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Wednesday,12-May-2021

Crime

Amit Shah leaves for Chhattisgarh to review Maoist attack

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday left for Chhattisgarh to review the security situation in the wake of the deadly Maoist attack in which 22 security personnel were killed. Shah will meet the security personnel injured in the attack.

Shah will visit the gun battle site in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur where the attack took place, a Home Ministry official said.

The Home Minister later will take a review meeting and then reach Raipur to see the injured security personnel.

Shah also reviewed the gun battle inicident on Sunday at his residence in the National Capital, asserting that the “fight against Maoists will continue and we will take it to the end”.

In the meeting, the Home Minister took the stock of the situation on the ground with senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Intelligence Bureau and Central Armed Police Forces soon after he reached Delhi from Assam.

He cut short his campaigning in Assam and returned to Delhi on Sunday in the wake of the Maoist attack.

A total of 22 security personnel were killed and 31 were injured in a fierce gun battle with a platoon of over 300 People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district.

Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPFs) Rakeshwar Singh Manhas from the 3.25 lakh strong paramilitary force’s elite CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) unit is still missing, and search operation is still on to trace him.

There are reports of heavy damage to the Maoists too. The security forces also recovered the body of a woman Maoist commander– identified as Madavi Vanoja– along with an Insas rifle, said the CRPF and the state police officials.

Besides, citing intelligence inputs, the CRPF said more than 12 Maoists were killed in the operation and over 16 faced grievous injuries. “All the injured Maoist cadres were learnt to be taken into two-three tractor towards Jabbamarka and Gomguda region in the area.”

The gun battle took place on Saturday noon near Tekulgudem village under Tarrem police station in which eight personnel of Chhattisgarh’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) and six of Special Task Force (STF), seven from CRPF’s CoBRA and one from its Bastaria Battalion lost their lives.

A shootout began soon after a joint team of CRPF and Chhattisgarh police’s DRG and STF men reached the spot following the tip off regarding presence of wanted Maoist Hidma — the commander of PLGA’s Battalion No.1 — and his associates. The PLGA’s Battalion No.1 is one of the guerrilla forces that are very rampant in Chhattisgarh.

Of the injured personnel include 10 from DRG, five from STF, and 16 from CoBRA-210 Battalion. Of the 31 injured, 13 suffered critical injuries and are being treated at a hospital in Raipur while 18 faced minor injuries and getting treatment in Bijapur.

Crime

Bhima Koregaon case: SC dismisses activist Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by activist Gautam Navlakha, who sought bail in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case of Maharashtra’s Bhima Koregaon.

Navlakha had challenged the Bombay High Court’s February 8 order, which declined to grant him bail, holding that the alleged illegal detention period cannot be considered to compute maximum 90 days’ time, which is mandatory to file charge sheet, or the accused could get statutory bail.

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and K.M. Joseph dismissed Navlakha’s appeal. The top court on March 26 had reserved its verdict on Navlakha’s plea. Pronouncing the verdict, Justice Joseph said it is dismissing the appeal filed by Navlakha against the High Court order.

On March 3, the top court had sought reply from the NIA on Navlakha’s plea where he argued that the charge sheet was not filed within the stipulated time period and hence, he was entitled for default bail. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Navlakha, had contended before the top court that his client should be released on default bail, as the charge sheet was filed after 93 days of his custody. Sibal had also submitted before the top court that two days period of transit from Delhi to Mumbai should also be counted in 90 days period.

The top court had on March 16 last year declined anticipatory bail to Navlakha and asked him to surrender within three weeks before the NIA. On April 8, last year, the top court gave Navlakha one more week to surrender in the case. The FIR against him was re-registered in January 2020, and he surrendered before the NIA on April 14 last year. Navlakha had spent 11 days in the NIA’s custody till April 25, and since then, he is in judicial custody.

The High Court on February 8 had dismissed Navlakha’s plea saying, “it sees no reason to interfere with a special court’s order”, which earlier rejected his bail plea.

Navlakha had moved the high court last year, against the special NIA court’s order of July 12, 2020, which rejected his plea for statutory bail.

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Crime

Grenade attack on police party in Jammu and Kashmir

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Unidentified persons hurled a grenade at a police party engaged in checking vehicles in J&K’s Samba district, which exploded without causing any damage.

Mukesh Singh, IGP (Jammu zone) confirmed to reporters that a grenade was hurled during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday in Nud area of Samba-Mansar road in Samba district.

Police said the grenade missed the target and exploded on the road without causing any damage.

Hurling a grenade at the security forces is an unusual incident in the Jammu division.

Police has started a manhunt to trace those responsible for the grenade attack.

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Crime

Tarun Tejpal rape trial: Judgement postponed due to lack of staff

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The judgement in the rape case filed against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal may now be pronounced on May 19, the defence counsel in the case said on Wednesday.

“The judgement has been postponed because the court is understaffed due to the new SOPs and the high rise in infections,” prosecution lawyer Francis Tavora told reporters.

The state is currently under a two-week Covid curfew.

The judgement was originally scheduled to be pronounced on April 27, but was adjourned to May 12.

The former editor-in-chief of the Tehelka investigative magazine was accused by a junior colleague of sexually assaulting her at a five star resort in Goa.

Tejpal has been booked under sections 376 (rape), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) 354A (sexual harassment) and 354B (criminal assault), of the Indian Penal Code.

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