110 raids, 19 states, 30 FIRs: CBI’s nationwide crackdown against corruption, arms smuggling

Source: indiatoday.in

In a nationwide crackdown, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday conducted searches at around 110 places in 19 states and Union Territories.

Sources have told India Today TV that CBI has registered around 30 new separate cases relating to corruption, criminal misconduct, arms smuggling and others.

This comes after the July 2 crackdown by CBI against bank fraud cases where the agency had conducted raids at over 50 locations in 50 cities across 12 states and Union Territories.

According to CBI, the raids were conducted in Delhi, Mumbai, Ludhiana, Thane, Valsad, Pune, Palani, Gaya, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Surat, Kolar and many other cities. The fraud amount in the 16 cases are over Rs 1100 crore which may rise during the investigation.

The newly registered 30 FIR’s have been lodged against the accused including various companies, firms, their promoters, directors, bank officials and private persons.

India Today TV has learnt that few of the raids are being conducted in Mumbai, Delhi, NCR, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Sources say that the government’s major agenda during the election was corruption cases in light of Rs 13,000 crore bank fraud by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

80 bonded labourers rescued from Kurukshetra

Source: tribuneindia.com

Around 80 bonded labourers, including women and children, were rescued yesterday from the owner of a brick-kiln in Kurukshetra. All belong to Nalanda and Banka districts of Bihar and were brought here by human traffickers.

The labourers were not issued release letters according to the 1976 order, nor were they rehabilitated or given remuneration according to the 2016 scheme. They reached Delhi and sat on strike at Jantar Mantar. After nine days of struggle, an FIR was registered against the principal employer at Pahwa police station in Kurukshetra yesterday and release certificates were issued to the labourers. However, children were still to receive the release certificates.

Some organisations such as the Bandhua Mukhti Morcha along with a team of the Human Rights Law Network and some students of law and foreign interns reached out to these labourers by creating a fund to collect money to buy tickets for them to go home in Bihar.

These landless people easily fell prey to human traffickers and after being trafficked, they ended up as bounded labourers. The employer, Minku Gupta, not only exploited them and took advantage of their vulnerable condition, but also harassed and physically assaulted them through goons.

These labourers wanted to go home but Gupta and the contractor did not allow them to leave. Several labourers had suffered injuries while several women and their children suffered due to inhuman conditions they were made to live in. 

Seeking to Achieve USD 5 Trillion Target, JD (U) Wants Special Category Status for Bihar

Source: news18.com

New Delhi: The JD(U) on Tuesday demanded from the government grant of special status category to Bihar for development of the state. Party member Sunil Kumar said development and prosperity of the state is important for achieving the USD 5 trillion economy target.

“Bihar should get special status category for development of the state,” he said while participating in the discussion on Union Budget in the Lok Sabha. Saptagiri Sankar Ulaka (INC) said it was not clear in the Budget what the government wants to achieve by taking the economy to USD 5 trillion.

The real issues are jobs, farmer distress and farmer suicides, he said, adding “we are disappointed by the Budget”. T Chazhikadan KL (M) sought urgent steps to push up prices of natural rubber for growers.

G Kirtikar (SS) demanded special package for Mumbai for development of the city. There is no special provision for Mumbai in the Budget, he said.

Anupriya Patel (Apna Dal) raised certain issues from the finance minister including the reason for reduction in the Budget allocation for MNREGA. “What is the roadmap to achieve USD 5 trillion economy,” she asked.

Hanuman Beniwal (RLP) urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep prices of diesel and petrol under control. Vijay Baghel (BJP) said that the Budget has the name of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur.

“Ye Budget Nirmal hai, Ramneek hai aur Anurag se bhara hua hai,” he said in Hindi. T Rangaiah (YSRCP) said that the Budget has not proposed enough funds for irrigation development and agriculture infrastructure.

Helped by official, daughters of two ex-Maoists join school in Jharkhand

Source: hindustantimes.com

Daughters of two former Maoists were admitted into a residential school for girls in Dhalbhumgarh under East Singhbhum district, thanks to the initiative by Gudbandha block development officer (BDO) Seema Kumari.

Slain Maoist Sanjiv Munda’s daughter Sabera Munda and jailed Maoist Bhuglu Singh’s daughter Anisha Singh were given admission in Kasturba Gandhi Girls’ Residential School (KGGRS) in Class 6 on Friday.

“Their mothers have written letters to me requesting to arrange for their daughters’ education as they are very keen to go to school. I discussed the matter with the district social welfare officer and then talked to the Dhalbhumgarh KGGRS authorities who readily agreed to admit the two girls. I took them in my vehicle to the school on Friday and got them admitted in Class-6,” Kumari said on Monday.

She said both the girls had dropped out of school after Class 5 a few years ago owing to abject poverty and Maoist background of their fathers. “They told me that they wanted to go to school and become self-reliant by pursuing higher studies. We hope the girls succeed in their mission and inspire other parents to send their wards to school under ‘Beti Bachao, Bei Padhao’ mission,” added Seema.

Both the girls hailed from Jiyan village under Maoist-infested Gudabandha block, on the borders of Jharkhand and Odisha, about 90-km from district headquarters Jamshedpur. The development is also indicative of how East Singhbhum is slowly coming out of Maoists’ shadow of violence.

Carrying a reward of Rs 25 lakh on his head, Kanhu Munda had surrendered with his entire squad on February 15, 2017 by handing over their weapons to the then Jamshedpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Anop T Matthew. Squad member Bhuglu Singh, also from Jiyan village, had also surrendered on the day. Singh is in jail. Sanjiv Munda, on the other hand, was killed in an encounter with the police in 2013. He too hailed from Jiyan village and was a member of Kanhu Munda squad.

Jharkhand: Over 500 Muslims defy Sec 144 in Ramgarh to protest against mob lynching

Source: dnaindia.com

A group of over 500 people belonging to the Muslim community gathered in a school in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh on Monday to protest against the rising incidents of mob lynchings plaguing their community even amid prohibitory orders issued by the Ramgarh district administration, the Times of India (TOI) reported.

The group, under the banner of the Mutheda Muslim Mahaj, met at Chitrarpur High School just off the National Highway 23 in Gola Road area, to voice their grievances regarding violence against their community. They had earlier sought permission from the district administration for a demonstration rally, which was at first granted but cancelled later on keeping in mind the incidents of violence that are increasingly being associated with anti-mob lynching rallies in the state, the report said.

For a bit of context, a joint group of Muslim organisations had taken out a similar anti-mob lynching rally in state capital Ranchi on Friday but it ended with the group vandalising a Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP) bus in protest demonstrations, according to a Hindustan Times (HT) report. The rally had been taken out specifically in protest of the lynching of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand’s Seraikela Kharsawan district on June 18.

In light of this, the Ramgarh district administration, fearing disturbance centering around the rally, had on Sunday cancelled the permission for the rally and also issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that barred all unlawful assembly along the proposed route of the demonstration.

According to reports, even though the rally did not happen, hundreds of Muslims still gathered at the Chitrarpur High School to carry out their protest demonstrations, which, being an unlawful assembly, is also in violation of the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.  

The district administration at Ramgarh in Jharkhand said it will take legal action in response to the incident on Monday.

TOI quoted Ramgarh Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Anant Kumar as saying, “What they (outfit) did was in defiance of the prohibitory orders and we would initiate lawful action against them now.”

On the other hand, the secretary of the Muslim outfit who led the protest demonstrations on Monday, Ahmad Khan, reportedly claimed that even though the permission for the rally had been denied, they had received police permission for a meeting after request on Sunday night.  Ramgarh Superintendent of Police (SP) Prabhat Kumar denied this claim, saying “no such permissions were issued,” according to the HT report.

The report further said that the Chief Speaker at the Muslim gathering, Sahjada Anwar, clarified the purpose behind the demonstration. The Supreme Court had issued directives to every state, including Jharkhand, to the Home Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) to review mob lynching cases every three months and constitute a task force to look into such cases. “However, nothing of that sort has been done in Jharkhand,” HT quoted an aggrieved Anwar.

Jharkhand Witnesses 35% Rainfall Deficit

Source: weather.com

Jharkhand is witnessing a 35 per cent rainfall deficit in this monsoon season, a Met Department official said here on Monday.

“Jharkhand has received only 181 mm rainfall against the normal 276 mm till now. In the last two days, the rainfall has improved and it will continue for next 48 hours,” S.D Kothal, Director of the Ranchi Met Department, told IANS.

“But the rain will shift towards the Himalaya region from July 10 to 12. When it will retreat, state will then witness an improvement of the rainfall.”

The worst affected areas of the state are Godda and Pakur where rainfall shortage is more than 70 per cent. Garwah and Chatra have witnessed over 60 per cent deficiency.

Due to the shortage, paddy sowing has not gained momentum.

Jharkhand has not received normal rainfall in the last two years.

In 2018, the Jharkhand government had declared 129 blocks in 18 districts as drought-affected and released Rs 490 million for immediate relief.

As per the Met Department’s data, Jharkhand received 72 per cent average rainfall in 2018. However, in some places, it was less than 50 per cent. The worst affected were Pakur and Koderma.

The average rainfall in the state is 1,027.7 mm, but in 2018 it received only 741.9 mm.

BJD, stakeholders miffed over no Odisha tourist spot in Centre list

Source: outlookindia.com

Bhubaneswar, Jul 9 Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi has said he would soon take up with the Centre the absence of the state”s tourist spots in the list of 17 sites that would be developed into world-class destinations.

Several Biju Janata Dal MPs have also asserted that they would raise the issue in Parliament.

Panigrahi expressed dismay over the Centre”s alleged apathy towards Odisha.

“The Union government has claimed that selection was done on the basis of the site”s natural, architectural and religious importance, but omission of places like Konark Sun Temple, Chilika Lake and the Buddhist circuit in Odisha raises questions about the selection process,” Panigrahi said.

During her maiden Budget speech last Friday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said 17 model sites chosen by the Centre would be developed into world-class destinations to encourage tourist arrival. She, however, did not elaborate which are the chosen sites.

In March 2018, then Union tourism minister K J Alphons had told the Lok Sabha that the sites include the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta and Ellora caves (Maharashtra), Humayun”s Tomb, Qutub Minar and Red Fort (Delhi) and Colva Beach (Goa).

The other tourism spots are: Amber Fort (Rajasthan), Somnath and Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), Hampi (Karnataka), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kaziranga (Assam), Kumarakom (Kerala) and Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar).

BJD leader and Puri MP Pinaki Misra said the party, in its election manifesto, had promised to develop Puri as the cultural capital of the country. “I am surprised that not a single destination from Odisha made it to the list. The Sun Temple in Konark is an iconic site and has every reason to be on that list,” he said.

According to sources, the state BJP leaders are also disappointed over the non-inclusion of Odisha”s popular tourist destinations and were planning to draw the attention of the Union Tourism Ministry on the issue.

State BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan expressed hope that the Centre would revise the list in the interest of the state.

Representatives of the travel and the hotel industry in the state have urged the Union government to review the selection procedure.

“Odisha is endowed with a host of national heritage sites, attracting millions of domestic and global tourists every year. It is surprising that not a single location has found a place in the Centre”s list,” J K Mohanty, the chairman of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha, said.

Mohanty, also a member of state Tourism Promotion Council and Tourism Advisory Committee, said he had written a letter to Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, urging him to reconsider the decision and take another look at Odisha”s potential.

Mohanty said destinations like the Sun Temple in Konark, Chilika Lake, one of the largest lagoons in the world; Bhitarkanika mangroves, which is a Ramsar site, have more tourism potential than some of the sites selected for promotion by the central government. SKN RMS HMB

First spell of rain exposes Patna’s drainage system

Source: hindustantimes.com

The ongoing construction work across Patna for flyovers, roads, drains and laying of underground pipes, filled the capital city’s roads with wet debris, as monsoon rains hit the city in the last 24 hours. The residents’ miseries are expected to continue, as the meteorological department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall across Bihar, in the next five days.

All major roads in low lying areas were overflown with rainwater, as commuting became a hazardous and daunting task, especially for pedestrians and those driving two-wheelers. The roads leading to Mithapur bus stand, Ashok Rajpath, Patna Medical College and Hospital, Jaganpura, Beerchand Patel road, Sabzibagh and Kankarbagh were chock-a-block for most of the day as vehicles moved at a snail’s pace, wading through the waterlogged roads, due to the incessant rain.

Rainwater also seeped into several residential colonies, commercial buildings and hospitals. The medicine department of the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) was flooded with the rainwater throughout the day.

By evening, authorities claimed that the hospital was cleared of water, but not before several patients were shifted to safer locations, including the ICU surgery ward.

“This lane is already congested and perennially choked with traffic jam. The construction work has made it accident prone. Every now and then, two-wheelers get stuck and fall, especially during night,” said Pratik Gupta, a general store owner near PMCH.

The Mithapur bus stand wore a deplorable look, as the rains left ankle deep sludge, making it extremely difficult for passengers to board and de-board buses.

A similar situation prevailed in Kankerbag, another low lying area in Patna, where people were seen wading through waterlogged roads.

Patna Municipal Corporation, however, claimed that waterlogging was much lesser this year, compared to previous years. “PMC has carried out advance preparations to deal with monsoon and had arranged for bobcat, super sucker and de-watering machines. The corporation has also prepared a list of areas, including government and public places, which are more prone to waterlogging. Open drains are being repaired and maintained. Portable diesel pump sets and super sucker devices would work in waterlogged areas,” said a PMC official.

“There are 38 drainage pumping stations in Patna district. Assistant engineers are being deployed at each pumping station. 12 mobile squads are also being deployed, who will work at an interval of 24 hours. The water level of the pumping station is continuously monitored and open drainage is cleaned for free flowing of water,” the PMC official added.

Son avoided bus journeys, had an unconfirmed train ticket: Father of Agra bus accident victim

Source: hindustantimes.com

Among the 29 people killed in Monday’s bus accident on the Yamuna Expressway near Agra, were 29-year-old electrical engineer Hazoor Alam from Azadpur and Rajendra Singh from Uttam Nagar.

A two-tiered sleeper AC bus, on its way from Lucknow to Delhi, skidded off the Yamuna Expressway and plunged about 20 feet into a drain. The accident took place around 4.30am in Etmadpur, about 200km from Delhi, when the Uttar Pradesh Roadways bus broke through the safety railing at a high speed and fell into the Jharna Nala, which had about six to eight feet of water,police said.

Alam’s family members said he rarely took a bus, and one of his few bus rides turned into his life’s last journey.

A resident of Lal Bagh in northwest Delhi’s Azadpur, Alam was returning home after dropping his wife at her parental home in Lucknow. Alam was supposed to take a train to Delhi, but he could not get a confirmed train ticket, even in Tatkal category. Also, he had to resume his office duty on Monday, Alam’s family members said.

“My son usually preferred train journeys. The office of the solar equipment manufacturing company he worked with was in Green Park, which is almost 30km from our home. Alam always travelled by Metro. He even avoided DTC buses or using a bike,” Alam’s father Mansoor Ali said.

Alam’s family members now regret allowing him to travel to his in-laws’ house in Lucknow to drop his wife, Shagufta.

“I had told Alam to send his wife with my younger son, Saddam Hussain, or ask someone from his in-laws’ family to accompany her to Lucknow. But this time he was reluctant on sending his wife with someone else. Today, I regret not compelling him to not travel without a confirmed return train ticket,” Ali said.

Alam had last spoken to his brother, Fahimuddin, around 10pm Sunday and had asked him to bring his clothes to their brother-in-law’s home in Vaishali near Ghaziabad as he had planned to change there and leave directly to office. His AC bus journey was supposed to culminate at Anand Vihar ISBT, the brother said.

According to Fahimuddin, nobody in his family was aware of his brother’s death until he called on Alam’s phone to see if he had reached Delhi. Fahimuddin found the phone switched off.

“My brother had asked me to reach Vaishali before 8am. But I woke up late and called him to inform him that I will be late. But his phone was switched off. I then contacted our brother-in-law who told me that my brother had not reached there,” Fahimuddin said.

Fahimuddin said his parents got worried when a relative told them about the bus accident in Agra. They sent their two sons and a relative to the accident spot in Agra and the hospitals where the injured and dead passengers were taken.

Alam’s brothers and relative reached the hospital in Agra and heard a staff member reading out his name from the list of dead passengers. The eldest of five siblings, Alam was also the main earning member of his family. He had completed his electrical engineering from a polytechnic in northwest Delhi in 2014. He and Shagufta had married in November 2017.

162 children died of encephalitis in Bihar, 63 in seven other states: Govt

Source: indiatoday.in

s many as 162 children died due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar till July 2 this year, while 63 fatalities were reported from Assam, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal till June 30, MoS Health Ashwini Choubey said on Tuesday.

Responding to a question over whether lychees were the cause of deaths, the minister, in his written reply in Rajya Sabha, said consumption of lychee was safe for healthy individuals, but in “malnourished children, it triggers hypoglycaemia and leads to seizures or AES”.

“A research study was conducted by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), along with partner institutions, in the year 2013-14 wherein it has been found that when lychee is consumed by malnourished children, it triggers hypoglycaemia and leads to seizures or AES like picture,” Choubey said in his written reply.

On the basis of the study, an intervention strategy for awareness and nutritional supplementation was recommended to the state, the minister said.

A comprehensive study incorporating various other aspects of aetiology has been initiated by the Ministry of Health under Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

“In 2019, a total of 162 deaths of children have been reported from Bihar till July 2 due to AES. As per information received from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), 63 deaths have been reported due to AES till June 30 from other seven states of the country — Assam (25), Jharkhand (2), Maharashtra (1), Manipur (1), Odisha (1), Uttar Pradesh (17) and West Bengal (16),” his reply stated.

He also elaborated on a number of measures that the Centre has initiated to support the Bihar government in the containment of AES, while adding that “as per constitutional provisions, health is a state subject”.

Choubey, in his reply, said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had reviewed the situation with his counterpart in Bihar and also with officials from the ministry.

A team of experts, consisting of public health specialists from various central government institutes, was deputed to assist the Bihar government in taking immediate measures to contain AES, he said.

Vardhan had also visited Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) at Muzaffarpur in Bihar, Choubey said.

The Health Ministry had sent another high-level multi-disciplinary team, which included senior pediatricians from various central government institutes, to Muzaffarpur.

Epidemiologists from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), senior pediatricians, laboratory technicians are in Muzaffarpur since June 12.

The NCDC’s Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) was engaged to monitor the situation in Muzaffarpur and co-ordinate tasks at the field level, Choubey said.

He said the Health Ministry had deputed five teams of doctors, along with technicians from central government hospitals, to SKMCH to support clinical management.

“A central team, consisting experts from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), was also deployed at SKMCH. The team is also scrutinising and reviewing the case records of discharge and deceased patients using a standardised tool to know the reasons for mortality,” he added.