CAG exposes alleged irregularities that cost Railways Rs 2486 crore
Railways suffered revenue loss of about Rs 2486.68 crore due to irregular grant of concessional tariff rate for booking of iron ore traffic during 2008-12, the Comptroller and Audit General has claimed, pointing to "misuse" of dual pricing.
According to CAG report, Railways allowed 358 parties to avail domestic rate for transportation of iron ore despite non-submission/partial submission of the prescribed documents which resulted in revenue loss to the cash-strapped national transporter.
Due to the dual pricing introduced from May 2008, the cost of transportation of iron ore for export was on an average more than three times the cost of the transportation for domestic use.
However, CAG observed a number of deficiencies like booking of iron ore at domestic rate without obtaining any of the prescribed documents.
Sushma wants stronger CAG, vigilance commission
Taking a dig at government's contention of blaming vigilance and investigating agencies for policy paralysis, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said though their vigour does not suit the ruling class many a time and institutions like CAG and CVC should be strengthened in a healthy democracy.
She said often critical voices are heard against organisations who have been given powers of vigilance by the Constitution.
"Recently a statement came which disturbed me that institutions like CAG and CVC are an obstacle in progress. I would like to state from this stage that it is not a healthy thinking. This thinking is harmful for democracy.
"The entire constitutional format is based on checks and balances. Vigilance and prevention are a way to strengthen the Constitution," Swaraj said.
It is therefore necessary to strengthen the organisations which have been given powers by the Constitution to keep vigilance over different arms of the democratic government. "Any deterioration in these organisations will also adversely impact democracy," the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha said.
Congress expels six MPs for protesting Telangana formation
The Congress on Tuesday expelled six of its MPs from Andhra Pradesh who have been protesting against the formation of Telangana in the Lok Sabha, said sources.
Meanwhile, campaigning against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, a Congress MP from Seemandhra threatened self-immolation in Lok Sabha if the government tabled the Telangana bill.
"I am going to immolate myself in the Well of Lok Sabha if any attempt is made to introduce the Telangana bill," Lok Sabha MP Sabbam Hari said.
The Anakapalli MP claimed that two of his colleagues in Lok Sabha will also join him to immolate themselves. He, however, did not disclose their names.
Prez asks CVC to cleanse the government of corruption
Terming corruption as a "major stumbling block" in the country's progress, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday asked the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC) to lead the way in cleansing the government.
The President said while there has been no let up in the fight against corruption, it has to be acknowledged that only a limited success has been achieved in this regard.
"Corruption remains a major stumbling block in the progress of our nation," he said. "Corruption has reinforced inequities and limited access to public services by the common man, especially the poor," the President added.
Aussies to rely on old guns for T20 triumph
Australia have opted for experience over youth in an attempt to win a maiden World Twenty20 title by selecting veterans Brad Hogg, Brad Hodge and Brad Haddin in their 15-man squad for the tournament in Bangladesh next month.
The 43-year-old Hogg played his last test in 2008 but the spin bowler was man of the match in last week's Big Bash final for the victorious Perth Scorchers and is now set to become the oldest player in the history of international T20 cricket.
Middle-order batsman Hodge, 39, also played his last test six years ago but is rewarded with a call up after celebrating his own career renaissance following years spent on the outer fringes of Australian selection.
The notion that the shortest form of cricket is a young man's game has been further dismissed by the selection of 36-year-old test wicketkeeper Haddin, who replaces Matthew Wade after a sparkling display with the bat in the 5-0 Ashes series win over England.
"We have selected a squad that has plenty of experience playing the Twenty20 format in the sub-continent, which augers well for the challenges of Bangladesh," chairman of selectors John Inverarity said in a statement on Tuesday.
China cracks down on its 'sex capital'
A state TV expose on prostitution in China's "sex capital" and an ensuing, much-publicized police crackdown has drawn criticism from the public, who expressed sympathy for the sex workers and suggested that authorities target other kinds of wrongdoing.
Coverage of the weekend raid by 6,500 officers in the southern city of Dongguan — filled with images of handcuffed women with their heads bowed — spurred many people to post comments online that were more critical of the China Central Television broadcaster's reporting and the crackdown than the prostitution it uncovered.
"Dongguan, hang in there" was a top trending topic on Sina Weibo on Monday, with one variation of the phrase having been reposted more than 1.5 million times by Tuesday morning. Another popular phrase was "Don't cry, Dongguan," suggesting a shifting view of prostitution among some members of the Chinese public.
Some online users suggested the women ended up in the sex business because they had sick parents or siblings to support, and called for authorities to offer more care to them during the crackdown. Others said police manpower would be better used rooting out corruption among public officials and other crimes. Some voices called for China's now-entrenched sex trade to be made legal and to end discrimination against sex workers.
"There's no way to eradicate it. Legalization must take place under some narrowly-defined circumstances," such as special zones that are regulated, Wang Yongzhi, 37, who works in IT in Beijing, said Tuesday.
India back in Olympic movement
India on Tuesday was back in the Olympic movement after the International Olympic Committee revoked its Indian affiliates' suspension.
The 14-month stand off ended after the Indian Olympic Association toed the IOC line and elected N Ramachandran as its new chief.
The IOC was reportedly satisfied with IOA's elections and the fact that the chargesheet clause was not violated.
The three Indian athletes can now participate in the Sochi Games closing ceremony under the Tri-colour.
Robbers stab Manipuri youth stabbed in capital
In a fresh case of a northeastern youth being attacked in the national capital, a 22-year-old Manipuri man was stabbed by some unidentified men in south Delhi's Mehrauli area in the wee hours of Tuesday.
The man identified as Ksupsikren was stabbed in his stomach and has been admitted to a hospital in Saket, police said, adding he is out of danger now.
A group of men waylaid the victim when he was returning home from work around 4 am, they said.
"Prima facie it seems to be a case of robbery. The men tried to snatch his mobile and when he resisted, they stabbed him and fled from the spot," a police official said.
Senior police officials are on the spot and a manhunt has been launched to nab the culprits, police said.
Scolari rules out Brazil-based players for friendly
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said Brazil-based players will not be considered for next month's international friendly against South Africa.
Scolari will name his squad for the March 5 clash at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday, reported Xinhua.
"After looking at some situations, we think that it will be better to choose only players who play outside of Brazil," Scolari said Monday.
"Those who play in Brazil are in the beginning of their season and aren't at peak fitness. For that reason we are going to wait a little to complete the list."
The match at Johannesburg's Soccer City will be the Selecao's last before Scolari picks his squad for the World Cup, to be played in June and July.
Pakistan PM sacks cricket board chairman
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reportedly removed Mohammad Zaka Ashraf from the post of the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in the latest twist to a long-running saga dogging the national board.
It is the second time in less than a year that Ashraf, whose removal last year due to doubts over his election led to a series of legal challenges, has been unseated as chairman of the PCB, which will be run for the time being by an 11-strong committee appointed by Sharif.
According to Sport24, a notice from the prime minister, who is also a patron of the PCB, confirmed Ashraf's removal, although the reasons for Ashraf's removal are still unknown.
However, sources said that Ashraf's failure to give Pakistan a strong voice at a crucial ICC meeting in Singapore, where a controversial revamp giving major powers and revenues to the 'big Three'-India, Australia, England- was approved, may be behind his removal.
15 die in road accident
At least 15 people were on Tuesday killed and three others injured when their car was hit by a speeding truck on NH-34 at Kaluadighi near Malda town in West Bengal, police said.
In the accident, 12 men and a child died on the spot at Aat Mile area when the truck coming from the opposite side collided head on with the vehicle at about 7.30 AM. Two died later in the hospital.
The victims were returning to their homes at Raiganj in neighbouring north Dinajpur district after attending a wedding reception at Sahapur near Malda town.
The highway has been closed after the accident. The police and fire brigade personnel have rushed to the spot, sources said.
Ishrat part of terror plot, reiterates charged IB official
Former IB official Rajendra Kumar has rubbished the CBI chargesheet filed in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case that has indicted him and two other serving IB officials.
Talking to NDTV, Kumar has said that he has enough proof to negate the CBI chargesheet.
"Not seen chargesheet but sufficient evidence to prove CBI false," Kumar told the channel.
He also alleged that 'Ishrat and others were part of a terror plot.'
Rubbishing the CBI's allegations, Kumar added, "We are not vultures to kill innocent people. Our action relating to counter terrorism was not illegal."
US may end Modi apartheid soon
The US may finally be rolling out the red carpet to BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi.
Media reports said that the US ambassador to India is planning to meet Modi, a move which means that the US is mulling to end the anti-Modi stance it had for years over the
Gujarat Chief Minister's alleged involvement in the 2002 riots.
Ambassador Nancy Powell's meeting with Modi comes after the European nations which have already called off their unexplained boycott of Modi.
A State Department official confirmed the appointment between Modi and Powell, saying, "This is part of our concentrated outreach to senior political and business leaders which began in November to highlight the US-India relationship."
Madras HC requests college be renamed after freedom fighter
Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to take immediate steps to consider rechristening the "Lady Willington College" here after Ma.Ve. Singaravelar, a freedom fighter viewed as the father of labour movement in the country.
First bench comprising Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan directed that such exercise shall be completed within 12 weeks, taking into consideration the important role played by him in freedom and labour movements.
The college building off Marina Beach was a property of Singaravelar. Then, Governor in the British Raj Lord Willington took possession of it by force and it was named after his wife. A school was started in the name of his wife in December 12, 1922 which later become a college.
Passing the order on a PIL by advocate A Gowdhaman, the court directed Secretary, Tamizh Development and Information (Memorials) Department, to take steps to renovate the memorials of Singaravelar's forefathers, located inside the college complex, preferably within six months.