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'Angry' JCB driver held after he bulldozes toll booths

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Hapur (UP), June 11 (IANS) A bulldozer driver has been arrested for bulldozing toll booths on the Delhi-Lucknow highway in Uttar Pradesh.

The driver, in a fit of rage, vandalised toll booths on both sides in Hapur after he was asked to pay the toll, according to reports.

In a video shared on X, a toll booth employee can be heard saying, “The man bulldozed two booths to avoid the toll.” Towards the end of the video, the man can be seen running away with his bulldozer.

“The bulldozer operator got angry when asked to pay the toll. He broke two booths of the toll plaza. The employees ran away to save their lives,” said a user on X while posting the video.

“Today on June 11, a JCB driver vandalised a toll booth at the Chhijarsi toll plaza under the jurisdiction of the Pilkhuwa police station. In connection with this, a case has been registered at the Pilkhuwa police station and further legal action is being taken,” the police said in a video.

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In another video, the accused can be seen limping and struggling to walk as two policemen detain him. In a photo, he can be seen standing behind the bars with folded hands.

–IANS

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Naveen Patnaik elected Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly

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Bhubaneswar, June 19 (IANS) Biju Janata Dal President and former Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was on Wednesday elected the leader of the legislature party, making him the Leader of the Opposition in the Odisha Assembly.

The decision was taken in a meeting of newly-elected BJD MLAs held at the Sankha Bhawan, the party headquarters here.

Addressing media persons later, Patnaik said: “We have just had a meeting of the Biju Janata Dal MLAs who have been elected in the recent elections. I congratulated and thanked them. They (BJD MLAs) have elected me as the leader of the BJD legislature party and of the opposition.”

He also said that senior party leader and Rairakhol MLA Prasanna Acharya has been appointed as the deputy leader of the BJD legislature party, and Pramila Mallik and Pratap Keshari Deb as the party’s chief whip and deputy chief whip, respectively.

“We had a very thorough meeting with our MLAs today and discussed many matters including recent election results,” Patnaik, who will play the role of the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly for the first time, added.

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The 77-year-old Patnaik, who had joined politics following his father and Janata Dal stalwart Biju Patnaik’s death in 1997, had never faced defeat from his first elections in 2000 until now. The BJD, which bagged 112 out of the 147 seats during the 2019 elections, managed to win only 51 seats in the 2024 Assembly polls. Patnaik, who contested from both his traditional Hinjili seat in Ganjam and Kantabanji seat in Balangir in 2024, lost in the latter seat.

–IANS

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Fan murder case: Police grill actor Darshan’s wife Vijayalakshmi for five hours

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Bengaluru, June 19 (IANS) The Karnataka police probing the fan murder case involving Kannada superstar Darshan questioned his wife Vijayalakshmi for nearly five hours at the Annapoorneshwari Nagar police station here on Wednesday.

Darshan, his ‘partner’ and co-star Pavithra Gowda, and 15 others have been arrested on charges of murdering Renukaswamy (33), a resident of Chitradurga.

The probe so far revealed that Renukaswamy was a big fan of Darshan and had sent derogatory messages to Pavithra Gowda on social media. The victim was allegedly kidnapped, brought to Bengaluru, kept in a shed, and brutally tortured to death.

Vijayalakshmi appeared before the police at 12 noon and was questioned till 5 p.m.

After the questioning, she left the police station without speaking to the media.

Meanwhile, the police have seized Darshan’s designer loafers from Vijayalakshmi’s residence, which he allegedly wore on the day of the murder. Sources said the police had gathered information that Darshan tried to hide the shoes.

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Later, taking to Instagram, Vijayalakshmi said, “At the outset, I express my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased, Sri Renukaswamy.”

She also obtained an order from a sessions court restraining the media from printing, publishing, or telecasting news or any other information about her husband’s personal and family life in connection with the case.

In her post, she said, “The last few days have been full of anguish for Darshan, myself, my teenage son, and all of Darshan’s friends, family, and fans. With this order issued by the Honorable Court, I hope people will put to rest some falsified information and untruths that were being spread across various media and social media platforms.

“I urge everyone to kindly publish only what is officially put out by the enforcement authorities. I have full faith in Ma Chamundeshwari and in our legal system. Let Justice Prevail. Satyameva Jayate.”

Meanwhile, Kannada actor Pratham has lodged a complaint with the police against the fans of Darshan for the life threats he received on social media.

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Pratham had criticised Darshan and said that if he were made a cop for a day, he would pick up a baton and shoo away Darshan’s fans standing outside the police station where he is being held.

“I have been receiving threatening calls for the past three days. I have urged the police not to arrest the fans, but to warn them,” he said.

–IANS

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Bengal rail accident: GRP forms 6-member SIT to conduct parallel probe based on passenger's complaint

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Kolkata, June 19 (IANS) The Government Railways Police (GRP) on Wednesday announced the formation of a six-member special investigation team for an independent probe in the Kanchanjunga Express-goods train collision in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district on Monday, based on a complaint filed by a passenger of the train.

Superintendent, GRP, Siliguri, S. Selvamurugan, said that the special investigation team will be headed by an officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, who will be assisted by an Inspector, two Sub-Inspectors and two Assistant Sub-Inspectors.

The parallel investigation by the GRP is running side-by-side with the investigation by the office of the Commission of Railway Safety to find out the reasons behind the collision which is being carried out under the direct supervision of the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety (CCRS) of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), Janak Kumar Garg.

On Wednesday, the members of the special investigation team went to the hospital to take a statement from the assistant loco-pilot of the goods train, who had been admitted there after the accident. However, the investigating officials did not make any comment to the media based on their preliminary findings.

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Meanwhile, sources in the knowhow of things said that the assistant loco-pilot of the goods train Manu Kumar is out of danger now, though he is so shattered from the psychological impact of the accident that he is not in a mental state to face full-fledged questioning in the matter. Sources said that in that case, he might be questioned again later once he is out of his trauma fully.

–IANS

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Govt cancels UGC-NET held on June 18, orders CBI probe

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New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) The Ministry of Education said on Wednesday cancelled the UGC-NET 2024 (University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test) held on Tuesday in different cities of the country after inputs suggested that the process of “the conduct of examination may have been compromised”, adding that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been tasked to probe the matter.

The UGC-NET on June 18 was conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) in two shifts.

In a statement, the Ministry of Education said that the UGC received certain inputs from the National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs on the examination, with prima-facie indication that the integrity of the aforesaid test may have been compromised.

“To ensure the highest level of transparency and sanctity in the examination process, the Ministry of Education has decided that the UGC-NET 2024 be cancelled. A fresh examination shall be conducted, for which information shall be shared separately. Simultaneously, the matter is being handed over to the CBI for a thorough investigation,” the statement read.

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Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education also said on Wednesday night that in the matter pertaining to the NEET-UG 2024, the issue related to grace marks has already been addressed.

As regards certain irregularities alleged in the conduct of the examination in Patna, a detailed report has been sought from the Economic Offences Unit of Bihar Police.

“The government will take further action on receipt of this report. The government is committed to ensuring the sanctity of examinations and protecting the interests of the students. It is reiterated that any individual/organisation found involved in this matter will face the strictest action,” the statement read.

–IANS

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ED acts against illegal remittances; int'l hawala syndicate aide held

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New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has apprehended an aide of an international hawala syndicate with purported dealings in cryptocurrencies under the charges of money laundering, an official said.

The ED clampdown on illegal foreign remittances came after inputs revealed that remittances to foreign locations were being made on the pretext of bogus transactions.

The suspect identified as Manideep Mago was arrested by the investigative agency on Tuesday and has been remanded to 5-day ED custody.

The ED also carried out searches on the residence of the suspect and also his company Birfa IT services, last week.

The firm sold cryptocurrencies valued at more than Rs 1,858 crore to crypto exchanges, the agency found in its investigation.

It also found that another tranche of Rs 3,500 (foreign remittances) was executed by the company and its related entities.

The ED in its investigation found that the hawala syndicate agent was collecting cash from importers and exporters and then remitting the same to foreign countries using fake invoices.

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According to the ED, the well-connected hawala syndicate employed various means for remittances.

It found that foreign outward remittances worth more than Rs 3,500 crore were sent to Canada and Hong Kong by raising bogus invoices for ‘online lease of GPU servers for crypto mining’, educational softwares, lease of bare metal servers, etc.

The syndicate is also understood to have invested in illegal ‘crypto mining’ and arbitrage trading.

The ED has also found evidence of involvement of Chartered Accountants and few bank officials.

Bogus invoices were generated and forged invoices in the name of 70,000 random names were entered into the tally database to justify the deposit of cash.

A complaint was made to the Crime Branch, Delhi Police sharing the findings unearthed during search operations conducted by the ED.

Following this, the Crime Branch registered FIR against the syndicate members, pursuant to which an ECIR was recorded by the ED for investigating the case under the provisions of the PMLA.

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–IANS

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