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Kejriwal seeks Centre’s leadership role to curb pollution

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday sought the Centre’s leadership in curbing the air pollution as he termed it a “problem” in not just the national capital but entire north India.

“The central government can no longer lag behind. The Centre will have to lead from the front. The Air Quality situation is worsening from Bhiwandi in Rajasthan to Bettiah and Motihari in Bihar. It is a problem in the entire North India. To tackle it, we need to sit across the table and find a solution”, he said while addressing a press briefing.

Chief Minister Kejriwal was addressing a joint press briefing with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on the rising air pollution.

The air quality has turned very bad in Delhi and people are facing difficulty in breathing. There are many aspects to it and it is a problem of the entire North India, he said.

“There are severe conditions everywhere from Delhi to Dadri, Jind, Manesar, Faridabad. The Aam Aadmi Party is not only responsible for this. The air of one state does not stay in one state only. The Centre needs to take steps to curb the pollution”, Kejriwal said.

“We agree that stubbles are being burnt in Punjab for which farmers are not responsible. Instead, we and our governments are. Our government in Punjab is just over six months old which is a very short span. We have done a lot of work, some steps have been successful, some may not have been. By next year, stubble burning will be reduced. But we don’t want to get into a blame game, we are responsible for this”, Kejriwal further said.

Farmers themselves do not want to burn the stubble. There is a difference of only ten to twelve days between the crops of paddy and wheat, in such a situation burning the stubble is the only choice they have, the Punjab Chief Minister said.

“We can solve it by November next year. Taking the responsibility, we have tried a lot to stop the stubble burning, but it is not our sole responsibility.

“The Centre and the state government should sit together. As CM Punjab I also give assurance and also take the responsibility”, CM Mann said.

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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National News

Goa Police intensify night patrolling for women’s safety

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 In a bid to curb street crimes and to increase safety for women, the Goa Police on Friday announced a special four-wheeler patrol ‘Operation Jagruti’ in the state’s north district.

North Goa Superintendent of Police Nidhin Valsan told media persons that night patrolling will be intensified under this initiative.

“This exercise includes 38 Jagrut North District vehicles having 100 staff deployed from North District and other various units. There are 10 vital routes identified along with additional 40 internal routes in North Goa District in which these vehicles will be patrolling daily from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” he said.

Valsan said that besides this, they will attend to all the other calls received from the control room.

“The main intention of this exercise is to assist and help any distressed woman and child during odd hours,” he said.

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National News

‘Will act considering HC order’, EC to SC on disqualified Lakshadweep MP’s plea

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 The Election Commission (EC) on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it will consider the Kerala High Court order, which suspended the conviction of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal in an attempt to murder case, and take action in accordance with the law.

Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Faizal, submitted before a bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph that the by-election cannot go on as the high court has suspended the conviction of his client.

Faizal’s conviction had resulted in his disqualification from the Lok Sabha. The bypoll was announced by the EC after Faizal was disqualified following his conviction in the case.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the EC, contended before the bench, also comprising B.V. Nagarathna, that the action will be in accordance with law against the backdrop of the high court order.

Singh took strong exception to the allegations made in Faizal’s petition that the poll body had acted in a malafide manner and questioned how a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution could be filed in the matter.

The bench said, “Without going into the allegations or pronouncing on any merits, we dispose of the writ petition recording the submission that action will be taken by the EC in accordance with law in light of the high court order of suspension of conviction.”

Faizal, in his plea filed in the apex court, had argued that the bypoll was announced without awaiting the outcome of his plea for stay of conviction and sentence in the high court.

Earlier this month, the EC had said the bypoll to the Lakshadweep Lok Sabha seat will be held on February 27 along with the byelections to six Assembly seats spread across five states.

Faizal, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, had moved the apex court challenging the EC’s press note announcing by-election in his erstwhile Lakshadweep constituency, terming the announcement as was arbitrary, malafide and unlawful.

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