I have not done anything against law: Nityananda

Chennai, Mar7 (PTI) Self-styled godman Nityananda Swami, who is at the centre of a controversy after his alleged sleazy acts was telecast on TV channels, today claimed that he had not done anything illegal and against law.

“Neither the ashram nor I did anything that is against the law. We will find out the truth and will come back to you very soon. Till then please be patient,” he said in a video clip.

The CD of him speaking before a camera at an undisclosed location was sent through his lawyer and circulated to select media.

Nityananda said he was in the process of collecting details with regard to the charges and allegations levelled against him. The contents of his speech were telecast by a private Tamil Satellite Channel.


Indian man arrested and charged over death of toddler

Melbourne: A 23-year-old Indian man was on Sunday arrested and charged over the death of an Indian toddler, whose dumped body was found three days ago in a Melbourne suburb.

Sources said that the wife of Dhillon Gursewak, who has been arrested, is likely to be charged for helping her husband in disposing off the toddler’s body.

Gursewak, who lived in the same house as the three-old boy Gurshan Singh Channa and his parents from Punjab, has been charged with manslaughter due to criminal negligence and appeared in an out-of-sessions hearing at St Kilda Road police complex, local media reports said.

Police also said Gursewak, a part-time taxi driver, was not a relative of the toddler though they lived in the same house.

“The court heard Dhillon allegedly put the unconscious Channa in the boot of a car and drove around for three hours. It is alleged he then dumped him on the side of a road without checking if he was alive,” an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) report said.

Dhillon was refused bail and will reappear in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Channa’s body was found by a council worker on Thursday night, six hours after he disappeared from a rented property shared by his parents with friends and family here. A total of 12 people lived in the house.

Channa was in Australia on a holiday along with his parents

An initial autopsy on the child was inconclusive.

A family friend, who was with the couple, said police were very close to completing their investigation. “Police are very close to the person… who has done the crime.”

‘The Age’ earlier said it was believed investigation was focussing on the 12 adults who had access to the house in David Street, Lalor, from where Gurshan disappeared.

Detectives released details of a car that was seen in the area where the boy’s body was discovered.

They were looking for information or any sightings of a green VR or VT Commodore that was spotted in the area around St Johns and Wildwood roads on Thursday afternoon

Infant booked for stealing power

KANPUR: The Kesco and Bajariya police have made a major goof-up. They have booked a two-and-a-half-year-old boy for power theft. A native of Rae Bareli, he had been sent to stay at his grand-parents place in Colonelganj in February when he was ‘found guilty’ of power theft and an FIR lodged against him. His much-shocked family will knock the doors of court soon to get justice.

According to reports, the boy identified as Shahnawaz, son of a motor mechanic Shamshad, a resident of Rae Bareli, had come to his grandmother Shamim Bano’s house in Pani Ki Tanki locality, Colonelganj, on February 3. Kesco officials lodged an FIR under Power Theft Act against him and seven others with the Bajariya police following a drive against illegal `katiya’ connections on the same day. Bajariya police informed that the FIR had been lodged by Ek Dhar Charan, junior engineer, Kesco, on February 5, 2010.

“Though I am not educated, I don’t think if there is any provision or act in the Constitution of India wherein a boy of 30 months can be booked for an offence. We want the authorities to take up the case at the earliest so that my son gets justice,” claimed an angry Shamshad.

Shamshad said he would submit an application in the court soon. He informed on February 2 his son had been at his grandmother’s house when he was booked by Bajariya police for stealing power.

The others booked were Ram Singh, Kishan Lal, Rajesh, Mahesh Shanker Sharma, Nirdosh Kumar, Aqeel and Daulat Singh.

“We only came to know about the FIR against my son when local police started making rounds of his grandmother’s place,” he said.

When contacted, DIG Prem Prakash expressed surprise over the incident. “An inquiry will be conducted in this matter and action will be taken against the erring officials.”

Getting a passport could soon be hassle free

New Delhi : If long queues outside shoddy passport offices gives you the jitters and, the thought of brokers and touts stops you from getting your passport by right, here is some good news for passport seekers.

Getting a passport will soon be hastle free with the revolutionisation of the current process, which at best, can be described as arduous.

It is learnt that External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who hails from IT city Bangalore and, is very tech savvy, is walking that extra mile to facilitate the implementation of the landmark Passport Sewa E- Governance initiative.

Sevety-seven hi-tech state-of-the-art IT-enabled Passport Sewa offices are likely to come up across the country under the new initiative.

Krishna recently inspected two such centers in Bangalore.

The presence of cutting-edge technology such as a centralised IT system, which includes a data centre and a disaster recovery centre to which, all proposed centers will be connected, biometric verification, availability of online services for fixing appointments, three national call centers and a grievance redressel system, status of application via SMS and outsourcing of front-end activities, acquiring a passport will be easier and simpler.

If that”””s not all, the 24×7 national call centre in 17 languages will also be a part of the new project.

The Passport Sewa project is a perfect example of public-private partnership, involving the Ministry of External Affairs and Tata Consultancy Services.

Keeping in view security and sensitivity, the MEA has not surrendered sovereign functions to the TCS and has only outsourced front-end activities.

If fully implemented, then a passport can be got in three days following police verification. Tatkal applicants could get the passport the same day. Currently, it takes around 30 to 45 days for non-Tatkal passports and a minimum of seven days for getting a Tatkal-routed passport.

Under the proposed system, the number of public dealing counters will also increase from the current figure of 345 to 1250. Public dealing hours will also increase from four to seven hours.

According to sources, new centres could come up at Gurgaon, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Hubli, Dharwad, Mangalore, Baroda, Rajkot, Kottayam, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Ambala, Varanasi, Kanpur, Jodhpur and Sikar etc.

Although the project looks impressive, it also has its share of problems and challenges.

The IT-enabled project could leave many passport officials out of work. Already, unions in passport offices have opposed the proposal. The other big challenge will be to train underskilled MEA staff on cutting-edge technology  


World’s smallest ever baby boy weighs only 9oz

London: A baby boy born in Germany has become the world’s smallest ever, weighing just nine ounces at birth.

The baby, who is said to be smaller than a can of coke, was born after just 25 weeks, and he was so little at birth that a tape measure laid next to his body was wider than his limbs.

Doctors in Germany had been convinced the baby, delivered by Caesarean section at the University of Medicine at Goettingen in June 2009, would not survive but refused to give up hope.

A spokesman for the university said that doctors were “extremely proud” of the boy and the parents were overjoyed.

“This was an incredible fight for life,” Sky News Online quoted the spokesman as saying.

Now at eight months, medics have released a picture of the baby, who they are confident is strong enough to make it through.

The most premature baby to have survived, a girl born in Miami, America in 2004, is believed to have been born after 21 weeks.

Experts on medical ethics advise doctors not to resuscitate babies born before 23 weeks in the womb, and doctors do not expect babies weighing less than 12oz to survive.

More than 80,000 babies are born prematurely in Britain every year and half need to be treated in intensive care. (ANI)

Neil tells SRK to shut up

“Never again!” Neil Nitin Mukesh shudders at the very thought of the way he was forced to misbehave on stage with Shah Rukh Khan — by Shah Rukh Khan himself.

Trust Shah Rukh to espouse irreverence. But Neil hasn’t been able to get over it. Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu were in a state of shock after Neil’s outburst on stage against Shah Rukh Khan at the Filmfare awards.

Two days after Neil told co-hosts Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan to just plainly and simply shut up on stage at the Filmfare Awards at Yashraj studios, the debate rages in the film industry.

Was the well-behaved blue-eyed-boy’s aggressive impudence towards his superstar seniors on Neil’s home turf (he’s known as a full-on Yashraj boy) for real? Or was it just an act?

To rewind a bit: At the Filmfare awards, co-hosts Shah Rukh and Saif Ali Khan decided to take on Neil on stage, riling him endlessly. The final straw was the digs that Shah Rukh took at Neil’s name.

“Neil,” said Shah Rukh, “Why do you have three first names and no surname? My name is Khan. Saif too is a Khan. How come you have no last name?”

Neil couldn’t take the slight to his family name. He not-so-gently reminded Shah Rukh that he ought to restrain himself because his, Neil’s, father was sitting in the audience.

And then, horror of horrors, he told Shah Rukh to just shut up.

There was an uncomfortable silence in the auditorium.

Recalling the incident with an uncomfortable laugh, Neil said: “I’m still shaking. Imagine me telling Shah Rukh Khan to shut up! But I did. That isn’t all. At the end of the show I walked up to Shah Rukh and Saif and broke eggs on their heads.”

But relax. It was all part of an act.

“It was all planned by Shah Rukh sir. I was told by the organisers, the Moranis, from beforehand that I was supposed to be part of Shah Rukh’s act. I was supposed to reach early and rehearse for it. But as luck would have it I had gone to town to pick up my parents and got stuck in the traffic. By the time I reached the venue there was only time for a quick briefing on what I had to do.”

Shah Rukh walked up to Neil and quickly told him the plan on stage.

Neil was aghast. “How could I say shut up to Shah Rukh Khan? I’ve never been rude even to my driver. But he insisted. He also told me to throw eggs at him and Saif at the end of the show. I begged and pleaded to spare me. But Shah Rukh didn’t listen.”

Neil did his own on-the-spot improvisation on stage to spare himself the aggravated agony. “Instead of throwing the eggs I walked up to Saif and Shah Rukh and broke the eggs on their heads. How could I throw eggs at them? Their fans would never forgive me!”

After the act Neil’s shocked father has still not forgiven his son, although he has been told it was all in jest.

Says Neil: “Bipasha rushed to me and said if it was an act then it was really scary. Katrina stormed up to me after the show and told me to apologize to Shah Rukh, at once.”

Laughing nervously, Neil re-lived the trauma of being forced to be rude to a hero he worships.

“I’m glad people finally got to see my mischievous side… But no thanks. Never again.”

‘Microsoft to launch social networking phone in U.S.’

Microsoft lost its smartphone market after the launch of Apple’s iPhone, Blackberry and numerous devices running Google’s Android

Software giant Microsoft is to launch its own mobile phones in the U.S. later this year as it aims to challenge the growing smartphone dominance of its main rivals Apple and Google, the technology blog Gizmodo reported Friday.

The phones will be made available in July exclusively on Verizon, the largest cellphone carrier in the U.S., and will be aimed at heavy users of social networks, said the report, which featured what it said were leaked images from the phones’ marketing campaign. The two phones are codenamed Pink and Pure, and will be manufactured for the software giant by Sharp, the report said.

The report came after Microsoft last month unveiled a new mobile operating system that was widely praised by technology pundits.

Microsoft used to enjoy a leading position in the smartphone arena but has seen its position severely eroded by Apple’s iPhone, by the Blackberry and by numerous devices running Google’s Android operating system.

Nithyananda’s disciple seeks police protection

 CHENNAI: In a fresh development in the sex scandal allegedly involving Swami Nithyananda, an employee, Nithya Dharmananda alias Lenin (45), who admitted to leaking out the sleaze tape, has been provided police security.

Lenin, who is now staying with a friend in Chennai, met the city police commissioner T Rajendran on Friday evening and sought protection from Nithyananda’s disciples, whom he alleged were attempting to eliminate him. Police said he submitted, along with a petition seeking police protection, some DVDs containing more scandalous’ footages to expose the godman. “I have directed the central crime branch (CCB) deputy commissioner of police C Sridhar to look into his petition and we will provide him protection,” city police commissioner T Rajendran told TOI. The scandal broke out on Tuesday night after a television channel telecast a tape, showing the long-haired godman in a sexual romp with a Tamil actress, triggering protest and violence in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

On Thursday, the police registered a case of cheating under Sec 420 of IPC against Nithyananda based on a complaint by a group of lawyers. On Friday, based on Lenin’s complaint, police slapped more cases against him including those under IPC sections 295 (A) (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural sex), 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy). Disciples say that Nithyananda is in Varanasi attending the Kumbh Mela.

“As, according to Lenin, the alleged sexual acts of the godman in the tape took place in his Bidadi ashram in Karnataka, we will forward the petition to police in that state. We will cooperate with the investigating officials,” said Rajendran. However, the Chennai police will investigate the cases of cheating and intimidation booked against the godman, he said.

Police sources said Lenin, who hails from Salem, had joined the ashram at Bidadi as a technical staff and was assigned to make DVDs of the godman’s speeches and writings and market them to the public. After a year, he became one of the loyal devotees for the godman with access even to his bedroom, Lenin told police.

But devotion to the godman turned to anger following alleged sexual misdemenours of the godman, Lenin reportedly told the Chennai police. “This prompted me to expose the godman, who has been cheating the public and innocent woman devotees,” said Lenin, who alleged that he had taped the sexual acts of the godman with the actress in December 2009. On learning about this, the godman and his devotees threatened him with dire consequences in Seeragapadi near Salem when they were taking part in a function to inaugurate a new ashram. Later, he made copies of the sleaze tape and sent them to some media offices and police officials, said sources.

Thai elephant gives birth to first known male twins

In this photo taken on Saturday, twin elephants try to nurse from their 35-year old mother, shortly after they were born at Chumburi village in Thailand’s northeastern province of Surin

A Thai elephant has given birth to the world’s first known male twins, local media reported on Sunday.

The twin males were born to Phang Thong Khun, a 35-year-old in the north-eastern province of Surin, The Nation newspaper reported.

A crowd cheered when the twins were born about two hours apart early Saturday morning, elephant trainer Prapai Mokhorn trainer told The Nation.

The still-unnamed baby elephants are the first known male twins.

Female twins named Phang Jum and Phang Jim were born in Thailand 15 years ago.

Twin pachyderm births are rare, and the survival rate is low. Domestic elephants number about 100,000 in Thailand a century ago, when they were employed in logging and transportation in most parts of the kingdom. Their numbers have since fallen to fewer than 4,000 with most working in the tourism industry.

3 killed, 54 wounded in bomb blast on eve of pivotal Iraq elections

Baghdad, Iraq — Three people were killed when a parked car rigged with explosives blew up Saturday in Najaf on the eve of parliamentary elections, the Interior Ministry said.

At least 54 others — 17 Iraqis and 37 Iranians — were injured in the attack near the Imam Ali Holy Shrine, which houses the tomb of Ali, cousin of the Prophet Mohammed.

Two of the dead were Iranians, the interior official said. Najaf, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, is frequented by Shiite pilgrims from Iran.

Iraqis will go to the polls Sunday to choose a 325-member parliament. The election has been marred by violence despite heavy security.

It is Iraq’s fifth nationwide vote since 2003, but only the second for a full four-year-term parliament.

Three attacks happened Thursday during early voting for those who will be unable to cast ballots Sunday, such as military and security personnel, detainees, hospital staff, and patients.

A total of 12 people were killed and dozens were wounded. There have been warnings of further insurgent attacks around the vote.

These are Iraq’s first national elections since 2005, when the Sunni Arab population boycotted the elections and the political process. A Shiite-led government emerged and the Sunnis, feeling disenfranchised, went on to form the main part of the insurgency.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq calls the elections an “important milestone in Iraq’s democratic progress,” serving to strengthen the country’s sovereignty and independence as the United States draws down its military presence there.

Sunday’s elections were supposed to happen in January but were delayed because of political disagreements and a delay in passing the election law that paved the way for this vote.

There are 18.9 million eligible voters, casting ballots for 325 seats in the Council of Representatives, as Iraq’s parliament is called. The seats represent Iraq’s 18 provinces. At least a quarter of the positions — 82 — are guaranteed to go to women, and eight more have been allocated for minorities. They include five set aside for Christians and one each for the Shabak, Sabaeans (Mandaeans), and Yazidis.

The number of seats is increasing from the previous 275. Seat allocation was based on 2005 population data from the Ministry of Trade and adjusted for a 2.8 percent annual growth across all governates.

Voting for Iraqis abroad also is happening in 16 countries starting Friday — including the United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Iran, Canada and others in the Middle East and Europe. There are no exact figures for those eligible to cast ballots abroad. Estimates on turnout have ranged anywhere from 300,000 to 3 million.

Around 6,200 candidates from more than 80 political entities are vying for seats. It is the first parliamentary vote to use an open list, in which the voters vote for political entities and, if they want, also can vote for candidates within those entities, according to the U.N. Assistance Mission.

Although open lists complicates the training of election staff and the counting of votes, the system enhances the role of the voter in the election beyond casting a vote simply for a political party, the assistance mission says.

At least 25 percent of the candidates on the ballot list of each political entity must be women.

The assistance mission is providing technical assistance to the Independent High Electoral Commission, which is organizing the vote.

The commission has ordered that all political campaigning must end as of 7 a.m. Saturday.

A number of other special measures are being put in place for security reasons. Since Monday, there has been a ban on motorcycles and bicycles in Baghdad until further notice, and on Sunday a two-day ban on any vehicles in cities will begin, Iraqi authorities announced on state television.

Provincial borders will be sealed, preventing movements between provinces, from Saturday to Monday. And international borders and all airports will be shut from midnight Saturday.

A curfew will be in place in cities from midnight to 5 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, officials said. Civilians may not carry weapons on those days, they said.

More than 47,000 polling stations will be open across the country, each one able to accept a maximum number of 420 voters. Polling stations are clustered into polling centers.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. All those in line at the time the polls are open will be able to vote.

About 300,000 trained election staff — mostly teachers, principals, and lawyers — will be on hand at polling sites.

There will be more than 494,000 local and international observers, according to the Independent High Electoral Commission. The number includes about 500 to 600 international observers, according to the United Nations.

Voter turnout figures should be available shortly after polls close, and preliminary results are expected by Tuesday or Wednesday, the United Nations said. Results will start emerging for each province as soon as 30 percent of polling centers in that province are tallied.

Counting will take place at the polling stations at the end of voting, under the gaze of observers. Ballots will be counted twice to ensure accuracy.

The number of ballots cast will be reconciled with the number of ballots issued to each polling station, and in case of a significant discrepancy, the station will be audited.


Australian police claim breakthrough in toddler death case

An undated photo showing 3-year-old Gurshan Singh. Gurshan’s body was found in long grass by the side of the road at Oaklands Junction, a suburb of Melbourne on the evening of Thursday, after he was reported missing about six hours earlier

Australian police, probing the unnatural death of a three-year-old Indian boy here, claimed a breakthrough on Sunday, saying they are searching for a car seen near the place where the toddler’s body was found three days ago.

A green VR or VT Holden Commodore car seen in the area where Gurshan Singh Channa’s body was found under mysterious circumstances on Thursday has emerged as a key focus of the probe.

According to local media, homicide squad detectives now want to talk to anyone who saw that car.

The development is the first solid lead that detectives have announced since launching the investigation, it said.

Police are also operating an information caravan at Oaklands Junction, where the toddler’s body was found, six hours after he disappeared from a Lalor rental property which his parents shared with friends and family.

They are hoping someone comes forward with information.

Till now, no cause has yet been determined for the death of Gurshan, whose body is still lying in a city morgue awaiting cremation.

His grieving parents Harpreet Kaur Channa and Harjit Singh Channa have cancelled their tickets to India, which they had booked for Saturday.

The couple want their son’s body to be cremated in their home town in Punjab.

All hacking attempts on govt computers unsuccessful: Sachin Pilot

Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Sachin Pilot.

 There have been attempts to hack into the government computer network, but till date there has been no loss of vital information, says Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot.

“Yes, there have been attempts but I can categorically say that not one attempt has been successful,” the minister said. “The government’s computer network system, maintained by the National Informatics Centre, is highly efficient,” Mr. Pilot told IANS in an interview.

Earlier this year, hackers tried to penetrate government computers in vital ministries including the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). These attacks, officials said, originated in China.

According to the Computer Emergency Response Team, a cyber security advisory and referral agency of the Department of Information Technology, 570 Indian web sites were defaced by hackers during January this year, against 271 during the like month of last year.

During the whole of last year, a total of 6,023 cases of defacement were reported.

The agency also said that during January, out of 246 cyber-security incidents, as 63 percent related to spamming, 18 to phishing, 8 percent to malicious viruses, 76 percent to unauthorised scanning and the rest to other categories.

Former NSA M.K. Narayanan, who is currently West Bengal governor, had stated that his office and other government departments were targeted on the same date that U.S. Defence, Finance and Technology companies, including Google, reported cyber attacks from China.

The hackers had sent an e-mail with a PDF attachment containing a Trojan virus. But the virus, which allows hackers to download or delete files, was detected and officials were told not to log on until it was eliminated.

Mr. Pilot pointed out that such hackers were usually scanning the entire system to find weak spots. “But our people are very efficient and well trained. Safeguards have ensured that national security has not been breached.”

The Ministry of External Affairs and Indian embassies have instituted stringent protocol on the use of e-mails by serving officers, which includes frequently changing passwords and using e-mails only for routine communication.

Besides, the ministry has instituted a periodic security review of all computers to ward off cyber threats.

Ten billion, and counting…

Twitter has seen an upsurge in India in recent months

On Friday, a team huddled together to “watch the big board roll over to 10 billion tweets.” @ev let the world in on this public secret when he tweeted about this milestone on the micro-blogging site Twitter.com, one that he co-founded in 2006. @ev is the twitter handle (unique ID that micro-bloggers go by) for Twitter CEO Evan Williams.

Closer home, that day the Indian Parliament saw a new-age Web 2.0 phrase enter its vocabulary. Taking objection to Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor’s controversial twitter updates, a senior politician warned: “All this tweeting can lead to quitting.” With the mainstream media often using twitter to garner opinion, and Bollywood biggies such as Shah Rukh Khan using this medium to air their views, micro-blogging appears to have arrived in India.

So how has Twitter been able to go where social networks and blogs haven’t? The beauty of twitter lies in its simplicity. It revolves round a plain premise: ‘What’s happening?’ In 140 characters, no more, users can punctuate their replies with wit, intellect, news or information (increasingly so) and, of course, brevity. Being text-based, your information stream is uncluttered, selective (depending on whom you choose to follow) and satisfies that inherent desire to talk to the world.

Indian trending topics

Seconds after cricketer Sachin Tendulkar scored his double century or controversial Swami Nityanand made headlines, twitterspace was abuzz. So #Nityanand was seen ‘trending’ worldwide for at least four hours, as have #Budget, #Mumbai4all (in response to the Shiv Sena caveat) or #FunnyIndianAds. Twitter user Tinu Cherian says Indian tweeple — twitter parlance for microbloggers — are excited. “Some of these topics had 600 people tweeting at the same time. We hope Twitter will take note,” he says. Indian twitter users lament the fact that Local Trends — a feature that makes Trending Topics location-based — has not been rolled out in India.

What makes it click?

Kiran Jonalagadda, who became a twitter celebrity of sorts when he tweeted live updates from the site of a fire accident in Bangalore, discovered himself “swimming in retweets” — with 400 messages in an evening. He believes that being primitive and crude is Twitter’s USP. “Twitter does what it does and nothing else, unlike facebook which tries to be all. So when something is going on, on Twitter it is very easy to jump into the action.” That the @name (syntax) is universal is significant too, he adds. Further, Twitter’s simple API has allowed for multiple clients, so it is easy to use across platforms, be it on the desktop or mobile phone.

Centre bent on bringing down prices

CELEBRATION TIME: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with RBI Governor D. Subbarao unveiling a plaque at RBI headquarters to mark the central bank’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Mumbai on Saturday.

FM releases report on credit guarantee scheme for SMEs

The Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, has said that supply side constraints, particularly among food items, resulted in rising inflation.

Shortage of supply has resulted in steep increase in the prices of pulses and sugar, said Mr. Mukherjee while speaking to media persons at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Reserve Bank of India here on Saturday. According to him, prices of cereals such as wheat and rice have gone up on account of better support prices given to farmers, resulting in cost-push inflation.

The Government has been taking steps to bring down the prices of food items. The food price inflation stood at 17.86 per cent for the week ending February 20.

Mr. Mukherjee, however, said that had the Government not offered better prices to farmers, it would have forced them to look for alternative crops other than food crops. “As a result of remunerative prices offered to farmers, food stocks are full today,” asserted Mr. Mukherjee. As part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee released the report of working group to review the credit guarantee scheme for medium and small enterprises (CGSMSE).

The report has recommended among others collateral-free loans up to Rs. 10 lakh to SMEs in a bid to ease financial requirements of the sector which accounts for 40 per cent of total industrial production.

Commending the Reserve Bank’s outreach initiative “Reserve Bank Reaches Out”, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee said “Financial inclusion is an essential requirement for an equitable growth and development.”

Reserve Bank of India Governor D. Subba Rao said over the last one year, the central bank has held outreach programmes at several far off places to increase financial literacy and make people aware about policy and growth linkages.

Nithyananda in Kumbh Mela, will return on March 18

PEOPLE HAVE been searching all over the net for Niyananda sex video, Nityananda Ranjitha video, Nityananda sex tape, watch Nityananda fraud, Nityananda video, Nityananda scandalous video, Swami Nityananda full video, Nityananda video clippings, Ranjitha hot video etc.

On the other hand everyone is asking where is Nityananda? As per the latest news and reports, Swami Nithyananda, the spiritual leader is not in hiding but has gone to attend the Kumbh Mela. Swami Athmakrubananda, the spokesperson said that he would meet the press when required.

Swami Nityananda has been surrounded by a raging controversy after a sex tape video showing him with a Tamil Actress Ranjitha surfaced on Tuesday March 2. The Nityananda sex scandal enraged his followers and devotess, who attacked his ashrams in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Two cases of cheating have been filed against Swami Nityananda for hurting people’s sentiments.

Nityananda’s lawyer M. Shreedahr has also confirmed that Swami Nityananda had not absconded but was in Varanasi, attending the Kumbh Mela with 4000 devotees from across the globe. He added that he would return on March 18.

When asked about the woman, who was seein in the sex video, Shreedahr said that the film star Ranjitha started visiting the ashram to overcome depression caused by a failed marriage and very soon became Swami Nithyananda’s devotee. He asserted that the video clippings were morphed and also the woman in the clippings always has her neck covered.

He said that the ego clash among the inmates in the ashram could have been the reason for making the video and even money could have played a major role in it. He alleged that the group that made the video and the TV channel which aired it had struck a deal. Lastly he added that the TV channel demanded Rs.50 crore from Swami Nityananda.

Meanwhile Ranjitha is said to have gone to Jaipur where her husband stays. He is said to an army officer and his relatives say that he know of the relationship between his wife and Nithyananda Swami.

Govt committed to women’s empowerment: PM

Affirming his commitment to women’s empowerment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that the Government is moving towards providing one-third reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures.

Inaugurating the women’s leadership summit here, he said Government is committed to social, economic and political empowerment of women, whatever effort and resources the task might take.

The Women’s Reservation Bill providing for 33 per cent reservation of seats for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies is expected to come up in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Observing that reservation for women in local bodies has revolutionised governance at the grass-roots level, he said, “We hope to give this movement of political participation of women further fillip by increasing the number of seats reserved in Panchayats and city and town governments to 50 per cent.

“More significantly we are moving towards providing one-third reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures,” the Prime Minister said.

He decried the low female literacy rate as well as the maternal mortality rate besides the exceptionally low sex-ratio.

“The gender disparity on the economic front is reflected in the low female work participation rate of 25.7 per cent as compared to 51.0 per cent for males,” he said.

“While we have shown improvement in these indicators over the years, the progress has been much slower than what we would have liked,” he said at the summit attended by eminent women personalities and representatives from different walks of life.

Singh said violence against women was another issue which needed to be addressed urgently.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in a message read out by Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath, said women in the country have broken glass ceilings but those in rural areas have not been able to avail of many opportunities.

“Our sisters in rural India also need to enjoy such opportunities,” she said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said that though Indian tradition provides high status to women by worshipping them as gods, the practise is reversed in society.

“Women are solely responsible for all household chores and their contribution to GDP is also not taken into consideration”.

She said there was a need to take a re-look at the present educational system as the problem of dowry even exists in educated societies.

Observing that the ratio of women in the work force is not according to their ratio in the population, Kumar said, special efforts are on to earmark one-third of funds in Panchayats for development of women. The Speaker favoured a legislation to prevent violence against women.

The three-day summit being held as part of women’s day celebrations would be attended by women achievers from all fields.

As part of the celebrations, Tirath felicitated women who have made a name for themselves in their field.

Those honoured included actress Sharmila Tagore, politician and social worker Mohsina Kidwai, former NCW chairperson Mohini Giri, danseuse Yamini Krishnamoorthy, mountaineer Santosh Yadav and media baron Indu Jain.(NDTV)

Hindu Marriage Act not applicable to NRIs: HC

MUMBAI: A desire to get married the traditional way attracts young non-resident Indian couples to tie the knot in India, but the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) may not be applicable to them if they are domicile of a foreign country. The Bombay high court has said that the HMA cannot apply to an estranged couple who were domiciled in the US.

Justice Roshan Dalvi quashed an order of the Pune family court which had said Indian courts would have jurisdiction to hear a divorce case even if the couple had resided for a single day in the city when they came to India for a holiday.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Michigan-based Smita Muley who had got a divorce from a US court. Her husband Suhas Muley came back to India and filed another divorce petition in a Pune court.

“The man cannot confer jurisdiction on the court of Pune where the couple never stayed together for any length of time in their own matrimonial home (India), they having had their matrimonial home in the US,’’ said the judge. “The HMA itself does not apply to the couple conse-qu-ent upon their domicile in the US and also because the rights between the parties have been settled by a judgment conclusive between them.’’

The Pune court had said it had jurisdiction to hear the case based on Suhas’s claim that they had spent a night in his parents’ house in Aundh, Pune, in January 2008.

“The order of the family court, Pune, concluding that the parties last resided together in Pune and even though their residence is for a single day, it would give the court jurisdiction, suffers from material irregularity and is required to be interfered with.’’In the HC, Suhas produced documents as proof that he was domiciled in India: copy of his ration card issued in 2001, his driving licence obtained in 1999, a 1995 voter identity card and passport with validity up to 2019.

But the court was not satisfied. “None of these documents shows his intention to reside in India permanently; his Green Card shows he intends to stay in the US,’’ said the judge, adding, “It is easy to see that both the parties have had the intention of making the US their permanent home even prior to their marriage. Since their parents reside in India, they came to India to be married as per Hindu rites.’’

The court said Suhas could challenge the US court’s divorce order of January 2009 in that country. (TNN)

Raja really not attempted suicide

Telugu actor Raja, who approached the State Human Rights Commission against big film makers who he claims are not giving him theatres to screen his movie Inkokasari, said that he “only contemplated suicide” and didn’t really attempt suicide.

Raja said he was sad about his film not getting theatres to be screened but didn’t take phenoyl or pills. He blamed the producer Kalyan Palla for giving the media wrong