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Kiran Tandon is hot property now

It is not everyday that an actress gets to be featured in Kamal Haasan as well as Rajnikanth ' s movies almost simultaneously.

It is an achievement even for an established star.So, when a rank newcomer manages such a feat, it is doubly creditable.

Kiran Tandon, or just Kiran as Tamil fans know her, is the actress who has got the enviable opportunity.

Kiran, who made her Tamil debut with the hit Gemini, plays Rajni ' s sister in Baba. She has also been pencilled to play an important role in Kamal Haasan ' s new movie in the making Anbe Sivam.

As if this is not enough, Kiran also plays the heroine opposite Malayalam superstar Mohanlal in the soon to be released Thandavam.

Kiran, who is a relative of Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon, recently said ' obviously my venture down south has progressed well. Six months ago, I did not know much about South Indian films. But now here I am doing films with some of the best names in the industry ' .

' Working with Rajniji was great. He is so simple that you wouldn ' t believe that he is a superstar. I am looking forward to working with Kamalji too, ' she said.

How did she come to South after her fleeting role in Subhash Ghai ' s Yaadein? ' Well, I owe to director Saran (of Gemini fame). He was the one who brought me to the South ' .

Apparently, Saran had seen her in a couple of photo-shoots. Interestingly, Saran did not know that she had acted in Yaadein when he booked Kiran.

' Gemini was the ideal start for me. In that, my role was not too heavy, yet important enough for people to take notice of me, ' says the buxom actress.

Having said this, Kiran is only too aware that the future may not be all romp. ' Touch wood, things have gone my way so far. But I know I have my task cut out ' .

A job well begun, is job is half done. Kiran knows that.

Pondy Chief Minister turns 52

Pondicherry

August 4 2002

Large number of Congress workers, leaders of ruling and Opposition parties, legislators and officials today greeted Pondicherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy on his 52nd birthday.

On the occasion, Rangasamy, offered worship at shrines.

Programme on making smokeless chulas

Pondicherry

August 6 2002

The Centre has released Rs 2.4 crore for the Union Territory to propagate the non-conventional energy sources, particularly in the use of smokeless chulas, according to Local Administration Minister A Elumalai.

The Minister was launching a special training programme on making smokeless chulas under a scheme of the District Rural Development Agency here yesterday.

He said solar lanterns would soon be distributed to farmers at subsidized rates as part of the popularisation of the non-conventional sources of energy.

Agricultural Minister A Namasivayam, who presided over the function, said non conventional energy sources held the key to manage the critical situation arising out through the conventional sources.

Permission to search Vaiko houses sought

Chennai

August 6 2002

The Q branch of the Tamil Nadu police yesterday moved the special court, set up to try POTA cases, for issuance of search warrants for searching the residences of MDMK chief and MP Vaiko who has been arrested under POTA.

The Q branch, which is handling POTA related cases, sought the warrants from POTA judge Rajendran to carry out searches at a City residence of the MP and another outside the City, police sources said.

Vaiko was arrested here on July 11 for speaking in favour of the banned LTTE at a public meeting at Thirumangalam, near Madurai, on June 29.

Besides Vaiko, ten other MDMK leaders and activists were arrested under POTA under the same charges.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has appointed S Jayakumar as public prosecutor for POTA cases. At present, Jayakumar is the additional public prosecutor in the Madras High Court.

Haribhaskar acquitted in wealth case

Chennai

August 5 2002

A Special Court today acquitted the former Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, N. Haribhaskar, and three others, including his wife, from the `disproportionate wealth case'.

In his 168 page order, the Special Judge-II, R. Rajamanickam, said the prosecution did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Haribhaskar acquired assets ``disproportionate to known sources of his income'' to the tune of Rs. 72.44 lakhs in his name or in the names of his wife, Gomathiammal Ushadevi, daughter, Chitra P. Narayani, and son-in-law, Sudhir S.V. Rajan, the other three accused.

The accused had accounted for the possession of pecuniary resources and properties in their names satisfactorily. Giving the benefit of doubt to the accused, the court said they were not guilty.

`Kodimaram' offerings belong to dargah... High Court

CHENNAI

August 5 2002

The unique `Kodimaram' contributions at the Nagore Dargah, where devotees tie their offerings on flagropes specially erected during the 14 day Kanthuri festival, belong to the mosque and not to the individual hereditary trustee (Sirang), the Madras High Court has ruled.

-The festival got underway on August 5 with the hoisting of flags at the dargah.-

Justice P.D. Dinakaran, passing interim orders on a petition filed by S. Saha Syed Sahib, said... ``The Sirang's right to collect any contribution from pilgrims for hoisting the dargah flag during the Kanthuri festival would in no manner prejudice the right of the managing trustee to save the interest of the dargah and its property, including the offerings tied by the pilgrims on `Kodimaram'.

``Hence, no one, much less the Sirang, can possibly claim a right to solicit or receive such offerings intended for the dargah,'' Mr. Justice Dinakaran said, reversing the over 400-year-old tradition wherein the Sirang had the absolute right to collect the entire offerings. Devotees make their offerings at the dargah in various forms, mostly by tying them on the flagropes of Sahib Manora at the mosque.

Sirang is the person who raises the flag. At the end of Kanthuri festival, he takes away the flag collection and pays his 20 assistants out of it.

The petitioner questioned the right, and pointed out that despite the absence of any specific rule, the Sirang claimed the flag collections and also collected an entry fee from those who wanted to climb up the mosque tower. He also gets a monthly salary besides a special Kanthuri festival benefit.

Mr. Syed Sahib's earlier petition against the practice was, however, dismissed by the Nagapattinam sessions court on September 26, 2001. The present one is a revision petition.

In his order, Mr. Justice Dinakaran also said the dargah administration should collect offerings from devotees separately for the services of the Sirang. The eight-member Board of Trustees of the mosque shall pay the Sirang and his team of assistants at the end of the Kanthuri festival.

Also, the Kodimaram collections shall be separately collected, accounted and deposited in a nationalised bank by the Board.

Cops kill burglar...(CHENNAI STORY)

Chennai

Aug 6 2002

A 22-year-old ' chronic burglar ' , who had broken into several houses of VIPs including that of actor Rajnikanth, was gunned down in the wee hours of today by a police sub-inspector after the criminal reportedly shot another police offical with a stolen pistol that he had buried in the Beasant Nagar beach sands.

Briefing the media about the incident, City Police Commissioner K Vijay Kumar said the criminal Murugesan was taken before dawn to the spot where he had confessed to have hidden the .32 mm Llama pistol, stolen from the house of a retired IAS officer, in January last.

Murugesan, who was taken into police custody from judicial custody on 29 July by the Adyar police for interrogation in connection with some unrecovered goods and the pistol stolen by him, had on his own confessed last night that the pistol wrapped in a polythene cover has been hidden in a deserted spot on the beach.

So a six-member police team led him to the spot, where suddenly the criminal opened fire with the pistol he had just dug out and the bullet scrapped through the shirt sleeve of a sub-inspector, Balakrishna Prabhu, which prompted another SI, Ramamurthy, to shoot him down in point blank range.

The injured SI and the criminal where taken to Govt Royapettah Hospital, where Murugesan was declared dead while the SI was given first aid. Defending the police action, Vijay Kumar said: ' If I were there I would have done the same ' . He said it was an appropriate response from police angle as the situation warranted that kind of action.

Murugesan, hailing from Udayarpatti village near Pudukottai, has gone to jail five times and has been booked under the Goondas Act thrice. Vijay Kumar described him as a ' chornic burglar ' .

He has burgled houses in Adayar, Thiruvanmiyur, Ashok Nagar, Anna Nagar, Arumbakkam and Amanjikarai during his career in crime spanning about seven years. He had taken to burglary at an age of 15, the Commissioner said.

Among the houses that he had entered and decamped with valuables are that of retired IAS officer Paul Raj, prominent lawyer Gandhi and well-known doctor Sreedhar. In 1996, he had broken into the house of Rajnikanth in Poes Garden.

Subsequently when he was caught, he had told the police that he was not aware whose house it was when he burgled it.

Police claim that Murugesan has stolen gold and diamond jewellery, cash and other articles worth around Rs 1 crore during his years in crime.

Petition against Baba (the movie) dismissed

Chennai

Aug 6 2002

The Madras High Court today dismissed as withdrawn a petition from the rationalist Dravidar Kazhagam, objecting to certain lyrics in the Rajnikanth-starrer Baba, slated for release next week.

On Friday last, DK treasurer, Swamidurai had moved the court contending that certain lyrics in the film were aimed at demeaning Periyar by equating him with Rajaji.

When the case came up for hearing this morning before Justice Ramamurthy, the petitioner submitted that on 2 August, he had received a letter from the film ' s producer that the objectionable lyrics would be deleted. Therefore, he was withdrawing the petition.

In his petition, Swamidurai had said the film which deals with the life of an atheist transforming into a religious person, has a song with verse: Athisayam, athisayam, Periyar dhan anadhena Rajaji (What a surprise, Periyar has become Rajaji). The DK leader who had learnt about this through an interview given by lyricist Vaali in a Tamil weekly, said ' this has created shock waves among the followers of Periyar and has disturbed people cutting across party lines who respect Periyar for his untiring fight against the belief of God and its impact on society. '

Further, he had said Periyar and Rajaji were not only the symbols of atheism and religious faith but were known for their battles to promote their respective ideologies.

He had also submitted that an advertisement for the film Baba released in Tuticorin has the DK flag in its background. ' Also, the story of the film has more damaging references to the DK movement by using the emblems, colours and the name of the founder-leader. '