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Sunday,17-January-2021

Maharashtra

Act against rape accused minister: BJP to CM Uddhav Thackeray

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Dhananjay-Munde

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to take action against a Minister Dhananjay Munde, accused of alleged rape by a woman.

BJP women’s wing leader Chitra Wagh demanded that Munde should be asked to resign and the police should conduct an impartial probe.

Similarly, ex-MP Kirit Somaiya shot off a complaint to the Election Commission of India (ECI) demanding a probe into and appropriate action against Munde for suppressing information about “his two wives and all children and properties in their names” in his 2019 assembly election affidavit.

Munde, 45, has been under fire after a woman lodged a written complaint with Mumbai Police on January 11 accusing him of raping her for the last several years.

While the Oshiwara Police have not yet taken cognizance or lodged a First Information Report in the matter, Munde, who is the nephew of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde and quit the BJP to join the NCP, late on Tuesday sought to clear the air in a detailed social media post. The NCP has not yet commented on the controversy.

Detailing the issue, Munde – among other things – said that the allegations against him are false, defamatory, and he has SMS proofs that the woman made calls from her mobile demanding billions of rupees as blackmail.

He admitted that he was in a relationship with a woman since 2003, through whom he has a son and daughter and he looks after them with the full knowledge and consent of his wife and family.

Munde said he had arranged a house for her and an insurance policy, etc.

“But, from 2019, she and her sister blackmailed me and started demanding money. A complaint has also been filed with the police regarding all these matters that are happening since November 12, 2020,” Munde claimed.

He said that he was threatened by their brother, and in November 2020, the elder sister published certain personal and private material related to him on social media and blackmailed him.

“That’s why I am trying to get justice for myself in this case. A petition has been filed against her in the high court. The high court has passed orders against her banning the publishing of such material. The petition is pending for further hearing, meanwhile the process of reconciliation by lawyers on both sides is also going on,” Munde wrote.

However, he said that since the past couple of days, her younger sister has made false claims of alleged rape with the promise of marriage, which is part of the blackmail plan perpetrated by the two sisters and their brother.

Prominent human rights activist Advocate Asim Sarode said that Munde was in a ‘marriage-like’ relationship with a woman who was not his legal wife, and in his case his first wife and the other woman have no complaints.

The information a candidate has to give to the ECI should include about the legal wife, but he has probably created a serious legal error by hiding the children’s information in his poll affidavit.

“If anyone complains, the EC can cancel Munde’s representation (election) in this case. There are no examples of the ECI itself taking such cases seriously, and there is a general perception that the ECI is not doing anything,” Sarode said.

Sarode cited the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s affidavit without informing he had a wife, but in the next election he announced he was married, but even then no action was taken against him.

“Therefore, it is doubtful that the ECI will take strict action against Munde for not providing information about the children. However, CM Uddhav Thackeray, who has political and moral powers, can take action and remove Munde from the ministry,” Sarode said.

On her part, the sister on January 12, took to social media claiming that she had earlier approached Oshiwara Police Station but her complaint was not accepted.

She claimed that Munde — who is reportedly her brother-in-law and had married her sister in 1998 — first raped her in 2006 when she was alone at home and then repeated the act multiple times over the years on the pretext of marriage and helping her get Bollywood singing assignments.

Maharashtra

Uddhav Thackeray flags off ‘V-day’, as Maharashtra ex-minister gets first jab

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Uddhav-Thackeray-5

Exactly 10 months after a 64-year-old man fell the first victim to Covid-19 (March 17), Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray kicked off the much-anticipated Coronavirus vaccination drive, terming it as “a revolutionary step”, here on Saturday.

While former Shiv Sena Health Minister Deepak Sawant was administered the first Covishield Vaccine jab at R.N. Cooper Hospital, medico Madhura Patil was given the maiden dose at the Bandra Kurla Complex field hospital, both in their capacity as medical frontline workers.

“With this, we have taken a revolutionary step today during the Covid-19 pandemic, the health workers worked cooperated with us in a big way. Even after the vaccination, all Covid-19 precautions must continue to be observed,” Thackeray urged.

An anxious Patil took the first Covishield vaccine dose amid a huge media glare with Thackeray, Mayor Kishori Pednekar, BMC Commissioner I.S. Chahal, top ministers, civic and medical officials and other invitees standing and watching the process.

As a nurse injected the vaccine, without grimacing, Patil managed a smile behind her masked fact and even displayed a ‘thumbs up’ sign.

The drive in Maharashtra – the worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic with maximum deaths and infections – started enthusiastically shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the national vaccination drive in New Delhi.

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Crime

NCP leader Eknath Khadse grilled by ED in land deal case

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Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)leader Eknath Khadse went to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in a Pune MIDC land deal case, official sources said here on Friday.

Khadse, who has just recovered from Covid-19, arrived at the ED office in south Mumbai, nearly three weeks after he was first summoned in the alleged land-grab case.

Last month, a team of ED had gone to Pune to scrutinize evidences and gather documents pertaining to the alleged irregularities in the deal, which forced Khadse to quit as minister in the erstwhile BJP-led government in 2016.

Subsequently, the ED recorded the statement of the whistle-blower activist Anjali Damania in the matter in which she had moved the court.

Damania had also submitted documents and other evidences concerning the land deal which the State Anti Corruption Bureau had probed, given a clean chit to Khadse and later closed the case.

On his part, Khadse, 68 – who quit the BJP to join the NCP last October – has claimed innocence and said the entire transaction was absolutely transparent, and without any kind of irregularities.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra Congress to ‘gherao’ Raj Bhavan over fuel prices, farm laws

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Maharashtra-Congress-President-Balasaheb-Thorat

As petrol prices crossed Rs.91/litres in Mumbai on Thursday, the Maharashtra Congress announced plans to ‘gherao’ the Nagpur Raj Bhavan on Jan. 16, to highlight the plight of the common people and the agitating farmers, a top leader said here.

State Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the country is reeling under unprecedented hike in the prices of petrol, diesel, while lakhs of farmers are sitting in agitation outside Delhi in a never-witnessed-before opposition to the 3 farm laws.

“Since over 45 days, at least 60 farmers have lost their lives, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre remains insensitive to their plight. To awaken this ruthless and arrogant government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we shall ‘gherao’ the Nagpur Raj Bhavan on Saturday,” Thorat told mediapersons.

Explaining the impact of the rocketing fuel prices, the senior Minister said that like the farmers, even the common masses in the country are hit by the record hike in petrol, diesel and gas prices due to the policies of the BJP government.

“In the past six years, the BJP regime has hiked excise duty on petrol from Rs.9.20 per litre in May 2014 by 258 per cent to touch Rs.32.98 per litre now, and a similar 820 per cent hike of excise duty on diesel from Rs.3.46 per litre in May 2014 to Rs.28.37 per litre now. This is despite the fact that international crude oil prices have crashed by more than 50 per cent, from Rs.110 per barrel to Rs.50 per barrel,” Thorat pointed out.

By this, he alleged that the Modi Government has raked in a staggering profit of Rs.19-lakh-crore only from the frequent fuel price hikes.

He reiterated that the BJP-led government is only working for the interests of industrialists and corporate houses and looting the ordinary Indians to serve certain capitalists, through the farm laws and the fuel price hikes, and hence, the Congress shall observe Jan. 16 as “Farmers Rights Day”.

Thorat stated that the people of the country are “fed up with the BJP’s arbitrariness, trampling of the Constitution and democratic values with its policies like the 3 black farm laws and fuel hikes, and the agitation will continue till the laws are repealed.

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