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Tuesday,07-December-2021

Crime

Global Covid-19 caseload tops 201 million

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The global coronavirus caseload has topped 201 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.27 million and vaccinations soared to over 4.34 billion, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Saturday morning, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll stood and vaccination tally stood at 201,690,263, 4,276,940 and 4,346,167,629, respectively.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 35,695,091 and 616,483, respectively, according to the CSSE.

In terms of infections, India follows in the second place with 31,856,757 cases.

The other worst countries with over 3 million cases are Brazil (20,108,746), France (6,325,144), Russia (6,318,643), the UK (6,042,529), Turkey (5,870,741), Argentina (5,002,951), Colombia (4,828,583), Spain (4,588,132), Italy (4,383,787), Iran (4,092,671), Germany (3,792,848) and Indonesia (3,607,863), the CSSE figures showed.

In terms of deaths, Brazil comes second with 561,762 fatalities.

Nations with a death toll of over 100,000 are India (426,754), Mexico (243,733), Peru (196,760), Russia (160,574), the UK (130,482), Italy (128,187), Colombia (122,087), France (112,347), Argentina (107,213) and Indonesia (100,636).

Crime

Sand mafia in Punjab worth Rs 20,000 crore: Kejriwal

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Arvind-Kejriwal

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said the sand mafia in Punjab alone runs illegal business of over Rs 20,000 crore.

There are serious allegations of direct involvement of ruling Congress MLAs, their ministers and their close associates, including the Chief Minister himself.

Kejriwal was responding to the queries of the media persons on his arrival at Sri Guru Ramdas Ji International Airport here. He was on a day-long visit to Punjab for participation in party programmes.

He said when allegations of involvement of the Congress MLAs and ministers, including the Chief Minister, in sand mafia and many other illegal activities are being levelled, then who will protect the interests of the general public?

“Who will save the interest of Punjab? To whom will the common people go for justice? Can the welfare of Punjab and the people of Punjab be expected from such mafia and patrons of mafia state?”

Kejriwal said earlier the Badals and the BJP had looted the state by patronizing all sorts of mafia during their regime.

In 2017, people expressed their faith in the promises made by the Congress and the Captain (Amarinder Singh), but they too followed the footsteps of the Badals.

He said according to an estimate, illegal trade of Rs 20,000 crore per annum in sand and gravel mining alone was going on in Punjab. This money can be used for the welfare of the people, but it is going into the pockets of the leaders instead of the government coffers.

Kejriwal promised that with the formation of the AAP government in 2022, all sorts of mafia, including illegal sand mining, would be shut down.

The money that is going into the pockets of political leaders from the resources of the state due to mafia rule will go to the needy pockets of mothers, sisters and the elderly.

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Crime

Drugs worth over Rs 508 cr seized in Manipur, one Myanmarese held

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In the biggest ever drug haul in northeast India, the Assam Rifles and the police in Manipur have seized over 154 kg ‘methamphetamine’ tablets and more than 54 kg heroin worth over Rs 508 crore and arrested one Myanmar national, officials said on Tuesday.

Vikramjit Singh, District Superintendent of Police, Tengnoupal, said that the Assam Rifles and the police in a joint operation seized heroin powder weighing 54.141 kg and methamphetamine tablets weighing 154.314 kg from a house at Sunrise Ground in Moreh town late on Monday evening.

“The cost of the seized heroin powder is expected to be around Rs 108 crore and that of the methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) tablets around Rs 400 crore in the international market,” he told the media.

The district police chief said that the Assam Rifles and the police after lengthy planning arrested Monkhai, 19, a resident of Khampat in neighbouring Myanmar, on Monday afternoon. His arrest led to the biggest ever seizure of drugs smuggled from across the border and stored in a house.

Colonel Sumit Sood, Commandant of 43 Assam Rifies of Moreh Battalion, and Singh along with other officials successfully seized the large cache of drugs which were meant to be ferried to other parts of India after month-long efforts.

The arrested person and the seized narcotics have been handed over to the Moreh police station and a case has been registered under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Further probe is on.

Appreciating the security forces for the record drugs seizure, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh tweeted: “Marvellous achievement by Tengnoupal Police and 43 Assam Rifles in seizing illegal narcotics substances worth Rs 500 crore from a warehouse in Moreh. On receiving a reliable input, the combined team had arrested one Myanmar national with 220 soap cases of suspected heroin.

“Upon his revelation, a warehouse was raided and 3,716 soap cases containing suspected heroin and 152 packets of suspected Crystal Meth (methamphetamine) were seized. This is one of the biggest seizures under the ‘War on Drugs’ initiative of the state government.”

A defence spokesman said that Assam Rifles has been at the forefront in combating cross-border narco-terrorism and insurgency emanating from Myanmar.

“Narco-terrorism is a major source of finance for the terrorist groups based in Myanmar. It has linkages with the other players in the ‘Golden Triangle’.

“This scrouge is the main reason for the rise in drug addiction among the youth of India, especially in the northeast region. It is also a source for fuelling terrorism in the region,” the spokesman said.

Methamphetamine, commonly known as ‘Yaba’ or ‘party tablets’, is a synthetic drug used widely by the youth in Bangladesh and its neighbouring countries, besides India.

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Crime

Phone tapping case: Raj CM Ashok Gehlot’s OSD questioned by Delhi Crime Branch

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Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s OSD Lokesh Sharma has been interrogated for about two and a half hours by the Delhi Crime Branch in the famous case of phone tapping.

The interrogation happened on Monday. The official sources confirmed that over a dozen questions were asked to Sharma.

In March 2021, a case was registered against Lokesh Sharma in the phone tapping case under several sections on the basis of a complaint filed by the Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who had alleged that his image had been tarnished via the audio leaked by the OSD.

Lokesh Sharma had challenged this FIR in the Delhi High Court and got relief from arrest from the High Court till January 13.

This phone tapping controversy of Rajasthan was reported in July 2020 during the rebellion by some Congress leaders after a dispute between the Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot groups came to the fore. At that time, a purported audio clip of a phone conversation between Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Congress leaders had surfaced. The audio was leaked to the media after which the Union Minister had filed a complaint to the then Delhi Police Commissioner through email.

During interrogation, the crime branch asked Sharma about how the clip, which went viral, reached him. Lokesh Sharma was given the notice for questioning three times in the past by the Crime Branch.

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