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Industrial effluent, sewage used to brew illicit liquor in Punjab

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Industrial effluent and sewage are used to brew illicit liquor in Punjab.

This fact came to light in a search operation by the Excise and Taxation Department in the Bet area of Ludhiana district that falls along the Satluj river where about 2.80 lakh kg of unclaimed ‘lahan’ (raw material used for producing illicit liquor) and 100 litre of illicit liquor was destroyed on the spot, officials said on Wednesday.

As many as 60 members of search teams carried out the extensive search on Tuesday in some 40 km in which a shocking fact came to the fore that in order to distill the illicit liquor from ‘lahan’, the water used was the one which came from the sewage of industrial units of Ludhiana city.

On seeing the Excise teams, the people involved in the distillation ran away, leaving behind 30 working stills, six quintals of wood, 15 iron drums, two aluminium vessels, plastic pipes and 12 bags of jaggery, an official statement said.

During the operation, excise staff from Jalandhar was also called at other end of the river for combing operations. The operation was aimed to deter the people involved in the illicit distillation of liquor from ‘lahan’ in the Mand areas and areas along the banks of the rivers of the state.

The teams observed the water being used for the liquor distillation was full of the chemical waste and toxins releases from the industrial units.

The illicit brewing of liquor has become a big challenge in areas along the river beds and border areas that are not only having adverse impact on the sale of country-made liquor but also impending threat of hooch tragedies, said the statement.

To end illegal and illicit activities, the department has launched an extensive statewide drive.

On the directive of Excise and Taxation Minister Harpal Singh Cheema, Excise Commissioner Varun Roojam constituted four teams to launch the search operation. The teams were constituted under Deputy Commissioner (Excise) Shalin Walia by Shivani Gupta, Assistant Commissioner (Excise), Ludhiana Range.

Crime

Mumbai: Minor boy detained for raping 5-year-old girl in Nagpada; victim to get free education till 10th std

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A minor boy was detained for allegedly raping a 5-year-old girl in Nagpada and sent to a juvenile correction centre.

He was detained within six hours of the crime.

Free education till 10th standard for victim

The Nagpada police officials have collected Rs 1.10 lakh for the victim and have made provisions for giving her free education till the 10th standard.

A case has been registered under sections of IPC and POCSO.

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Crime

Teachers scam: WhatsApp chat hinting question paper leak recovered

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 The Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing the multi-crore teachers’ recruitment scam, has recovered WhatsApp chats hinting at possible advance leaking of question papers to select candidates who took the written examination for primary teachers’ posts in West Bengal in 2016.

Sources said that the selective leaking of question papers were mainly done by the youth Trinamool Congress leader, Kuntal Ghosh, who was arrested by the ED from his residence on January 21.

The probe agency has also recovered Whatsapp chats indicating that Ghosh enjoyed the patronage of former state education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee.

From the documents seized from Ghosh’s residence, the central agency officials have also recovered copies of the admit cards of certain candidates who appeared for the recruitment examination for primary teachers in 2016.

The ED sleuths have come across the names of 35 individuals who secured jobs as teachers in state- run schools by paying money to the arrested youth leader and all of them are currently employed with different schools. Each and every one of them will be questioned to take the investigation forward.

“The recruitment scam seems to be in multiple layers, which again have sub-layers involving multiple players and multiple angles. The uncovering of one layer is leading to other layers. That’s why the investigation process is getting prolonged,” said a legal associate of ED.

The fact that question papers were leaked to select candidates was established after the ED sleuths noticed that some extremely below-average candidates, as per their academic records, scored exorbitantly in the recruitment examination.

Sources said that the marks secured in their academic examinations did not justify their scores in their optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets.

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Crime

Israeli fighter jets strike Gaza in response to rockets firing

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Israeli fighter jets on Friday carried out a series of airstrikes on facilities belonging to militant groups in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from the coastal enclave, witnesses said.

Israeli army drones and fighter jets were heard buzzing in the air, and several explosions were heard in central Gaza Strip, the witnesses told Xinhua news agency.

They added that more than 14 missiles were fired at a military post that belonged to Gaza militant groups.

Palestinian medical sources said that no injuries were reported during the strikes that mainly targeted posts and facilities that belong to the Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

The airstrikes were in response to the firing of two rockets at southern Israel, said a spokesman from the Jewish state’s army.

No group has claimed responsibility for firing the rockets, which was a response to the killing of nine Palestinians during an Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp, deemed to be the most deadly in nearly two decades.

During the Israeli airstrikes on Friday, militants in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave also fired at least five rockets at southern Israeli communities close to the borders with the Gaza Strip and anti-craft missiles were fired at Israeli fighter jets by Hamas militants, sources close to Hamas security told Xinhua.

Media outlets in Gaza quoted an Egyptian source as saying that Egyptian intelligence is in intensive contact with the Palestinian factions to prevent an escalation in Gaza.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2022, and at least 29 have been killed in January this year, according to figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

According to the UN, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.

The tensions have been further aggravated since Israel’s most right-wing government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took office last month.

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