04 September 2010

'Ranbir Kapoor can be the next Amitabh Bachchan'

After working with Ranbir Kapoor in two films, director Siddharth Anand feels the young actor has the potential to follow in the footsteps of megastar Amitabh Bachchan as the "complete Hindi film hero".

"The day Ranbir does an action film and does it well, he has the potential to fill the void that Bachchan created," said Anand who teamed up with Ranbir for the second time for his new romantic comedy Anjaana Anjaani releasing Sep 24.

The two had earlier worked together in Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008). Ranbir, 27, is the son of well-known Bollywood actors Rishi and Neetu Kapoor.

"Ranbir is the perfect guy to play Anthony (a character played by Big B in Amar Akbar Anthony), he can play coolie, he can play the characters Bachchan played in his prime. There is no one else but him," Anand told IANS.

"He has got everything it takes to be the complete Hindi film hero that Bachchan was."

Anand, who debuted with Salaam Namaste (2005), says he has tried to push the boundaries with his first film and completely smashed it with Anjaana Anjaani.

"I have torn the boundaries here. When you see the film, it's something unlike you have seen at any point of time. It's a love story but its situations are very unique," said the young director.

"I made Ranbir do strange things. During the shooting of the song Khuda jaane in Bachna Ae Haseeno I made him stand on the tip of a cliff and spread his arms and he was shit scared as he has a vertigo problem.

"In Anjaana Anjaani there is a sequence where they are stranded in the middle of an ocean. It was the Pacific Ocean and he had to dive into the freezing waters. He did it even though he has aquaphobia," said the director.

Talking about the film that co-stars Priyanka Chopra, he said: " Anjaana Anjaani is the story of two strangers who meet in strange circumstances and then part as strangers. So it's a very unique concept for a Hindi film, but it's deep-rooted as a Hindi commercial film. It has songs, stories, beautiful locations and fabulous performances."

Siddharth says more than the actresses, he bonds well with actors.

"I am a hero's director. I bond with my heroes more than I bond with my heroines. Once we become friends, I like to work with them repeatedly if they are okay with it. I have been fortunate enough to work with two superstars," said Anand.

And what made him pair Ranbir with Priyanka?

"I wanted to have a virgin pair. I wanted a brilliant actress because the film is only about the chemistry between two people. It's about their sparks, what they speak, and the banters to and fro.

"Ranbir is a brilliant actor; so I needed someone who would be able to match that. Priyanka just fitted in unbelievably," said Anand.

The director insists that he is very particular about the songs in his films.

"I'm surprised people liked the song Hairat. I was very clear that I wanted music for a love story that you cannot imagine. It doesn't belong to a love story. I didn't want mainstream music," said Anand.

Asked if he was planning to explore only unique love stories, he said: "Not really. I am a storyteller. If I am in a mood to make you laugh, I will tell you a joke. If I want to scare you, I will tell you a horror story. So it depends on what comes to me at that point of time."

'Ranbir Kapoor can be the next Amitabh Bachchan'

After working with Ranbir Kapoor in two films, director Siddharth Anand feels the young actor has the potential to follow in the footsteps of megastar Amitabh Bachchan as the "complete Hindi film hero".

"The day Ranbir does an action film and does it well, he has the potential to fill the void that Bachchan created," said Anand who teamed up with Ranbir for the second time for his new romantic comedy Anjaana Anjaani releasing Sep 24.

The two had earlier worked together in Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008). Ranbir, 27, is the son of well-known Bollywood actors Rishi and Neetu Kapoor.

"Ranbir is the perfect guy to play Anthony (a character played by Big B in Amar Akbar Anthony), he can play coolie, he can play the characters Bachchan played in his prime. There is no one else but him," Anand told IANS.

"He has got everything it takes to be the complete Hindi film hero that Bachchan was."

Anand, who debuted with Salaam Namaste (2005), says he has tried to push the boundaries with his first film and completely smashed it with Anjaana Anjaani.

"I have torn the boundaries here. When you see the film, it's something unlike you have seen at any point of time. It's a love story but its situations are very unique," said the young director.

"I made Ranbir do strange things. During the shooting of the song Khuda jaane in Bachna Ae Haseeno I made him stand on the tip of a cliff and spread his arms and he was shit scared as he has a vertigo problem.

"In Anjaana Anjaani there is a sequence where they are stranded in the middle of an ocean. It was the Pacific Ocean and he had to dive into the freezing waters. He did it even though he has aquaphobia," said the director.

Talking about the film that co-stars Priyanka Chopra, he said: " Anjaana Anjaani is the story of two strangers who meet in strange circumstances and then part as strangers. So it's a very unique concept for a Hindi film, but it's deep-rooted as a Hindi commercial film. It has songs, stories, beautiful locations and fabulous performances."

Siddharth says more than the actresses, he bonds well with actors.

"I am a hero's director. I bond with my heroes more than I bond with my heroines. Once we become friends, I like to work with them repeatedly if they are okay with it. I have been fortunate enough to work with two superstars," said Anand.

And what made him pair Ranbir with Priyanka?

"I wanted to have a virgin pair. I wanted a brilliant actress because the film is only about the chemistry between two people. It's about their sparks, what they speak, and the banters to and fro.

"Ranbir is a brilliant actor; so I needed someone who would be able to match that. Priyanka just fitted in unbelievably," said Anand.

The director insists that he is very particular about the songs in his films.

"I'm surprised people liked the song Hairat. I was very clear that I wanted music for a love story that you cannot imagine. It doesn't belong to a love story. I didn't want mainstream music," said Anand.

Asked if he was planning to explore only unique love stories, he said: "Not really. I am a storyteller. If I am in a mood to make you laugh, I will tell you a joke. If I want to scare you, I will tell you a horror story. So it depends on what comes to me at that point of time."

Fusion of culture at celebrity wedding

CHENNAI: Top politicians, leading actors, and rows of camerapersons moved in and out. But one celebrity was at the centre of it all. Superstar Rajnikanth was all poise, warmly welcoming every single guest at his daughter's wedding.

Soundarya Rajnikanth's marriage to Stanford-graduate Ashwin Ramkumar on Friday was an interesting coming together of different cultures.

Maharashtrian turbans that the actor and some of his relatives wore, the nine-yard saris that the bride and other women in her family were attired in — all of this marked a seamless confluence of various practices and rituals.

The wedding was a two-day celebration which began on Thursday at the Rani Meyyammai Hall in Egmore, here. The hall was packed as early as 7.30 a.m.

The priest anchoring the rituals in Tamil Brahmin tradition announced that the newly weds were being blessed with verses in all four Vedas.

Producer and managing director of Ocher Studios, Soundarya, who was first dressed in a green silk sari later changed into a red nine-yard sari. Her temple jewellery seemed to blend well with the “ethnic” ambience at the hall. For the evening, she wore a specially-designed sari in golden beige.

In the morning, the guests included the actor's mentor director K. Balachander, director Mani Ratnam, actors Suhasini, Kamal Haasan, poet Vairamuthu, R.M. Veerappan, former Minister, MDMK general-secretary Vaiko and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, with his wife Dayalu Ammal, Union Minister A. Raja and State Minister Durai Murugan and T.R. Baalu, former Minister, came around 7.30 p.m. in the evening. The Chief Minister spent a few minutes on the dais, sharing his joy with the family.

Soon after, the entry of the former Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, made heads turn. Actors Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Sridevi and Union Minister M.K. Alagiri attended a reception held on Thursday.

The stage décor, by D.C. Sekar, went with the theme of the wedding — in the colours pink, green and gold. While the stage had a mandapam in muted gold in the morning, with rows of white flowers, the evening's was a combination of a contemporary and antique look.

There was a lot of buzz in the dining area. Veteran caterer Arusuvai Natarajan, who was supervising, said: “Rajnikanth's family was particular that we stick to the traditional meal on the leaf and avoid the buffet. There are about 26 items on the reception menu, with traditional Karnataka dishes such as bisi bele bhath and Mysore rasam since he [Rajnikanth] is from there.”

Among other guests were some of the old friends of Rajnikanth. The actor's face lit up as soon as he saw an old man, who slowly walked up to the stage. It was N.S. Varadhachari, the actor's lawyer for over three decades.

“I have known Rajnikanth for a long time now. It is amazing how he manages to remain his same, simple self. He is one of those people who can always respect others,” he said.

Fusion of culture at celebrity wedding

CHENNAI: Top politicians, leading actors, and rows of camerapersons moved in and out. But one celebrity was at the centre of it all. Superstar Rajnikanth was all poise, warmly welcoming every single guest at his daughter's wedding.

Soundarya Rajnikanth's marriage to Stanford-graduate Ashwin Ramkumar on Friday was an interesting coming together of different cultures.

Maharashtrian turbans that the actor and some of his relatives wore, the nine-yard saris that the bride and other women in her family were attired in — all of this marked a seamless confluence of various practices and rituals.

The wedding was a two-day celebration which began on Thursday at the Rani Meyyammai Hall in Egmore, here. The hall was packed as early as 7.30 a.m.

The priest anchoring the rituals in Tamil Brahmin tradition announced that the newly weds were being blessed with verses in all four Vedas.

Producer and managing director of Ocher Studios, Soundarya, who was first dressed in a green silk sari later changed into a red nine-yard sari. Her temple jewellery seemed to blend well with the “ethnic” ambience at the hall. For the evening, she wore a specially-designed sari in golden beige.

In the morning, the guests included the actor's mentor director K. Balachander, director Mani Ratnam, actors Suhasini, Kamal Haasan, poet Vairamuthu, R.M. Veerappan, former Minister, MDMK general-secretary Vaiko and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, with his wife Dayalu Ammal, Union Minister A. Raja and State Minister Durai Murugan and T.R. Baalu, former Minister, came around 7.30 p.m. in the evening. The Chief Minister spent a few minutes on the dais, sharing his joy with the family.

Soon after, the entry of the former Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, made heads turn. Actors Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Sridevi and Union Minister M.K. Alagiri attended a reception held on Thursday.

The stage décor, by D.C. Sekar, went with the theme of the wedding — in the colours pink, green and gold. While the stage had a mandapam in muted gold in the morning, with rows of white flowers, the evening's was a combination of a contemporary and antique look.

There was a lot of buzz in the dining area. Veteran caterer Arusuvai Natarajan, who was supervising, said: “Rajnikanth's family was particular that we stick to the traditional meal on the leaf and avoid the buffet. There are about 26 items on the reception menu, with traditional Karnataka dishes such as bisi bele bhath and Mysore rasam since he [Rajnikanth] is from there.”

Among other guests were some of the old friends of Rajnikanth. The actor's face lit up as soon as he saw an old man, who slowly walked up to the stage. It was N.S. Varadhachari, the actor's lawyer for over three decades.

“I have known Rajnikanth for a long time now. It is amazing how he manages to remain his same, simple self. He is one of those people who can always respect others,” he said.

Google to Simplify Privacy Policy

Google on Friday announced that it will be streamlining its privacy policy, effective Oct. 3. The search engine giant is not making any material changes to its policy, but is removing redundant sections, and launching a new privacy tools page.

"Long, complicated and lawyerly—that's what most people think about privacy policies, and for good reason," Mike Yang, associate general counsel at Google, wrote in a blog post. "So we're simplifying and updating Google's privacy policies."

Google will make two different types of changes. First, it will delete 12 product-specific policies that the company finds repetitive.

"These changes are also in line with the way information is used between certain products—for example, since contacts are shared between services like Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Docs, it makes sense for those services to be governed by one privacy policy as well," Yang wrote.

Google also plans to cut out some of the more redundant language and make the phrasing more user-friendly. "For example, we're deleting a sentence that reads: 'The affiliated sites through which our services are offered may have different privacy practices and we encourage you to read their privacy policies,' since it seems obvious that sites not owned by Google might have their own privacy policies," Yang said.

Google will also add more content to some of its help centers so users can more easily find privacy-related information. It will also add a new privacy tools pageGoogle Privacy Center so that "our most popular privacy tools are now all in one place," he said.

Google has a preview of the updated version online now; it will replace the existing version on Oct. 3.

"Our updated privacy policies still might not be your top choice for beach reading (I am, after all, still a lawyer), but hopefully you'll find the improvements to be a step in the right direction," Yang concluded.

The update came the same day that Google's privacy policy came under fire from a California-based consumer group. Consumer Watchdog purchased space on a Times Square jumbotron to show a loop of a15-second video that portrays Google CEO Eric Schmidt as an evil ice cream man stealing your information at will. The group wants Congress to enact "don't track me" legislation similar to "do not call" lists.

Also on Friday, Google settled a class-action case regarding its Buzz social-networking feature. The company will hand over $8.5 million, which - after covering attorneys fees and expenses - will be donated to Internet privacy and education groups.

Google to Simplify Privacy Policy

Google on Friday announced that it will be streamlining its privacy policy, effective Oct. 3. The search engine giant is not making any material changes to its policy, but is removing redundant sections, and launching a new privacy tools page.

"Long, complicated and lawyerly—that's what most people think about privacy policies, and for good reason," Mike Yang, associate general counsel at Google, wrote in a blog post. "So we're simplifying and updating Google's privacy policies."

Google will make two different types of changes. First, it will delete 12 product-specific policies that the company finds repetitive.

"These changes are also in line with the way information is used between certain products—for example, since contacts are shared between services like Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Docs, it makes sense for those services to be governed by one privacy policy as well," Yang wrote.

Google also plans to cut out some of the more redundant language and make the phrasing more user-friendly. "For example, we're deleting a sentence that reads: 'The affiliated sites through which our services are offered may have different privacy practices and we encourage you to read their privacy policies,' since it seems obvious that sites not owned by Google might have their own privacy policies," Yang said.

Google will also add more content to some of its help centers so users can more easily find privacy-related information. It will also add a new privacy tools pageGoogle Privacy Center so that "our most popular privacy tools are now all in one place," he said.

Google has a preview of the updated version online now; it will replace the existing version on Oct. 3.

"Our updated privacy policies still might not be your top choice for beach reading (I am, after all, still a lawyer), but hopefully you'll find the improvements to be a step in the right direction," Yang concluded.

The update came the same day that Google's privacy policy came under fire from a California-based consumer group. Consumer Watchdog purchased space on a Times Square jumbotron to show a loop of a15-second video that portrays Google CEO Eric Schmidt as an evil ice cream man stealing your information at will. The group wants Congress to enact "don't track me" legislation similar to "do not call" lists.

Also on Friday, Google settled a class-action case regarding its Buzz social-networking feature. The company will hand over $8.5 million, which - after covering attorneys fees and expenses - will be donated to Internet privacy and education groups.

Assam IT-ready, asserts Himanta

Minister takes a swipe at Infosys chief, seeks private sector help to attract investors

Guwahati, Sept. 3: In 2006, Infosys mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy had a few posers for Assam, then looking for prospective investors in a fledgling IT sector. “Where is the bandwidth? Where is the five-star hotel?”

Four years later, Assam’s information and technology minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has the answer, or part of it, for the Narayana Murthys.

“We still remember the discussions we had with Narayana Murthy. He had told us categorically that without the proper infrastructure in place, the industry would not be attracted to Assam. Now, I can say with conviction that we are ready. I can also ask Narayana Murthy that it is time for him to keep his part of the bargain,” Sarma said here today, on the concluding day of NICT 2010, the Northeast’s largest gathering of people from the fields of information, communication and technology.

Though the minister was scheduled to attend the inaugural ceremony of NICT 2010 at the Vishwaratna Hotel yesterday, he was held up in Delhi and instead delivered his speech today.

Sarma described NICT — organised by The Telegraph — as the place for his annual “self assessment, where I present the report card for what we have achieved since the last time”.

However, the minister’s conviction about an IT- ready Assam is only partly correct as he himself said, “at least two five-star hotels will be ready by next year”, one being constructed by the Tata Group and another by Radisson.

“The Hyatt group has also signed an MoU with a local partner for setting up a hotel,” he added.

The biggest problem Assam was trying to solve was in regard to bandwidth. Dispur had moved the Centre to acquire bandwidth from international gateways based in Bangladesh rather than from Siliguri or Calcutta.

“Our request has been given the highest priority by a cabinet committee. We feel we have made a justified request by asking for bandwidth from international gateways in Bangladesh, which is much closer to us,” he added.

The IT minister said the state government was eyeing a long-term goal to transform Assam into an attractive destination for the big players.

“Ultimately, it has to be the private sector which will drive the IT industry. We, in the government, can facilitate the process,” Sarma said.

The minister also gave an account of the IT reforms being brought about by Dispur that include plans to set up an IT park for which tenders have already been floated.

“The government is trying to implement several information and technology schemes in government departments which we hope will make the state administration more transparent and efficient,” Sarma added.

The other sessions during the concluding day of the sixth edition of the meet saw government planners, industry captains, academicians and experts in other fields present their points of view on how information technology and IT-related tools can be used in different fields, from education to wildlife.

Assam IT-ready, asserts Himanta

Minister takes a swipe at Infosys chief, seeks private sector help to attract investors

Guwahati, Sept. 3: In 2006, Infosys mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy had a few posers for Assam, then looking for prospective investors in a fledgling IT sector. “Where is the bandwidth? Where is the five-star hotel?”

Four years later, Assam’s information and technology minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has the answer, or part of it, for the Narayana Murthys.

“We still remember the discussions we had with Narayana Murthy. He had told us categorically that without the proper infrastructure in place, the industry would not be attracted to Assam. Now, I can say with conviction that we are ready. I can also ask Narayana Murthy that it is time for him to keep his part of the bargain,” Sarma said here today, on the concluding day of NICT 2010, the Northeast’s largest gathering of people from the fields of information, communication and technology.

Though the minister was scheduled to attend the inaugural ceremony of NICT 2010 at the Vishwaratna Hotel yesterday, he was held up in Delhi and instead delivered his speech today.

Sarma described NICT — organised by The Telegraph — as the place for his annual “self assessment, where I present the report card for what we have achieved since the last time”.

However, the minister’s conviction about an IT- ready Assam is only partly correct as he himself said, “at least two five-star hotels will be ready by next year”, one being constructed by the Tata Group and another by Radisson.

“The Hyatt group has also signed an MoU with a local partner for setting up a hotel,” he added.

The biggest problem Assam was trying to solve was in regard to bandwidth. Dispur had moved the Centre to acquire bandwidth from international gateways based in Bangladesh rather than from Siliguri or Calcutta.

“Our request has been given the highest priority by a cabinet committee. We feel we have made a justified request by asking for bandwidth from international gateways in Bangladesh, which is much closer to us,” he added.

The IT minister said the state government was eyeing a long-term goal to transform Assam into an attractive destination for the big players.

“Ultimately, it has to be the private sector which will drive the IT industry. We, in the government, can facilitate the process,” Sarma said.

The minister also gave an account of the IT reforms being brought about by Dispur that include plans to set up an IT park for which tenders have already been floated.

“The government is trying to implement several information and technology schemes in government departments which we hope will make the state administration more transparent and efficient,” Sarma added.

The other sessions during the concluding day of the sixth edition of the meet saw government planners, industry captains, academicians and experts in other fields present their points of view on how information technology and IT-related tools can be used in different fields, from education to wildlife.

Birlas get 'green' signal for expansion in Orissa

MUMBAI: The Aditya Birla group will double capacity at its alumina unit in Orissa after receiving environmental clearance, stealing a march over rival Vedanta Resources that was recently forced by the government to halt a similar expansion.

Aditya Birla group company Utkal Alumina currently has the capacity to make 1.5 million tonnes of alumina, a key raw material for making aluminium. “We went to the environment ministry for an approval for the expansion and we have got it,” Debu Bhattacharya, managing director of group flagship Hindalco Industries, told ET.

Expansion of alumina refineries is integral to metal companies such as Utkal Alumina and Vedanta Aluminium as it not only gives a higher capacity for conversion into aluminium metal, but also offers opportunities to boost profitability by selling it in the open market. State-run National Aluminium is Asia’s largest producer of alumina.

Bauxite for Utkal Alumina comes from the group’s own mines located at the Baphlimali hills in Raygada district of Orissa.

The move by the Birlas will likely push Utkal Alumina ahead of Vedanta Aluminium in the alumina league table, as the Anil Agarwal-controlled company currently has a capacity of 1 million tonnes at Lanjigarh. Vedanta had started work to take the capacity to 6 million tonnes, but stopped last month after the central government said it had not sought prior approval for the expansion.

Alumina from Utkal will feed the Aditya Birla group’s aluminium smelters in Mahan in Madhya Pradesh and Aditya Aluminium in Orissa.

Novelis looking up, says Birla

Hindalco had recently tied up $1.05 billion in loans for the Utkal Alumina project, which is scheduled to start production in the second quarter of 2012.

Hindalco has also earmarked a spending of about Rs 40,000 crore for its greenfield and expansion projects in the metals space. Speaking to shareholders at an annual general meeting on Friday, Kumar Mangalam Birla, the group's chairman, said smelter expansion at Hirakud from 155,000 tonnes to 161,000 tonnes was progressing and was slated for completion in the second quarter.

Mr Birla also said overseas subsidiary Novelis, which had made large losses soon after acquisition, is now "looking up". Novelis, which was bought by Hindalco for $6 billion in 2007, reported record results in terms of adjusted EBITDA, liquidity and free cash flow, he added. This was despite a 2% decrease in shipments from Novelis, where sales fell due to a contraction in average LME prices. Referring to Hindalco's financing plans, Mr Birla said the company had raised $600 million through a qualified institutional placement issuance, one of the largest such issues in 2009.

Birlas get 'green' signal for expansion in Orissa

MUMBAI: The Aditya Birla group will double capacity at its alumina unit in Orissa after receiving environmental clearance, stealing a march over rival Vedanta Resources that was recently forced by the government to halt a similar expansion.

Aditya Birla group company Utkal Alumina currently has the capacity to make 1.5 million tonnes of alumina, a key raw material for making aluminium. “We went to the environment ministry for an approval for the expansion and we have got it,” Debu Bhattacharya, managing director of group flagship Hindalco Industries, told ET.

Expansion of alumina refineries is integral to metal companies such as Utkal Alumina and Vedanta Aluminium as it not only gives a higher capacity for conversion into aluminium metal, but also offers opportunities to boost profitability by selling it in the open market. State-run National Aluminium is Asia’s largest producer of alumina.

Bauxite for Utkal Alumina comes from the group’s own mines located at the Baphlimali hills in Raygada district of Orissa.

The move by the Birlas will likely push Utkal Alumina ahead of Vedanta Aluminium in the alumina league table, as the Anil Agarwal-controlled company currently has a capacity of 1 million tonnes at Lanjigarh. Vedanta had started work to take the capacity to 6 million tonnes, but stopped last month after the central government said it had not sought prior approval for the expansion.

Alumina from Utkal will feed the Aditya Birla group’s aluminium smelters in Mahan in Madhya Pradesh and Aditya Aluminium in Orissa.

Novelis looking up, says Birla

Hindalco had recently tied up $1.05 billion in loans for the Utkal Alumina project, which is scheduled to start production in the second quarter of 2012.

Hindalco has also earmarked a spending of about Rs 40,000 crore for its greenfield and expansion projects in the metals space. Speaking to shareholders at an annual general meeting on Friday, Kumar Mangalam Birla, the group's chairman, said smelter expansion at Hirakud from 155,000 tonnes to 161,000 tonnes was progressing and was slated for completion in the second quarter.

Mr Birla also said overseas subsidiary Novelis, which had made large losses soon after acquisition, is now "looking up". Novelis, which was bought by Hindalco for $6 billion in 2007, reported record results in terms of adjusted EBITDA, liquidity and free cash flow, he added. This was despite a 2% decrease in shipments from Novelis, where sales fell due to a contraction in average LME prices. Referring to Hindalco's financing plans, Mr Birla said the company had raised $600 million through a qualified institutional placement issuance, one of the largest such issues in 2009.

Two pilots killed in cargo plane crash in Dubai

Two pilots were killed on Friday when a Boeing 747 cargo plane crashed on a road just two minutes after it took off from Dubai airport, police said. The plane which took off for Cologne in Germany came down in a ball of fire at about 8 pm near the Nad Al Sheba military camp close to the Global Village, just 20 km from the airport, according to Khaleej Times.

Both pilots died and their bodies have been recovered, police sources said.

Eyewitnesses said the jumbo jet streaking flames roared over the Emirates Road setting some cars on fire, but there is no report of injuries on the ground.

Col. Omer Al Shamsi, Deputy Director of Operations Room of the Dubai Police, said the cargo plane belonged to UPS, a US cargo company.

"This incident is very unfortunate and we will do everything we can to find the cause," said Lekites of UPS. "Our thoughts go out to the crew members involved in the incident and their families."

According to sources, both pilots were Americans and the cargo plane was carrying electronics items and toys.

The "GO" team of the US National Transportation Safety Board, also known as Tin Kickers, is expected to arrive soon in Dubai to ascertain the cause of the crash.

Deputy Director of the Dubai Civil Defence, Col. Ahmed Al Sayegh, said the rescue team is yet to find the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder of the plane.

Two pilots killed in cargo plane crash in Dubai

Two pilots were killed on Friday when a Boeing 747 cargo plane crashed on a road just two minutes after it took off from Dubai airport, police said. The plane which took off for Cologne in Germany came down in a ball of fire at about 8 pm near the Nad Al Sheba military camp close to the Global Village, just 20 km from the airport, according to Khaleej Times.

Both pilots died and their bodies have been recovered, police sources said.

Eyewitnesses said the jumbo jet streaking flames roared over the Emirates Road setting some cars on fire, but there is no report of injuries on the ground.

Col. Omer Al Shamsi, Deputy Director of Operations Room of the Dubai Police, said the cargo plane belonged to UPS, a US cargo company.

"This incident is very unfortunate and we will do everything we can to find the cause," said Lekites of UPS. "Our thoughts go out to the crew members involved in the incident and their families."

According to sources, both pilots were Americans and the cargo plane was carrying electronics items and toys.

The "GO" team of the US National Transportation Safety Board, also known as Tin Kickers, is expected to arrive soon in Dubai to ascertain the cause of the crash.

Deputy Director of the Dubai Civil Defence, Col. Ahmed Al Sayegh, said the rescue team is yet to find the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder of the plane.

55 killed in Pak suicide blast

ISLAMABAD: A suicide blast ripped through a rally of Shia Muslims in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta on Friday, killing at least 53 people and injuring around 197. Two other blasts rocked Mardan and Peshawar on the last Friday of Ramzan, killing two including one police officer.

The Quetta blast occurred at about 3pm at a gathering of about 2,000 people in Meezan
Chowk. The rally was organized by Shia Imamia Students' Organisation to observe Al-Quds Day. Every year on the last Friday of Ramzan, processions are taken out across Pakistan to support Palestinian demand for a homeland.

According to Baluchistan's police chief Malik Iqbal, it was a suicide attack.

After the blast, people at the rally turned violent. Some fired in the air. As smoke billowed from the blast site, people were seen fleeing. Others rushed to take cover to shield them from the gunfire. The injured were taken to civil and police hospitals at Quetta.

"The death toll has touched 53. It could rise as several of the injured are in a critical condition," said Shahban Ali, a senior police officer.

Only two days ago, triple suicide bombings targeted a Shia procession in Lahore killing 39 people and injuring more than 200. The Shia community was observing the death anniversary of Hazrat Ali, Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law.

Both the Pakistan Taliban and the Punjab-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the Quetta blast as they had done for the Lahore attack.

Earlier, Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik had warned of possible suicide attacks on religious gatherings. He had asked Shia Muslims to hold their religious ceremonies indoors.

Shia leader Allama Abbas Kumaili appealed to the people to remain calm."These are attempts to create a divide between Sunni and Shia sects," he told a TV channel. The attacks against minority sects are a fallout of government failure, he said. "Our government makes all efforts to secure VIPs. Common men are not a priority," he said.

Earlier on Friday, one person was killed and four injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque of the Ahmadi sect at Mardan in northwest Pakistan. "The bomber blew himself up when he was intercepted by guards outside the mosque," Mardan police chief said. In Peshawar, one police officer was killed when a bomb exploded near a patrol vehicle.

55 killed in Pak suicide blast

ISLAMABAD: A suicide blast ripped through a rally of Shia Muslims in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta on Friday, killing at least 53 people and injuring around 197. Two other blasts rocked Mardan and Peshawar on the last Friday of Ramzan, killing two including one police officer.

The Quetta blast occurred at about 3pm at a gathering of about 2,000 people in Meezan
Chowk. The rally was organized by Shia Imamia Students' Organisation to observe Al-Quds Day. Every year on the last Friday of Ramzan, processions are taken out across Pakistan to support Palestinian demand for a homeland.

According to Baluchistan's police chief Malik Iqbal, it was a suicide attack.

After the blast, people at the rally turned violent. Some fired in the air. As smoke billowed from the blast site, people were seen fleeing. Others rushed to take cover to shield them from the gunfire. The injured were taken to civil and police hospitals at Quetta.

"The death toll has touched 53. It could rise as several of the injured are in a critical condition," said Shahban Ali, a senior police officer.

Only two days ago, triple suicide bombings targeted a Shia procession in Lahore killing 39 people and injuring more than 200. The Shia community was observing the death anniversary of Hazrat Ali, Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law.

Both the Pakistan Taliban and the Punjab-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the Quetta blast as they had done for the Lahore attack.

Earlier, Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik had warned of possible suicide attacks on religious gatherings. He had asked Shia Muslims to hold their religious ceremonies indoors.

Shia leader Allama Abbas Kumaili appealed to the people to remain calm."These are attempts to create a divide between Sunni and Shia sects," he told a TV channel. The attacks against minority sects are a fallout of government failure, he said. "Our government makes all efforts to secure VIPs. Common men are not a priority," he said.

Earlier on Friday, one person was killed and four injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque of the Ahmadi sect at Mardan in northwest Pakistan. "The bomber blew himself up when he was intercepted by guards outside the mosque," Mardan police chief said. In Peshawar, one police officer was killed when a bomb exploded near a patrol vehicle.

India To Discuss China With US Later This Month

NEW DELHI: Even as India formally protested to China about the presence of its troops in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, New Delhi is getting ready to engage the US on China.

Indian officials, led by Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary, East Asia, in the MEA, will be in Washington later this month for the second round of Asian strategic dialogue with Kurt Campbell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asia. While the dialogue will largely cover the two countries approach to Asian policies and strategies, China is likely to dominate the talks. The first round of the talks was held in New Delhi in April, where India and the US for the first time shared perceptions and assessments about China, followed by other countries like Myanmar.

A lot has happened with China since then. Both India and the US have had several run-ins with China on national security issues all of which are likely to be discussed.

In July, the US barged its way into the South China Sea debate at the Asean conference, what went unnoticed was that India joined 11 other countries to openly declare that the South China Sea should remain open for international navigation. It was an important statement, and it was made at the Asean Region Forum "retreat" meeting by MoS external affairs Preneet Kaur. It was made in response to China's declaration that the South China Sea would to be an integral part of Beijing's "core" interest, along with Tibet and Taiwan.

India retains a strong interest in keeping sea lanes open in the South China Sea. Apart from helping secure energy supplies for countries like Japan and Korea, India has the unique distinction of shipping oil from Sakhalin to Mangalore through this sea route. For China to maintain control over these waters would be very difficult for India to accept.

In the past few months, the US has upped the ante with China on the national security front -- its naval exercises with South Korea in the Sea of Japan raised hackles in Beijing (even though the US refrained from conducting these exercises in the Yellow sea, which would have really riled the Chinese).

China has also stopped defence exchanges with the US, after the Obama administration carried out arms sales with Taiwan.

China has been hurting India's own core interests lately, with the matter coming to a head when Beijing refused to allow the visit of the Indian army's GOC-in-C northern command because his command included Jammu & Kashmir.

There is a growing perception in India that the Chinese military establishment is playing a different foreign policy script than the foreign office in Beijing. This perception has been strengthened over the past couple of years, which makes India's diplomacy on China a lot more difficult.

India To Discuss China With US Later This Month

NEW DELHI: Even as India formally protested to China about the presence of its troops in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, New Delhi is getting ready to engage the US on China.

Indian officials, led by Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary, East Asia, in the MEA, will be in Washington later this month for the second round of Asian strategic dialogue with Kurt Campbell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asia. While the dialogue will largely cover the two countries approach to Asian policies and strategies, China is likely to dominate the talks. The first round of the talks was held in New Delhi in April, where India and the US for the first time shared perceptions and assessments about China, followed by other countries like Myanmar.

A lot has happened with China since then. Both India and the US have had several run-ins with China on national security issues all of which are likely to be discussed.

In July, the US barged its way into the South China Sea debate at the Asean conference, what went unnoticed was that India joined 11 other countries to openly declare that the South China Sea should remain open for international navigation. It was an important statement, and it was made at the Asean Region Forum "retreat" meeting by MoS external affairs Preneet Kaur. It was made in response to China's declaration that the South China Sea would to be an integral part of Beijing's "core" interest, along with Tibet and Taiwan.

India retains a strong interest in keeping sea lanes open in the South China Sea. Apart from helping secure energy supplies for countries like Japan and Korea, India has the unique distinction of shipping oil from Sakhalin to Mangalore through this sea route. For China to maintain control over these waters would be very difficult for India to accept.

In the past few months, the US has upped the ante with China on the national security front -- its naval exercises with South Korea in the Sea of Japan raised hackles in Beijing (even though the US refrained from conducting these exercises in the Yellow sea, which would have really riled the Chinese).

China has also stopped defence exchanges with the US, after the Obama administration carried out arms sales with Taiwan.

China has been hurting India's own core interests lately, with the matter coming to a head when Beijing refused to allow the visit of the Indian army's GOC-in-C northern command because his command included Jammu & Kashmir.

There is a growing perception in India that the Chinese military establishment is playing a different foreign policy script than the foreign office in Beijing. This perception has been strengthened over the past couple of years, which makes India's diplomacy on China a lot more difficult.

NEW DELHI: Heavy rain and terrible traffic snarls could not dampen the festivities in the Congress headquarters on Friday as Sonia Gandhi was declared elected Congress president for the fourth consecutive term ­­— ‘unopposed’.

KOLKATA: Manoj Mahato, secretary of the Maoist-led People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), has gone missing. His parents allege that police picked him up from his ancestral home in Birkanr village, near Lalgarh, early on Friday.

Police, however, refuse to say if he has been detained. "We have no information on this matter," said IG (law and order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha.

The 26-year-old Manoj had taken Sidhu Soren's place after he was gunned down in an encounter. He is a cousin of Chhatradhar Mahato, the most prominent PCPA leader, now in jail. Chhatradhar was arrested by Kolkata Police's Special Task Force (STF) in September 2009 from the same village.

PCPA leader Shyamal Mahato, a close aide of Manoj, said police rounded up the PCPA secretary early on Friday morning. "Manoj was in Birkanr village when a group of armed policemen in mufti cordoned off his house. They had come on motorcycles. Manoj was taken at gunpoint towards the Kantapahari police camp, around 1km from the house," said Shyamal.

Manoj's parents Kalipada and Durga Mahato corroborated Shyamal's claims. "He (Manoj) was having tea with us in the morning. At 6.30am, some armed men stormed into the house and whisked him away at gunpoint. They introduced themselves as policemen," said Durga. "We went to the Kantapahari camp in search of him, but were told that he had been shifted to the Midnapore police lines," said Kalipada.

"If police do not confirm his arrest then we will lodge a complaint of abduction at Lalgarh police station," said his parents. PCPA leaders confirmed that Manoj, who had gone underground, had spent the past few nights in his native village but hid during the day elsewhere.

Some PCPA associates and villagers claim that a CRPF team had come to Mahato's home around 3am, but could not find him and left. Manoj came home sometime after the CRPF raid.

If PCPA's claims are true, Manoj is the second major catch after Chhatradhar. He had taken a leading role in Jangalmahal since November 2008. As a central committee member of the PCPA, he used to take crucial decisions, particularly after Chhatradhar went underground. When PCPA spokesperson Asit Mahato's name came to the fore as the prime accused, Manoj took over his post. And after Sidhu Soren was killed in an encounter in Metala forest in July, Manoj became the PCPA secretary.

TOI had interviewed him on August 10, just a day after Mamata Banerjee's rally in Lalgarh.

On that day he was busy with a central committee meeting to decide whether PCPA should contest the next assembly election or play a supporting role. Manoj was one of the PCPA leaders eager to come overground and float a political outfit.

NEW DELHI: Heavy rain and terrible traffic snarls could not dampen the festivities in the Congress headquarters on Friday as Sonia Gandhi was declared elected Congress president for the fourth consecutive term ­­— ‘unopposed’.

KOLKATA: Manoj Mahato, secretary of the Maoist-led People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), has gone missing. His parents allege that police picked him up from his ancestral home in Birkanr village, near Lalgarh, early on Friday.

Police, however, refuse to say if he has been detained. "We have no information on this matter," said IG (law and order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha.

The 26-year-old Manoj had taken Sidhu Soren's place after he was gunned down in an encounter. He is a cousin of Chhatradhar Mahato, the most prominent PCPA leader, now in jail. Chhatradhar was arrested by Kolkata Police's Special Task Force (STF) in September 2009 from the same village.

PCPA leader Shyamal Mahato, a close aide of Manoj, said police rounded up the PCPA secretary early on Friday morning. "Manoj was in Birkanr village when a group of armed policemen in mufti cordoned off his house. They had come on motorcycles. Manoj was taken at gunpoint towards the Kantapahari police camp, around 1km from the house," said Shyamal.

Manoj's parents Kalipada and Durga Mahato corroborated Shyamal's claims. "He (Manoj) was having tea with us in the morning. At 6.30am, some armed men stormed into the house and whisked him away at gunpoint. They introduced themselves as policemen," said Durga. "We went to the Kantapahari camp in search of him, but were told that he had been shifted to the Midnapore police lines," said Kalipada.

"If police do not confirm his arrest then we will lodge a complaint of abduction at Lalgarh police station," said his parents. PCPA leaders confirmed that Manoj, who had gone underground, had spent the past few nights in his native village but hid during the day elsewhere.

Some PCPA associates and villagers claim that a CRPF team had come to Mahato's home around 3am, but could not find him and left. Manoj came home sometime after the CRPF raid.

If PCPA's claims are true, Manoj is the second major catch after Chhatradhar. He had taken a leading role in Jangalmahal since November 2008. As a central committee member of the PCPA, he used to take crucial decisions, particularly after Chhatradhar went underground. When PCPA spokesperson Asit Mahato's name came to the fore as the prime accused, Manoj took over his post. And after Sidhu Soren was killed in an encounter in Metala forest in July, Manoj became the PCPA secretary.

TOI had interviewed him on August 10, just a day after Mamata Banerjee's rally in Lalgarh.

On that day he was busy with a central committee meeting to decide whether PCPA should contest the next assembly election or play a supporting role. Manoj was one of the PCPA leaders eager to come overground and float a political outfit.

Sonia re-elected Congress chief

NEW DELHI: Heavy rain and terrible traffic snarls could not dampen the festivities in the Congress headquarters on Friday as Sonia Gandhi was declared elected Congress president for the fourth consecutive term ­­— ‘unopposed’.


From Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ailing Arjun Singh pushing his own wheelchair, the Congress top-brass had to brave the truant weather and the attendant mud-and-slush along with the foot soldiers of India’s oldest political party in this ritual of democracy.

Importance of attendance was marked by the two quick trips Union Home Minister P Chidambaram made from North Block to 24, Akbar Road to be part of the ceremony that took place inside a tri-colour tent. (First time, he was too early for the event).

As for Sonia, who chose to make India her home, it was a historic day. But in her simple saffron-and-black cotton sari and in her demeanor, that sense of history was missing.

With no one really challenging her leadership, her nominated Prime Minister heading a record second-term government, her former bête noirs or their children firmly stationed in the UPA coalition, it seemed just other another day, just another political jamboree.

It is, perhaps, this sense of stability that made her new innings look mundane, robbing the significance of the record scored.

However, in the few words she uttered after accepting the certificate of election from Oscar Fernandes, Sonia reiterated her political moorings: “Since the beginning, the Congress has been working for every section of the society. Whether we are in government or not, we should not forget this big responsibility.”

Even while thanking the Congress leaders and workers across the country for ‘re-appointing her president for yet another term,’ she seemed to harp on the same point, but also added, “Together we can strengthen this great organisation.”

First elected as Congress president in 1998, her attempts at forming a coalition government headed by the Congress met with success in 2004 when then BJP-led NDA government got defeated in the general elections.

Whether in her fourth term at office she is able to realise the dream of once again reviving the Congress in the northern heartland through ‘work for every section and together with the grass-root workers’, needs to be seen. Till then, as a veteran Congress leader said, it is an ‘unfulfilled innings.'

Sonia re-elected Congress chief

NEW DELHI: Heavy rain and terrible traffic snarls could not dampen the festivities in the Congress headquarters on Friday as Sonia Gandhi was declared elected Congress president for the fourth consecutive term ­­— ‘unopposed’.


From Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ailing Arjun Singh pushing his own wheelchair, the Congress top-brass had to brave the truant weather and the attendant mud-and-slush along with the foot soldiers of India’s oldest political party in this ritual of democracy.

Importance of attendance was marked by the two quick trips Union Home Minister P Chidambaram made from North Block to 24, Akbar Road to be part of the ceremony that took place inside a tri-colour tent. (First time, he was too early for the event).

As for Sonia, who chose to make India her home, it was a historic day. But in her simple saffron-and-black cotton sari and in her demeanor, that sense of history was missing.

With no one really challenging her leadership, her nominated Prime Minister heading a record second-term government, her former bête noirs or their children firmly stationed in the UPA coalition, it seemed just other another day, just another political jamboree.

It is, perhaps, this sense of stability that made her new innings look mundane, robbing the significance of the record scored.

However, in the few words she uttered after accepting the certificate of election from Oscar Fernandes, Sonia reiterated her political moorings: “Since the beginning, the Congress has been working for every section of the society. Whether we are in government or not, we should not forget this big responsibility.”

Even while thanking the Congress leaders and workers across the country for ‘re-appointing her president for yet another term,’ she seemed to harp on the same point, but also added, “Together we can strengthen this great organisation.”

First elected as Congress president in 1998, her attempts at forming a coalition government headed by the Congress met with success in 2004 when then BJP-led NDA government got defeated in the general elections.

Whether in her fourth term at office she is able to realise the dream of once again reviving the Congress in the northern heartland through ‘work for every section and together with the grass-root workers’, needs to be seen. Till then, as a veteran Congress leader said, it is an ‘unfulfilled innings.'

Tendulkar tells youngsters to resist lure of money

(Reuters) - Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar advised young cricketers on Friday to resist the lure of money and play the game in the cleanest possible way.

Tendulkar said money in cricket was not necessarily a bad thing but that it should not be the priority for a young player.

"The priority is to play cricket in the cleanest way and in the right spirit," Tendulkar told reporters after he was made an honorary Group Captain of the Indian Air Force.

Tendulkar's comments come in the wake of the Lord's spot-fixing scandal where Pakistani bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were accused of bowling deliberate no-balls by arrangement.

The duo, along with captain Salman Butt, have been provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council.

Tendulkar said it was the love for the game that kept him going even after two decades in international cricket.

"When I started playing cricket I did not think of making money. I started playing cricket because I loved it and even today that is the case," he said.

"It's not about money. If I make more money and less runs, I would not be able to sleep at night. When I score runs, I sleep well at night."

Tendulkar also vouched for the commitment of his Indian team mates.

"I can stick out my neck and can tell you that players who play for India are committed, determined and always wanting to go out and give their best."

Tendulkar tells youngsters to resist lure of money

(Reuters) - Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar advised young cricketers on Friday to resist the lure of money and play the game in the cleanest possible way.

Tendulkar said money in cricket was not necessarily a bad thing but that it should not be the priority for a young player.

"The priority is to play cricket in the cleanest way and in the right spirit," Tendulkar told reporters after he was made an honorary Group Captain of the Indian Air Force.

Tendulkar's comments come in the wake of the Lord's spot-fixing scandal where Pakistani bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were accused of bowling deliberate no-balls by arrangement.

The duo, along with captain Salman Butt, have been provisionally suspended by the International Cricket Council.

Tendulkar said it was the love for the game that kept him going even after two decades in international cricket.

"When I started playing cricket I did not think of making money. I started playing cricket because I loved it and even today that is the case," he said.

"It's not about money. If I make more money and less runs, I would not be able to sleep at night. When I score runs, I sleep well at night."

Tendulkar also vouched for the commitment of his Indian team mates.

"I can stick out my neck and can tell you that players who play for India are committed, determined and always wanting to go out and give their best."

Mastermind of Bihar hostage crisis arrested: Report

NEW DELHI: Security forces on Saturday arrested two Maoist leaders in Jamui district of Bihar. One of the two arrested Maoists is said to be the mastermind of the Bihar hostage crisis.

The alleged mastermind has been identified as Pramod, TV channels reported. However, the police is yet to confirm the news of the arrest of Maoist leaders.

Security forces have stepped up combing operations after the death of cop Lucas Tete.

The body of Lucas Tete, an assistant sub-inspector of the Bihar Military Police ASI, shot in the chest was found on Friday at the Simra Tari Sringirishi dam in Kajra police station area, about 150 km from Patna, superintendent of police, R K Mishra said.

A Maoist poster left beside the body, clad in a vest, blue shirt and sarong, read "Time is running out fast and if the state government fails to accede to our demand for releasing eight of our colleagues in jails, the other three will meet a similar fate."

Self-proclaimed Maoist spokesman Avinash had on Thursday claimed to have killed a hostage, sub- inspector Abhay Yadav.

Avinash telephoned media offices here reiterating his claim of killing Yadav, the Manikpur station house officer, and renewed his readiness for holding talks with the state government for freeing the hostages after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had yesterday held out an offer of dialogue.

Cobra, CRPF, BMP, STF and SAP of the Bihar police personnel were conducting intensified search for the three other policemen being held by the Maoists, Inspector general (operations), K S Dwivedi, overseeing the operations, said.

Four Bihar policemen - Tete, Yadav, Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Ehsan Khan - were kidnapped by Maoists after a six-hour gunfight in Lakhisarai district Sunday. The gunbattle left seven policemen dead and 10 injured.

Maoists claimed Sunday's gunfight and kidnappings were in retaliation for the killing of their leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and a journalist on the night of July 1-2 in Andhra Pradesh.

Mastermind of Bihar hostage crisis arrested: Report

NEW DELHI: Security forces on Saturday arrested two Maoist leaders in Jamui district of Bihar. One of the two arrested Maoists is said to be the mastermind of the Bihar hostage crisis.

The alleged mastermind has been identified as Pramod, TV channels reported. However, the police is yet to confirm the news of the arrest of Maoist leaders.

Security forces have stepped up combing operations after the death of cop Lucas Tete.

The body of Lucas Tete, an assistant sub-inspector of the Bihar Military Police ASI, shot in the chest was found on Friday at the Simra Tari Sringirishi dam in Kajra police station area, about 150 km from Patna, superintendent of police, R K Mishra said.

A Maoist poster left beside the body, clad in a vest, blue shirt and sarong, read "Time is running out fast and if the state government fails to accede to our demand for releasing eight of our colleagues in jails, the other three will meet a similar fate."

Self-proclaimed Maoist spokesman Avinash had on Thursday claimed to have killed a hostage, sub- inspector Abhay Yadav.

Avinash telephoned media offices here reiterating his claim of killing Yadav, the Manikpur station house officer, and renewed his readiness for holding talks with the state government for freeing the hostages after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had yesterday held out an offer of dialogue.

Cobra, CRPF, BMP, STF and SAP of the Bihar police personnel were conducting intensified search for the three other policemen being held by the Maoists, Inspector general (operations), K S Dwivedi, overseeing the operations, said.

Four Bihar policemen - Tete, Yadav, Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Ehsan Khan - were kidnapped by Maoists after a six-hour gunfight in Lakhisarai district Sunday. The gunbattle left seven policemen dead and 10 injured.

Maoists claimed Sunday's gunfight and kidnappings were in retaliation for the killing of their leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and a journalist on the night of July 1-2 in Andhra Pradesh.

Tainted Pakistani trio questioned over 'calls, SMSes, secret accounts'

The three Pakistani cricketers implicated in the 'spot-fixing' scandal were questioned about the calls and text messages they exchanged with alleged bookie Mazhar Majeed and their "secret accounts" by the Scotland Yard in London.

The three players at the centre of the row -- Test captain Salman Butt and pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir -- were released without a charge by the Scotland Yard after questioning yesterday.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the trio was "questioned by detectives over text messages, phone calls and secret bank accounts linked to alleged match-fixing."

Aamir spent almost five hours being quizzed by the police and he was reportedly asked about a "message he allegedly sent to Majeed."

"Shall I do it or not?" was the text message that Aamir allegedly sent Majeed a night before sending down a deliberate no-ball in the Lord's Test against England last week.

"They were asked about secret accounts in Swiss and British banks, which, according to the News of the World investigation, Majeed said he had set up in their names," the newspaper reported.

The newspaper said Butt, in whose room cash linked to the betting scam was reportedly found, is being suspected the most.

"It has been reported that £50,000 was found in his room by police but he said the money, some in foreign currency, was to pay a dowry for his sister."

ICC's anti-corruption and security unit chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan has already stated that the evidence at hand has made it clear that the players in question "have a really arguable case to answer in our disciplinary arena."

Tainted Pakistani trio questioned over 'calls, SMSes, secret accounts'

The three Pakistani cricketers implicated in the 'spot-fixing' scandal were questioned about the calls and text messages they exchanged with alleged bookie Mazhar Majeed and their "secret accounts" by the Scotland Yard in London.

The three players at the centre of the row -- Test captain Salman Butt and pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir -- were released without a charge by the Scotland Yard after questioning yesterday.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the trio was "questioned by detectives over text messages, phone calls and secret bank accounts linked to alleged match-fixing."

Aamir spent almost five hours being quizzed by the police and he was reportedly asked about a "message he allegedly sent to Majeed."

"Shall I do it or not?" was the text message that Aamir allegedly sent Majeed a night before sending down a deliberate no-ball in the Lord's Test against England last week.

"They were asked about secret accounts in Swiss and British banks, which, according to the News of the World investigation, Majeed said he had set up in their names," the newspaper reported.

The newspaper said Butt, in whose room cash linked to the betting scam was reportedly found, is being suspected the most.

"It has been reported that £50,000 was found in his room by police but he said the money, some in foreign currency, was to pay a dowry for his sister."

ICC's anti-corruption and security unit chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan has already stated that the evidence at hand has made it clear that the players in question "have a really arguable case to answer in our disciplinary arena."