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Nashik hospital horror: 22 Covid patients die due to oxygen leak




In a horrific incident, at least 22 Covid-19 patients died on ventilators in a Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) hospital after an abrupt drop in pressure due to leakage in the oxygen supplies, officials said.

The invisible tragedy took place in the Dr. Zakir Hussain Hospital run by the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled NMC, which is among the biggest civic bodies and one of the worst Covid-19 hotspots in the state.

Following certain technical issues which caused a variation in the pressure of the oxygen being administered in the ward, the 22 patients gasped for breath and succumbed on the ventilator beds.

At least 150 patients were undergoing treatment on oxygen beds and another two dozen on ventilator beds when the tragedy struck.

“It’s a very serious incident… coming due to a drop in pressure of the oxygen being administered to the patients,” Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

Even as stunned relatives slammed the civic authorities, NMC Municipal Commissioner Kailash Jadhav termed it as “a very sad tragedy” and ordered a probe into the incident and assured action against all found guilty of lapses.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that he was stunned to learn of the Nashik hospital tragedy and expressed his condolences to the kin of the victims.

Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ally Shiv Sena Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray expressed sorrow over the tragedy and assured that the incident would be probed.

Nationalist Congress Party’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar condoled the tragedy and assured a high-level investigation.

Congress State Spokesperson Sachin Sawant demanded a thorough inquiry into the tragedy and punishing all those found guilty.

“The hospital is managed by NMC which is under the BJP-rule. BJP must take responsibility. Where are the BJP Mayor and 3 BJP MLAs absconding?” Sawant said sternly.

Tope, his cabinet colleague Chhagan Bhujbal and other senior political leaders have rushed to Nashik for a spot assessment of the situation.

BJP’s Leader of Opposition (Council) Pravin Darekar attacked the MVA government and demanded lodging of cases under culpable homicide against the NMC Commissioner Jadhav, accusing him of being ‘solely responsible’ for the incident.

To control the outrage among the bereaved relatives and an uproar building up after the incident, the Nashik Police tightened security in and around the hospital premises to prevent any untoward situation.


Bhima Koregaon case: SC dismisses activist Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea




The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by activist Gautam Navlakha, who sought bail in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case of Maharashtra’s Bhima Koregaon.

Navlakha had challenged the Bombay High Court’s February 8 order, which declined to grant him bail, holding that the alleged illegal detention period cannot be considered to compute maximum 90 days’ time, which is mandatory to file charge sheet, or the accused could get statutory bail.

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and K.M. Joseph dismissed Navlakha’s appeal. The top court on March 26 had reserved its verdict on Navlakha’s plea. Pronouncing the verdict, Justice Joseph said it is dismissing the appeal filed by Navlakha against the High Court order.

On March 3, the top court had sought reply from the NIA on Navlakha’s plea where he argued that the charge sheet was not filed within the stipulated time period and hence, he was entitled for default bail. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Navlakha, had contended before the top court that his client should be released on default bail, as the charge sheet was filed after 93 days of his custody. Sibal had also submitted before the top court that two days period of transit from Delhi to Mumbai should also be counted in 90 days period.

The top court had on March 16 last year declined anticipatory bail to Navlakha and asked him to surrender within three weeks before the NIA. On April 8, last year, the top court gave Navlakha one more week to surrender in the case. The FIR against him was re-registered in January 2020, and he surrendered before the NIA on April 14 last year. Navlakha had spent 11 days in the NIA’s custody till April 25, and since then, he is in judicial custody.

The High Court on February 8 had dismissed Navlakha’s plea saying, “it sees no reason to interfere with a special court’s order”, which earlier rejected his bail plea.

Navlakha had moved the high court last year, against the special NIA court’s order of July 12, 2020, which rejected his plea for statutory bail.

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Grenade attack on police party in Jammu and Kashmir




Unidentified persons hurled a grenade at a police party engaged in checking vehicles in J&K’s Samba district, which exploded without causing any damage.

Mukesh Singh, IGP (Jammu zone) confirmed to reporters that a grenade was hurled during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday in Nud area of Samba-Mansar road in Samba district.

Police said the grenade missed the target and exploded on the road without causing any damage.

Hurling a grenade at the security forces is an unusual incident in the Jammu division.

Police has started a manhunt to trace those responsible for the grenade attack.

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Tarun Tejpal rape trial: Judgement postponed due to lack of staff




The judgement in the rape case filed against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal may now be pronounced on May 19, the defence counsel in the case said on Wednesday.

“The judgement has been postponed because the court is understaffed due to the new SOPs and the high rise in infections,” prosecution lawyer Francis Tavora told reporters.

The state is currently under a two-week Covid curfew.

The judgement was originally scheduled to be pronounced on April 27, but was adjourned to May 12.

The former editor-in-chief of the Tehelka investigative magazine was accused by a junior colleague of sexually assaulting her at a five star resort in Goa.

Tejpal has been booked under sections 376 (rape), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) 354A (sexual harassment) and 354B (criminal assault), of the Indian Penal Code.

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