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Thursday,06-August-2020

Crime

Threats to Taj hotels: Maharashtra top brass review security

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Taj-Mahal-Palace-Hotel

A day after two Taj Group hotels in Mumbai got security threats from Pakistan, the Maharashtra government carried out a high-level security review meeting, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said here on Wednesday.

“I have discussed and reviewed the security preparedness with Director-General of Police Subodh Jaiswal and Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in detail,” Deshmukh told mediapersons.

An unidentified caller, claiming to be from the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba early on Tuesday threatened to carry out bomb attacks at the iconic Hotel Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba and the Taj Lands End in Bandra.

Taking no chances, the police have launched a full-scale probe including tracking the number/s from which the calls came, barely 24 hours after the terror attacks on Pakistan Stock Exchange rocked Karachi on Monday.

On its part, the Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. (IHCL) which owns the Taj hotels said they had immediately alerted the authorities after getting the calls and are extending their full support and cooperation to the investigating agencies.

Incidentally, the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace was one of the targeted sites by 10 Pakistani gunmen who created mayhem during the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Crime

Palghar lynching: SC asks Maharashtra police to file chargesheet for scrutiny

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Supreme-Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra Police to produce a chargesheet in the Palghar lynching case before it for scrutiny.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy asked the Maharashtra government about the action taken against the erring police officials as months have passed after the lynching incident. The top court asked for inquiry reports, details of investigation and also asked the police to file a chargesheet in the case before it for scrutiny.

A group of petitioners, all Juna Akhara priests and some of the relatives of two ‘sadhus’, who were lynched at Palghar, stated in a petition that they have no faith in the Maharashtra government or the police, and also do not expect a fair and just investigation into the case, as they suspected their involvement in it. Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha who claimed to be the main petitioner in the case, contended before the bench that Maharashtra is a land of Sadhus but they were literally handed over to the mob by the police itself.

Justice Bhushan asked advocate Rahul Chitnis, appearing for Maharashtra government, regarding the progress made in the inquiry conducted against the policemen in the lynching of the two Sadhus and their driver in Palghar. Jha contended that the state government must file relevant excerpts of the chargesheet and also file an affidavit on the progress of the investigation so far.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said “Let all chargesheets come on record and let the court decide what is relevant or not.” The top court has posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.

On June 11, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea seeking a CBI probe into the lynching of sadhus in Palghar, and sought a response from the Maharashtra government.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, M R Shah and V Ramasubramanian also issued notice on a separate plea seeking a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe to ensure evidence in the matter is not destroyed.
“There is a reasonable apprehension of bias, if Respondent No. 2 (Maharashtra Police) proceeds with the investigation. It is judicially acknowledged that right to fair and just investigation is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Therefore, the petitioners have approached this court inter alia, seeking transfer of investigation of the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation”, argued the petitioners.

Maharashtra government counsel opposed the petitions and contended before the top court that similar matters are pending before the Bombay High Court too. The counsel for the petitioner seeking an NIA probe argued “our apprehension is that the evidence will disappear.” Counsel appearing for the Juna Akhara argued, “Witnesses are committing suicide. We have reasons to believe that the investigation is not taking its course.”

The plea contended that the mob started beating the sadhus, Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri, aged 70, and Sushilgiri Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri, aged 35 in front of the police officials. The plea contended the possible complicity of the Maharashtra Police and the state governmentthat in the lynching of the sadhus.

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Crime

With 56k new Covid cases, India’s tally mounts to 19.6L

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With 56,282 new coronavirus cases and 904 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total tally in India rose to 19,64,537 and 40,699 deaths, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed on Thursday.

Currently, 5,95,501 cases are active and 1,328,336 people have recovered from the disease. The recovery rate has reached a new high of 67.19 per cent. In the last 24 hours, 6,64,949 samples have been tested.

Six major states in India have recorded more than one lakh cases in the last six months since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Maharashtra has the highest number of cases, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state with 4,68,265 cases and 16,476 deaths. Tamil Nadu comes in second with 2,73,460 cases and 4,461 deaths.

On the other hand, with the deadly virus spreading rapidly all over the country, there are eight states and union territories – Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Mizoram, Arunanchal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar Islands where there are less than 1,000 active cases.

In a press briefing earlier this week, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said that 82 per cent of the total cases are limited to ten states and union territories and that fifty districts account for 66 per cent of the total caseload.

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Crime

Fire claims 8 Covid patients in Ahmedabad hospital

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A major fire in the ICU ward of a private dedicated Covid hospital in Ahmedabad claimed the lives of eight patients, including 5 men and 3 women in the wee hours on Thursday. One seriously burnt patient is being treated while 40 other patients have been evacuated and shifted to the SVP hospital in Ahmedabad.

According to information, the fire broke out in the ICU ward of ‘Shrey hospital’, a dedicated Covid-19 hospital in Navrangpura area in Ahmedabad at around 3 a.m. on Thursday.

“Eight patients admitted in the ICU ward have died due to burning and asphyxiation. Looking at the primary information, it is assumed that the fire broke out due to a short circuit. Our officials are investigating the incident with the help of FSL experts. The bodies of the victims are being sent for the post-mortem,” said a senior police official of the Navrangpura police station.

The fire has claimed the lives of 5 men and 3 women, all corona patients admitted in the ICU ward, situated on the fourth floor of the hospital building. Several fire fighters were rushed to the spot and within hours brought the fire under control. Shrey hospital, is a 50-bed private hospital declared as a dedicated Covid-19 by the Gujarat government.

“We have shifted over 40 patients admitted in the hospital to the SVP hospital in Ahmedabad. One of the paramedical worker is also badly affected from burns. Stable patients and other patients on Oxygen have also been shifted to the SVP hospital. The shifting process is still on,” said a hospital authority.

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