Gandhi could not come here and the same is the case with Jagan and Rosaiah. Has an election ever been fought like this where important leaders have hidden from the public?

I don’t have much to say about the TRS. For me they are like any other political party. They did nothing but enchash on the movement and converted them into votes. What has happened is that the people did not have an alternative party to vote for. TRS cannot claim credit, they can only thank the sentiment of the people.

The people still have in their mind that 300 people had died and this is what is taking the movement forward and the TRS must not forget that.

Sohrabuddin encounter: Geetha Johri report blew the lid

As the Central Bureau of Investigation closes in on former Minister of State for Home, Amith Shah in connection with the Sohrabudin fake encounter case, it is said that the agency has relied a lot on the report by the Gujarat CID and would be summoning its officers and will record their statements.

It was this report by then CID boss, Geetha Johri which blew the lid of several police officers of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. It nailed these officers and claimed that they were directly responsible for the killing of Sohrabudin and also his wife Kausarbi.

How it all began: in the year 2006 under inquiry number 66/2006, an inquiry officer by the name V L Solanki submitted a report to the Inspector General of Police, Gujarat State CID (Crime) that he along with K K Pandya and C V Christian had visited Hyderabad on July 2 2006. They also visited Nagda, Ujjain and Indore between 24/7/2006 and 27/7/2006. During their visits the statements of the relatives of Sohrabuddin and also certain photographs of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi were obtained. The statements of the relatives prima facie conclude that on 22-23/11/2005, Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi were traveling from Hyderabad to Sangli in a hi-tech bus No. 5051.

The Enquiry officer also recorded the statements of the several witnesses. The deceased were identified by these witnesses who were co-passengers in the same bus and they said that the duo were sitting in seat numbers 29 and 30. It is also clear from the statement that around 0130 a.m., at about two kilometers ahead of Tandola village a Qualis bearing registration Ap-11 (complete number not known) intercepted and stopped the bus and in the mean while a Tata Sumo also reached there. Two persons got down from Qualis and said that it was a Police checking and three men with revolver got down from Tata Sumo and entered the bus and picked up two men and one woman.

It is also said in the inquiry report that on 24/11/2005 Rajasthan Police officials named Dinesh M N., S P. Udaipur, Abdul Rehman, Police Inspector, Pratapnagar Police station, Himanshu Singh, Sub Inspector and Shyam Singh, Sub Inspector met D G. Vanzara, DIG Operations ATS, Gujarat and other Police officers met and discussed about the activities Sohrabuddin. Vanzara admitted that on an intelligence regarding the whereabouts of Sohrabuddin a team consisting of Dinesh M N., S P Udaipur and Rajkumar Pandiyan, SP, ATS, laid a trap for Sohrabuddin between Narol and Vishala tolnaka on the Highway. On 26/11/2005 around 0520 hours Sohrabuddin came on motorcycle at the place of offence and was identified by N H. Dabhi, Police Inspector, who tried to stop and apprehend him. But Sohrabuddin slipped and opened fire on the police party and tried to escape. In counter, the police team fired at Sohrabuddin and was rushed to civil hospital where he was declared dead. In this connection an FIR Ist C.R. No. 5/2005 u/s 120B, 121, 121A, 122, 123, 307, 186, 224 of IPC and Sec. (I-B) A of Arms Act and Sec. 135 of B.P. Act was lodged in the ATS police station itself. The ATS themselves investigated the matter and filed a closure report in the form of Abetted Summary.

It is important to note here that normally such cases of police firing are registered at the local police station whereas the ATS has been declared a special Police station for registering offences against the State, Arms Act and NDPS Act. It is further significant to note that the said FIR alleged that Sohrabuddin was likely to kill BJP leaders.

Second Interim Report of Preliminary Inquiry No. 66/2006 dated 7/12/2006

The Enquiry Officer recorded the statements of below mentioned witnesses which is the part of this report:

One of the persons who was traveling on 22-23/11/2005 in the same bus as a co-passengers with his family said that a Qualis car overtook and stopped the bus. Two persons along with the weapon came out of the Quallisand thereafter a Tata Sumo came. Three persons came inside the bus, who were looking like a policemen and said that it was police checking and took away two men and one woman from our bus. The said witness identified by photographs that out of three, two of them were Sohrabuddin and his wife Kausarbi.

Third Interim Report of Preliminary Inquiry No. 66/2006 dated 15-16/12/2006

The Enquiry Officer in his third interim report mentioned the versions of the following witnesses.

A resident of Ahmedabad in his statement dated 15/12/2006 stated that on 25/11/2005 his motorcycle no. GJI DM 8039 was stolen from outside his residence and he lodged an FIR of the said incidence at Amraiwadi Police Station. After two to three days the said witness came to know from the news paper that his motor cycle is lying in ATS office and it is recovered from a person who is killed in a police encounter.

A resident of Gandhinagar in his statement dated 14/12/2006 stated that on 23/11/2005 M.L. Parmar, Dy. S.P., ATS called the witness on mobile and asked to arrange for a farm house for a secret investigation. Sharma made an arrangement of Farm House named Disha Farm, Jamiyatpura village, Nr. Adalaj, Gandhinagar, belonging to Girishbhai Chhotalal Patel. On 24/11/2005 M.L. Parmar called Sharma on mobile at around 1830 Hrs. and asked the location of Sharma, which was at Koba circle Gandhinagar. Parmar requested. Sharma to be there and in 10 to 15 minutes Parmar came in a Qualis which had a light over it. A white colour Maruti car also came along with the said Qualis in which a driver and three persons were sitting. Parmar requested Sharma to show the farm house and they reached the farm house between 1845 to 1900 Hrs. At that time the employee of the farm was also present. Sharma stated that some police men came out of the Qualis with a man whose face was covered and was handcuffed. There was a woman along with them in a burkha. They were taken to the office of the farm house. At that time some more police men also got down from the Maruti car. Chaube was a Policeman in the said team. On 25/11/2005 Sharma visited the farm house, where the door of the office was closed and outside three to four policemen were present in plain clothes. On 26/11/2005 at around 0800 Hrs. Girishbhai called Sharma and requested to take the lady with burkha from the office of the farm house to any other place. Sharma requested Parmar and at around 1000 Hrs. on the instruction of Parmar the lady with burkha was taken in a Maruti with some police men.

On the same day i.e. 26.11.2005 at around 1115 Hrs. Parmar called Sharma on his mobile and requested him to come to the civil hospital along with a respectable person. So Sharma along with a friend Naresh Patel went to the Civil hospital and went to the post mortem room and met Parmar. Parmar showed them a dead body with a bullet wound on his head and made Naresh Patel a Panch Witness. Thereafter Parmar informed Sharma that he is the same person who was kept at Disha farm alongwith a woman with burkha and as the Rajasthan police came to take him, he tried to escape and he was shot dead in an encounter. His name is Sohrabuddin and he had come to kill the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The said witness Sharma identified Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi from photographs.

Girishbhai Chhotabhai Patel, owner of Disha Farm, in his statement corroborated the aforesaid story and statement of Satish Sharma. Dineshbhai Visabhai Koli (Patel) an employee of the Disha Farm in his statement corroborated the aforesaid story and statement of Satish Sharma and Girishbhai Patel. Nareshbhai Ranchhodbhai Patel, the panch witness corroborated the aforesaid story.

Fourth Interim Report of Preliminary Inquiry No. 66/2006 dated 22/1/2007

The Enquiry officer again visited Hyderabad once again and this time Geetha Johri too was present. They conducted an inquiry of the cleaner of the bus who identified the deceased persons.

The Enquiry Officer thereafter came back to Ahmedabad and on 17/1/2007 recorded a statement of Ajaykumar Bhagwandas Parmar, an Armed Police Constable, who was working in ATS from 2002 to march 2006 as a P.A. Rajkumar Pandiyan. Parmar stated that on 20/11/2005, while he was on duty in the office of ATS Ahmedabad, at around 1700 Hrs. Pandiyan instructed him to be ready to go out for some operation for two to three days along with Dabhi.

On 20/11/05 Dabhi and the other officers arrived at Hyderabad in a private Qualis car. After reaching Hyderabad Dabhi from his mobile called Rajkumar Pandiyan and after talking to him went to the CISF office at Hyderabad and also went to the residence of Radhakrishnan, (an IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, now on deputation to CISF Hyderabad) Ex-SP Gandhinagar, where they reported to Rajkumar Pandiyan who was present there. Santram Sharma, a Commando stayed along with Rajkumar Pandiyan and the other four persons i.e. Dabhi, Jadeja, Ajaykumar Parmar and Gurdayalsingh stayed in CISF’s rooms.

On 22/11/05, Dabhi contacted Pandiyan and then they met up at the IPS mess, Hyderabad where the latter was staying. Later Dabhi instructed Parmar to make two fake number plates for the Qualis and the same was prepared at Hyderabad.

Rajkumar Pandiyan instructed Parmar to meet him at the ATS office after having his dinner and as per the said instruction Parmar reached the ATS office. Thereafter on 26/11/2005 at around 03.30 Hrs. in the night DIG Vanzara, Pandiyan, Dabhi and the Police officers of Rajasthan Police and some police personnel in the government vehicles left the ATS office. At around 04.00 Hrs. in the night Dabhi called Parmar and instructed him to bring the Hero Honda Motorcycle lying in the backyard of the ATS office to Narol circle. In about 25 minutes Parmar reached the Narol circle and at that time and place the vehicles of ATS including the vehicles of Vanzara and Rajkumar Pandiyan were parked and all the aforesaid officers were present there. At that place i.e. between Ahmedabad circle and Vishala circle tolnaka near main feeder GEB line Vanzara, Pandiyan, Rajasthan SP Dinesh M.N. were discussing something.At that time in a Maruti car, Parmar , Chaube brought Shorabuddin there. At that time a Sub-Inspector of Rajasthan police took away the above mentioned motorcycle brought by Parmar, drove it for a short distance and jumped from the motor cycle, and the motorcycle fell down. At that time Shorabuddin was pulled out of the Maruti car by Chaube and was thrown on the road. Police Inspector Abdul Rehman from his service pistol fired two rounds, ASI Ramsingh one round, ASI Himanshusingh two rounds and PI Dabhi three rounds on Shorabuddin. Shorabuddin was lying in a pool of blood. Thereafter Vanzara instructed Parmar to take Sohrabuddin to the Civil Hospital. During this operation Sohrabuddin did not fired any round from any weapon.

It is also stated by Parmar in his statement dated 17/1/2007 that subsequent to encounter of Sohrabuddin, Kausarbi who was brought along with him was not seen. It is stated by Parmar after two three days of the said encounter, he was told by Jadeja, the driver of ATS that Kausarbi was burnt and killed in mountains near DIG Vanzara’s Hillol village of Sabarkantha district.Another witness a head Constable in his statement of 19/1/2007 stated and corroborated the aforesaid facts disclosed by Parmar.

The killing of Tulsiram Prajapati @ Prafful, a material witness

Tulsiram Prajapati was at the relevant time lodged in Central Jail, Udaipur and was brought under escort of Udaipur police to attend a date in the Court on 13th Metropolitican Magistrate, Ahmedabad in connection with an offence registered. After the hearing Prajapati was escorted back in a train on 27.12.2006, at about 0205 hours. The train was stopped at Himatnagar. It transpires that two men allegedly fired and threw chilly powder in they eyes of the policemen and thereby succeeded in securing the release of Tulsiram Prajapati.

Having escaped Tulsiram Prajapati, as per police records, was allegedly next sighted in Banaskantha district on 28.12.2006 at 0500 hours and killed in police encounter.

In brief, as per the FIR, on 28.12.2006 at 0500 hours, Pandya, Police Sub-Inspector of Special Operation Group, Banaskantha district along with a posse of policemen consisting of Rajasthan and Gujarat Police were patrolling in Ambaji town and at 0430 hours they proceeded towards Sharhad Chapri road. At that time they saw three individuals tried to stop a Matador, which was traveling ahead of them. The Matador did not stop. The three individuals then tried to stop the police jeep as they came abreast. At that point of time, as per FIR, ASI Naransinh Fatehsinh Chauhan recognized one of the three persons as Tulsiram Prajapati, who took out a weapon from his waist and fired at the jeep. As per the police version the bullet hit the mud-guard on the left side of the jeep. All the three, then started running away and on being chased, two individuals escaped under the cover of darkness, whereas one individual namely, Tulsiram Prajapati, stopped running, turned back and fired at the police party. In return PSI Pandya tired two rounds while ASI Naransinh Fatehsinh and PC Yudhveersinh Nathusinh of Rajasthan police have also fired, Tulsiram Prajapati was injured and on being brought to Ambaji Hospital, he was pronounced dead.

The above case of police firing and resultant death of Tulsiram Prajapati appears to be highly suspicious for the following reasons.

It is not possible for nine people inclusive of police driver to sit in one jeep and proceed for patrolling in the manner narrated in FIR. The constraint of space makes this impossibility.

The FIR does not specify where ASI Naransinh Fatehsinh was sitting in the jeep, which enabled him to identify the deceased Tulsiram Prajapati. At 5’o clock on a winter morning, it is very dark and this version that ASI Naransinh Fatehsinh, identified Tulsiram Prajapati does not seem plausible, even if, as claimed, he recognized Tulsiram Prajapati from the head light of the jeep.

It is absolutely impossible to believe that Tulsiram Prajapati and his alleged accomplice would ever stop the police jeep. Every police jeep in Gujarat has a yellow light blazing on top of the vehicles and it is not possible to believe that any genuine fugitive would ever stop such a vehicle.

There is no obvious reason as to why Tulsiram Prajapati should loiter and be around Ambaji area of Banaskantha district.

It is strange that those who have weapons will also use chilly powder.

It is not a coincidence that Banaskantha district comprises of Border Range of which D.G. Vanzara, DIG of Police is in-charge. In fact Vanzara was transferred out of A.T.S. on 13.12.2006 and resumed duties in Border Range immediately. It is learnt that he personally spoke to Vipul Agarwal, Superintendent of Police, Banaskantha district, who is a novice and young officer and arranged the said encounter.

Ambati Rambabu on the tussle between Jagan and Cong

There is an open spat on in Andhra Pradesh between Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, K Rosaiah and son of late Dr Y S Rajashekhara Reddy, Jagan Mohan Reddy. It is rumoured that many in the AP Congress have launched a silent tirade against Jagan Reddy to either scuttle him or move him out of the party. There is also talk that Jagan may float his own party in the months to come since the high command has not been receptive to his demands.

Jagan’s closest aide, Ambati Rambabu who was recently suspended from the Congress party says that there is no plan to float a regional party at the moment. All Jagan’s friends, followers and well wishers have advised him to wait. In this interview with rediff.com, Rambabu says we all know that Rosaiah has poisoned the mind of the high command against Jagan and we know in the due course of time, everything will fall in place.

It is said that Jagan will float a new party since the Congress high command has refused to play into his hands. Is this true?

I have heard these rumours too very often off late. We are in touch with Jagan and there is no such plan on the anvil. Jagan will remain with the Congress and that is what we have advised him also.

Jagan is not just any other leader who would be content with the post of a minister. You mean to say that no matter what the high command says, he will remain in the party.

That is not what I meant. Things have not become so bad that he has to think of leaving the party. He will wait and watch before he decides on anything. He will go about doing his work like conducting rallies and working for the party. Despite all this if the Congress continues to push him, I am sure he will take a decision on his exit or float a new party. But as of now there is nothing.

If everything is so hunky dory, then why the confusion about the recent yatra undertaken by him?

It has all been blown out. He undertook his yatra and there has been no problem. The response was great and you must have seen that. I think too much is being made about his yatra in the first place.

Sir, what you are saying is not correct. Your Chief Minister, Rosaiah did not want the yatra to go on. Please don’t deny that.

I never said that Rosaiah was supportive of the yatra. He is the one who has 100 per cent created all this confusion in the first place. The television channel owned by Jagan telecast some news against his government and ever since then he has been spewing venom. He is the one who has poisoned the mind of the high command against Jagan.

Where do you see the AP Congress going from here?

Everything will be sorted out in due course of time. We have faith.

You sound surprisingly optimistic about the party after being suspended by it.

Yes I am optimistic because my suspension has taken place due to the handiwork of one of two people. I know some have played politics in my case. All I had said that it was not right for Rosaiah to celebrate his birthday within a year of Dr YSR’s death. I am more confused than shocked about my suspension. I have two weeks time to reply to the disciplinary committee and I am preparing for that. I do not wish to say what my reply would be since it is too premature.

How has the high command reacted to this?

I have not got a single communication from the high command. I have written to Veerappa Moily regarding the same, but have not got any reply.

What does Veerappa Moily have to say about the Jagan fiasco?

It would not be right for me to put words into his mouth. However my reading is that Moily knows everything about politics in Andhra Pradesh. He knows it right from the grass root levels. He is very much aware that Jagan is a very strong candidate and knows that his continuance in the party is very much needed for the Congress in AP.

Can you picture the Congress without Jagan?

I cannot. His family has been in the party for so long and they have worked for it. As a friend I would advise him to stay in the party and I personally do not want him to float a new party at any cost. This is not just my view, but a view expressed by all his well wishers.

Do you see him as the Chief Minister in 2014?

It is too early to talk about that.

What does Jagan have to say about a new party or the present scenario?

He is not in favour of floating a new party. He has decided to wait patiently and see how things would unfold in the days to come. As of now there is nothing on his mind.

CBI and importance of approvers

Former cop, N K Amin has decided to turn approver in the Sohrabudin fake encounter case. The Central Bureau of Investigation which has decided to use Amin to dig out more information against Amith Shah, the former Minister of State for Home, Gujarat is also facing a lot of flak by the opposition which terms it as a Congress Bachao Agency.

How important would an approver be in this case and also is the CBI really as independent as it is made out to be are two questions that come up for perusal at this point of time. R Shrikumar, who was an officer in the Central Bureau of Investigation which cracked the Rajiv Gandhi murder case and C V Nagesh, senior advocate who has battled the CBI in the court in the Classik Computer case involving former Chief Minister of Karnataka, S Bangarappa speak with rediff.com about this issue.

Before getting into the discussion let us see the provision under the Code of Criminal Procedure which deals with the issue of an approver.

Sections.306 to 308 of the Cr.P.C deals with the subject of approver:

Who is an Approver: An approver is an accomplice who has been tendered pardon on condition of his true disclosure of the facts & circumstances of the crime by becoming a witness on behalf of the prosecution. An accomplice is a person who is either directly or indirectly supposed to have been concerned in an offence or privy to an offence.

R Shrikumar on approvers : For the investigating agency and the prosecution, an approver’s evidence is good evidence. He is basically the person who gives a good description of the happenings in relation with the case.The investigating agency acts very much in its purview while coaxing a person to turn approver in a case. A person could turn approver either on his own or if the investigating agency coaxes him to do so. However the sole discretion to take this step would lie with him.

The statements of an approver would have to be coupled with evidence and that would be the job of the investigating agency to find out.

When a person turns an approver, he buys his freedom. He basically admits to his offence and that would earn him his freedom or lesser punishment than what is stipulated for the crime that was committed by him. However the approver must ensure that he is speaking the truth and at no point of time misguides the investigating agency or tells lies. If he has done something to this effect then he runs the risk of getting enhanced punishment by the court.

C V Nagesh on approver: For me this is a failure on the part of the investigating agency. It is of no consequence what so ever. I would not agree with the fact that an approver buys his freedom when deciding to turn into one. His pardon would be the sole discretion of the court and if the court finds that his offence is grave, then there is no hard and fast rule that his sentence should be reduced or he should be spared. Following the commission of an offence, the investigating agency does have the right to tell a person to turn approver. It is for them to collect as much material as possible and corroborate the same so that the statements have evidentiary value. However one must bear in mind that the investigating agency does not have the right to seek pardon for an accused

The Hyderabad angle in Sohrabuddin case

With the arrest of Amith Shah in connection with the Sohrabuddin fake, the demand to act against some officers in the Hyderabad police department is increasing.

In a letter written to Congress supremo, Sonia Gandhi, the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee has stated that for the killing of Sohrabuddin, there were many officers in the Hyderabad police department who had provided logistic support for this operation. The letter which is written on the basis of the statements given by the accused person even states that for the operation, the Hyderabad police had gone up to the extent of stopping traffic on the Hyderabad-Mumbai highway so that this operation could pass off smoothly.

The letter which quotes the statements of the witnesses and the accused states that in the month of November 2005, Raj Kumar Pandian, the IPS officer from Gujarat had come down to Hyderabad where he conducted a series of meetings with counter intelligence, special task force and city police officials.

The AP police were obliging in this operation and provided logistic support to the officers from Gujarat. The team of the Gujarat police were housed at the police officers mess during the course of this operation. Further to this it is alleged that they made arrangements for fake number plates. In addition to this cars too were provided in which the police team followed the bus in which the alleged extortionist Sohrabudin was traveling along with his wife Kausarbhi. Minutes before the operation could commence, traffic was stopped along the high way for a couple of hours so that the bus when intercepted could have been in a lonely place and no one gets wind of this operation.

Pandian during interrogation makes it clear that there were 7 police officials from Hyderabad present for this operation and they had even visited the ATS head office in Gujarat in connection with this case.

The CLMCI argues that why action should not be initiated against the police officers of Hyderabad since it is now clear that this entire operation was fake in nature. The Gujarat government too swore on affidavit that these officials from their state had visited Hyderabad city and met with the police officials in connection with this case.

AP polls will fuel Telagana cause again

Twelve constituencies will go to polls in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday in what is being termed as a pointed to the Telangana movement. The moment which had gone quiet after a major outburst is expected to gain momentum once the results of these by-elections to 12 seats are out.

The by-polls to the 12 seats are being held after 12 MLAs supporting the Telangana movement resigned to their seats in support of the movement. Out of the 12 seats, 10 were in possession of the TRS while BJP and TDP had the other two.

In the Karimnagar district there would be 5 seats, Nizamabad, 2, Adilabad, 3 and one each at Warrangal and Medak.

If one looks at the manner in which political parties have been campaigning, it shows a clear divide between the leaders in the Telangana region and the rest of Andhra Pradesh. Congress leader, D Srinivas’ statement is an indicator of the same. A couple of days back during the campaign he had announced in public that if the Congress were to win all 12 seats, then he would ensure that Telangana state is given in a golden plate. The Telegu Desam Party too subscribed to the same view and speaks about the development that has taken place during the regime of Chandrababu Naidu. The TRS has however stuck to its earlier stand and it is the only party which is united in what it has been saying.

Political observers say that the divide within the Congress and the TDP is clear. In the rest of Andhra Pradesh, both these parties have been resisting the formation of a separate Telangana.

Another interesting aspect is that not a single known face from either the Congress or TDP, including, Jagan Mohan Reddy, K Rosaiah or Chandrababu Naidu have campaigned for these by-polls. It is said that the leaders from these parties had specifically requested these leaders not to campaign for them in these by-polls since the tempers of the people were very high and it could prove disastrous to the party in the Telangana region.

Ilegal mining in K’taka ate 2800 acres of forest land!

2800 acres of forest land is not meager amount. But the fact is that this is the extent of forest land that has fallen prey to illegal mining in Karnataka. This ironically amounts to 10 per cent of the land that has been lost to mining across the country which amounts to around 27,000 acres.

The 356 page report prepared by Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice N Santhosh Hegde spells out in details this aspect regarding forest cover being ruined thanks to illegal mining. However despite submitting this report it continues to bite the dust as the Karnataka Legislative Assembly refuses to touch it.

The report states that during their investigations that were conducted in the areas of Bellary and Hospet they have found at least 98 instances of encroachment and the forest land in question that had been encroached upon was around 2800 acres. During the course of the probe which was conducted with the help of the forest department, it was found clearly that acres of forest land were encroached and illegal mining was being carried out.

What was even more shocking is that these illegal miners have constructed tarred roads within the forest belt. Worse the forest has been used as a dumping ground for waste material thus ruining the forest cover completely, the report also states. In addition to this, the investigating team has also found that the miners have connived with politicians and have got their job done. They have found several sketches in the possession of these miners which were not even remotely connected with the area that they have been mining in. However the report does not name any particular person or company to be behind this racket. The second probe which is underway by the Lokayukta is expected to name these persons and also the companies that have been trespassing into the forest area and carrying out illegal mining.

This report even had prompted the Union Minister for environment and forests to shoot off a letter to the Karnataka Chief Minister. In his letter he had expressed regret over the inaction of the forest department in protecting its reserve forests.

The Lokayukta report while dealing with illegal mining in forest does not place the blame on any particular political party. It speaks of how a former Chief Minister of the Congress with the help of officials had helped in this racket thriving. A reference to this effect was made against the former Chief Minister to the Governor of Karnataka, who in turn ordered that the state shall not proceed against him for want of evidence.

Former Chief Minister and Janata Dal (S) leader, H D Kumaraswamy too speaks about illegal mining in the forest area. He however accuses the Reddy brothers to be the kingpins behind this and also relies on the sattellite imagery released by the the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre. He says that as per these records the mining area which was around 13.5 acres in the year 1998 had shot up to 17 acres in the year 2000. Now it is 57.5 acres and there is deep cut mining activity which is on illegally.

Lokayukta Justice Hegde explains that when the miners apply for a lease they are supposed to give a sketch of the area that they would be mining. During the probe we have found that the sketch of the area that is produced and the area in which they mine have no connection with each other.

The probe has further revealed that the permission by these people is obtained for around 100 acres to mine. They will continue to mine in the forest areas which is well under the probibited area. However the documents would show that they are mining in revenue areas. This is the first stage of the illegality and these documents have never been cross checked by the officials.

The effects of illegal in the forest areas have been disastrous. This area used to house the sloth bear in large numbers. However ever since the illegal miners have entered into this area, the sloth bears have vanished from there. Forest department officials says that this problem is large in the Sandur Reserve forests near Bellary where illegal mining is most rampant. This area used to be infested with sloth bear and today not a single bear remains in the forest area. They have either died or migrated to nearby forests unable to bear the horrors of illegal mining.

In addition to this the area of Bellary has been reporting drought year after year. This is thanks again to illegal mining which has changed the ecological balance in the area. The entire rain pattern has changed which in turn has affected the natural vegetation in the area. The existence of medicinal plants which were in abundance too have become a rarity in this area since they have stopped growing thanks to blasting activity and also due to digging of ore in these forests areas which are marked as reserve forests.