Jewel thieves held in city’s biggest heist

Cook colludes with criminals and steals valuables and cash worth over Rs 1 crore from city businessman’s residence

Guwahati, August 27: Watch out: the domestic help in your house who is in close proximity with your personal belongings might just vanish one day with all your valuables.

Cracking the biggest theft in the city in recent times, the crime branch of city police busted a gang of criminals who planted one of their accomplices as a domestic help and stole valuables, including diamond jewellery sets, worth over Rs 1 crore from a businessman’s house.

It took just thirteen days for 25–year–old Hiralal Das after being employed by the victim to execute the theft along with his accomplices.

“The businessman (Bharat Kumar Agarwal) did not verify the antecedents of the cook before employing him. The owners did not posses even a photo of Hiralal. We had to start from zero,” additional superintendent of police (crime) Amitava Sinha told The Sentinel.

Hiralal was engaged with the Agarwals by one of their associates who also did not have any details of the antecedents of 25–year–old who hails from Kusheshwar Sthan in Darbhanga (Bihar).

The cook was employed by Agarwal at his Chanakya Path residence on GS Road.

On the night of August 22, Hiralal mixed sleeping tablets with food and served it to the owners.

“The mastermind of the theft was Ajimuddin Ali, a known criminal. We have also arrested three other associates – Pancha Rabha (40) of Goalpara, Arjun Mondal (28) of Darbhanga and Dilip Roy (40), proprietor of HD Jewellers of Fatasil Ambari,” Sinha said.

Pancha Rabha is a professional taxi driver. He and Ajimuddin were waiting near Agarwal’s residence on the night of August 22, waiting for Hiralal’s signal. “Once they (owners) were asleep, Ajimuddin came in. We broke the lockers with an iron rod and stole the jewellery and other valuables. We fled in Pancha Rabha’s taxi that was parked near the house,” Hiralal told police.

The thieves could have escaped had Pancha Rabha not tried to sell his share of the jewellery at HD Jewellers. Pancha Rabha was first to be arrested.

Based on his revelations, Hiralal and Ajimuddin were arrested from a rented accommodation located at Ashram Road at Shantipur. The house is which they were staying had more than twenty occupants –  people like daily wage earners. “The owner of the house also did not maintain the details of the tenants. It was a temporary kind of construction,” said a police officer.

Police have conducted raids at several locations and were able to recovered 50 per cent of the stolen goods, which included several jewellery sets.

“We are looking for the rest of the stuff. We suspect there is one more person involved. Hunt is on to trace him,” the ASP said. So, next time you employ a stranger at your home, ensure that you get his antecedents verified. Else, you could be in for trouble.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

Help us grow, northeast film industry urges government

New Delhi, August 27: With less than 70 cinema halls in the northeastern region serving a population of 40 million – a little more than that of Poland – shoestring budgets and a handful of productions in most states, the film industry in the region is struggling for survival. Filmmakers are looking to the central government to bail them out and help them enter the mainstream. Of the eight states, only Assam and Manipur churn out movies on a regular basis, but only Assamese filmmakers can afford to make a film worth Rs.70 lakh to Rs.80 lakh, sometimes the budget of a costume of a Bollywood actress. “It’s only in Assam and Manipur where there is a regular filmmaking culture,” Assam–born capital–based filmmaker Utpal Borpujari told IANS.

“The big budget Assamese feature films are about Rs.70 to Rs.80 lakh. They make approximately 15 to 20 films in a year. In Manipur, around 60 to 70 films are made in a year, but the budget varies between Rs.7 lakh and Rs.8 lakh,” he added.

Another problem is less screening facilities in the region. Due to lack of infrastructure, temporary screenings are organised in community halls.

“Some of the halls are in a bad shape and some are not operational. There are approximately 70 functional halls in the northeast and most of them are in Assam.

“There are community halls where movies are shown. Some filmmakers also go to different villages to screen their films,” said Borpujari.

The central government is taking the initiative for uplifting the filmmaking culture in the region and Meghalaya–based director Pradip Kurbah, who directed the National Award winning Khasi film “Ri – Homeland of Uncertainty” has welcomed this.

“The government is suggesting film schools in the northeast and that will be good. But there should also be more theatres,” Kurbah told IANS.

“We should also start a system that allows us to screen movies in different parts of the region. For instance, films from Mizoram or Manipur should be shown in Meghalaya and vice–versa.

“This will open the market for everyone. We can’t depend on other parts of the country only. If this happens, there will be chances of positive growth,” he added.

Recently, the directorate of film festivals, ministry of information and broadcasting, in coordination with the northeast division of the home ministry and the ministry of culture, organised a film festival titled “Fragrances from the North East”.

While the filmmakers from the region made up of eight states – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim – are happy about the maiden film festival dedicated to movies from there, they expect more from the government.

“We get to interact with people and rectify our mistakes. By just making films in Meghalaya, we don’t get to know whether we are on the right track or not,” said Kurbah.

In terms of business, Kurbah is unsure but is hopeful that “something might come” post screening at the festival.

Meanwhile, to reach out to the wider audience, he will resort to the conventional screening method and travel to remote areas of Meghalaya to show “Ri”.

“From September onwards, we will go on a village tour. We also go where there is no electricity and we carry our own generators. If every district has a hall, it will be good,” he said.

Borpujari says that a lot of northeast students go to the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute in Kolkata, but if the government can set up its branch or a new film school in the northeast, it will help youngsters.

Also, government aid can augment film production in the region.

However, the challenges notwithstanding, filmmakers like Meghalaya’s Steven Ao, who graduated from the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, wants to pursue his dream and make movies.

“My short film ’Bamboo Shoots’ has been shown at various festivals like the International Film Festival of India, Goa; the Kolkata Film Festival and the Lago Film Fest, Italy. The exposure was good, but I need to do a lot more to get funds for my projects.

“I have a passion for the medium. But to earn my bread and butter, I don’t want to change my profession. I am putting all my energy into it and I hope it works,” said Ao.

If people like him continue to show passion towards the craft and get a little help from the government, the world will be their oyster.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

Health hazards staring at Anil Nagar, Nabin Nagar

‘Fogging and spraying of some insecticides are going on. And efforts are also on to pump out the water… The GMC doesn’t have that much resource. I have asked the local councilor, Anima Deka, to make arrangement for health camps’ – Guwahati Mayor

GUWAHATI, August 27: The Anil Nagar and Nabin Nagar areas in Guwahati have been a veritable hellhole.  For the past ten days the two city areas have been under water, posing a serious threat of health hazards to the denizens.

Barring fogging and spraying of some kind of insecticides, the denizens have no succour from the GMC because of, according to the Guwahati Mayor, cash crunch. The stagnant pools of filth which the residents have been exposed to for the past ten days should have drawn the attention of those at the helm of affairs – the GMC and Kamrup (Metro) district administration.

When asked about the steps taken by the GMC in order to prevent the spread of various water–borne and other diseases that may prove fatal for the local people of Anil Nagar and Nabin Nagar, city Mayor Abir Patra said: “Fogging and spraying of some insecticides are going on. And efforts are also on to pump out the water.”

When asked as to why no steps like health camps are conducted in the two areas as the situation they are in has every reason to be afraid of health hazards, the Mayor said: “The GMC doesn’t have that much resource. I have asked the local councilor, Anima Deka, to make arrangement for such camps.”

Saying so, the Mayor has washed his hands of the matter.    

The Kamrup (Metro) deputy commissioner was seen travelling the city two areas in a rickshaw recently. The post–flood filths are lethal enough to do the damage that floods cannot. The post–flood situation in the two city areas, if not tackled with the right promptness, may give rise to endemics. If the GMC is reeling under an acute cash crunch, the district administration should have come to the scene. This, however, is not forthcoming.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

Inter–State border development put on back burner

GUWAHATI, August 27: Development of inter–State border areas has been taken for granted in Assam. This can be stated from the fact that not a single penny of the fund allocated under a government scheme in the financial year 2013–14 has been released till date for border area development works in the State.

A fund of Rs 8 crore was allocated under the Assam Bikash Yojana in the financial year 2013–14 for the development of inter–State border areas all over the State, but surprisingly the allocated fund is yet to be released for border development works mainly in Golaghat, Sivasagar and Jorhat districts bordering ‘rogue’ Nagaland. These districts had witnessed violent border clashes in recent times.

According to sources, Rs 8 crore fund allocated by the State government for development of its inter–State border areas is not at all sufficient and the worse thing is that even the allocated fund is yet to be released. So, most of the big talks by the Assam government on border area development remain on paper.

In 2013–14, only Rs 16 lakh was allocated against 5 schemes for border development works in Golaghat district. In the 2012–13 financial year, of the allocated fund for border development works in the same district, 60 per cent of it was released. Similarly, development of other inter–State border areas of Assam has also been put on the back burner.

Sources said lack of development in the inter–State border areas is encouraging different militant groups to carry out their anti–national activities in these areas. The NSCN group is largely active in the Assam–Nagaland border areas and outfits like the GNLA and few others are active in the Assam–Meghalaya border areas.  Due to increasing militant activities in Assam districts bordering Meghalaya, cases of killing and kidnapping have increased manifold in these districts. “From 2009–2014, 31 people were killed and 25 kidnapped in the Assam–Meghalaya border areas. Nineteen cases of extortion have also been reported in the same period,” sources added.

It may be mentioned that 3,823 hectares of Assam land bordering Meghalaya is disputed.  

So, Dispur must put stress on the development of its inter–State border areas so that people living there don’t feel alienanted from the so called ‘mainland’.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

SC leaves it to PM’s judgement on ministers facing criminal charges

New Delhi, August 27: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the prime minister was not expected to make people facing heinous charges ministers although there can be no bar on who is taken into the ministry.

A constitution bench said this in a majority verdict by Chief Justice RM Lodha, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice SA Bobde. Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph gave separate judgments but concurred with the majority view.

Chief Justice Lodha, Justice Misra and Justice Bobde said that while interpreting article 75(1) of the constitution, disqualification cannot be added to prevent a person facing heinous and serious offences including corruption from becoming a minister.

The court said this while examining the scope and purpose of articles 75(1) and 164(1) of the constitution.

In 2005, a man named Manoj Narula moved the court regarding ministers with criminal past. In March 2006, the matter was referred to the constitution bench which heard it this year.

Speaking for the majority, Justice Misra said: “The prime minister, while living up to the trust reposed in him, would consider not choosing a person with criminal antecedents against whom charges have been framed for heinous or serious criminal offences or charges of corruption to become a minister…

“This is what the constitution suggests and that is the constitutional expectation from the prime minister. Rest has to be left to the wisdom of the prime minister. We say nothing more, nothing less.”

The majority judgment said what was valid for the prime minister was also applicable to chief ministers.

Justice Lokur said in a separate judgment: “Not only is the quantum of sentence relevant but the nature of the offence that might disqualify a person from becoming a legislator is equally important.”

He said the offences and the sentence to be awarded for the purpose of disqualifying a person from being elected to a legislature were matters for parliament to debate and consider.

But Justice Lokur said: “This being the position, the burden of appointing a suitable person as a minister in the central government lies entirely on the shoulders of the prime minister and may eminently be left to his or her good sense.”

Justice Joseph said: “I am of the firm view that the prime minister and the chief minister will be well advised to consider avoiding any person in the council of ministers against whom charges have been framed by a criminal court in respect of offences involving moral turpitude and also offences specifically referred to in the Representation of the People Act.”

While conceding the prime minister’s prerogative to select his ministers, the majority verdict said: “We cannot be oblivious of the three concepts: constitutional morality, good governance and constitutional trust.”

Saying the prime minister has been regarded as the “repository of constitutional trust”, the court said the use of the words “on the advice of the prime minister” cannot be allowed to lose their significance.

“In a controlled constitution like ours, the prime minister is expected to act with constitutional responsibility as a consequence of which the cherished values of democracy and established norms of good governance get condignly fructified.”

The court said the “the framers of the constitution left many a thing unwritten by reposing immense trust in the prime minister”.

The prime minister has to “bear in mind that unwarranted elements or persons who are facing charges in certain category of offences may thwart or hinder the canons of constitutional morality or principles of good governance and eventually diminish the constitutional trust”.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

AIUDF acting as guardians of illegal migrants: AASU

Guwahati, August 27: The All Assam Students Union (AASU) today trained its gun on the main Opposition AIUDF accusing it to be guardians of the illegal migrants.

“It has been proved that the AIUDF is the guardian and mouthpiece of the illegal migrants,” AASU advisor Sammujjal Bhattacharyya said, a day after the Badruddin Ajmal led party expressed its reservations to the use of the word ‘illegal migrants.’

The AASU expressed its shock at the stance of the AIUDF which even sought a ‘ban’ on the word in the assembly and warned the political party.

“If the issue is not discussed in the assembly, where will it be discussed?,” AASU president Shankar Prasad Rai and general secretary Tapan Gogoi said in a statement.

“The issue should not only be discussed…but all Bangladeshi nationals and fundamentalist elements should be driven out of the State. We won’t allow anyone to advocate for the illegal migrants,” the AASU leaders said.

Referring to an observation by the Gauhati High Court that illegal migrants have become king–makers in Assam, the AASU leaders said, “This fact has been proved now. That the AIUDF has a soft–corner for the illegal migrants has been substantiated (by the incident in the assembly yesterday). But we will not tolerate anyone defending the illegal migrants.”

“The illegal migrants will have to go. There is no second opinion on it,” the students’ body said.

Legislators of the AIUDF yesterday had created a ruckus in the House asking the Speaker to expunge the word ‘illegal migrants’.

The AIUDF had come under fire from MLAs of the BJP and BPF who insisted that the issue of illegal migrants was being politicized.

Refusing to expunge the word, Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi too had insisted that the problem of illegal migration was very much pronounced in Assam and that the word ’illegal migrant’ was not unconstitutional.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

Kalyan among four new governors, Sheila resigns

New Delhi, August 26: Four prominent BJP leaders were on Tuesday named governors of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa on a day Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit succumbed to pressure and put in her papers.

While former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh was named governor of Rajasthan, Gujarat assembly speaker Vajubhai Radabhai Vala took charge of Karnataka and Mridula Sinha, a leading writer, moved to Goa.

C. Vidyasagar Rao from Telangana will take charge in election–bound Maharashtra.

Kalyan Singh succeeds Margaret Alva whose tenure ended August 5.

Vala took the place of H.R. Bharadwaj, who retired in June, while B.V. Wanchoo and K. Sankaranarayanan quit as governors of Goa and Maharashtra respectively.

The 82–year–old Kalyan Singh is a veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader who led the Uttar Pradesh government when the Babri Masjid was razed in 1992.

A committed activist of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Kalyan Singh parted ways with the BJP following differences with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

He returned to the party just before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Vala, 76, is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He began his political career with the erstwhile Jana Sangh. At one time, he was a contender for the post of Gujarat chief minister.

Mridula Sinha is a well known writer in Hindi, and is a former national president of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha. She is also a former chairperson of the National Commission for Women.

Hailing from Karimnagar district of Telangana, Vidyasagar Rao served as union minister of state for home in the Vajpayee government.

The 73–year–old was also the BJP president in united Andhra Pradesh and was elected to the Lok Sabha twice from Karimnagar. He was defeated in the 2014 election.

Meanwhile, Sheila Dikshit, who resigned as Kerala governor, refused to say anything on what led her to the decision.

“I did what my heart was saying. I will not say anything more at this point,” the former Delhi chief minister told the media here. Asked to comment on the manner in which UPA–appointed governors were treated by the BJP–led government, Dikshit said: “I will talk to you in hindsight after my resignation is accepted.”

Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan resigned on Monday.

Since the Narendra Modi government took charge on May 26, eight governors have resigned — B.L. Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland), M.K. Narayanan (West Bengal), B.V. Wanchoo (Goa), Vakkom B. Purushothaman (Mizoram), K. Sankaranarayanan (Maharashtra) and now Dikshit.

Kamla Beniwal was first shunted out from Gujarat to Mizoram and then sacked Aug 6 for misuse of her position as governor.

Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva and Karnataka Governor H.R. Bharadwaj managed to complete their tenures.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/