Business Today


     Print Edition: Dec 11, 2011


The Bombay High Court's decision to grant bail to nine accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case has brought Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorism Squad, or ATS, which had arrested them soon after the blasts, under the scanner. Fresh discoveries have suggested that the nine were framed. Here is a primer on the ATS:

FORMATION: The ATS is a 30 to 40 member special unit of the Maharashtra police, headquartered in Mumbai. It was first set up in the early1990s to counter modern-day terrorism, but abandoned in 1993. It was started again in July 2004. A few other states also have their own ATSs.

OBJECTIVES: Gathering inputs about anti-national activity; countering terrorists and rescuing hostages, coordinating with central agencies like the Information Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing and other ATSs; tracking and eliminating organised crime, etc.

AT WORK: Hemant Karkare was ATS chief when he was killed battling terrorists during the 26/11 terror attack. But the unit has also faced its fair share of criticism.

Halted in Hyderabad
The Hyderabad Metro Rail, being built by engineering major Larsen & Toubro, or L&T, does not look like it will start moving anytime soon. Conceived in 2008, the Rs 16,000 crore project was originally awarded to B. Ramalinga Raju's family-owned infrastructure company, Maytas. The first phase of the project, covering 71 km and including three lines, was to become operational by 2014. But after the Satyam scandal broke out, the deal was scrapped and L&T won the project in a fresh bidding round. L&T, however, has yet to complete the land acquisition. There are many more hurdles thereafter, including getting the required clearances from citizen groups and ministries, which may take another year or two. Wonder when work will finally begin on the project.


Young at Heart
If you thought live-in relationships were only for the young and the bold, think again. Elderly folk too are finding the concept hot. Over 3,000 men and women above 50 will converge in Ahmedabad later this month to choose their partners, courtesy the Vina Mulya Amulya Sewa, a state-based organisation which arranges weddings of senior citizens. But this time, around 1,000 have said they would prefer live-in partners. It is apt that the trend should emerge in Gujarat, with its tradition of 'maitri karar' (friendship contracts) between men and women.

Notes on the piano
The first modern piano was created by Bartolomeo Cristofori for the Medicis in 17th century Italy. Only three such pianos exist today. The record for the priciest one is held by the Crystal Piano created by Heintzman Piano Company, Beijing, which was auctioned to a private bidder for $3.22 million in 2010. Chinese pianist Lang Lang played it during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Compiled by Anamika Butalia

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