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Friday,03-December-2021

Crime

NCB team questions Wankhede for over four hours

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 In an unusual turn of events, a Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) vigilance team from New Delhi on Wednesday questioned the agency’s Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede for nearly four and a half hours at its Bandra camp office, a top official said.

The team leader Gyaneshwar Singh said that they have collected lot of documents and other evidences from him and he has submitted his version in the matter.

“If needed, we shall probe further and ask for more documents in the case,” Singh said this evening.

Simultaneously, he said the NCB vigilance team has requested the other two “Panch-Wintesses” “Prabhakar Sail-ji and Kiran Gosavi-ji” to appear before them to record their statements.

“We have tried to serve them the summonses at their known addresses, but we could not do so. We appeal through the media. They should both appear before us in the next two days and record their statement – especially Prabhakar Sail-ji whose affidavit (October 23) has resulted in this enquiry,” Singh said.

The NCB team plans to question Sail for his statements claiming Gosavi – currently absconding – was the conduit for an alleged Rs 18 crore extortion bid from Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to get his son Aryan released.

Sail also said that of this amount, Rs 8 crore was allegedly meant to be given to Wankhede, currently in the eye of a huge storm with a series of charges hurled against him.

The NCB probe comes as an offshoot into the NCB’s swoop on an alleged rave party aboard a cruise ship on October 2 in which 8 youngsters from the entertainment industry, including Aryan Khan, were nabbed, sparking off a huge controversy.

In a related development, businessman H.B. Bafna has claimed that his photo has been circulated as that of Sam D’Souza, one of the players in the alleged extortion bid, circulated by Sail.

Bafna has expressed fear for his life and sought a probe into how his photo came to be released as that of D’Souza on October 24.

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Crime

Centre clarifies on 3rd wave possibility after Omicron detection

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Omicron cases are increasingly being reported from countries outside of South Africa. India has also reported two cases of Omicron Covid variant and is likely to spread to more countries.

“Given the fast pace of vaccination in India and high exposure to Delta variant as evidenced by high seropositivity, the severity of the disease is anticipated to be low. However, scientific evidence is still evolving,” said the Health Ministry on Friday. It added further that the scale and magnitude of rise in cases and most importantly the severity of disease that will be caused is still not clear.

On the question of existing vaccine efficacy against this variant, the health ministry has said that there is no evidence to suggest that existing vaccines do not work on Omicron, some of the mutations reported on Spike gene may decrease the efficacy of existing vaccines. However, vaccine protection is also by antibodies as well as by cellular immunity, which is expected to be relatively better preserved.

“Hence vaccines are expected to still offer protection against severe disease, and vaccination with the available vaccines is crucial. If eligible, but not vaccinated, one should get vaccinated,” it added.

The response measures for all variants of concern, including Omicron, is the same as that for SARs CoV2. The ministry has said that the precautions and steps to be taken remain the same as before. “It is essential to mask yourself properly, take both doses of vaccines (if not yet vaccinated), maintain social distancing and maintain good ventilation to the maximum possible”, said the ministry in a statement.

The government is monitoring the situation closely and is issuing suitable guidelines, said the ministry, adding that the scientific and medical community is geared up for developing and deploying diagnostics, carrying out genomic surveillance, generating evidence about viral and epidemiologic characteristics, and development of therapeutics.

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Trouble looms for Balakrishnan as Mumbai HC to hear son’s DNA case

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The Mumbai High Court has posted for January 4 the case of a DNA test result of Binoy Kodiyeri, the elder son of CPI-M politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan who was all set to return as Kerala CPI-M state secretary.

A woman from Bihar has alleged that Binoy had a relationship with her while she was working at a dance bar in Dubai in 2008 and till 2015, he used to send her money every month. They also have an eight-year-old child.

The woman had first filed a petition in 2019 and in July 2019 Binoy approached the Mumbai High Court seeking dismissal of the rape case filed by the woman. The court asked all the three to go for a DNA test and Binoy appeared for it on July 30, 2019.

Following which the case went into a limbo. In December 2020 the DNA result was filed before the court in a sealed cover and on Thursday the woman approached the court wanting to know the result. The court has now posted this case for January 4.

Incidentally Balakrishnan who is a cancer patient, was given medical leave by the party soon after his younger son Bineesh Kodiyeri was arrested in October 2020 by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

However Balakrishnan breathed easy when Bineesh got bail from the Karnataka High Court after being in a jail in Bengaluru in October this year. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan strongly backed Balakrishnan to return to the post and the green signal was to have come from the state secretariat on Friday, when came the news about Binoy.

The news about Binoy has come at a time when the CPI-M, ahead of the party state conference scheduled for early next year, wanted Balakrishnan to take over. Sources in the know of things say Balakrishnan will be asked to take over after the national leadership of the party last month asked the state leadership to take a call on it.

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Five dead, one injured in road accident in Gurugram

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 Five people were killed after a car crashed into a roadside wall and overturned on Sadhrana road near Gadhi village here on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.

According to police, the deceased have been identified as Sagar, Jibech, Niaz Khan, Prince and Jagbir.

One person, identified as Hardik Tiwari, was injured in the incident.

The victims were returning to Gurugram city from Sadhrana village after attending a marriage.

“All of them were coming from a wedding ceremony in Sadhrana village. The mishap was a result of speeding and a damaged road. All the victims used to work in a city-based private hospital. Police are taking necessary action,” Gurugram police spokesperson Subhash Boken said.

“The injured man has been shifted to a hospital in critical condition. While the bodies have been sent for post-mortem. Further probe is on,” he added.

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