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‘To be placed before CJI first’: SC on plea seeking sacking of ministers Malik, Jain

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The Supreme Court on Thursday said that a plea, seeking direction to the governments of Maharashtra and Delhi for sacking of arrested ministers Nawab Malik and Satyendar Jain, would be listed for hearing after it is placed before Chief Justice N.V. Ramana.

As Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay mentioned the plea for urgent listing before a vacation bench of Justices C.T. Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia, the bench asked: “Did you make a mention (the plea) before the Registrar?….. Everyday we are saying ‘please make a mention before the registrar and even then, if it is not posted, mention it before us’.”

Upadhyay submitted that there is “serious violation” of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution, and added that the Maharashtra minister is in judicial custody for 4 months while the Delhi minister was also in judicial custody for nearly 30 days. “Unfortunately, these ministers are public servants. There’s a serious violation of Article 14,” said Upadhyay.

The bench told Upadhyay that he should mention the plea before the Registrar and most probably it will be posted next week. “Such matters will be posted before the Chief Justice first, then only it will be listed,” it said.

The plea said: “Direct and declare that the Minister, who is not only a public servant under S. 21 of the IPC and S. 2(c) of the PCA (Prevention of Corruption Act) but also a lawmaker and takes constitutional oath under Schedule-3; shall be temporarily debarred from holding office, after 2 days in judicial custody (like IAS, Judges & other public servants are suspended from services).”

The plea also sought a direction to the Law Commission to examine election laws of developed countries and prepare a comprehensive report to maintain nobility and dignity of ministers, legislators and public servants in spirit of Article 14. Upadhyay filed the petition through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey.

The petitioner sought a direction to Maharashtra government to sack Malik who was arrested in February 2022 and continues in judicial custody in connection with cases of black money, benami properties, money laundering and disproportionate assets, linked with Mafia don Dawood Ibrahim. “Petitioner also seeks direction to Delhi Government to sack Cabinet Minister Satyendra Jain, who was arrested on May 31, 2022 and continues in judicial custody in connection with cases of black money, benami properties, ghost companies, money laundering and disproportionate assets,” added the plea.

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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