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‘State won’t grant sanction’: SC junks Anil Deshmukh’s plea against CBI FIR

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s plea seeking quashing of the FIR registered by the CBI to probe corruption allegations levelled against him by the former Mumbai police chief.

Senior advocate Amit Desai, representing Deshmukh, argued that the CBI required the sanction of the state government under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act to register the FIR. He said that the Bombay High Court order had only directed the CBI to do a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the matter, and then the investigating agency was required to “act in accordance with law” based on its result.

“In accordance with law” meant the CBI had to seek the sanction of the state government before registering the FIR, he added.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah queried Desai if there was an inquiry launched under Section 17 (A) against the Home Minister, then it defeats the purpose, as the state would never grant sanction to prosecute the minister.

The top court was hearing the former minister’s petition challenging the July 22 Bombay High Court judgment, which dismissed Deshmukh’s petition seeking to quash the CBI FIR.

The bench queried whether requirement of Section 17A sanction will come, if the investigation has been directed by the court. Justice Chandrachud cited precedents stating that the sanction of the state under Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act is not needed for CBI investigation, when the court has ordered registration of the FIR.

He noted: “Why investigation is ordered in the first place? Because the state can’t be trusted.”

Justice Shah said the high court ordered a PE by the CBI to ensure the rights of the accused are protected to the maximum extent.

Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi contested Desai’s arguments. He submitted that Section 17A was not applicable in a situation of a court-ordered investigation.

The top court heard arguments in the matter for close to two hours. Concluding the hearing, the bench told Desai it is not keen on entertaining the petition.

Crime

Mumbai: Minor boy detained for raping 5-year-old girl in Nagpada; victim to get free education till 10th std

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A minor boy was detained for allegedly raping a 5-year-old girl in Nagpada and sent to a juvenile correction centre.

He was detained within six hours of the crime.

Free education till 10th standard for victim

The Nagpada police officials have collected Rs 1.10 lakh for the victim and have made provisions for giving her free education till the 10th standard.

A case has been registered under sections of IPC and POCSO.

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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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Crime

Israeli fighter jets strike Gaza in response to rockets firing

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Israeli fighter jets on Friday carried out a series of airstrikes on facilities belonging to militant groups in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from the coastal enclave, witnesses said.

Israeli army drones and fighter jets were heard buzzing in the air, and several explosions were heard in central Gaza Strip, the witnesses told Xinhua news agency.

They added that more than 14 missiles were fired at a military post that belonged to Gaza militant groups.

Palestinian medical sources said that no injuries were reported during the strikes that mainly targeted posts and facilities that belong to the Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

The airstrikes were in response to the firing of two rockets at southern Israel, said a spokesman from the Jewish state’s army.

No group has claimed responsibility for firing the rockets, which was a response to the killing of nine Palestinians during an Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp, deemed to be the most deadly in nearly two decades.

During the Israeli airstrikes on Friday, militants in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave also fired at least five rockets at southern Israeli communities close to the borders with the Gaza Strip and anti-craft missiles were fired at Israeli fighter jets by Hamas militants, sources close to Hamas security told Xinhua.

Media outlets in Gaza quoted an Egyptian source as saying that Egyptian intelligence is in intensive contact with the Palestinian factions to prevent an escalation in Gaza.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2022, and at least 29 have been killed in January this year, according to figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

According to the UN, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.

The tensions have been further aggravated since Israel’s most right-wing government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took office last month.

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