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Madras High Court refuses to stay Urban local body polls

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The Madras High Court on Friday refused to grant an interim stay to the conduct of Urban local body elections in the state.

While hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Dr. A. Nakkeeran, Rtd Joint Director of Health Services, the court did not allow a stay to the conduct of elections.

Senior counsel, S. Prabhakaran representing, Dr. A. Nakkeeran said that given the alarming situation of the Covid pandemic, there was no urgency to conduct the Urban local body elections now. He said that nothing would happen if the elections were delayed as these civic bodies were not without any office-bearers for the past several years.

The senior counsel also said that the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC) has not taken stock of the ground situation of the pandemic before preparing for the elections.

He also said that the TNSEC does not seem to be aware of the number of surging Covid cases, deaths or even on the number of containment zones in the state.

S. Prabhakaran said that the election should be postponed by two more months given the situation of the state and that threat to the lives of the people.

Senior advocate SRL Sundaresan, representing another bunch of petitions, said that when the Supreme Court had set the deadline for holding the elections, the situation in the state was not this worse regarding pandemic.

The senior counsel wanted the elections to be postponed in the interest of public health.

Senior counsel, Siva Shanmugam representing TNSEC, informed the court that the poll notification has to be issued by January 27 as per the orders of the Supreme Court.

The counsel of the Election Commission argued that a circular on Covid protocol was issued by the commission and added that all standard operating procedures followed during the rural local body elections would be in place during the Urban local body elections also.

The court adjourned the case to January 24 after hearing the arguments and refused to grant any interim stay.

Crime

NIA arrests key accused in Sunjwan terror attack case of Jammu and Kashmir

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday claimed to have arrested one Abid Ahmad Mir, a resident of Pulwama in connection with the April 22 Sunjwan terror attack case.

He was placed under arrest on Wednesday. The case pertains to indiscriminate firing upon the security personnel during a joint search operation in the area of Sunjwan, Jammu, by unknown terrorists in which one ASI of CISF was killed and several others were injured.

Two terrorists were killed in retaliatory firing by the forces. The case was initially registered in PS Bahu Fort, Jammu and later on taken over by the NIA.

During the probe, the investigating agency learnt that Mir was an Over Ground Worker of JeM. He was a close associate of arrested accused Bilal Ahmed Wagay. He was also in touch with Pakistan based handlers of JeM. He knowingly and voluntarily had extended support to the other co-accused in the commission of the instant crime.

Further investigation in the matter is on.

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Crime

6 held for trying to rob petrol pump employee by chilli powder attack

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Six accused have been arrested for allegedly trying to rob a petrol pump employee in Gurugram after throwing chilli powder on him, police said on Thursday.

The accused have been identified as Mohammad Jamahir, Colleen, Gulshan, Shamsher, Amit alias Gorilla, and Mosin.

All the accused were nabbed by a crime branch team on Wednesday after a tip-off.

The incident took place on Monday when Ramesh was going to deposit the cash of Rs 16.8 lakh collected from different petrol pumps in the UCO Bank branch located near Harish Bakery in old Gurugram.

“During interrogation, the accused disclosed that Shamsher often used to buy goods from an auto shop located near UCO bank… there he noticed that Ramesh used to visit the bank with a bag and then he shared his plan with accomplices and executed the incident,” ACP, Crime, Preet Pal Sangwan, said.

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Crime

31 persons held during raid at dance bar in Mumbai’s Kalina

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At least 31 persons were arrested and four women were rescued during a raid at a dance bar in suburban Kalina area here, police said on Thursday.

Based on a tip-off, the police and social service branch conducted a raid at Pushpak Bar late on Wednesday night, an official from Vakola police said.

During the raid, eight women were found on the premises, despite the owner having permission to employ only four, he said.

The police arrested 21 patrons and 11 employees of the establishment under section 294 (obscene act and songs) and other relevant provisions of the IPC and produced them in court, the official said.

The police will cancel the bar’s licence for violations, he added.

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