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First FIR Lodged After Hookah Ban In Maharashtra, 6 Arrested From Kandivli




A day after introducing the blanket ban on Hookah Parlour across Maharashtra, Mumbai Police has lodged its first FIR by arresting six people on Sunday from Kandivli for serving hookah in Chilly & Spice restaurant.

Police have arrested restaurant owner Shabbir Shaikh, Manager Debu Shah, four waiters including Mumtaz Shaikh, Santosh, Mahadev Yadav, and Santosh Yadav.


As per the amended Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003, anyone who finds guilty will have to pay fine of Rs. 1 lakh including imprisonment up to 3 years. The amendment has also made the offence as a non-cognisable.

Earlier a Home Department official said, “Since the notification has been issued, the ban comes into effect immediately. It will be the responsibility of the police to ensure the ban is implemented.”

A cancer surgeon, Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi said, “The regulatory ban has been there on hookah parlours after the Bombay high court order from a few years ago, but they were in operation in connivance with the authorities. Now with the blanket ban, the government should ensure its strict implementation.”

Interestingly, After Gujarat, Maharashtra is the second state to ban Hookah Parlours.


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SUV outside Ambani home: Hiren’s autopsy kept ‘reserved’



The autopsy on the body of businessman Mansukh Hiren — whose body was fished out of the Thane Creek marshes — was completed here early on Saturday, police officials said.

However, the autopsy report, findings and opinion of the four-member medical team, has been kept in reserve while his viscera has been preserved for forensic analysis, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-I) Avinash Ambure.

Hiren shot into limelight after his stolen SUV Scorpio with 20 gelatin sticks and a purported typewritten threat note was found outside Antilia — the residence of industrialist and Reliance Industries Ltd. Chairman Mukesh Ambani, on Feb. 25.

Hiren’s body is likely to be handed over to his family around noon at their residence in Vikas Palms building in Charai area of the city.

The case has been handed over to the Anti Terrorist Squad, the Thane police as the SRPF deployed tight security outside the Hirens’ residence since earlier in the day.

The Opposition BJP in Maharashtra has demanded a probe by the CBI or NIA, while his family, including wife Vimala, has rejected the ‘suicide by drowning’ theory pointing out that Hiren was an excellent swimmer.

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Maharashtra police bust illegal arms factory of Maoists in Gadchiroli




In a significant achievement, the commandos of Gadchiroli Police bust an illegal arms manufacturing factory deep in the forests of Aheri, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Friday.

A 70-strong force of commandoes battled Maoists’ gunfire as they charged into “the remote and virtually inaccessible core areas” of the rebels for over 48 hours before notching the stunning success, Deshmukh said.

The operation was carried out under the police’s Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign to weed out the strongholds of the rebels in this Maoist-infested district.

“One commando has received bullet injury on his leg and has been rushed to the headquarters in a helicopter for treatment. His condition is stable,” Deshmukh said.

The minister congratulated the Gadchiroli Police for their courage and dedication that resulted in this big victory over the Maoists.

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Maharashtra panel moots ’10-point’ agenda to end farmers’ suicides




A farm-panel on Friday submitted a ’10-point programme’ intended to arrest the agrarian crises in Maharashtra and end the saga of farmers’ suicides in the state, a top official said here.

The Vasantrao Naik Shet Swavlamban Mission (VNSSM) President Kishore Tiwari, accorded a Minister of State status, formally submitted the 10-point charter to Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte.

On his part, Kunte directed the Agriculture Department to initiate the necessary measures in the matter on priority, Tiwari told IANS after the meeting.

The parched Vidarbha, Marathwada and Khandesh regions of the state have been under the grip of a severe agro-crisis since the past nearly 25 years, forcing thousands of woeful farmers to end their lives and the trend continues even now.

“Despite measures, relief packages or loan-waivers worth over Rs five-lakh crore given by successive governments, the core issues remain untouched and need to be addressed on top priority to bring succour to the peasantry,” Tiwari told Kunte.

The 10-point programme includes: state to address input cost reduction and output cost intervention; shifting to crop pattern as per demand of the local and global market; to stop frequent failure of the credit-cycle in new farm credit policy; secondary livelihood management income activity; core issues of irrigation, water conservation, soil health revival; proper risk management with effective crop insurance and climate change issue.

Besides, Tiwari called for proper incentive for agroforestry, promotion of pulses and oilseed crops; professional quality health and education rural infrastructure; food security; and improvement in the quality of local governance.

The VNSSM chief contended that the rural agrarian distress also remained unresolved owing to a hostile administration, non-cooperation of the bankers, ill-intended interventions and complex issues pertaining to social-engineering, besides the economic crises in the country, especially in the past seven years.

Tiwari assured Kunte that the VNSSM has a detailed ready plan to tackle all these issues which can eliminate ‘directionless relief or loan waivers packages’ and end the cycle of farmers suicides on a permanent basis.

In the past 25 years or so, Tiwari said an estimated 35,000-plus farmers, including several women, have resorted to the extreme step of suicide as they could not bear the burden of pending loans, leaving behind a large number of destitute widows and orphans across the state.

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