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AAP Councillor booked under POCSO Act on charges of molesting teenager (Ld)

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) A 14-year-old girl was allegedly molested by an Aam Aadmi Party Councillor and some other people in central Delhi, a police officer connected to the probe said on Thursday.

The police said that a complaint was received at the Ranjeet Nagar police station wherein the minor girl alleged that on February 25, she was waiting on a road near the Munshi Ram Bagh Park in New Ranjeet Nagar for her younger when AAP Councillor Ankush Narang and others came there and molested and threatened her.

“The victim was counselled by a CIC counselor after medical examination,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central), M. Harsha Vardhan.

A case has been against Narang and others under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act, the DCP said, adding that action will be taken based on the evidence that comes forth.

Meanwhile, the Delhi unit of BJP demanded immediate expulsion of Narang.

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“An AAP MLA, Prakash Jarwal, was convicted in a murder and intimidation case just yesterday and today another case of harassment of a minor girl by Councillor Ankush Narang has come to light,” said Delhi BJP Vice President Yogita Singh, who demanded that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should immediately expel the accused Councillor.

“Every day, the black face of AAP representatives is coming to light. It’s unfortunate that Arvind Kejriwal is taking no action against the accused party leaders,” the BJP leaders said.

–IANS|

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My responsibility has increased, says Andhra Pradesh Dy CM Pawan Kalyan

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Amaravati, June 20 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Pawan Kalyan has said that his responsibility has increased and he is committed to serving the state with dedication.

The Jana Sena leader, who assumed office at his official residence in Vijayawada on Wednesday, shared his thoughts on Instagram.

“Honored to take on the roles of Deputy Chief Minister, Panchayati Raj Minister, Rural Development & Rural Water Supply Minister, Environment, Forest, Science & Technology Minister of Andhra Pradesh,” wrote the actor-politician.

“My responsibility has grown, and I am committed to serving our state with dedication and integrity. Eager to collaborate on creating a prosperous and sustainable future for everyone,” he added.

Pawan Kalyan posted a video of his arrival in Vijayawada from the party office at Mangalagiri, a guard of honour received from police, visuals of his camp office and his assuming office.

Pawan Kalyan, along with Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and other ministers, had taken oath on June 12. Two days later, he was appointed Deputy Chief Minister and portfolios were allocated to him and other ministers.

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In the recent elections, TDP-Jana Sena-BJP alliance stormed to power with a landslide majority. The alliance won 164 Assembly seats in the 175-member House. The alliance bagged 21 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats.

Jana Sena won all 21 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats it contested. Pawan Kalyan was elected from Pithapuram constituency. Jana Sena has secured three berths in the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Tourism and Cinematography Kandula Durgesh, who belongs to Jana Sena, on Thursday met megastar K. Chiranjeevi, who is the elder brother of Pawan Kalyan.

Durgesh called on Chiranjeevi on the sets of his upcoming movie ‘Vishwambhara’. Chiranjeevi felicitated the minister and expressed his best wishes.

Chiranjeevi also hoped that Durgesh would address the challenges faced by the Telugu film industry.

Earlier, after taking charge as the minister, Durgesh said he would try to develop Andhra Pradesh into a tourism hub and also to attract the cinema industry to the state.

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–IANS

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Bar Mumbai Shiv Sena winner's oath-taking as MP: Losing candidate's notice to LS officer

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Mumbai, June 20 (IANS) In an unprecedented development, a losing candidate in the recent Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North West has shot off a legal notice to the Lok Sabha Secretary-General seeking to bar the winner, Shiv Sena’s Ravindra D Waikar, from taking oath as an MP.

The notice was sent by Advocate Asim Sarode here on Thursday on behalf of Hindu Samaj Party’s Lok Sabha poll candidate Bharat K Shah, who has now challenged Waikar’s election on various grounds of alleged irregularities in the counting process.

After a lot of tension during counting at the NESCO centre in Goregaon East, Waikar was proclaimed the winner from Mumbai North West, late on June 4.

In the notice, the aggrieved Shah has said, “In the background of serious complaints regarding malpractices, irregularities NESCO vote counting center… Not to allow Ravindra Waikar to take oath of allegiance under Article 99 as a MP”.

Sarode said in the notice that after the counting process, Waikar was declared the winner with 452,644 votes against his closest rival, Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Amol G. Kirtikar who polled 452,596 votes – by a wafer-thin margin of 48 votes – while Shah, who lost had secured just 937 votes.

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Probably for the first time, a close relative of a candidate, namely Waikar, was found using a mobile phone inside the NESCO centre at the time of vote counting and Shah immediately lodged a complaint with the Returning Officer, besides lodging a FIR with the Vanrai Police Station (No.201/2024).

Shah’s notice further claimed that the police probe revealed that Mangesh V Pandilkar – who is reportedly related to Shiv Sena President and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde – was using a mobile phone which was allegedly connected to an EVM.

The Investigating Officer said that Pandilkar’s mobile phone was used to generate an OTP to unlock the EVM that evening and a notice under CrPC Section 41A has also been served to Dinesh Gurav, who was the operator of the ENCORE (Poll Portal) of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The police have sent Pandilkar’s mobile for forensic analysis plus fingerprinting, besides taking and checking the CCTV footage inside the counting centre.

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Police also found an Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) for service voters that is used after the EVMs.

“The specific allegation against the accused is that to unlock the postal ballot system, Gurav used the same mobile phone and generated an OTP,” said Sarode’s notice.

He pointed out that during the EVM counting, Kirtikar was leading but after the ETPBS count, he trailed and Waikar was declared the winner by just 48 votes.

The notice said that this was the first time when a specific process of fraud through an EVM came to light and became the point of discussion all over India and internationally, as “Waikar’s win is tainted and prima facie under clouds of criminal activities done by him in an organised manner.”

In view of this, Shah said that it would not be just and proper to allow Waikar to take his oath as MP so as to retain and regain the confidence of voters in India that there is some evaluation system functional which takes serious and swift cognisance of election frauds.

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Sarode added that Shah is determined to approach all the appropriate legal forums to seek justice and bring transparency into action in the country’s election process.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)

–IANS

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Maximum 'burnt memory/microcontroller of EVMs' from Ahmednagar LS seat, plea for recheck to ECI

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Mumbai, June 20 (IANS) The Election Commission of India (ECI) has received applications from six states for checking/verification of “burnt memory/microcontroller of EVMs” used in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, an official statement said on Thursday.

From the six states, the complaints originated from 92 polling stations spread in eight LS seats, including one from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar constituency.

The ECI said that in the Ahmednagar LS seat, there were a total of 40 such instances of burnt memory/microcontroller of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in all six Assembly segments.

They include – Shrigonda, Parner (10 each), Karjat-Jamkhed, Ahmednagar City, Rahuri and Shevgaon (5 each), totaling to 40.

This is the highest among all the eight LS constituencies spread in six states, and Bharatiya Janata Party sitting MP Sujay Vikhe-Patil – who was trounced by Nationalist Congress Party (SP)’s winner Nilesh D. Lanke – has now applied for checking/verification of the concerned (40) EVMs in his constituency.

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While Lanke secured 624,797 votes and romped home, Vikhe-Patil polled 595,868 votes and lost, with a margin of 28,929 votes – shocking BJP circles.

The complaints were received as per the Standard Operating Procedures of the ECI announced on June 1, said the statement.

Apart from Maharashtra, similar pleas have been received from Vizianagaram (Andhra Pradesh – 02 EVMs affected), Kanker (Chhattisgarh – 04 EVMs), Faridabad and Karnal (Haryana – 06 EVMs), Vellore and Virudhnagar (Tamil Nadu – 20 EVMs), and Zahirabad (Telangana – 20 EVMs).

–IANS

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NEET row: ‘Question papers sold for Rs 30-32 lakh, cops traced burnt documents’, admit mastermind and students

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New Delhi/Patna, June 20 (IANS) The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) 2024 paper leak fiasco saw a fresh twist on Thursday with the accused persons confessing before the police that question papers were arranged for certain candidates a day before the exam for which the aspirants shelled out close to Rs 30-32 lakh.

The shocking confession came from four persons arrested by the Bihar Police, including a NEET aspirant named Anurag Yadav, his uncle Sikandar Yadavendu – a junior engineer in the Danapur Municipal Council, and two others named Nitish Kumar and Amit Anand, the purported mastermind behind the paper leak.

They admitted before the police that the question papers were provided to them a day before the NEET that was conducted on May 5.

Anurag Yadav confessed before the police that his uncle Sikander Yadavendu arranged the NEET papers for him in advance.

“I was preparing for NEET at the Allen Institute in Kota (Rajasthan). My uncle Sikander Yadavendu called me to Patna and took me to Amit Anand and Nitish Kumar, where I was given some questions and the answer keys for the exam. I was told to memorise all the answers. When I sat for the test the next day, I saw it had the same questions which were given to me on May 4. However, after the test, the police arrested me,” he said.

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Sikander Yadavendu claimed that he was told by Amit Anand and Nitish Kumar about the paper leak before the test.

“Amit and Nitish told me that the question papers for NEET would be leaked and it would cost about Rs 30-32 lakh. I agreed and told them about four students — Ayush Kumar, Anurag Yadav, Shivanand Kumar, and Abhishek Kumar. On May 4, I took all four students to a place where aspirants were already cramming up answers for all the questions.

“Out of greed, I asked for Rs 40 lakh from each student instead of the original amount. However, I was later caught by the police,” Yadavendu said, revealing the chain of events leading to the NEET paper leak.

Nitish Kumar and Amit Anand, in their statement to the police, admitted their role in the paper leak and revealed how their collusion with Yadavendu led to their arrest.

“After Yadavendu was arrested, he directed the police towards us. The police also raided the spot where the students were given the leaked papers. They also found the remaining pieces of the burnt question papers,” the duo said in their statement to the police.

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About 24 lakh aspirants appeared for NEET on May 5 for admission to medical colleges. The results were announced before time on June 5 but were marred by allegations of paper leak and awarding of grace marks to over 1,500 candidates.

–IANS

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Mamata govt distances itself from celebration of West Bengal Foundation Day at Raj Bhavan

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Kolkata, June 20 (IANS) West Bengal Foundation Day was observed at the Raj Bhavan here on Thursday with the state government machinery and the members of the state cabinet distancing themselves from the programme.

Raj Bhavan insiders said that the celebration of West Bengal Foundation Day, which started on June 20, 2023, lacked the pomp and grandeur that was there in the same programme last year.

Insiders said that June 20 has been chosen as West Bengal Foundation Day since on the same day of 1947, the then Bengal Legislative Assembly held a meeting to decide if the Bengal Presidency would stay with India or Pakistan, or be divided, having the Hindu majority districts staying with India as West Bengal and the Muslim majority areas forming East Pakistan.

However, the ruling Trinamool Congress has been against celebrating the day as it believes that this date historically signifies the pain of partition. Instead, the state government through a proposal passed on the floor of the state Assembly last year decided to choose Bengali New Year Day as the date for the celebration of the West Bengal Foundation Day.

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“Last year only when the Governor started celebrating West Bengal Foundation Day on June 20, our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee requested him against doing so. But he did not listen. We cannot stop him from doing so. But we are not participating,” said a member of the state cabinet who did not wish to be named.

Commenting on the development, Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari claimed that the historical significance of June 20 can never be changed or ignored.

“Last year the President of India announced June 20 as the West Bengal Foundation Day. Had Dr Shyamprasad Mukhopadhyay not been there we could not have stayed in Independent India. A party can enforce certain things because of its numerical supremacy in the Assembly. But that does not mean that the history can be changed,” Adhikari said.

–IANS

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