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Amruta Fadnavis jumps in to save Governor amid clamour for his ouster



Amid a shrill clamour to sack besieged Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, singer Amruta Fadnavis – wife of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis rushed to his aid, here on Friday.

She said that Koshyari is a ‘Marathi manoos’ (Marathi man) at heart whose recent utterances on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj were misinterpreted.

Amruta said she knows the Governor personally and he genuinely loves the Marathis in the state.

“I have experienced this myself… Though it has happened many a times that he has said something that has been wrongly interpreted” claimed Amruta, speaking to the media.

Her defence of Koshyari – who kicked up a huge row on November 19 with his statements on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj – came a day after the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance declared that the Governor has “crossed all limits”.

Barring the ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party, all political parties – Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, and the Opposition Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena (UBT) – have slammed the Governor and demanded his immediate removal from the august post.

Sena (UBT) President and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray said that the Governor has insulted Maharashtra’s ideals and icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Saviti Phule and also the people of the state.

“After the ‘Minde’ government (referring to Shinde) came to power in the state, it is being continuously insulted and abused, the Governor is slighting ‘Shivraya’. The Centre should recall him immediately. People who have no place even in old-age homes are being appointed as Governors,” said Thackeray sharply.

NCP President Sharad Pawar said on Thursday that Koshyari has “now crossed all limits” and urged the President Draupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a call on him.

“The post of Governor represents an institution… To maintain its dignity, we did not speak against the Governor earlier, but now he has crossed all limits. Such people don’t deserve crucial posts like Governor” said Pawar sternly.

The state Congress President Nana Patole and other party leaders have also demanded the removal of the Governor for his slur against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The direct descendants of the legendary Maratha warrior king, Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale and Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje have come down heavily on the Governor for his statements on their illustrious ancestor.

Bhosale called Koshyari ‘third-class’ and has shot off letters to the President, PM and Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding his removal while warning that he would launch an agitation in the state.

However, the Governor sought to make amends by praising Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at a function a couple of days ago, but the state leaders are not convinced and are firm on his ouster.


Ex-Mumbai police chief gets bail from Delhi HC in money laundering case




 The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted bail to former Mumbai Police Chief Sanjay Pandey in the money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to the alleged phone tapping at the National Stock Exchange.

The bail was granted with conditions by Justice Jasmeet Singh.

The detailed order was awaited.

The ED in September this year had filed a charge sheet in Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering case pertaining to phone tapping of NSE employees between 2009 and 2017.

The charge sheet was filed against NSE’s former chiefs, Chitra Ramakrishna and
Ravi Narain, and former Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey.

“Money was laundered in phone tapping. The payments made in the phone tapping are alleged proceeds of crime. There were shell companies through which money was laundered,” it said in the charge sheet.

The ED has claimed that Pandey received Rs 4.54 crore to tap the MTNL lines to help Ramakrishna, and these were the proceeds of crime.

“Pandey ran iSec Securities Pvt. Ltd. It has been alleged that Ramkrishna used this firm to tap the phones of NSE employees. The phone calls made by NSE employees between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. were tapped and recorded by iSec Securities Pvt. Ltd. It has been alleged that Pandey helped in tapping the phone calls illegally,” an agency source had said.

Ramkrishna and Pandey were placed under arrest in July by the federal anti-money laundering agency.

Pandey had said that he tapped the phone lines, but didn’t do anything illegal. He said that all the equipment for tapping were made available by the NSE.

The ED’s case is on the basis of the CBI’s FIR, lodged on the directions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

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Mumbai: JJ hospital hostel gets Rs 12 crore for repairs




Over a month after a mid-day report got the government machinery moving to fix the dilapidated hostel for JJ hospital’s resident doctors, the state sanctioned Rs 12 crore for the building’s repair. The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission and Mumbai’s guardian minister had pulled up officials following this paper’s report on the crumbling roof and walls, and broken beams and staircases. The state government approved and sanctioned the fund in mid-November, but the mid-day was able to access the GR only on Tuesday.Ranjeet Hande, chief engineer, Public Works Department (PWD), told mid-day, “We have got the approval and money has been sanctioned for structural repairs. We have already started the tendering process for repair work. By the end of December, the tender will be finalised and work will start early next year. I have directed Superintendent Engineer Pramod Bangosavi, Executive Engineer Subhash Mane and Deputy Engineer Ranjeet Shingade to carry out all the processes quickly and commence the work soon.” mid-day first reported about the resident doctors’ miserable living conditions on October 3. The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) then took suo motu cognisance and its members visited the hostel of one of the most prestigious medical colleges in the city. They found the details in this paper’s report to be correct. The MSHRC pulled up additional chief secretary of PWD, additional chief secretary of public health department and the dean of JJ hospital for ignoring the concerns of 500 resident doctors, who are residing in the seven-storey building. Thereafter, Mumbai’s Guardian Minister Deepak Kesarkar visited the hostel—300 Doctors Quarters—and ordered quick repair work.

The hostel building is in despair, with huge cracks in the beams and staircases, leaking roofs and broken tiles. The latest structural audit report had also stated that the building was in dire need of repairs. The MSHRC had asked the department concerned to submit a relevant report on October 19 for the hearing, which commenced before the division bench of chairperson Justice K K Tated and member M A Sayeed.

At the hearing on October 19, the commission severely reprimanded top government officials for showing a lackadaisical attitude to its summons over the crumbling
hostel building. PWD officials purportedly said that it needed major work, so they had sent a proposal to the hospital that was to move to the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), the Medical Education and Drug Department (MEDD) and the state finance ministry. The bench had then asked the principal secretary of MEDD and the additional chief secretary of the finance department to appear before it during the next hearing to explain how much time it will take to clear the proposal. It had also asked chief of DMER’s Dr Dilip Mhaisker to meet these two officials and apprise them about the developments at the commission. The bench had asked all the parties to appear before it on November 22. However, the government on November 16 issued a resolution sanctioning Rs 12,66,33,455 for repairs and renovation of the hostel building.

Approx. no. of resident doctors living in the hostel building

November 16
Day the government sanctioned the fund for repair work.

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Maha-K’taka border flare-up: Bus services suspended, trucks grounded




For the second day, thousands of state transport and private buses, and goods truck services from Maharashtra to Karnataka remained suspended in view of the disturbances in the border districts, officials said here on Wednesday.

This has badly hit thousands of passengers, students or local commuters travelling between the two states for different reasons, besides stopping the transportation and supply of all types of materials, including commercial goods, foods, etc, from Maharashtra to Karnataka and vice-versa.

A Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) Spokesperson told IANS that since Tuesday around 750 ST bus services from here to Karnataka have been suspended till further orders.

The Bombay Good Transport Association committee member Deepak Verma said that around 2,500 trucks cross into Karnataka from Maharashtra carrying all types of materials, including perishable foodstuffs, which have been stranded at various points en route.

Verma said these include goods trucks from other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh which ferry stuff to Karnataka via Maharashtra border routes.

Besides there are around an estimated 1,000 private buses, mini-uses, vans, tempos or other smaller transport vehicles which are stuck owing to the skirmishes on both sides of the border over the past 24 hours, though the number of vehicles exiting Karnataka to Maharashtra is not available.

The simmering situation abruptly flared up on Tuesday after some alleged activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike attacked several buses and trucks entering the state from the Belagavi (Belgaum) border.

This sparked off a retaliation against the Karnataka vehicles in Maharashtra and also snowballed into a massive political fracas that has now reached the Centre’s court.

Unless the situation becomes normal soon in the borders — Maharashtra’s Kolhapur, Sangli and Solapur districts share a boundary with Karnataka — officials from the state are planning optional routes via other states to divert traffic between the two states to avert a possible economic fallout of the political dispute.

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