MJ Akbar defamation case: Journalist Priya Ramani granted bail by Delhi court

MJ Akbar defamation case: Journalist Priya Ramani granted bail by Delhi court

A file photo of former minister MJ Akbar, who has filed the defamation case against Priya Ramani. | HT Photo

A Delhi court on Monday granted bail to journalist Priya Ramani on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 in connection with a defamation case filed against her by former Union minister MJ Akbar in October last year, ANI reported.

Ramani’s lawyer sought a personal exemption from appearing in court, which will be considered at the next hearing on April 8.

The Patiala House Court on January 29 had issued summons to Ramani as an accused. Akbar, who had filed the case after Ramani published a series of tweets containing allegations of sexual harassment against him, was not present in court on Monday.

Though nearly 20 women accused Akbar of sexual misconduct in October, the former minister has called all the allegations “wild”, “baseless” and a “sea of innuendo, speculation and abusive diatribe”. Akbar also hinted that there was a political motivation for the sexual harassment allegations as they have come up months ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He stepped down as the minister of state for external affairs after the allegations.

Journalist Priya Ramani gets bail in MJ Akbar’s defamation case against her. #PriyaRamani#MJAkbar@priyaramani@mjakbar#metoo#MeTooIndia— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 25, 2019

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Meghalaya trapped miners: Another skeleton spotted by rescue team, efforts on to retrieve it

Meghalaya trapped miners: Another skeleton spotted by rescue team, efforts on to retrieve it

A file photo of the rescue operations from January. | IANS

The Indian Navy on Sunday detected a skeleton on the 74th day of the operations to find the 15 miners who were trapped in a mine in Meghalaya on December 13, PTI reported. Two decomposed bodies had been spotted last month, but only one has been recovered so far.

The group of miners had got trapped after river water entered the illegal rat hole mine in East Jaintia Hills district. The Supreme Court had last month told the Centre and the state government to continue rescue operations, even though the state told the bench that the trapped miners may have died.

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Multiple government agencies, including the National Disaster Response Force and the Indian Army, are involved in the rescue operations.

“The underwater ROV [remote-operated vehicle] of the Indian Navy on Sunday detected skeletons of the third miner deep inside the coal mine,” a senior district official told PTI. “Efforts are on to retrieve it.”

The remains were detected over 150 feet away from the bottom of the 370-foot-deep shaft.

Decomposed remains of a person that were found on January 26 had fallen apart during the attempt to pull it out, and have not been detected again yet. The remains that were found on January 17 were pulled out and the deceased was identified as Amir Hussain of western Assam.

Cong minister booked for ‘slapping’ engineer

Cong minister booked for ‘slapping’ engineer

Ashok Chandna. — Twitter

Our Correspondent 
Jaipur, February 24

Rajasthan Minister of State for Sports Ashok Chandna has been booked for allegedly slapping and abusing Jaipur Vidhyut Vitran Nigam’s (JVVNL) Executive Engineer Jagdish Prasad Meena posted at Nainwa circle of Bundi district on February 18.

An FIR was registered on February 22 under Sections 332, 353 and 504 of IPC for beating up public servant, obstructing official work and abusing, besides Section 3 of SC-ST Act for using abusive words related to caste, SHO Lakhan Lal Meena said.The case was referred to the CID-CD for investigation as it involved an elected representative — an MLA, he said.

Reacting to the case at at a press conference, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “Law will take its own course. Land of law is equal to everyone, and if it is not followed no one would be secured. The government has fulfilled its job. Wait for the case outcome.”In his earlier statement to media, the Minister has rebutted the allegations and accused the JVVNL officer of being corrupt and alleged dereliction of duty on his part. The JVVNL employees of Kota and Bundi districts were on strike since Tuesday last. After filing of the FIR they resumed their work.

Robert Vadra hints at ‘larger role in serving the people’ once he is done with investigations

Robert Vadra hints at ‘larger role in serving the people’ once he is done with investigations

Robert Vadra. | PTI file photo

Businessman Robert Vadra on Sunday expressed interest in “a larger role in serving the people” once he sees through the various investigations he is undergoing. Vadra is the husband of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, who entered active politics last month.

In a Facebook post, Vadra wrote about various initiatives of social work that he claimed to have undertaken. He posted more than three dozen photographs of him being involved in such activities. Now after visiting the Enforcement Directorate for interrogation in different cases, Vadra claimed to “have been a person to learn from every event I go through”.

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He wrote: “All these years of experience and learning cannot be just wasted and should be put to better use… once all these accusations and allegations are over, I feel I should dedicate a larger role in serving the people.”

Vadra said different governments had tried to malign him for more than a decade, using his name to “divert real issues”.

Vadra has appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi several times for questioning this month. He is alleged to have used laundered money to buy real estate in the United Kingdom. He is also being investigated in the Bikaner land scam case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. On February 15, the Enforcement Directorate had attached Vadra’s assets in connection with the scam.

Uttar Pradesh: Three Kashmiri students booked for forwarding WhatsApp comments against Army

Uttar Pradesh: Three Kashmiri students booked for forwarding WhatsApp comments against Army

A file photo of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute campus in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. | Facebook/Indian Veterinary Research Institute

The Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday booked three Kashmiri students of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly for allegedly forwarding controversial comments against the Indian Army on a WhatsApp group after the February 14 Pulwama suicide attack, PTI reported.

Senior Superintendent of Police Muniraj said a case was filed against the three women at the Izzatnagar police station on Friday evening based on a complaint by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Bareilly Unit Vice President Amit Sharma.

Muniraj said that the police’s intelligence unit is searching for the person who had originally posted the controversial comment, which the girls forwarded along with their own comments on a WhatsApp group consisting of other students. The incident took place on February 16.

Superintendent of Police Abhinandan Singh said the students were booked under Section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code and another section of the Information Technology Act, The Times Of Indiareported. “We are investigating and collecting evidence in this case,” he said.

After the students’ union lodged a complaint with the institute, authorities launched a probe into the matter. Indian Veterinary Research Institute Director RK Singh said they had blocked the fellowship and scholarship of two of the girls. The name of the third student, who had enrolled for a masters degree and has been absent since December, was struck off.

There have been several reports of Kashmiri students being attacked in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, in which 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force lost their lives.On February 20, members of the youth wing of the Shiv Sena attacked some students from Jammu and Kashmir studying in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal.

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After the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre and states to take steps to ensure the safety and security of people from Jammu and Kashmir, the government issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories.

The University Grants Commission had also asked vice chancellors of all universities affiliated to it to ensure the safety and security of Kashmiri students on their campuses. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday denounced the attacks.

QChennai: Fire Breaks out in Porur, Photo Biennale Begins

QChennai: Fire Breaks out in Porur, Photo Biennale Begins

1. Fire Breaks Out at a Parking Lot in Chennai, Several Cars Gutted

Fire fighters busy dousing a fire that broke out in the parking lot near the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre gutting 174 cars in Porur area of Chennai.(Photo: IANS)

Thick dark smoke emanating from a large expanse of open land in Chennai’s Porur shocked residents and people travelling through the area on Sunday afternoon, 24 February. The smoke was from a major fire that broke out at a private car parking facility opposite Ramachandra Hospital.

The reason for the fire and the extent of damage are yet to be assessed, several parked cars have reportedly been damaged. A fire safety staff from the control room said, “Our fire fighters are currently on field trying to douse the fire. We will get to know more updates on what started the fire and what has been damaged only after the fire is put out.”

2. Photo Biennale Kicks off in City

Spread along the length of the city, CPB aims to extend itself beyond traditional exhibition spaces to public spaces.(Photo Courtesy: Chennai Photo Biennale)

The Chennai Photo Biennale 2019, showcasing the work of 50 artists from 13 countries, kicked off on Friday at the Senate House in Madras University. K Pandiarajan, Minister for Tamil Official Language and Culture, who inaugurated the event, said the biennale as a concept revolved around the idea of making every day look spectacular.

This year’s event — organised by the Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation and the Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan in association with The Hindu — will see photographs, installations and media projections. There will be workshops, film screenings, artist talks and skill development programmes in photography in a host of public spaces.

3. Three-Month-Old Baby Falls out of Auto Driven by Father, Dies

A three-month-old baby boy was killed after the mother and child reportedly fell out of an autorickshaw near Konnur High Road at Ayanavaram.(Photo: iStock)

A three-month-old baby boy was killed after the mother and child reportedly fell out of an autorickshaw near Konnur High Road at Ayanavaram on Friday night. The auto was being driven by the child’s father. Police said that three-month-old Yogesh Raj was travelling in the auto with his parents — 35-year-old Velan and 28-year-old Archana. The couple had got married one and half years ago. The family resides at SIDCO Nagar in Villivakkam. Velan is an autorickshaw driver.

The baby sustained injuries on his head and face. Archana sustained minor injuries and was treated at the government hospital.

4. Over a Month After Trichy Moral Policing Murder, Police Nab Two Alleged Perpetrators

Over a month after the murder of a 21-year-old college student in a case of moral policing, the Trichy police have remanded two men in connection to the crime. (Photo: iStock)

Over a month after the murder of a 21-year-old college student in a case of moral policing, the Trichy police have remanded two men in connection to the crime. The accused Prathap and Karthikeyan have confessed to the police that they murdered the student after they found him sitting with his girlfriend in a forested area near their village.

“We remanded the two accused on Saturday. They are both painters and after Pongal they were going to go buy alcohol. They stopped on the way to relieve themselves in the forest area. That is when they spotted the couple,” says Trichy Superintendent of Police Ziaul Haque.

5. Woman Kills Her Two Children, Self

On Saturday evening, Abitha and the two children were found hanging in the house.(Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

A 37-year-old woman and her two children, aged 10 and 7, were found dead in their house in Royala Nagar on Saturday. Police said Abitha, 37, married Senthamarai, 42, twelve years ago. Senthamarai ran a computer service centre.

The couple’s children were studying in Class V and Class III. The family resided in a rented house in Royala Nagar. The couple used to quarrel frequently as Senthamarai suspected Abitha’s fidelity. It is suspected that the couple had quarrelled on Friday night. On Saturday evening, Abitha and the two children were found hanging in the house.

Fire Breaks Out at a Parking Lot in Chennai, Several Cars Gutted

Fire Breaks Out at a Parking Lot in Chennai, Several Cars Gutted

Thick dark smoke emanating from a large expanse of open land in Chennai’s Porur shocked residents and people travelling through the area on Sunday afternoon, 24 February. Videos from the scene show dark ominous clouds of thick smoke rising up along with angry streaks of fire from a private car park in the area, burning scores of parked cars.

The smoke was from a major fire that broke out at a private car parking facility opposite Ramachandra Hospital. Following a distress call that came in at 2.05 pm, eight fire trucks from Egmore reached the spot to douse the fire.

The reason for the fire and the extent of damage are yet to be assessed, several parked cars have reportedly been damaged. Almost an hour later, the fire is yet to be put out by fire safety team.

Speaking to TNM, a fire safety staff from the control room said, “Our fire fighters are currently on field trying to douse the fire. We will get to know more updates on what started the fire and what has been damaged only after the fire is put out.”

A video shared on Twitter shows thick plumes of ash grey smoke rising up in the sky.

Several other Twitter users also shared images that showed the area engulfed in thick grey smoke clouds.

Earlier in January, a major fire broke out at a women’s hostel in the city’s Choolaimedu area. Five women, one of whom was pregnant, were rescued from the bathroom of the building on 14 January. According to a report in The Hindu, police suspected that the fire was the result of a short-circuit in a hall on the first floor.

There have been several reports of fire from different parts of south India in the last few days. On Saturday, 23 February, a massive fire damaged at least 300 vehicles parked in parking area number 5 at the venue of the Aero India 2019 airshow in Yelahanka, Bengaluru.

On the same day, a major fire broke out in the forest areas of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. The fire has spread across Kundakere, Bandipur and Gopalaswamy Betta ranges of the tiger reserve, and officials expect that it will take at least two more days to contain it.

On Friday, 22 February, a massive fire broke out at the Brahmapuram waste management plant in Kochi, Kerala, with smoke engulfing the city for hours. Just hours after this fire was doused, another major fire broke out on the grasslands near Mangalavanam bird sanctuary, also in Kochi.

Robert Vadra case: Delhi court tells Enforcement Directorate to provide digital copies of seized documents

Robert Vadra case: Delhi court tells Enforcement Directorate to provide digital copies of seized documents

Robert Vadra

A Delhi Court on Monday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to hand over Robert Vadra soft and hard copies of documents seized by it in connection with money laundering case. The documents were seized by the ED during the raids it conducted at its office. The court has directed to provide the hard copies of the documents to Robert Vadra’s legal team within 5 days. The orders came as Vadra had moved the Delhi Court with an application to seek the copy of the documents in possession of the ED.

Amidst curfew in Kashmir, miscreants create unrest with rumours

Amidst curfew in Kashmir, miscreants create unrest with rumours

An Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel searches a Kashmiri man and his scooter next to a road sign asking to stop for checking in Srinagar on February 24, 2019. Indian authorities arrested dozens of Muslim leaders in raids across Kashmir and sent thousands of reinforcements, including some 10,000 paramilitaries, to the troubled territory on February 23 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up warnings to Pakistan over a suicide bomb attack. (HABIB NAQASH / AFP)

Amidst curfew in five police station areas of downtown Srinagar and deployment of security forces, normal life remained paralysed in the Kashmir valley on Sunday.

The Hurriyat leadership had called for shutdown ahead of hearing on the controversial Article 35A in the Supreme Court and arrest of some separatists and fundamentalist elements.

Business establishments remained shut and vehicular traffic mostly remained off the road. Security forces have been deployed in strength to keep vigil on suspicious movements.

Authorities in Srinagar had imposed curfew within the territorial jurisdiction of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and MR Gunj police stations of Srinagar as a precautionary measure.

Mobile internet services were slowed down to 2G connectivity and train services were also suspended.

Tension mounted in the valley on Saturday evening as rumours about the scrapping of the Article 35A and safety of top separatist Shabir Shah at the Tihar Jail spread across the valley.

Panicked over the rumours of the shortage of essential commodities, people turned out in large numbers to purchase petrol, diesel, LPG, and eatables. The authorities asked the people to maintain calm as there were sufficient stocks of these items and the trucks carrying ration and petroleum products that were stuck due to landslides on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway were heading for the valley after clearance of the road.

Bihar: Seven girls, including five witnesses in Muzaffarpur rape case, go missing from shelter home

Bihar: Seven girls, including five witnesses in Muzaffarpur rape case, go missing from shelter home

A file photo shows people raising slogans against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a protest over the sexual abuse at the Muzaffarpur shelter home. | Sonu Mehta/HT

Seven girls, including five witnesses in the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case, went missing from a government-run children’s home in Bihar’s Mokama town on Saturday, IANS reported. The inmates were shifted to the Children’s Home for Girls in Mokama’s Nazareth Hospital from Muzaffarpur a few months back.

District Magistrate Kumar Ravi said officials have launched a search operation to locate the missing girls. “A case has been lodged with the Mokama police station on Saturday morning,” he added.

Senior Superintendent of Police Garima Malik said the police were conducting raids at bus stops and railway stations. “We are looking at all the angles to identify if the girls escaped voluntarily or they were forced to flee from the shelter home,” she said.

Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey told The Indian Expressthat authorities have sounded an alert to all Government Railway Police stations to look out for the missing girls. Several senior police officials as well as administrative officers reached the Mokama shelter home to take stock of the situation. A team of forensic science experts also reached the spot to collect evidence.

According to the police, the inmates escaped by breaking open the window of a restroom towards the rear side of the campus. Later, the girls used a dupatta to climb down the 10-feet boundary wall.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had transferred the trial in the case to a special court in New Delhi’s Saket and ordered it to complete it within six months. The court had also criticised the Bihar government’s management of shelter homes.

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The alleged sexual exploitation of children at the shelter came to light in April 2018 after Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences submitted an audit report of 110 shelter homes in Bihar. The audit had been ordered by the state government, which filed a first information report against 11 people on May 31.

At least 34 inmates were allegedly drugged and raped, according to law enforcement agencies. The Central Bureau of Investigation – in it chargesheet filed in December – alleged that the main accused, Brajesh Thakur, had coerced girls to dance to vulgar songs and have sexual intercourse with guests. Thakur is currently lodged in a high-security prison in Punjab.