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Tamil Nadu to increase jail terms for crimes against women, girls



K. Palaniswami. (File Photo: IANS)

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Wednesday said the state government has decided to increase jail terms in cases of crimes against women and girls.

Speaking in the Assembly, Palaniswami said the revised prison terms will be brought in by amending the laws with the consent of the central government.

He said the minimum jail term for deaths due to dowry harassment would be increased by three years to 10 years under Section 304-B of IPC.

Palaniswami said the minimum jail term for disrobing women would be five years as against the current term of three years under Section 354-B of IPC and the maximum prison term would be increased to 10 years from the current seven years.

The Chief Minister said for second-time offenders for stalking women with criminal intention, the prison term would be increased by two years to seven years.

For those involved in trafficking of girls aged under 18 and pushing them into prostitution the minimum prison term would be seven years and the maximum will be life sentence from the current 10 years.


Mehul Choksi still an Indian citizen: Indian authorities




The Indian authorities have described fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, who is wanted in India in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case as an Indian citizen in its affidavit filed in Dominican High Court, saying that his application for renunciation of citizenship was “rejected”.

And noted that he is therefore erroneously claiming renunciation of citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The 14-page affidavit filed on June 8 said “the Indian citizenship of Mr MC (Mehul Choksi) has still not ceased as on date and therefore, his claim of renunciation of Indian citizenship is contrary to the laws in India as is completely erroneous”, adding, “the claim of Choksi being bogus, this Honourable court may kindly reject the said erroneous claim at the threshold”.

It further pointed out that Choksi had submitted his Indian passport to Indian High Commission in Georgetown, Guyana, for renouncing his Indian citizenship on December 14, 2018.

“Under Section 8 of the Indian citizenship act, 1955 the declaration of renunciation should be registered and only then a person shall cease to be a citizen of India. Read with Rule 38 of the act, the declaration of registration has to be made to India’s Ministry of Home Affairs through the Indian mission,” it said.

The affidavit further stated that while Choksi did submit his passport, the Indian Home Ministry on January 29, 2019 “found deficiencies in the declaration” and also “noted that Choksi was an economic fugitive offender” advising Indian mission in Guyana to “consider the rejection of his declaration of renunciation”.

The affidavit also pointed out that the Ministry of External Affairs had also in a letter dated October 15, 2019, confirmed that his application of renunciation stood rejected by the Indian High Commission in Guyana and had communicated him on March 15, 2019.

The affidavit stated, “no entries regarding the application for surrender of Indian nationality were made in the consular register of the mission”. This was further confirmed by the MHA in its official memorandum on May 31, 2021.

It said that Choksi’s Indian Passport, number–Z3396732 was issued on September 10, 2015 from Mumbai. He acquired his Antigua and Barbuda nationality on November 16, 2017 with passport number B007713.

The affidavit also said that “concerned authorities may be directed to immediately transfer/deport/handover Choksi to the Indian authorities”.

It also said that India has already raised the issue of cancellation of citizenship of Choksi granted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda on the grounds that citizenship was fraudulently obtained by Choksi.

The affidavit was filed by consular officer at the High Commission of India to the Commonwealth of Dominica.

It said Choksi is wanted by Indian law enforcement agencies for investigation of the crime committed by him in India.

The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are probing the PNB bank fraud case against Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi.

Choksi went missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23, sparking a massive manhunt. He was captured in Dominica on May 26, and faces charges of illegal entry.

He had taken the citizenship of Antigua in 2017 and left India on January 4, 2018 days before the case came to light.

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Chhattisgarh government to pay school fees of Covid orphaned children




Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday announced that the children studying in private schools, who have lost parents/guardians to COVID-19, would be provided free education by the government.

Under Mahtari Dular Yojana, the Chhattisgarh government would bear the expenses of education of such children. “Such children will have the choice to either continue their education in the same private school they have been studying for past one year or they can go for Swami Atmanand English Medium School. State Government would bear their school fees,”said Baghel.

The state government has already launched Mahtari Dular Yojna to provide free education and monthly scholarship to the children studying in government schools, who have lost their parents/guardians to COVID-19.

But now the chief minister has announced that along with the children studying in government schools, children studying in private schools will also be benefited under Mahtari Dular Yojana.

Under the scheme, students will be given a scholarship of Rs 500 per month from class 1 to 8 and Rs 1,000 per month from class 9 to 12. Regarding the implementation of Mahtari Dular Yojna, it has been informed that School Education Department would work in coordination with the Health Department and Social Welfare Department to provide benefits of this scheme to such children.

Chhattisgarh Mahtari Dular Yojana 2021 is applicable from academic session 2021-22.

The benefit of the scheme will be given to destitute children belonging to the domicile families of Chhattisgarh. Children who have lost the earning parent (mother, father or both) due to COVID-19 are eligible to avail this scheme.

The children found eligible under the scheme will be provided free education in the schools of the state. Such children will be given priority for admission in Swami Atmanand English Medium School run by the state government, and the entire expenditure of their education will be borne by the state government. In addition, monthly scholarship will also be provisioned.

On receiving the information about destitute children from any source, District Collector will forward the information to District Education Officer concerned. Besides, the students will also be able to apply directly to the District Education Officer or through their guardians.

A committee will be constituted under the chairmanship of District Education Officer to examine the applications received, in which one officer each from the Health Department and Social Welfare Department has been nominated. Approval will be given by the District Collector on the recommendation of the committee.

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AAP to contest all seats in 2022 Gujarat Assembly polls: Arvind Kejriwal




Delhi Chief Minister and national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Arvind Kejriwal, said on Monday that AAP will contest on all the 182 seats in the Assembly elections in Gujarat scheduled next year.

Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, Kejriwal said, “Our candidates will contest all the Assembly seats in Gujarat.”

This is the second time that Kejriwal has visited Gujarat this year, presumably to expand the party on the home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

AAP leaders, both in Gujarat and at the national level, have been claiming that the people of the state are looking at AAP as the main alternative to BJP.

Kejriwal said Gujarat is suffering because of the friendship between the BJP and the Congress.

“The BJP has ruled Gujarat for the last 27 years. I have heard people say that the Congress is in the pocket of the BJP. Both the BJP and the Congress are the same. This must stop,” he said.

The AAP is looking to present itself as a formidable alternative to the Congress in Gujarat and challenge the BJP. The party is trying to fill in the gaps left by the Congress, which has seen setbacks in the recent past with several of its MLAs resigning. The Congress also put up a poor show in the local body polls held in February this year.

The Delhi Chief Minister claimed that the people of Gujarat are ready for an alternative, which the AAP can provide.

Kejriwal, who came to Ahmedabad to inaugurate AAP’s Gujarat state headquarters, also welcomed the induction of popular TV news anchor Isudan Gadhvi into the party on Monday.

“With the entry of AAP, Gujarat is bracing for a change and this process would speed up with Isudan Gadhvi joining the party,” he said.

When asked who will be the face to AAP in Gujarat, Kejriwal said, “The six crore people of Gujarat are the face of AAP. Even in Delhi, its 2 crore people are the face of the party, not Kejriwal. Kejriwal is a small fry, it is the people who are important.”

Kejriwal also brushed aside the notion of projecting the Delhi model in AAP’s campaign in Gujarat.

“Every state has its own different set of problems and aspirations. So Gujarat will have a model of its own, which is not based on the Delhi model,” he said.

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