What’s been happening?

The auction of Gandhi’s personal belongings:


James Otis, the owner of the articles, wanted to stop the auction on the condition that the Indian Government spent more money on healthcare for the poor.
However, Antiquorum Auctioneers,the auction house in New York refused to do so.
Finally, Vijay Mallya purchased the items: A pocket watch, a plate and bowl, sandals and spectacles, for the sum of $1.8 million. This is the second time he has come to the forefront in such an issue, the first being when he brought back the sword of Tipu Sultan.

The items were put up for auction by James Otis, a documentary filmmaker and a self-proclaimed pacifist.

The bidding started at $20,000 and, within half a minute, rose to $1 million. An unnamed American antique dealer pushed the bidding up to $1.7 million but gave up when it rose to $1.8 million.

Robert Maron, the president of the auction house, who personally refused to identify both the seller and the buyer, said that because of a legal dispute with the owner, the items would not leave the auction house for two weeks.

It was not clear why the auction went ahead, even after Otis had announced that he was withdrawing the items from the auction, after holding talks with the Indian government.

“We do not recognise Otis,” Maron said.

Attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan:

Sri Lankan off-spinner Murali Muralitharan and Australian umpire Simon Taufel suggested on Thursday that there may have been a
‘conspiracy’ behind the attack.

Speculation continued to swirl around the 03/03 attack on Lankan cricketers in Lahore, with Australian umpire Simon Taufel and Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan suggesting an ‘‘inside job’’ even as the Pakistani media claimed the attack might have been planned by Lashkar-e-Taiba to take players hostage and demand the release of Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and other LeT operatives.

Both spoke about an inexplicable change made to the timing of the departure of the Pakistan team bus, which ensured the host team escaped the terrorists’ bullets. Taufel said that while the two teams had travelled to the stadium together on the previous two days, on the day of the attack the bus carrying the Pakistan team left five minutes later.

Lashing out at the security failure, Muralitharan said the terrorists may have had inside information. ‘There were no police with guns on the bus – if someone was there with a gun we would have had a chance of defending ourselves,’’ he said.

‘‘One thing I have been impressed about in Pakistan is that logistically they are usually very well-organised. They normally depart on time,’’ he said on Thursday. ‘‘We knew we were departing at 8.30 am on the third morning. As to why the Pakistani team left at a different time, I don’t know.’’

Taufel said there were three vans and four police motorcycles in their convoy but after the attacks they were left on their own: ‘‘There were no other police vehicles, or any other police defending us. There was no one protecting us during the firing. We were not given the same security as the playing staff. I am angry that we were isolated. You tell me why supposedly 20 armed commandos were in our convoy and when the team bus got going again, we were left on our own? I don’t have any answers.’’

Murali is yet to make up his mind about playing for Team Chennai in the IPL. ‘‘It is an eye-opener for everyone. We travel in groups of 23 or 25 – it is an easy target. So in future, people should travel alone,’’ he said, adding: ‘‘I don’t know (about the IPL), we have to speak to them, make sure everything is right – not only IPL, England, anywhere.”

Another Australian umpire who was present, Steve Davis, said: ‘‘We were certainly left without any security. When the Lankan bus managed to get away, we were left there and no one came back for us.’’

PCB chairman Ejaz Butt ducked questions on Thursday, instead saying police officials should be asked if the system was implemented. A former chief operating officer of the PCB, Shafqat Naghmi, confirmed that the board had signed an SOP with the government last year pertaining to security arrangements.

Mehar Mohammed Khalil, the driver of the Sri Lankan bus who was debriefed by Pakistani police on Tuesday evening, denied that the Pakistan team had been delayed by five minutes, or that the security escort had been split between the two teams. However, the Times of London said, ‘‘Khalil’s version of events has now been contradicted by Muralitharan and three other passengers in the convoy.’’

Prince Charles has been names “the best dressed man”, according to Esquire Magazine.

Gay businessman taken to court:

A sessions court at Fort has been busy hearing an unusual matter—a wealthy businessman and a sailor with the merchant navy have had to
plead for protection from arrest after the wife of the former alleged that the duo was in a homosexual relationship. The Gamdevi police even registered a case under Section 377 of the IPC—the law that criminalises homosexual relations—against the two.

Ratan Shrivastav, 39, a resident of Peddar Road, and his wife Pooja, 37, got married in 1994 and have an eight-year-old son. Pooja, however, alleges that Ratan “kept having relationships with several men” which was “hampering her married life”. She also said that she had often sent Ratan to a counsellor but that did not improve their marital relations. The complaint also says that there are CDs in which Ratan can be seen in a compromising position with other men.

In his anticipatory bail plea, Ratan did not deny that he was gay. He said he first went to the cops in January when he was told that a non-cognisable complaint had been registered against him for slapping Pooja.

Mum unaware of son’s homosexual relations

Peddar Road businessman Ratan Shrivastav and his sailor friend moved the court for anticipatory bail after Ratan’s wife lodged a non-cognisable complaint against them at Gamdevi police station. Thereafter, a police constable even came to his residence on February 9 and asked his mother whether Ratan was a homosexual.

His mother replied that it was his personal matter and she had no knowledge of it.

Ratan moved court on February 27 when he realised that on a specific complaint by Pooja the police had registered a case under Section 377 against him and his alleged partner, Damien Christopher, 28, the sailor. Ratan feared that he was going to be arrested for custodial interrogation since homosexuality remains a cognizable offence under Indian law. He thus rushed to court for protection and the same day was granted interim anticipatory bail till March 7.

On Thursday, the court heard the anticipatory bail plea of Christopher. Judge D U Mulla wondered whether there was any need for custody in such matters. He observed that there was no evidence that Pooja had been harassed or whether police needed to collect any material evidence. The court granted anticipatory bail to Christopher. Ratan’s own plea will come up for hearing again on Saturday.

PSUs are a big draw at IIM placements:

AHMEDABAD: This is the year when the ‘sarkari’ job is making a comeback, even at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad
(IIM-A). Thanks to the slowdown, placements for the 2007-09 batch saw government banks and public sector units (PSUs) take a huge share of graduates from this premier business school.

The PSUs in total took 41 students out of a total of 235 from the batch — a huge gain considering that they drew a blank over last two years.

With the meltdown restricting choices of students, the normally adventurous IIM-A graduates opted for a stable job this time. These were the firms they used to turn away from earlier, preferring companies like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

Leading the PSU pack was Union Bank of India (UBI) which grabbed 18 graduates. The next big recruiter was Bank of Baroda (BOB) which took six followed by PSUs like Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).

Director of IIM-A Samir Barua told mediapersons on Thursday that even the job profiles offered were very different. “They were not regular entry-level profiles usually given to students. Students were taken at senior positions”.

The average domestic salary that has been offered is Rs 12.17 lakh per annum — down from Rs 17.85 lakh last year. The average foreign salary offered was $83,000 which is far lower than last year’s $119,000 per annum.

Trends also showed that only seven PGP students of the class of 2007-09 students opted for entrepreneurship, compared to 11 last year. Obviously, less students felt confident about facing bleak market conditions.

Finance remained a favourite sector with 39% of the students taking jobs in this sector. But this was far less than 57% of jobs which went to the finance sector last year.

~ by cranialrumblings on March 5, 2009.

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