May 21, 2001



Top 10 Colleges
Of India

As admission time approaches, students face the dilemma of making a choice from among the 10,000-odd colleges. INDIA TODAY-Gallup's fifth survey ranks the centres of excellence on key factors. The best in Arts, Science, Commerce, Law, Medicine and Engineering.



Foreign Policy Privatised
Leaked letters in London imply that Brajesh Mishra, principal secretary to the prime minister, trusted the Hindujas more than the Indian High Commission. The brothers even negotiated with Prime Minister Tony Blair on CTBT.



The Heat Is On
The Raja of Bihar is in trouble again. The CBI has filed yet another chargesheet against him in the multi-crore fodder scam, this time in Jharkhand. A non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him has Laloo in a panic.



Fuzzy Logic
Key nations, including India, are briefed by aides of Bush on the new nuclear doctrine he proposes, but find that there are more questions than answers.



Consumed By Hunger
Maharashtra has a surfeit of foodgrain. Yet, over 500 infants have died in Nandurbar district since January this year of malnutrition and related complications.





NDA Ministers Want Rabri Out

Incidentally, just after the filing of the chargesheet, senior Union ministers from Bihar like Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan conducted a tour of the state. The NDA ministers, former colleagues of Laloo, have been in the forefront of the campaign to oust the Rabri Government though there are major differences between them over who should ultimately replace Rabri as the chief minister. However, Laloo, who has established a good rapport with Sonia Gandhi, need have no fear of losing the Congress support. As Bihar Congress chief and Health Minister Shakil Ahmad says, "No criminal or corruption charges have been framed against Rabri. There is no threat to her Government."


The Fodder Scam Till Now...


January 1996: Fodder scam first comes to light. Laloo resists handing over the case to the CBI.

March 1996: The Patna High Court orders that the case be handed over to the CBI. The Supreme Court upholds the order and asks the high court to set up a committee of judges to monitor the investigation.

July 1997: The CBI files chargesheet. Sends paramilitary forces to arrest Laloo. Rabri Devi anointed chief minister.

July 1997: Laloo surrenders in court.

July-Oct 1997: Laloo spends 90 days in judicial custody. The CBI also files chargesheets in 36 of the 52 fodder scam-related cases.

March 2000: Rabri Devi re-elected chief minister.

November 2000: The CBI approaches the high court to transfer all fodder scam-related cases to the new Jharkhand state. Laloo objects.

May 2001: The high court rejects the CBI plea and says all 36 cases will be heard in Bihar.

May 2001: The CBI files chargesheet in the Ranchi court. Non-bailable warrant issued against Laloo.

Shortly after Laloo was chargesheeted, the Jharkhand chief minister, making the BJP's political intentions clear, declared that Laloo would be regarded as an ordinary prisoner and no special treatment would be extended to him. The message that was sought to be sent across was that unlike his three previous stints in jail when he controlled the government in Patna from his cell in the city's Beur Jail, cell phone in hand, Laloo would not have the same luxury in the Jharkhand jail.

The NDA leaders believe that without Laloo around to guide her, Rabri would mess up sufficiently enough to provoke an exodus from the RJD. But party General Secretary M. Nematullah rubbishes such calculations.

"In the past four years, she has learned a lot about state craft, deals with the ministers and officials confidently and has mastered the art of relating to legislators and supporters." Earlier, however, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had suggested that a core committee of ministers and party leaders should be set up to manage the affairs of the party and the government in case Laloo was sent to a Jharkhand jail.

But conventional wisdom suggests that without her husband by her side to aid and assist her, Rabri may just not be able to cope and even a short stint in jail for Laloo may be enough to turn her days in office into a nightmare. Laloo, who strongly opposed the creation of Jharkhand, had once declared that Bihar would be divided over his dead body. Many in Patna and Ranchi are now wryly commenting that it was the fear of a jail term in a state where he had no control that had made him a vehement opponent of the proposed state. They may have been right.

Care Today


Summer Of 2001
Flippant and elusive, he can best be described by what he is not. Meet
Bryn Adams in an uncharacteristically forthcoming mood.


Looking Glass

Delhi Concert:
"United for Gujarat"

Mumbai Ceramics:
Zareen Mistry

Mumbai Club Music:
Melting Pot


    Web Exclusives
  Human misery always makes for a good story. But as INDIA TODAY Special Correspondent
Sheela Raval discovers in poverty-stricken Nandurbar, it's of little use if it doesn't touch hearts and help bring about change in

Consumed By Hunger



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