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40 cases of Delta Plus variant found in India

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Health-worker

As many as 40 cases of Delta Plus Covid variant have been detected in India — the strain which the government has tagged as a “Variant of Concern”.

A total of 21 cases of the new strain have been found in Maharashtra, six in Madhya Pradesh, three each in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, two in Karnataka and one each in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu, said sources.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Tuesday also informed that the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 was found in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri and Jalgaon; Kerala’s Palakkad and Pathanamthitta; and Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal and Shivpur.

The genome sequenced samples received from Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh as well as other states confirmed the presence of Delta Plus variant, a mutation of the Delta strain or B.1.617.2 variant first detected in India.

Soon after findings, the Ministry alerted the three states to take precautionary measures and shared that Delta Plus has characteristics like increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.

The Chief Secretaries of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh has been advised to take up immediate containment measures in different districts and clusters, including preventing crowds, widespread testing, prompt tracing and vaccine coverage.

Delta Plus cases, still a low number, are emerging as large parts of India are ending severe lockdowns and restrictions with Covid cases on the decline after a fierce second wave ambushed the nation’s health infrastructure in April-May.

INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia), a consortium of 28 labs tasked with genome sequencing of the virus causing Covid, says properties of the Delta Plus are still being investigated. It is characterized by a mutation in the spike protein, which helps the virus gain entry into human cells.

“Currently the number of such Delta plus variants in India are only few but the distribution or detection in various states during past two months indicate that it is already present in some states and states may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing and priority vaccination,” it says.

Very little is known about this strain, which is now in nine countries — the US, the UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Russia and China besides India.

According to the government, the Delta Plus, much like the Delta strain that has spread to 80 countries, is highly infectious and fast spreading.

According to INSACOG, the Delta Plus shows “increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potentially reduced monoclonal antibody response”.

It may also show resistance to existing treatment protocol for Covid, experts worry. There are concerns over whether current vaccines will be effective against the Delta Plus.

The government said while the two vaccines being used in India, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, are effective against the Delta variant, data on how they work on the Delta Plus would be shared later.

Bollywood

Crime Branch team reached Shilpa Shetty’s house, Shilpa may be questioned

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Actress-Shilpa-Shetty

In the pornography case, a team of Mumbai Crime Branch has reached Shilpa Shetty’s house at around 3:30 pm on Friday. It is told that the team may make some necessary inquiries from Shilpa Shetty in the matter. However, no confirmed information has come so far. This action of the crime branch team has been taken just after the custody of Raj Kundra was extended till July 27. About an hour ago, the fort court has extended the custody of Shilpa Shetty’s husband and businessman Raj Kundra by four more days, without giving relief. Raj Kundra’s custody was ending on Friday, 23 July. Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra are partners in most of the companies. However, earlier the police had said in their statement that the involvement of Shilpa Shetty has not come to the fore in the investigation so far. It also came to light from police sources that the Crime Branch would not issue summons to the actress for questioning. But the way the events have changed on Friday and the police team has reached Shilpa’s house, it is too early to say anything.

During the hearing in the Fort Court, Mumbai Police opposed the bail of Raj Kundra. The police told the court that Raj Kundra was not cooperating in the investigation. He is avoiding answering questions or not giving complete information. The police told the court that they suspect that Raj Kundra is also using the proceeds from porn films for online betting. In such a situation, there is a need to investigate the transactions between his Yes Bank account and United Bank of Africa. In such a situation, there will be a need to interrogate Raj Kundra more. The crime branch had appealed to the court to extend the police custody of Raj Kundra for 7 days. On the other hand, Raj Kundra’s lawyers in the court said that all the allegations leveled against his client are baseless. The lawyers also accused the police that Raj Kundra has been arrested illegally. It was argued that the films produced by Raj Kundra fall under the category of erotic, and not in the category of porn films.

Raj Kundra’s lawyer Santosh Jadhav said in a conversation with ‘ETimes’, ‘Raj Kundra’s arrest is illegal. There is not a single video that can be called obscene. The police have filed a 4000-page charge sheet, but the police have not found a single video in it, which clearly has sexually explicit content. No video is guilty of illegal demonstration under section 67A. Rest of the sections under which the case has been registered are bailable. The Supreme Court had earlier released Munawwar Farooqui on this ground. We will now appeal to the Bombay High Court for bail.

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Crime

Kerala: Eyebrows raised after gold smuggling accused’s friend dies in accident

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Gold

The death of the friend of Arjun Ayanki, an accused in the Gold smuggling case, in a road accident has raised eyebrows.

Rameez was killed in the accident on Thursday at Azhikode, near Kannur, said the police.

Incidentally, Rameez was served a notice by the Customs asking him to appear before them. The officials earlier this month had conducted a search at his house near Kannur following the arrest of his friend Arjun Ayanki by the Customs in a gold smuggling case.

Rameez, according to the police, was returning after dropping his mother on his two-wheeler when a car hit his vehicle and was seriously injured.

He was rushed to a hospital where he passed away

The police have started their probe, and so far have not found an eyewitness in the accident.

Meanwhile, the Customs has got the picture of the car which collided with the two-wheeler and it shows that the driver’s door of the car had been badly damaged.

The two-wheeler driven by Rameez is said to be registered in the name of Ayanki.

Ayanki was a CPI-M supporter and party’s ‘Red Volunteer’ captain in Kannur, and with his huge following in social media, was a ‘Facebook warrior’, attacking political opponents on social media.

However, the party leadership, both at Kannur and the state level, have washed their hands off him after the gold smuggling incidents came to light.

The gold smuggling case surfaced last month after an accident at Ramanattukara in Kozhikode. Five people had lost their lives during a chase between two gold smuggling gangs.

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Crime

Parambir Singh in big trouble After Mumbai case, FIR filed in Thane too, alleging recovery of 2 crores

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Parambir-singh

The troubles of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh are not taking the name of lessening. On Thursday, it was came to know that a case was registered against Singh at the Marine Drive police station in Mumbai. Now an FIR has been registered against 6 people including Singh in Thane city adjoining Mumbai. Parambir Singh has been accused by Thane city builder Sharad Agarwal of demanding a ransom of Rs 2 crore. Following Agarwal’s complaint, Thane police registered a case and started further investigation.

A case of extortion has been registered against eight people including Parambir Singh at Marine Drive police station in Mumbai. Apart from Parambir Singh, five other policemen and two civilians are also involved in this FIR and a DCP of Crime Branch has also been made an accused. At present, the police have arrested both the civilians, whose names are being told as Sunil Jain and Punmiya. A builder Shyam Sundar Agarwal has filed a case against all these police officers and civilians. The police have registered a case under IPC sections 387, 388, 389, 403, 409, 420, 423, 464, 465, 467, 468 and other sections.

Parambir Singh had accused former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of extorting Rs 100 crore a week through Sachin Vajhe and other police officers. Both CBI and ED are investigating against Anil Deshmukh in this case. The Enforcement Directorate had also summoned Anil Deshmukh, his wife and sons, to appear before the ED officials and record their statements. However, no one from the Deshmukh family has visited the ED office yet. Parambir Singh had occupied the government residence despite being transferred between 2015 and 2018. Due to this, the government has also imposed a fine of Rs 24 lakh on him. Parambir Singh has been accused of using two government residences. When he was the police commissioner in Thane city, he was simultaneously using two government residences. In the year 2018, a fine of Rs 54 lakh 10 thousand 545 was imposed against Parambir Singh. After that Singh sareted lived in Neelima Apartments in Malabar Hill.

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