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After Hathras, another woman raped, killed in Uttar Pradesh




Even as the embers of the Hathras incident continue to smoulder, yet another incident of a Dalit woman being gangraped and killed in Balrampur district has taken place.

According to reports, a 22-year-old Dalit college student was raped and brutalized in the Gaisari village of Balrampur on Tuesday.

Two persons have been arrested in connection with the crime.

The woman, a second-year B. Com student, had gone to a college in a nearby town to pay her fees on Tuesday. According to the family, she also worked in a private firm.

The girl did not return home till late in the evening and the family made several attempts to contact her on her phone.

Later in the night, the woman reportedly came home in a rickshaw in a semi-conscious state. She had a cannula injected in her forehand which indicated that she had undergone treatment.

Family members said that the woman looked dazed and in a serious condition. The family rushed her to a nearby hospital, but she died on the way.

The family has also alleged that the woman was lethally injected before she was raped.

Balrampur Superintendent of Police, Dev Ranjan Verma, said: “The family said that the woman did not reach home on time on Tuesday. They tried to contact her but could not get in touch. After some time, she came home in a rickshaw with a glucose drip attached to her arm and she was in a bad state. The relatives took her to a hospital but she died on the way.”

According to the mother of the victim, she was unable to speak when she came back home and could only manage to utter the words, “I am in a lot of pain, I won’t survive.”

“She had gone to get her admission done at 10 in the morning. We have the receipts. On her way back, 3-4men forcibly put her in their car, injected her and raped her. The accused broke her back and her legs and sent her back in a rickshaw. She had no strength left to even walk,” the mother told reporters.

However, the Balrampur Police, in a tweet, said reports about her limbs and waist being broken are not true and these injuries have not been confirmed in the autopsy report.

Based on a complaint filed by the victim’s brother, the Balrampur police registered a case and arrested two accused, Shahid and Sahil, on charges of gangrape and murder on Wednesday night.

The police also said that the victim was raped in the back room of a grocery store in the Gaisari village. The victim’s sandals were found outside the room and the owner of the grocery store is the alleged mastermind of the crime.

Police investigations also revealed that the accused had tried to get the victim treated after raping her.

They called a nearby doctor to come and see the victim but the doctor got suspicious of the situation and refused to treat her in the absence of a guardian.

“A boy named Sahil came to call me around 5 pm. He took me to his uncle Shahid’s grocery shop. When I reached there, they told me to see a patient from their family. I saw that the room was empty and asked them who the woman was. They told me she is the daughter of a government secretary. I said I will not treat her until a woman or elder from the vicinity is present. They told me to go back to my clinic and said they will call the secretary and get the victim to my clinic. I do not know where they went after that,” the doctor told local reporters.

The doctor also confirmed that the victim did not have an IV drip attached when he saw her.

Meanwhile, in what seems to be a replay of the Hathras incident, the Balrampur victim was also cremated in a hurry late on Tuesday night amidst a heavy police deployment.

The last rites were performed immediately after a post-mortem was conducted on the body. However, locals have said that the funeral was conducted with the permission of the victim’s family.

Reacting to the incident, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in a tweet in Hindi said, “After Hathras, a girl has been gang-raped in Balrampur and she has now succumbed. The BJP government should not indulge in a cover-up like in Hathras and must immediately take strict action against the culprits.”


CBI searches multiple locations in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala; recovers Rs 1 crore




The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday carried out searches in Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in connection with two separate cases of disproportionate asset and graft registered against a Railways Chief Engineer, Assistant Director of India Tourism and others, and recovered cash to the tune of Rs 1.07 crore, officials said.

A CBI official here said that the first case was registered against Ravish Kumar, CEDE, ECR in Bihar’s Hajipur over the allegations of acquiring huge moveable and immovable properties in his name and in the name of his family members during the period January 2009 to October 2020 while posted in Railway.

The official said that it was further alleged in FIR that during the said period, the accused received a total income of Rs 1.04 crore from his salary and others and Rs 40 lakh income of his wife.

The CBI official further said that during the said period, Kumar’s total expenses were allegedly Rs 67.41 lakh. “Thus, his likely saving during check period was allegedly Rs 76.59 lakh,” he said.

The official said that it was also alleged that during the said period, he acquired and possessed movable and immovable assets at various places in his name and in the name of his family members of value of Rs 3.4 crore.

It was further alleged that during check period disproportionate assets have been computed as approx Rs 2.64 crore, which is approx 183.40 per cent of his net income, which is disproportionate to his known sources of the income.

The official said that searches were conducted today at the premises of accused and others including relatives which led to recovery of cash of Rs 76 lakh, documents related to investment in around 15 properties, investment in jewellery and banks etc. and several incriminating documents.

The official said that in the second case the agency has named S.Ramakrishnan, Assistant Director, India Tourism in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai and others including unknown private and public servants on the allegations that the accused along with the Regional Director conduct periodical inspection in various hotels for the purpose of issuing classification or licence and in the process, in conspiracy with Consultant or Hotel owners, undue advantage is obtained by him and others.

He said, it was further alleged that the accused would be proceeding to Palani near Madurai with the bribe amount of Rs 7 lakh collected from various hoteliers for giving favourable report.

“Ramakrishnan was intercepted while proceeding Palani,” the official said.

He further said that searches were conducted around 15 places located in Patna, Chennai, Kochi, Ernakulam & Kollam which led to recovery of cash of Rs 31 lakh and incriminating documents.

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Railway bribery case: Vijay Singla met accused Sandeep Goyal at ex-Min Bansal’s bungalow




Vijay Singla, the nephew of then railway minister and Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal held meetings with Sandeep Goyal, one of the accused in the railway bribery scam, at the Delhi residence of the Minister and also used his landline phone, the Enforcement Directorate has claimed in its charge sheet in the railway bribery scam case.

The revelations were made in the ED charge sheet that has been filed in a Special PMLA court in Chandigarh last month, which has been viewed by IANS.

In his statement to ED in December 2018, Singla stated that he “met Goyal at the official residence of Bansal”, who was then the Railway Minister.

Singla further stated that he stayed on number of times at the residence of Bansal in Delhi and also used his official landline phone.

The financial probe agency has filed a charge sheet against Mahesh Kumar, then Member Staff of the Railway Board, Singla, N. Manjunath, Goyal, Ajay Garg, Rahul Yadav, Sameer Sandhir, Sushil Daga, C.V. Venugopal, M.V. Murali Krishna and Venketeshwara Rail Nirman Pvt. Ltd. under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED case is based on the FIR and charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Kumar, Singla, Goyal and seven other accused persons.

The CBI had arrested Singla red handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 89.68 lakh for favourable posting of Kumar, a 1975 batch officer of the Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE) as Member (Electrical), Railway Board.

“During the investigation it was revealed that Manjunath on behalf of Kumar had persuaded various Railway vendors/S&T manufactures/contractors for making arrangement of bribe amount for promotion of Kumar as Member (Electrical) by alluring them that all the contributors will be taken care of/benefited from the desired posting of Kumar,” the official said.

It was also found that for the favourable posting of Kumar, the first instalment of the bribe amount of Rs 89.68 lakh was contributed by Manjunath, Krishna, Daga and Venketeshwara Rail Nirman Pvt. Ltd.

The officer said Rs 50 lakh was contributed by Manjunath himself, Rs 25 lakh by Krishna, Rs 5 lakh by Daga and Rs 10 lakh from the account of Venketeshwara Rail Nirman Pvt. Ltd. by Rahul Yadav and Daga.

“The said amount was routed through the account of various companies or individuals and with assistance of hawala agents,” the officer said, adding: “The amount Rs 89.68 lakh was finally made available at Delhi in the form of cash which was delivered to Singla at his office in Sector 28, Chandigarh by the employees of Daga and Yadav of Delhi.”

The ED in July this year questioned Bansal for several hours in Chandigarh in connection with the case.

In May last year, the ED had attached the Rs 89 lakh amount which the CBI seized from the office of Bansal’s nephew Singla in 2013 in the corruption case related to appointments at top positions in the railways, when the Congress leader was the Union Railway Minister in the United Progressive Alliance-2 regime.

Bansal had to step down from the post after the controversy.

“Singla demanded Rs 10 crore through Sandeep Goyal from N. Manjunath to get Mahesh Kumar posted as Member (Electrical),” the ED had said, quoting the CBI probe.

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12 years after 26/11, Pakistan’s Punjab is imploding




Twelve years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the Pakistan province of Punjab – the place where the attacks were plotted – is imploding.

The province is in the grip of Islamist fundamentalism which was until recently led by a cleric named Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the founder of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), an extremist organisation which believes in the execution of “blasphemers” of Islam.

The wheelchair-bound cleric along with thousands of his supporters recently held protest demonstrations in Islamabad demanding the Imran Khan government to sever Pakistan’s diplomatic ties with France over the fresh controversy related to the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammad. Given the popularity of the movement, the Khan government under pressure signed an agreement with TLP that it will cut off its relations with France after the National Assembly approved it in three months.

Mysteriously, Rizvi died at the age of 54 on November 19. After his burial, his son, Hafiz Saad Rizvi, with an equally massive following as his father, vowed to carry forward Rizvi’s mission against “blasphemy”.

What connects Rizvis with the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks — the mastermind and chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba Hafiz Saeed, terrorist Ajmal Kasab, Lashkar operatives David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana — is the Punjab province of Pakistan. Not only are all of them from the same province, but all share the same fundamentalistic zeal for Islam and issues related to blasphemy.

While Headley and Rana were affiliated to Lashkar-e-Taiba, which follows the hardline Deobandi school of Islam, Rizvis are Barelvis, once deemed Islam’s moderate strain. But the extremist face of Barelvis got exposed in Pakistan when Khadim Rizvi backed Mumtaz Qadri who had assassinated Punjab’s governor Salman Taseer for supporting Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been wrongly jailed for alleged blasphemy against Islam. When Qadri was convicted, Khadim Rizvi led a mass movement for his freedom. After he was hanged in 2016, Qadri got a massive funeral, shocking the whole world. The movement culminated in the creation of TLP.

Interestingly, Headley and Rana, apart from planning the Mumbai terror attacks against India, were also driven by the same issue of blasphemy. At the direction of Lashkar, both planned a terror attack against Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which had published 12 cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in 2005. The cartoons led to protests, including violence by Muslims world wide.

The recent Khadim Rizvi-led renewed movement against “blasphemy” was triggered after a French teacher showed caricatures of the Prophet in a class discussion on free speech. The teacher was beheaded by an Islamist student, drawing global condemnation. French President Emmanuel Macron not only stood by the teacher and France’s freedom of expression, he made it clear that his country will not tolerate Islamist radicalism.

Even Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is on the same page as Headley, Rana and Khadim Rizvi on the issue of blasphemy. He was critical of France and warned that “blasphemy” against Islam can’t be committed under the garb of free speech.

Insiders in Pakistan say that Islamic radicalisation has reached its peak in Punjab province.

“This is a result of Pakistan Army’s repeated use of religious fundamentalists of different sects in Punjab province for its own strategic goals against India. All the hard liner schools, Deobandi, Jamaat-e-Islami and Ahl-e-Hadith, were used to create terror groups in Punjab province aimed at India in Kashmir. All their chiefs and terror camps for Kashmir remain intact even as there has been so much international pressure.

“But since 26/11, it has been the Barelvis, over 50 per cent of the population in Pakistan, who are driving Islamic fundamentalism within Pakistan. This is tearing apart the heart of Pakistan, that is Punjab,” a journalist from Lahore told IANS.

Majority of Pakistan’s top Army officers are also from the Punjab province.

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