Dust storm claims nine lives in UP; Mercury shoots up in north

Nine people perished on Thursday as a dust storm lashed Allahabad district of UP as north India reeled under heatwave with mercury crossing the 45-degree mark at certain places.

New Delhi: Nine people perished on Thursday as a
dust storm lashed Allahabad district of UP as north India
reeled under heatwave with mercury crossing the 45-degree mark
at certain places.

A dust storm swept across the trans-Ganga region this
morning killing nine people, including two women and a girl
child, in Soraon tehsil, 40 kms from Allahabad. Trees were
uprooted and houses toppled as the gale winds left behind a
trail of destruction.
In Rajasthan the heatwave tightened its grip with Barmer
enduring a hot day at 46.8 C against yesterday`s 45.4 degrees
followed by Kota at 45.6 C.

Elsewhere in the desert state, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Churu
and Dabok recorded a maximum temperature of 44.9 C, 44.8 C,
44.4 C and 44.2 C respectively while Ajmer and Jaipur recorded
an identical 43.7 degrees.

The national capital too braved a hot day as the mercury
remained above the 41-degree mark. The maximum was recorded at
41.8 C, up from yesterday`s 41.6 degrees, while the minimum
was 28.7 degrees.

Searing heat prevailed in Punjab and Haryana with Hisar
sizzling at 43.5 C, three notches above normal, followed by
Gurgaon at 42.8 C, two degrees above normal. Bhiwani too
braved a hot day at 42.8 C as Patiala recorded a maximum of
41.2 C, Amritsar and Ludhiana 40.8 each.
Meanwhile, Akola in the Vidarbha region remained the
hottest place across the country at 47.1 degree Celsius. The
maximum in Washim settled at 44 degrees, while Wardha, Buldana
and Amravati recorded an identical temperature of 43 degrees.

In Himachal Pradesh, isolated rains failed to bring down
the mercury substantially with Una reeling at 40.2 degrees and
Mandi 36.9 C against 34.6 degrees yesterday.

Chamba, Lahau and Spiti and Kangra received rainfall.

New Delhi: In a major catch, Ravi Shankaran,
one of the main accused in the infamous Naval War Room leak
case, has been arrested in London and the CBI has sought his
early extradition.

46-year-old Shankaran, close kin of former Naval Chief
Arun Prakash, was arrested by Metropolitan Police in London on
April 21 and the CBI was informed about the same.

"Shankaran has been arrested and we have moved for his
early extradition," CBI Director Ashwini Kumar told PTI today.

A visibly happy Kumar said Shankaran`s arrest was a
major breakthrough in the case and expressed hope that he
would be extradited to India as soon as possible.

CBI officials said once he was deported from the UK, he
would be questioned at length about his involvement in the
case. It is alleged that he had sent crucial classified
information to commercial firms for pecuniary benefits.

The CBI had registered a case on March 20, 2006 against
former IAF Wing Commander Sambhaji Rao Surve, Shankaran,
ex-naval Commanders Vinod Kumar Jha and Vinod Rana, Raj Rani
Jaiswal, Mukesh Bajaj, Wing Commander (retired) S K Kohli,
Kashyap Kumar and Kulbushan Parashar.

The case against these nine persons was registered under
various sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and Section
120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Barring Jaiswal, Bajaj and Kashyap Kumar, chargesheets
have been filed against all the others. The CBI has prepared
documents for closing the case against the trio as nothing
could be found against them.

The CBI had earlier in 2006 sought arrest of Shankaran
after he was spotted in Britain. However, he managed to give
slip to the London Police after a UK court issued an arrest
warrant against him.

Shankaran, who has been chargesheeted by the CBI in 2006,
did not return to Britain after the arrest warrant for him was
issued on April 10, 2007.

After trailing him for over four months, the CBI found
him in Sweden. This prompted the agency to send an alert to
the Swedish wing of Interpol for his immediate detention but
he managed to give a slip to the sleuths again.

He had been criss-crossing Europe without a valid
passport as the External Affairs Ministry revoked his travel
document on April one, 2006.

The CBI had on September 12, 2006 attached Shankaran`s
property and bank accounts after he failed to appear before
the agency for questioning. This included his office -- Shanks
Oceanographic Pvt Ltd in Goa -- and accounts with HSBC Bank
of a firm called Besix India, which belonged to him.

The agency conducted raids at his residence and offices
in April 2006 after arresting former naval Commander Kulbushan
Parashar at Indira Gandhi International Airport here on his
arrival from London. A proclamation notice asking Shankaran to
appear before the CBI for questioning was published in The
Times of London on August 11, 2006.