IRS officer had fudged age, got new identity to appear for UPSC’s IAS exam: CBI


The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against an Indian Revenue Service Officer who cleared the Union Public Service Commission more than a decade ago. The CBI says the Bihar man, was overage to apply for the UPSC’s 2007 civil services examination, commonly known as IAS exam, and got himself a new identity to beat the system.

He seemed to have succeeded for little over a decade. He cleared the exam, was allocated the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) and was at last count, posted at the GST office in Kolkata. Then, someone complained.

In a First Information Report registered by the CBI this week, the agency said the IRS officer was known by a different name for a larger part of his childhood and youth in Bihar’s West Champaran district.

But when he changed his name, the Bihar man did not bother to change his father’s name or his address. The CBI says that it had come across documents which indicate that he had done his schooling from the Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya at Bettiah.

The FIR has also alleged manipulation of documents, pointing that the officer got into the civil services in response to a public notice for examination in 2006. But the graduation degree that he was in his personal file indicates he got his BA (Hons) degree two years later.

“It is clear from the above that he had done some manipulation to appear at the exam,” the CBI FIR said.

Indicating that he had help from someone within the examination system, the FIR said it also transpired that the IRS officer hadn’t submitted any date of birth certificate or the certificate of clearing the class 12 exam in 2003.

The CBI also underscored that the Bihar School Education Committee hadn’t cooperated in providing his details.

No Chhath Puja in Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar Lake This Year Due to Lockdown


Rabindra Sarobar in south Kolkata will be closed for people from November 2-3 on the day of Chhath puja.

Scores of people flock to Rabindra Sarobar lake during Chhath where they offer flowers and other offerings dedicated to the Sun God. Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority or KMDA that holds the custodian of Rabindra Sarobar lake, will handover administrative charge to Kolkata Police during the lockdown period.

“The KMDA will issue a notification on October 18 announcing the closure of Rabindra Sarobar from the noon of November 2 to noon of November 3. Copies of the notification will be sent to all police stations as well as transport associations so that everyone is aware that the lake will be out of bounds for 24 hours,” a KMDA official, who held a review meeting of arrangements to prevent violation of a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that banned all rituals at the lake, said.

The NGT’s hearing on the issue is scheduled for Tuesday, October 15.

KMDA has already been facing the wrath for failing to implement the NGT order during Chhath puja in 2018 and 2017.

Thousands of devotees thronged to the water body and poured oil and ghee, burst crackers and played loud music in the green zone that is home to around 100 species of birds and several dozen species of animals and amphibians. KMDA has already held two meetings which saw local politicians, police and Bihari Samaj representatives in participation where it was decided to formulate a joint strategy to enforce the order.

On one hand where the KMDA has decided to keep the 73-acre waterbody, it has identified multiple waterbodies as alternative sites for Chhath puja. The necessary arrangement at these places — setting up of changing room, toilets, PA system, lights, ambulance and transport — have also commenced.

KMDA officials along with Kolkata Police held a joint recce at Rabindra Sarobar on Saturday to decide on ways to effectively prevent devotees from thronging to the lake during Chhath on November 2 and 3. All the 17 gates leading to 192-acre site were inspected by the team which also zeroed in on a location to set up a control room where feed from 176 CCTV cameras installed at the lake can be monitored during the 24-hour lockdown, the daily reported.

KMDA also decided upon deployment plan, including hiring of additional private security personnel.

“To prevent a repeat of what happened in the past two years, the police will set up check posts 50 metre ahead of the 15 main gates. Additionally, we will have around 80 private guards in each shift manning the different gates along with more policemen. Since women turn up in large numbers, of the 177 private guards to be deployed, 72 will be female,” the official added.

A police officer told the daily that the deployment figures would be worked out to check trespassing as well as ensuring that the devotees, who turn up there, are transferred to the alternative venues. “The lake will have two layers of security. The control room that will be set up next to Nazrul Mancha will help monitor the situation. In case there is a breach, a force kept on reserve will be sent,” TOI quoted the officer saying.

In the run up to Chhath Puja 2019, KMDA plans to continue its awareness drive through announcements in all the peripheral wards. Directions to the nearest waterbody designated for Chhath Puja will also be installed at major roads in south Kolkata. Devotees from north, central and east Kolkata usually visit to the Hooghly River to perform the rituals.

President Ram Nath Kovind to Embark on 7-day Visit to Philippines, Japan from Thursday


New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind will embark on a seven-day visit to the Philippines and Japan beginning on Thursday with an aim to expand bilateral cooperation, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Monday.

“The President’s visit to the two countries reaffirms India’s commitment to strengthen its bilateral ties based on traditional bonds of friendship and mutual understanding,” it said.

The president’s first destination will be the Philippines where he will hold restricted and delegation level talks with his Filipino counterpart Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Manila and attend business and community events during his stay from October 17-20.

“The state visit is taking place on the occasion of 70 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries,” the MEA said.

From the Philippines, the president will leave for Japan on October 21 for a three-day visit.

He is visiting Japan to attend the Enthronement ceremony of the Emperor of Japan Naruhito, the MEA said.

In Japan, the MEA said the president will attend various ceremonies related to the Emperor’s enthronement and also a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“Along with participating in a community event, the president will visit a Buddhist temple and plant a sapling from the sacred Bodhi Tree in Gaya to highlight India and Japan’s historical and cultural linkages based on Buddhism,” the MEA said.

Jamshedpur citizens join hands for Patna flood affected people


Jamshedpur: Social organization, ‘Prayaas Ek Kadam’ and Inner Wheel Club of Patna joined hands to collect relief items like flattened rice, jagery, dry grocery items, utensils, old and new clothes, warm clothes, blankets, sanitary pads, bleaching powder, chlorine and other vital necessities for distribution among the flood affected people of Patna especially in the slum areas of Gandhinagar, Haj Bhawan, Kaushalnagar and others.

In a please release issued on Wednesday, October 9, ‘Prayaas Ek Kadam’ founder Renu Sharma and president Puja Agrawal stated that even today the flood affected were going through harrowing times. They mentioned that the organization’s team of relief workers would continue to remain in Patna for some more time in distributing relief materials to the affected people. They mentioned that with the help and cooperation of other social organizations that already three lots of relief material have been sent to Patna by road. The Inner Wheel Club of Patna is providing full support to the team of ‘Prayaas Ek Kadam’ in the distribution of the relief material sent from Jamshedpur.

The organization’s relief team working in the Patna flood affected areas include, besides Renu Sharma and Puja Agrawal Manju, Vinita, Ranvir, Shubham, Abhishek, Ramesh, Ravi and others who are working selflessly for the alleviation of misery of the flood affected people of Patna.

Seat-sharing Woes, No CM Face: How Alienated Allies Have Brought Bihar’s Grand Alliance to Breaking Point


Bypolls often go unnoticed as their results do not matter much to the party in power or in opposition. They just add to or subtract from their tally in the state assembly or Lok Sabha.

However, next week’s by-elections for five assembly constituencies and a Lok Sabha seat in Bihar may turn out to be the breaking point for the so-called “mahagathbandhan”, or “grand alliance”. Recent unity efforts, after remaining at loggerheads for nearly five months, have failed as the parties could not arrive at a consensus on seat-sharing for the polls.

The by-elections will be held for the Samastipur Lok Sabha seat besides Belhar, Daraundha, Nathnagar, Simri-Bakhtiarpur and Kishanganj assembly seats on October 21 and the counting of votes will take place on October 24.

The bypoll for the Samastipur Lok Sabha seat was necessitated by the death of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) MP Ramchandra Paswan. The five assembly seats are going to polls as four MLAs of the Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), and one from the Congress were elected to the Lok Sabha this year.

After initial hiccups, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress have firmed up a seat-sharing arrangement, with the RJD contesting from four assembly constituencies and the Congress from one assembly and the lone Lok Sabha seat. RJD leaders defended the party’s decision, saying the four assembly seats were its “traditional strongholds” and that no ally would be able to take on their rivals in these areas.

Congress was divided over the issue of continuing the collaboration with the RJD and other grand alliance partners but the intervention of central leadership sealed the pact for the bypolls. Congress insiders claimed that altogether 19 state election committee members insisted on going it alone in the bypolls but nine of them strongly endorsed continuation of the alignment with the RJD.

The trouble started when the RJD unilaterally announced its candidates from the Belhar, Daraundha, Simri-Bakhtiarpur and Nathnagar assembly seats, leaving only Kishanganj for the Congress. The state Congress unit was also demanding the Simri-Bakhtiarpur seat but agreed to only one assembly seat following the intervention of the party’s central leadership.

The demands of three other grand alliance partners including the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) were ignored, prompting them to field their candidates against the official Rashtriya Janata Dal nominees.

Spurned by the RJD, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led HAM has fielded Ajay Rai as its candidate from the Nathnagar seat while the VIP, headed by Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni, has put up its candidate from the Simri-Bakhtiarpur constituency. Sahni has also announced support to the HAM candidate in Nathnagar. The RLSP has not shown interest in the bypolls.

So, it will be RJD vs JD(U) on four assembly seats – Belhar, Simri-Bakhtiarpur, Nathnagar and Daraundha – while the BJP and Congress will cross swords on the Kishanganj seat. In the Samastipur Lok Sabha constituency, the Congress is challenging the LJP.

Angered by the “arbitrary act” of the RJD, Manjhi sought to know whether the party wanted to remain in the grand alliance or walk out. He went on to accuse the RJD of helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the name of fighting it. The former chief minister has been upset since not getting a “respectable” number of seats in the last Lok Sabha polls.

The HAM president also rejected RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav as the mahagathbandhan’s chief ministerial face for the 2020 state assembly elections. “Tejashwi may be the chief ministerial face of the RJD but not of the grand alliance for the 2020 polls. That will be decided after a discussion among the front’s leaders,” Manjhi said.

Backing the former chief minister, VIP chief Mukesh Sahni maintained that the grand alliance was formed not to project only one person as the leader. “Five parties have formed the grand alliance and nothing has been discussed as yet as to who will be the chief ministerial candidate,” he said.

Though RJD leaders claimed everything was hunky-dory within the mahagathbandhan, they flatly said there will be no compromise on Tejashwi as the chief ministerial candidate. “If the mahagathbandhan forms the government in Bihar, Tejashwi will be the chief minister as his name has been announced after consultation with the allies,” said RJD MLA Bhai Virendra.

Tejashwi Yadav wants the allies to hold their horses and ignore petty matters during the bypolls as the political equation may change before the high-stakes assembly elections in 2020.

However, a section of the allies led by HAM has alleged Tejashwi is acting at the behest of the BJP and attacking Nitish Kumar on one pretext or another. On the contrary, some senior RJD leaders led by former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh want to cosy up with Nitish given the blow-hot-blow-cold relationship between the BJP and JD(U).

Against this backdrop, questions are now being raised on whether the mahagathbandhan exists only on paper or it is still a reality as its constituents are making competing claims on the assembly seats where bypolls are scheduled after a week.

Bus bays in poll-code race


Decks have been cleared for completing the tender process of Transport Nagar in Ranchi and the new bus terminus in Dhanbad by the end of this month so that the construction work can begin before the model code of conduct for the Assembly polls comes into effect.

However, it will be a race against time to ensure the start of work on the new inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) in Jamshedpur and redevelopment of the Birsa Munda Bus Terminus at Khadgarha in Ranchi before the poll notification. Work on the new ISBT in Ranchi will start next year.

State urban development secretary Ajoy Kumar Singh, who is also the chairman of Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company (Juidco), reviewed the upcoming projects on Monday.

After a three-hour meeting, Singh directed Juidco officials and Bangalore-based private consultant iDeCK to complete the tender process of the Dhanbad bus terminus and Transport Nagar project at the earliest so that foundation stone could be laid by the end of this month.

“The private consultant and Juidco officials informed that the draft detailed project report (DPR) of Transport Nagar at Sukurhuttu ( Ranchi) and the terminus at Bartand in Dhanbad are ready,” Singh said.

Senior Juidco officials said the completion of tender process and the issue of work order would take a minimum of 21 days. Though the foundation stone can be laid by the end of this month, work can only commence in the first week of November.

“We are racing against time to ensure work gets started on this project to escape delay due to model code of conduct,” a Juidco official said.

The new bus terminus in Dhanbad will come up on 18.42 acres at Bartand near the existing terminus at a proposed cost of Rs 250 crore on a PPP (public-private-partnership) mode. It will have AC waiting halls, washrooms, parking bays for two and four–wheelers, retail shops. It can park 35 buses and as many as 18 buses can leave the terminus for various destinations at one go.

The Transport Nagar will come up on 40 acres at Sukurhuttu at a cost of Rs 250 crore and can accommodate 705 trucks. It will have a health care center, weight bridge, workshops, food court, canteen, retail shops and dormitory for 700 persons.

“A directive has also been issued to the private consultant to submit the DPR of the ISBT at Jamshedpur and renovated Birsa Munda Bus terminus at Khadgarha (Ranchi) by this week-end,” Singh said.

Juidco sources , said the foundation stone laying for Jamshedpur and Khadgarha projects couldn’t possibly take place before the middle of November and the poll notification would be issued by then.

The Jamshedpur ISBT would come up near Pardih in Mango close to NH-33 on 10 acres of land at a cost of Rs 35 crore. The Khadgarha bus terminus will be set up on 15 acres at a cost of Rs 144-crore. 

Jharkhand doctor prescribes pregnancy tests on men, cries foul later


Pregnancy tests for men complaining of stomach pain. This is what a doctor in a government hospital in Jharkhand has prescribed to diagnose two men who came for check-up following stomach problem.

This rather bizarre turn of events has been reported from a referral hospital at Simaria in Chatr district of Jharkhand. Dr Mukesh, serving at the hospital, prescribed pregnancy tests to two young men who had come for a check-up after stomach pain on October 1.

The patients had been taken to the hospital by their family members as they complained of intense stomach pain. The doctor prescribed other tests as well such as for HIV, HBA, HCV, CBC, HH-2 and ANC the last one is a test that is conducted to see if a woman is pregnant or not.

In this case the two patients, who were asked to undergo the ANC test were, 22-year-old Gopal Ganjhu and 26-year-old Kameshwar Ganjhu — to remind again, both are men.

When Gopal and Kameshwar visited the pathological lab of the hospital, the attending doctor was bewildered and told the patients that the ANC is done on women to check pregnancy. The doctor expressed surprise that the consulting doctor prescribed this test on two men.

The two men then went back to their village and told the fellow villagers. Soon, the word spread with amusement.

On his part, Dr Mukesh denied prescribing ANC test on two men when he was asked about the claim made by Gopal and Kameshwar. He cried foul claiming a conspiracy hatched to defame him.

He said, “This is not true. This is an effort to defame me. Those tests could have been added by overwriting.” However, this strange case has become a subject of great interest in this Jharkhand town

After Arrest of ‘SIMI Operative’, NIA May Reopen Gandhi Maidan, Bodh Gaya Blast Cases


New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) may reopen the serial blast cases in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan and Bodh Gaya serial blast cases after alleged SIMI operative Azharuddin was arrested at the Hyderabad airport on Friday night, according to a report in the Times of India.

Azharuddin, who is also known as ‘Chemical Ali’, is an accused in the 2013 Bodh Gaya and Patna bomb blasts and had been on the run since December 2013 after the Chhattisgarh police’s anti-terrorist squad busted a SIMI sleeper module and arrested 17 operatives.

Police claimed that Azharuddin or Azhar went to Saudi Arabia on a fake passport after hiding in Hyderabad for some time. A police official told TOI that Azhar had come back from Saudi Arabia to meet his family, which had shifted to Hyderabad, when he was arrested at the airport on October 11.

“Acting on a specific input, he was arrested by a joint team of Chhattisgarh Police and its Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) wing from Hyderabad airport on Friday after he landed (in a flight) from Saudi Arabia,” Raipur SSP Arif Sheikh said.

Azhar has been charged under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act. A sedition case has also been registered against him.

Speaking to TOI, Sheikh said that the police had seized Azhar’s passport boarding pass, two driving licences and a voter ID card. “We expect his interrogation to reveal crucial links in the terror network and their operations. Azhar will be produced in [a] local court for transit remand,” the SSP said.

Police officials also said that Azhar, who was regularly in touch with SIMI operatives, had been involved in raising funds for banned terror outfits and brainwashing recruits. He is also accused of providing shelter and support to terrorists who organised the Bodh Gaya and Patna blasts.

A senior police official said that Azharuddin may have provided logistics to bombers in both the blasts. “His interrogation will make things clearer,” he said, speaking to TOI. While the trial in the Gandhi Maidan blast case is underway, all the five convicts in the 2013 Bodh Gaya serial blasts were sentenced to life imprisonment by an NIA court in June 2018.

In July 2013, ten bombs exploded around the Mahabodhi temple complex in Bodh Gaya and injured five persons. Later in October 2013, bombs exploded in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, just before the then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was scheduled to arrive for a public rally.

The suspects involved in the blasts allegedly took refuge in Raipur with Azhar’s aid. Sheikh, the Raipur SSP, told TOI that Azhar sheltered the bombers of both blasts. “We have taken him on two days’ remand for interrogation. [The] NIA and Intelligence Bureau (IB) sleuths were also interrogating him,” he said.

While 17 operatives linked to SIMI were arrested in December 2013 – of which Umer Siddiqui and Azharuddin Qureshi were later convicted in the Bodh Gaya case – Azhar managed to flee.

Angry With Waterlogging in Patna after Heavy Rain, People Surround Deputy CM Sushil Modi’s House


Patna: Irked over the problems of waterlogging and accumulation of trash in some areas of the city, a group of people on Sunday gheraoed Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s residence here.

The state capital was pounded by heavy rain late last month leading to waterlogging in areas such as Rajendra Nagar, Kankar Bagh and Pataliputra Colony. Even after a fortnight, water has not fully receded in some low-lying localities and garbage has not been cleared in some pockets.

“Around 50-60 people took out a march to Sushil Modi’s house (in Rajendra Nagar area) and returned after some time,” said City Superintendent of Police (Central) Vinay Tiwari.

On September 30, Modi and his family members were rescued by an SDRF team from his flooded residence in Rajendra Nagar. However, they returned later to the house.

The BJP leader, however, was not present during the protest, official sources said adding that security has been beefed up at Modi’s residence. Modi could not be contacted for his comment despite several attempts.

Angry people, carrying placards, shouted anti-Modi slogans and demanded action against officials who failed to flush out water fully in Rajendra Nagar area, making their lives difficult.

“He (Modi) left us in the lurch and fled to a safe place,” one of the protesters said.

A heap of garbage has piled up in the area and it has become quite difficult to live, another protester said. Another demanded an enquiry by Enforcement Directorate and CBI into the assets of all local BJP MLAs and ward councillors. They were also seeking compensation for the damage done to their properties in three days of incessant rain.

After demonstrating there for around 30 minutes, they reached the Patna Municipal Corporation office and protested there.

The state capital was pounded by 342.5 millimetres of rainfall between September 27 and 30, as against the state average of 255 millimetres.

Another group of people also blocked Bailey Road near Saguna More and burnt tyres to protest against the continued waterlogging in some areas. They also shouted anti-government slogans.

“Local people had blocked Bailey road near Saguna More at around 8 am for around half-an-hour. We got the blockade lifted after pacifying them,” a police officer said.

2013 Bihar Blasts Suspect “Chemical Ali”, Of Banned Group SIMI, Arrested



Suspected SIMI operative Azharuddin alias Azhar alias Chemical Ali, wanted in connection with the 2013 Bodhgaya and Patna bomb blasts, was arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police from Hyderabad airport after he landed from Saudi Arabia, an officer said on Saturday.

Ali (32), a native of Raipur, has been wanted since the last six years after he was named as an accused in connection with the Bihar blasts, Raipur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Arif Sheikh told reporters.

“Acting on a specific input, he was arrested by a joint team of Chhattisgarh Police and its Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) wing from Hyderabad airport on Friday after he landed (in a flight) from Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Ali is suspected to have given shelter to terrorists involved in the Bodhgaya and Patna blasts.

“In December 2013, Raipur Police had busted a module of the banned outfit (Students Islamic Movement of India) in the state capital and over a period of time arrested 17 people, including SIMI sleeper cell head Umer Siddiqui, in connection with the Bodhgaya and Patna blasts,” the SSP said.

Another accused, identified as Azhar (believed to be Ali), who had allegedly given shelter to terrorists involved in theses blasts, had managed to give police a slip and subsequently fled the country, he said.

“After getting information that Azhar alias Ali had moved to Saudi Arabia on a fake passport and has been working there as a driver cum assistant at a super market, the state police were keeping an eye on him,” the officer revealed.

A special team of police and ATS personnel was constituted after they received input on Ali’s arrival at Hyderabad airport where he was arrested.

A passport, two driving licenses, a boarding pass and a voter ID card were recovered from Ali, he said.

Ali will be produced in local court, the SSP said, adding that police will seek a two-day remand for Ali.

“Ali’s interrogation is likely to reveal crucial details like if he had had any support base in Hyderabad,” the police officer added.

The world-renowned Buddhist pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya was rocked by a series of blasts on July 7, 2013. Though there were no casualties, several people, including some monks, were injured.

Five Indian Mujahideen (IM) militants, convicted by a special NIA court in the 2013 Bodh Gaya blasts case, were sentenced to life imprisonment by an NIA court in 2018.