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Maharashtra lecturer set ablaze by jilted suitor succumbs

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Exactly a week after she was set ablaze in public by a jilted suitor, a 24-year old Maharashtra lecturer succumbed to her burns here on Monday, a top medico said.

The victim, who was set ablaze on February 3 in full public view outside her college gates in Hinganghat, Wardha, breathed her last at 6.55 a.m., losing a 168-hour long battle for life, said Orange City Hospital and Research Institute (OCHRI) Director Anup Marar.

Having suffered extensive burns on her face, head, respiratory system and heart, she remained critical throughout her treatment and was placed on ventilator since the last two days.

Her condition had worsened since Sunday night and became critical at around 4 a.m., with the end finally coming after her heart, lungs and kidneys failed, Marar said.

The victim was a part-time lecturer at the Matoshree Ashatai Kunawar Mahila Mahavidyalaya in Hinganghat, neighbouring Wardha district.

Her distraught family and relatives have taken the body for the last rites later Monday as tearful students across college campuses in the state expressed grief and outrage.

On February 3, as the victim deboarded from a bus, she was accosted by the spurned suitor.

He threw petrol on her and set her ablaze before decamping on a motorcycle, sending shockwaves in the state, with many demanding a ‘Hyderabad-style’ punishment to the accused, who is a married person.

After the incident, a series of protests hit Maharashtra with shutdowns, processions, candle-lit vigils and prayers for the victim’s recovery, even as she fought for life at the OCHRI, Nagpur.

As announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last week, the case will be tried in a fast-track court and eminent criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam will be the special public prosecutor.

The incident sparked outrage among state political, academic, social circles with NCP’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Ministers Anil Deshmukh, MP Supriya Sule, Shiv Sena’s Deputy Leader of Maharashtra Legislative Council Neelam Gorhe, Congress state President Balasaheb Thorat, Congress Minister Yashomati Thakur, AMLA Praniti Shinde, Bharatiya Janata Party state President Chandrakant Patil, Vice-President Chitra Wagh and others demanding the most stringent punishment for the accused in a time-bound manner.

In Daroda village, from where both the victim and the accused hail, hundreds of angry and emotional citizens staged a road block demanding that the government must immediately punish the accused and ensure the safety of women.

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Crime

Extortion case: Mumbai Police file charge-sheet against Param Bir, others

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The Mumbai Police on Saturday filed a voluminous charge-sheet against suspended DGP Param Bir Singh and three others in an extortion case lodged by a businessman before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’S Court, officials said here.

This is the first charge-sheet filed against Singh — a former Mumbai Police Commissioner, who was suspended on December 2 — in the five FIRs lodged against him in Mumbai and Thane.

The chargesheet, with evidences and the recorded statements of witnessses, also names sacked cop Sachin Vaze, currently in police custody, and two others in the extortion case filed by a hotelier, Bimal Agarwal.

The two other accused named are Alpesh Patel and Sumit Singh, who are currently out on bail, while the police are yet to file charges against two more accused, Vinay Singh and Riyaz Bhati.

Singh, the Maharashtra State Home Guards Commandant General, who was ‘untraceable’ for nearly six months till he resurfaced in Mumbai 10 days ago, had recorded his statement in the case, which was registered by the Goregaon Police on August 25 and later transferred to the Crime Branch.

As per Agarwal’s complaint, Singh, Vaze and the others allegedly threatened to file fake cases against him and extorted nearly Rs 12 lakh between January 2020 and March 2021. The Crime Branch is probing the case now.

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Crime

INX media case: Former director Peter Mukerjea gets regular bail

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A Delhi Court on Saturday granted regular bail to former media baron Peter Mukerjea, in connection with an alleged criminal conspiracy involving former Union Finance minister P. Chidambaram, his son Karti and others in relation to foreign direct investment to a firm, INX Media, in 2007.

The special CBI judge M.K. Nagpal granted the bail to Mukerjea, who was the erstwhile director and Chief Operating Officer of INX Media.

The bail application was argued by Adv Sandeep Kapur, Senior Partner, Karanjawala and Co and assisted by Adv Apoorva Pandey, Adv Ashneet Singh, Adv Mridul Yadav, and Adv GG Kashyap.

According to the case, excess Foreign Direct Investment was approved by INX Media (P) Ltd without the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board which was allegedly scuttled by Karti Chidambaram by influencing public servants from various government departments by virtue of his relationship with the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and receiving huge kick-backs as consideration.

On November 27, the same special court had issued summons to Chidambarams and others in ED and CBI cases in connection with Aircel Maxis money-laundering and corruption cases, in which the CBI and the ED have alleged that as the former finance minister granted approval to the deal beyond his capacity, which benefited certain persons and he received kickbacks in return.

It is alleged that Chidambaram withheld Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance of the deal until his son, Karti Chidambaram received the five-per cent share in the company.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for probe agencies had earlier informed the court that agencies have sent Letters Rogatory — documents making a request through a foreign court to obtain information — to different countries and there are some developments on that.

According to rules and the foreign direct investment policy in force at that time, Chidambaram was allegedly empowered to give approval to proposals involving foreign investment only up to Rs 600 crore.

Special Judge M.K. Nagpal had noted that there was sufficient evidence to summon Chidambaram and the other accused in the corruption and money-laundering cases.

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Crime

Gujarat’s first Omicron case detected in Jamnagar

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 Gujarat on Saturday registered first Omicron case after a Zimbabwe resident, who arrived in Jamnagar, was found infected with Covid-19’s new mutant.

The Nodal officer for Corona, GG Hospital, Jamnagar, Dr S. Chatterjee told IANS: “Samples of the 72-year-old Zimbabwe resident sent to Biotechnological Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad tested positive for Omicron. The patient is in isolation since his admission. We had traced all his close contacts, screened them and they tested negative. But we will conduct the test of all his contacts once again.”

As he had returned from Zimbabwe, an African nation and one of the “at risk” countries identified by the authorities, his samples were sent to Ahmedabad for genome sequencing, which tested positive.

The man is believed to be a native of Jamnagar who has been living in Zimbabwe for many years.

He arrived on November 28 to meet his father-in-law. After he got a fever, his doctor advised him to get an RT-PCR test done. As mandated, the private laboratory informed the health authorities that his report was Covid-19 positive.

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